Tourism   in   Amsterdam
 
Nederlandse versie updated  14-01-2008
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basics       safety       victims       the clip       foodtips       flower market       sail

 

basics

Best time to visit is april or late september when the leaves on the trees are not blocking the view of the monumental facades. The winters are cold and damp.

Bring a pair of good glasses: we tend to use very small lettertypes for the legends in museums.

To become a victim of pickpockets or robbers is not something you have a say in: this can happen anytime and anywhere, just when you are on the wrong spot at the wrong time. However, what the effect might be for you, that is for a large part up to you: do not hide you most valuables in easy grabbing places, see also the clip.

To use a public toilet you nearly always have to pay, about fifty cents to even one-guilden-fifty . . . and that only for a pee and a tiny handwash! Even in café's and restaurants. But don't expect more hygiene. It is not ikely you find a public toilet in a department store, except Bijenkorf and V&D. Fortunately there are some in movie theaters and musea and in most of the Mac Donalds and Burger King. For the men there is a free use of the socalled krul-toilet, women must be better in holding it inside themselves.

Beware of dogshit. There is a lot and all over the city, it is slippery when wet and invisible among tree leaves.

tipping: All prices are including tips, however taxidrivers and waiters will say otherwise.

language: Everyone who is involved with tourism (which is all of the center of Amsterdam) speaks English.

moneychange: The small moneychange offices might be expensive (large handling costs and/or bad rates).

telephones: Telephone calling centers look just like the Dutch Telephone Company, but they are not and are expensive. The telephone booths in front of the Dutch Telephone shops have special rip-off rates.
There are virtually no coin operated telephones and the smallest phonecard costs 10 guilders, just to ripp off the tourists who only want to make a few local calls.

Tour operators (generously tipped by our diamond merchants) promote Amsterdam as the one and only city of diamonds. However, this image is long superseded: there are no grinderies anymore other than those necessary for our folkloristic crafts. For the real thing you have to go to the city of Antwerp in Belgian. It has a diamond museum and some thousands of cutters are still working in the real grinderies. And there are also other interesting things to see in the friendly town of Antwerp.

For useful information about the Red Light District . . .

And... the electrical current is 220V 50Hz.

bakfiets
springtime

 

safety

Pickpocketing and vandalism as well as stabbing, robbing and beating up are called here petit crime.

Since the cutdowns of policemen on the streets, patrolling is done by socalled stadswacht. These lowpaid and usually friendly people can only give warnings and information; they cannot give any tickets. It is a somewhat frustrating job since Amsterdammers are known as rude, undisciplined and disobedient.

The Inner City, Canalgurdle and Jordaan may look innocent, but the "petit" crime rate is here no less than in the center of Paris or London. Maybe we are quite good in suppressing that type of bad news, and keep on trying to come across as being extremely innocent and tolerant.

And don't forget to look at the US travel info!

river police and marihuanaplants
dear cop,
look above you !

 

victims

The summer of 2002 counts already some deadly victims among the tourists who visit Amsterdam. Our tolerated drug-culture is in most cases the cause of the fatal accidents: our policy based on tolerance on the use of (soft- pills- and mushroom-) drugs put our tourists in extremely vulnerable situations without they really know this or care about it, thanks to those relaxing drugs.

On the evening of May 11 a 25 year old German tourist runs against a tram on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and dies one week later on his head injury.
On June 19th a 19 year old American tourist falls in the Grimburgwal and drowns.
On July 9th the body of a dead 26 year old Englishman is found in the Open Havenfront near the Central Station.
In the night of July 12 to 13 an 18 year old American tourist falls out of a window from the fourth floor of hotel Meeting Point in the Warmoesstraat. She dies.
On August 1st an Italian tourist falls from the roof-gutter of the Victoria Hotel on the Damrak and a 32 year old English tourist falls into the river Amstel. Both die.
In the night of August 8 to 9 a 24 year old French tourist falls out of the window of a hotel on the Loosdrechtdreef in Amsterdam South-East. He dies. And a body of a 52 year old French tourist taken out of the Singel canal.

It is not a new phenomina, for in September 2001 a 26-year old American falls out of a window from the third floor of the Victoria hotel on the Damrak. He dies.
And in 1998 a 29 year old Frenchman jumps from the fifth floor of a hotel at the Geldersekade and dies. He was under the influence of drugs and hallucinating.

But the most famous one is jazz trumpet player Chet Baker, who falls in May 1988, under the influence of alcohol and drugs, out the window of hotel Prins Hendrik, opposite the station. He dies.

hostel

 

the clip

So, you should strongly be warned for pickpocketing, especially in trams. Don't stand near the doors: these are the most liked spots for the pickpocketer, so he can fast disappear. Never leave your possessions for even óne second unattended, especially not when signing-in at hoteldesks or being distracted in restaurants or shoe-stores or at (train)-platforms. Especially when something or someone tries to get your attention you should first hold your (most important) belongings tight.

Use a moneybelt under your clothes for safety storage of your tickets, passports, important phone numbers, locker-tickets and some cashbills. He does not prevent you from getting robbed, but sure is a help in the aftermatch and maybe the rescuer of your trip.
And wear it ALWAYS ! Get so used to it that you'll miss it !
Use it once not and you'll use it more not ! Stupid, but people still don't and getting more in trouble than they should. A fannypack is not now and never will be the right place for those valuables.

A small clip device on a purse which attaches the zipper-closer to a ring on your bag might make the thief looking for an easier target, while it is for yourself after a little practice still easy to open. On the subject of pickpocket-prevention the national television program Deadline, presented by Jan Jongbloed, did sent out a homevideo (of 2 minutes, made by me) on November 1994 of how to use this little clip device.

Don't play a hero: the number of stabbings and beatings by robbers or just for the fun is rising. Every day someone gets mugged at knife- or gunpoint in the inner center of Amsterdam.

For more tips on Pickpockets, Thieves, and Self-Defense take a look at artoftravel.com.

clip on purse
clip on purse

 

video the clip
video De Clip

 

foodtips

Where can you eat good and reasonable cheap
We do have McDonalds, BurgerKing and one KFC but don't expect cheap or fast-food !  And some of them have hidden specials like coffee and donut or even refills. Don't bother complaining, they are all in franchise.
The ready-to-eat chicken of chainstore Albert Heijn on the Museumplein and behind the Dam Palace are small but reasonable. About the latter one, watch out for the wet cencrete steps and try to avoid the drunks and junkies.
The tastiest icecream at Linde, Nieuwendijk opposite Hema.
Sandwiches at Small World, BinnenOranjestraat (Brouwersgracht).
For falafel try MAOZ on Reguliersbreestraat (Rembrandtsplein) and on Ferdinand Bolsstraat (Albert Cuyp market, with seating!).
Sandwiches at Popov, Van Woustraat / AlbertCuyp.

See also the typical Dutch delicacies.

 

flower market

see flowermarkets

 

sail

For centuries Amsterdam is famous as a harbour city, however the last years the passenger part has been run down deeply. Recently this eyesore has the attention of the City which resulted in the opening of a great new passengersterminal, after a small delay, in May 2000.

That Amsterdam has a "Worldharbour of All Years" is clear to be seen during the Amsterdam Sail activities, when 17th century replica's as well as the most modern yaughts are visiting Amsterdam. On Sail1995 there were, besides the views of impressive Tall Ships and all types of boats, refreshments for sale all over the place. But for every pee you had to queue up and even had to pay every time up to one Dutch guilder.
As a reminder an impression of the Amsterdam Sail95.

That Amsterdam Sail2000 was not less commercial was proven by the small amount of drinking fountains and pee-places for men as well as for women, especially on the quais at the Tall ships.

For more info see Sail events and Zeeburg news.

However, not everyone is all that positive.
Cees van Staal strongly disputes the romance of Sail in the weekly newspaper De Groene Amsterdammer of August 19, 2000. And Quip van Winkel is in his AmsterWorld not charmed by these massive and commercial festivities in the Amsterdam inner city. So is Dave Barry in the Miami Herald daily newspaper rather uncomplimentary over his experiences in Amsterdam on 5 and 12 September 1999.



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