Welcome to one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, Amsterdam. In this article, I will tell you all about Amsterdam’s touristy and historic Old Town, its bustling streets with their finest local food shops and its beautiful canals.
You can get to the Old Town by taking the metro. Metro trains have a lot of stops, but Sprinter trains are non stop. There is a separate ticket for Sprinter train which is a little expensive. There are always route maps at the stations which will guide you about your intracity journeys.
The main street of Old Town is known as Damrak street which leads to all the main tourist attractions and on this street runs tram number 2 on which you can get off at every stop and explore the place and this tram goes all the way to museum quarter where all the main museums are located. If you have the Amsterdam Pass, you can visit these museums because what’s better than exploring museums in the day and enjoying the night life of Amsterdam at night. People start exploring the Old Town starting from the Old Church which is the centre of this historic downtown. The Old Church is surrounded by the notorious Red Light District. This church was built back in the 13th century. Right across the window lane is the canal. There are actually three canals in the Old Town which run parallel to each other. People love to get boat rides in these canals.
The Red Light District of Old Town:
The most highlighted site of Old Town is its Red Light District which is surrounded by windows and these windows are lit with red right at night. Prostitution in Netherlands is legal and is government controlled. This historic Red Light District is a popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam which is very safe and is always crowded with tourists.
For a lot of years the status of prostitution bounced between legal and illegal in Netherlands. During the time of Napoleon, prostitution was regularized properly so that his soldiers didn’t catch STDs such as syphilis and gonorrhea. But in year 2000, prostitution in Netherlands was legalized and is government controlled. It has now become a part of their culture.
Cannabis, weed and marijuana are legal in Netherlands for personal use. You can find a lot of weed smoking cafes in this area which are know as coffee shops. One of the most popular coffee shops here is The Bulldog. From weed cakes, weed candies to weed merchandise or pre rolled joints, you can get everything related to weed here. Weed brownies here are extremely popular. And one important thing to clear is neither do I smoke, nor do I promote smoking because consuming any kind of narcotics could be seriously injurious to health. But legal does not mean healthy and one cannot possess more than 5 grams of this stuff.
There are also a lot of adult shops and stores here. There’s also a 5D p*rn cinema which is a little weird but it’s there. You can find the The Museum Of Prostitution in the old downtown as well which depicts the history of prostitution in Netherlands.
The area is absolutely safe. You can find a lot of male and female visitors here and they can be seen enjoying the evening. Police patrols the area at regular intervals so, the environment is safe for everyone. Apart from being a place for business, this place is also a very popular tourist destination in Amsterdam. Not everybody comes here for s*x tourism. A lot of people come here to enjoy and have a good time with their friends, like sitting at a bar and having a few drinks or enjoying the beautiful architecture of the Old Town.
Red Light District is such a popular tourist site in Amsterdam that no one goes back without visiting it. There are a lot of small Turkish and Indian restaurants for small snacks which are available on cheap prices. You can also find vegetarian restaurants and grocery stores.
People drink a lot of beer here and Heineken is one of the popular brands. When people get drunk, there are chances that they might pee in the canals so, to avoid this there is a fine of 140 Euro and there are also roadside washrooms which are free for public use.
After exploring the Old Town, you can walk through the Damrak street to city’s main square, Dam Square which has the most expensive shopping street of Amsterdam. Along the way you can enjoy the historic architecture and the beauty of the canals.
As Amsterdam is best seen on a bicycle or a boat. If you are alone, you can rent a bicycle and ride through the beautiful streets. Boat rides are also constantly active in theses canals and if you are a family or a group of upto 10 people, you can rent a small guide boat for yourself. Although its a little expensive, it offers a very good experience.