Amsterdam, live & let live

Amsterdam 2017

Oh Amsterdam, Amsterdam… a city I wanted to visit for so, so long, and finally did!

I think the fascination with Amsterdam started when I was really young, still a child I believe. My mum used to watch this Brazilian soap opera after dinner in our living room. I was never a big fan of soap operas, but in this one some scenes took place in Amsterdam, where some of the characters were living. If I recall correctly, there was this girl studying there. And everything about it impressed me, as it was so different from anything I was used to. A cultural, sophisticated atmosphere. The canals and narrow, tall buildings. Everyone cycled everywhere, and people lived in floating lovely houses! Moreover, they visited galleries. It was so artsy, and I fell in love with the idea of Amsterdam since then.

Amsterdam 2017

It was all I was expecting. It’s such an open city, where everyone is welcome. I already knew that English was a well spoken language, but I never imagined that it could be almost as the top spoken. You can find any information in English, sometimes only in English – Dutch was barely seen.

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I know what you are thinking when I mentioned how open the city is. You are probably recalling images of very unique coffeeshops,  where you are free to consume cannabis, either smoking it or eating it. And there’s prostitution – the (in)famous red light district). BUT

Did you know that cannabis is actually illegal in the Netherlands?

Well, you can call me an ignorant, but I used to think it is was actually legal due to all I had heard before. However, there’s a non-enforcement law, which means you will not be prosecuted by consuming soft drugs such as marijuana.

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And you know what I found funny about it? Is that even though there’s huge tolerance to the consumption of weed, I did not see anything dodgy that could have made me feel unsafe or hesitant about the city, such as miserable addicts on the streets, homeless and lost in life, miserably living to get the dose they need. No, I barely saw any homeless at all, or felt unsafe. Amsterdam is actually one of the safest cities in Europe!

Amsterdam 2017

Which takes me to the next point… prostitution.

Yes, this is legal, and yes, in Amsterdam it’s done in a unique way. Even though I have my reservations regarding prostitution, I am a profound believer that everything comes to choice. If you choose to be a prostitute, if you’re perfectly fine with that and might even enjoy it, I have no problems about it. And this is why I like the way it’s done in Amsterdam. By not making it illegal, or a dark, sketchy business, this women (or men, though I haven’t seen any) are safe, and human traffic is hardly a concern because it’s so difficult to do.

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So yeah, having woman exposed in windows the same way I see bags, shoes or clothing, doesn’t really comply with my principles. But I am happy they are doing it because it’s their choice. And mostly, they are safe.

But openness in Amsterdam is much more than sex and drugs. There are over 100 nationalities living in the city. Because its population is so young, you can always smell the “teen spirit”. And everybody is quite friendly. The motto is…

LIVE AND LET LIVE

And above anything else, this is what I love about Amsterdam.

If you want to know more about what to do in the city, read this.

Love,

Nic

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