Feb 14th, 2019, 09:23 AM

Things to do in Amsterdam Besides Smoking Weed

By Anis Anghel
Image Credits: Anis Anghel
A guide to navigating the city's canals and beyond.

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a very lively city, free of inhibitions, which can be described in no more than one word: extrovert. The classic red brick, conservative scenery is in total contrast with the city’s goings-on. You may find something as innocent as a waffle shop situated between a sex toy store and an adult film store. Even though it is mostly known for the legalization of weed and prostitution, the city offers lots of cultural activities for those interested in more than just getting high.

Public transportation tickets can give you unlimited access to the city's public transport. Image Credits: www.gvb.nl/tickets

If you plan on visiting the capital of the Netherlands by public transportation, then purchasing a GVB Ticket is a must. This ticket is available at the train station and at the airport. It gives you unlimited travel across Amsterdam on all GVB trams, buses, metros (day and night), and ferries for the number of days that best suits your plans. Prices range from €7,50 for one day, to €19 for three days, and €29,50 for five days.

The view along the canal at night. Image Credits: Unsplash/Daniil Vnoutchkov

To get the most out of Amsterdam’s charm and architecture, you should get on the water. The city has over 100 kilometers of canals. For €18, the 1-hour canal cruise offers comfortable boats and a guided audio tour of the three main canals listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. At night, the experience is magical, as all the lights are reflected on the water, giving you a unique, intimate view of the city’s history and its majestic facades. 

The façade of the Van Gogh museum. Image Credits: Unsplash/Rasmus Kuber

If you are interested in art, the Van Gogh Museum exhibits the world’s largest collection of artworks by Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries. Famous paintings such as the Sunflowers, Almond Blossom and The Potato Eaters can be seen here. If you are more of a street art lover, the Moco Museum is your best bet. The focus here is on exhibiting a wide range of modern and contemporary art by artists such as Banksy, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Daniel Arsham, and more.

For a vivid history experience of the dark past, the Torture Museum exhibits over 40 instruments of punishment used in the Middle Ages as methods and techniques of torture, interrogation, and death. The executioner's historical "choice of weapon" was based on gender, sexuality and political status; the context is illustrated through engravings and described with background information. The ancient torment artifacts are displayed in a spooky dungeon-like scenery.

Image Credits: Pixabay

The Red Light District is Amsterdam’s most notorious neighborhood. Since October 2000, prostitutes have been allowed to legally offer their services in the Netherlands, but not on the streets. That's why they stand up behind a window and have their own room. The city has lots of little alleyways that can barely fit two people, leading into the main streets. You might find yourself walking down a street like this, and suddenly being face to face with a girl wearing nothing more than lacy lingerie, waving and sending kisses your way from a window.

According to BBC News, the girls are constantly being disrespected by selfie-snapping tourists and drunks who slap and obscure their windows. Many girls are leading a secret life in the district, and it only takes one picture on social media to expose this secondary lifestyle. Femke Halsema, Amsterdam’s first female mayor, is trying to find a solution by preparing a set of measures to help the sex workers escape the cameras’ glare. Her detailed proposal is expected to be published later this year.

If you are looking for a quick bite and a place to rest after all the visiting and traveling, Korte Leidsedwarsstraat Centrum is the place to be. Located right in the heart of Amsterdam’s Centre, this area offers all types of cuisines starting at the price of five euro for a delicious dish.

Some of the tattoos offered by Motorink, the famous tattoo shop. Image Credits: www.motorink.nl

Amsterdam is also renowned for its vast tattoo community. Motorink is an exceptional tattoo shop, with great ambiance, situated in the city's center, close to the Dam Square. They have four residential artists, and they often host guest artists. Because of this, they can provide clients with a wide spectrum of tattoo style options and one-of-a-kind artist interaction. If you are searching for a lifetime souvenir of your Amsterdam trip, search no more. Motorink is open every day and accepts walk-ins from 11 am to 7 pm.