Coffee Shops, Freewheelers, Red-lit Hookers, Great Museums, Stunning Architecture & That Cobweb Of Canals
Canal, Amsterdam, Netherlands. January 19, 2016
Ok so the Dutch capital is known for its liberal attitudes towards sex & drugs; no you don’t have to enter but it’s still a challenge to avoid the adult shops, the street-fronting red-lit hooker rooms & the city’s numerous, notorious & distinctively-smelling coffee shops catering to the freewheeling types the city attracts. Those aspects of Amsterdam get all the attention but the Venice of the North also boasts great museums, stunning architecture and of course that cobweb of canals.
Anne Frank Huis (House)
The first thing I did on this my third visit to Amsterdam, but first since 2003, after arriving this afternoon off the train from Delft was to pay a visit to the Anne Frank Huis (House), the place where the 13-year-old German Jew and her family famously hid from Nazi Germany for over two years before being betrayed & ultimately dying – save for the father, Otto – in Nazi Concentration Camps.
At its simplest, what played out here was a high-stakes story of hide & seek, one that produced a very famous & widely published (into 70 languages) diary. The present-day museum, somewhere I visited over a quarter of a century ago on my first visit to Amsterdam meaning I’ve no relocation of that early 90’s visit, does a fabulous job at not only telling the Frank story but also of the plight of the European Jews under Nazi Germany.
Right, I need a breather after that. I’m off to explore the Red Light District. Just looking though folks, just looking.
Red Light District
– The Rough Guide to Netherlands
Dam Square & Damrak
A few randoms from Amsterdam.
I’m ticking the Dutch stereotype boxes. So far I’ve photographed Edam cheese, (ceramic & plastic) tulips, clogs, numerous canals, countless bicycles, some hash paraphernalia, & the odd red-tinged hooker (honest, & I wasn’t arrested). The only Dutch stereotype missing was the windmill. So today I headed out of the capital to Zaanse Schans, an area of working windmills on the Zaan River north of Amsterdam.
I’m done with Amsterdam (& the Netherlands) & tomorrow I’ll be riding the European rails again en route to Bremen, Germany. The girl in the train ticket office this evening was very nice, somehow bagging me an €84 ticket for €37; I didn’t ask any questions. I think she liked my accent. The Dutch seem to like me. They are a notoriously tolerant bunch and tolerate many kinds I know, but still. Anyway, I’ll be back in Germany tomorrow, my favourite country in Europe.