Having spent some time in our lovely Utrecht, you must have visited Amsterdam at least once, either alone or with friends or family visiting you. The lovely capital of the Netherlands has plenty of sights and activities to offer, depending on what your interest is: starting from a cultural walk through the Rijksmuseum to a memorable visit to the Anne Frank House to shopping at the flower market, you will find plenty of things to do and see. The sheer variety of options in this vibrant city is enough to make your head spin and make you want to return again with a desire to share your experiences with your family. However, if your parents are conservative, this liberal city could shock them and leave them with a very different impression from yours. To avoid disappointment, here are 5 places you should avoid when visiting Amsterdam with your old-fashioned relatives:
1. Red Light District
Who hasn’t heard of the (in)famous centre of Amsterdam, where ladies (and, at some places, men) stand in windows selling pleasure? Actually, these streets located at several spots in the city offer more than that; they are lined with windows with ladies/gentlemen luring by-passers, specific sex-shops offering every kind of product/equipment/accessory you can possibly think of, theatres with live performances and much more. There are simply no taboos!
2. Red Light Secrets – Museum of Prostitution
This museum is different from any other you have visited before – namely, it displays and teaches you everything you need to know about the oldest profession in the world. You will not only enjoy an educative tour in a beautiful building but also learn about a hidden part of history. Due to the interactive nature of the museum, you’ll also be able to try what it feels like to be on the other side of the window!
Despite its risqué appearance, the shop was originally established in 1987 as a way to help people prevent STDs, mainly HIV. The founders of the establishment have been promoting safe sex and a liberal approach to protection ever since. By now, the Condomerie is much more than just a shop to buy condoms – it’s a place to consult experts and ask questions. Last, but not least, it’s a cheeky tourist attraction with its fun and fantasy products!
4. Coffee shops
Due to the Dutch government’s liberal approach towards drugs, certain products are legal to consume. Even though coffee shops selling marijuana are not specific to Amsterdam but can be found all over the Netherlands, they are much more popular among tourists in the capital. Not only is smoking weed allowed but one can also purchase various products such as space cakes, different types of seeds and so on in basically any souvenir shop in Amsterdam.
5. Gay bars
Same-sex relationships are becoming more and more accepted globally, but prejudice still persists in some places. Not so in the Netherlands – plenty of gay bars and clubs await the LGBT community. Homosexuality was decriminalized as early as 1811 and the first gay bar (which, by the way, still operates) was opened in 1927. Here, the Dutch “live and let live” approach really shines through – as long as you’re not hurting anyone, you’re welcome and accepted.
The places of interests mentioned above might be fun and fascinating for you, but older generations from more conservative countries are unlikely to appreciate them. Worry not – Amsterdam offers a lot more than windows and weed! Various museums, parks, bars, restaurants, canals, flower markets and monuments await for you and your family to discover.
What are your favorite places to visit in Amsterdam? Share your opinion with us in a comment!