10 Myths About Amsterdam

Fact or Fiction

10 Myths About Amsterdam

Fact or Fiction


Telling your friends that you are going to Amsterdam, you can notice their interesting reaction: they usually say: “Oh, Amsterdam! You are in luck’s way!” Be sure, they do not think of Van Gogh or Rembrandt in this moment. They even do not think of museums, river channels, cycle lanes, and colored tulips. Many people think of Amsterdam as a symbol of freedom, a place, where everyone can do many things that are prohibited to do in the rest of other cities.

Nevertheless, there are many myths of Amsterdam, making the picture of absolute freedom less-than-honest.

Amsterdam is a small city

It is a well-known mistake that Amsterdam is a small city and there is nothing interesting to do. What a lot of rubbish! Look around! There is a great amount of museums and other city sights that you can see only in London or Paris. From the touristic point of view, this is a really huge and rich city.

It is very difficult to travel without touristic support

This is myth. It does not really matter, whether you go travelling independent or with the help of the touristic agencies. This is a popular style, when tourists have to plan their touristic routs on their own without additional assistance. It is not a problem to make your touristic route with the help of the Internet – it may be easier and cheaper making everything on your own.

There is always bad weather in the Amsterdam

The weather can be bad in the Amsterdam mostly in April. It does not mean that it is also bad in summer, during the touristic season: the weather can be rainy sometimes, but it can be also very hot.


Photo: Amsterdam – Bike Rental

The city is ‘open’ 24 hours a day

This is not true, the bars are opened till midnight. On weekends, the bars work for 3 hours longer.

Smoke cannabis anywhere

Coffee shops are always everywhere in the city, but you can “blow a stick” just inside these special cafes. Using cannabis (marihuana) in public places is prohibited. You can smoke in a cafe or on your private territory. You have a chance to meet the eye of police and get a penalty for a violation.
Amsterdam is synchronous liberal and free city. There are many places, where there is no time for pleasure and it is necessary to keep norms and rules. So, to conclude everything: no smoking in public places; yes – to cannabis in small numbers.

Amsterdam is a city of debauchery

This is, probably, the main myth about the Holland capital. Amsterdam is famous of its more than liberal attitude to the prostitution, attracting tourists. This is a fact, but sex-industry is successfully prospering just in some special city regions, like Red Light District. During the day time, this district is a usual place, being no different from the rest of others.
It is full of historical sights – churches, museums. There is also a big amount of coffee shops. All of them are mostly situated in the city center, giving the impression that drugs are very popular in the Amsterdam. In practice, Netherlands is a country, where using drugs is not welcomed, unlike in the rest of European countries or in the USA. Generally speaking, Red Light District is a right place for those people, who came to get their new sexual experience; if you are a typical tourist, you can walk there just once.
The life in Amsterdam is varicolored. Special city districts are full of hundreds and hundreds of multifaceted establishments – shops, restaurants, monuments. It is better to walk through the historical city center in the day time – it is safer.

Police have no right to take down people, even, suspicious

It is commonly believed that police cannot make a search of people’s luggage, car, and apartments without having a special permission. This is not true, as Amsterdam government has applied the corrections to this law, describing the meaning of the “safe zone”. This is the parts of the city, where policemen have a full right to inspect people and their apartments without a special license – this is the way they fight against the illegal weapon storage since 2011.

Amsterdam is always full of drug seekers

If you used to come back to your hotel before 11 p.m., there is no opportunity for you to meet dope-smoking people. Cannabis lovers go out the streets far later – they go to the coffee shops and spend their time there. Oh, the bigger part of these people is foreign public.
Amsterdam looks like a calm place during the day time. Do not afraid to be knocked off – the policemen always work in unison. You can try to walk down the street full of coffee shops, making pictures, in the late evening to check this fact.

There are no limits on coffee shops: have fun to the fullest

There are few laws and rules to follow for all shops and cafes. Thus, all coffee shops visitors must be more than 18 and they have a right to buy no more than 5 grams of “grass” during the day. This is a good many!


Photo: Public Transport

Transportation problems

There is a high speed railway from the airport just to the city center. It takes no more than 10 minutes to get there. There is also an opportunity to be with the group of bike riders to get everywhere, using bicycle. Travelling over the city by foot, make sure that you are not in the bicycle zone. Driving a car, you can rent car just in the airport, put your mobile phone aside – it is prohibited to be on your mobile at the wheel.
People in Amsterdam, as in the rest of other European countries, do not think long, but live. If the office clerk has a strong desire to sleep in the park during the lunch – he is welcomed! Try to feel this creative and original atmosphere! – Musicians and artists are everywhere! Amsterdam inspires. And this inspiration is not connected with the legal drugs.