Of all the places I’ve had the privilege to visit so far, I would have to say Amsterdam was one of my top favourites (not that there are many). I had such a great time in Amsterdam seeing the sights, visiting the Anne Frank House and Heineken brewery, meeting new people and just general all around partying/shopping!
One of the first things you notice in Amsterdam is that everyone is there to have a good time and everyone is relaxed and non-judgmental. The culture is very open and inviting; you can do no wrong if you stick to the major etiquettes (like no taking pictures in the Redlight District).
The ancient buildings and landmarks in Amsterdam are unique and amazing. I must say one of my bias reasons for enjoying Amsterdam so much is the fact that there are COWS everywhere from shop windows next to dildos to cow t-shirts and clogs (lol). It’s amazing; I have tons of pictures of course!
The Anne Frank Huis was by far one of my favourite things I did in Amsterdam and probably the best museum I’ve been to. As a child, it was one of my favourite books and I felt like I was able to meet her, somehow, by visiting the museum. I got to see who the author of the beloved diary was. The museum really allows you to get to know her and her family through pictures, background history, video clips of their closest friends and family and her diary scrawls on the walls. Stepping into her room (the rooms and house have been preserved just as they were then, minus furniture) was very real, very haunting and very emotional because you were able to grasp a sense of who she was and how bubbly she used to be as a little girl. The walls were covered in magazine cut outs just as we would do today; her and Margot’s writing on the wall- how many more inches they each grew every few weeks. It was just a humbling experience that I think was completely worth the entire trip and anyone who ever visits Amsterdam and has ever had the chance to read the book, should definitely go visit it. Her story, her words and her diary continue to inspire us all and I feel extremely lucky that I was able to go see it.
The Heineken brewery was my second favourite event in Amsterdam! We all thought we were going to go on this dinky tour of how beer is made and its history but it was all that and MORE! First of all, it was more so a museum that you can freely roam as opposed to being stuck in a group of tourists asking all kinds of questions and being held back. Cam and I took tons of pictures (more so me lol) of all the background info and history of Heineken which is pretty cool actually. My favourite part was tasting the beer of course and we even have a hilarious video of Cam “making beer” and us doing a tasting. At the end of the tour we bought some souvenirs and had a funny fateful “encounter”.
Partying in Amsterdam was one thing that truly surprised me. Let me explain- when you think of Amsterdam, you think of rowdy tourists and drunken Irish/Dutch men singing on the streets about how much they love marijuana lol. But nope, in Amsterdam, the streets past 3am grow very quiet (and I feel we were in the centre of partytown) and everything slowly begins to shut down by 2am. It was truly an eye-opener for Cam and I mainly because we were out from 4am to 5am after partying hoping to find some action (other parties) and found that the streets were completely bare, save for a crazy man and some dude on a bike. However, even though the streets past 3am were less livelier than we expected (even downtown Toronto, I feel, never truly closes down), we still managed to enjoy ourselves by meeting new people and finding great bars/clubs. We predrank at Hunter’s Cafe, smoked at the infamous chain, The Bulldog Cafe and danced our troubles away at Paradiseo and Escape.
Redlight District- it was everything I thought it would be. Redlights, tiny cobble stone streets, tourists and of course the barely-dressed girls. For the most part, it was great to see because it is so different from what we are used to in North America. It isn’t as lewd as we think it is for the most part. I feel it is mainly a tourist area as well as a main local attraction. People from all backgrounds and ages were there to take in the culture and of course see the sights! It is normal for them and we tried to seem as normal as possible being there.
Last but not least, when in Amsterdam see a sex show. I am reluctant to go into too much detail but I must say it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Again, just like the Redlight District, the ‘auditorium’ was full of people of various different backgrounds and ages (18+ of course), some of which I was very surprised to see. Cam and I really thought of it much more as an artistic expression of the human body than two people engaging in sexual intercourse and other sexual acts lol. We started to give each performer checkmarks for different qualifications. For instance if one of the female performers was a great dancer or even funny, she got a CHECK and if a male performer was pleasantly engaging the audience, he also got a CHECK! It’s something to remember and to look back and have a chuckle about- nothing to be taken too seriously here.
Great fun! Amsterdam is a must-see if you ever have the opportunity to (not just the partying but the tourist attractions are enthralling)!