A taste of Amsterdam
Amsterdam Travel Blog› entry 13 of 23 › view all entries
If Paris is style, Amsterdam is cool. And not cool in the high school manner of the kid who gets into trouble and bullies others around, but the authentic "I don't give a damn what you think about me" style.
Lydia and I
caught the train here from Ghent via Antwerp on Friday night. I was
burnt out from my week of interviews, so we just crashed in our
miniscule hotel room on Damrak in medieval Amsterdam. The next
morning we started by walking through the streets and over the canals
of Amsterdam, seeing the beautiful old buildings, built leaning
forward and with a hook at the top so that residents can use a pulley
system to get furniture into their houses without navigating the tiny
was Anne Frank Huis. The story of Anne Frank is devastating. Her
father, Otto Frank, saw where Hitler was leading Germany and moved
his family to Amsterdam in 1933 (he tried to move to America but was
denied a visa). Unfortunately, in 1940 it took the Germans only five
days to conquer the Netherlands, and the anti-Jewish laws started
going into effect. In 1942 he decided to move his family into hiding,
and constructed a secret annex in one of his warehouses, relying on
his Dutch employees to provide for and hide the family.
Just one case among
the more than 100 000 who died in the Netherlands, a number so great
that it includes three other "Anne Franks".
With the museum is an exhibit Free2choose, which challenges visitors to consider the rights of the individual.
After Anne Frank Huis we visited the Amsterdams Historisch Museum, where we got to see a brief history of Amsterdam from its origin as reclaimed farm land from the fens, through to its trading might and current life.
Our next stop was
another museum, this one the Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum,
dedicated to all things marijuana.
In the evening
Lydia and I went on a cruise around the canals of Amsterdam. It was a
pleasure to see all the old buildings and sit back and watch the city
bustle around us.
After our Pizza Cruise we walked through the Red Light District to see the prostitutes standing in their booths (around 360 booths line the Red Light District). Some where actively trying to attract customers, while others seemed extremely bored and sat there doing crossword puzzles or text messaging. It is very interesting, sex and prostitution is not only legal but it is also not taboo – the Red Light District is not a seedy area, but a vibrant night spot, where people go about their business, find a restaurant or a bar, or watch the kayakers move through the canals in a congo-line. A very different feel from Las Vegas, for example, where the "sinfulness" of the site is part of the titillation.