The legal smoking age in the Netherlands is 16
Voting age is 18
Driving age is 18
Drinking age is 16 for beer or wine
Drinking age for hard liquor is 18
Pot smoking age is 18
January 1 new years day
April30 Queens Day
May 4 Commemoration Day
May 5 Liberation Day
December 5th Saint Nicholas Day
December 25th Christmas Day
December 26th 2nd Christmas Day
Okay, it's really an "open rehearsal" and not a complete concert - but you can't beat the price!
The Concertgebouw is one of the world's great orchestra's, playing in one of Europe's great (and acoustically magnificent) concert halls, so I couldn't miss the chance of coming to see a final rehearsal for one of the band's evening concerts. The musicians and the conductor (Ivan Fisher) were dressed informally, but they were serious in their music-making. They played two movements of Arnold Schoenberg's transcription of the Brahms' Piano Quartet, and it was fascinating to hear the conductor's occasional comments and corrections.
Check out the website for the Concertgebouw's schedule - both the orchestra and the hall! If you come to the free lunchtime concert, be sure to arrive early so you can snag a good seat. I recommend the balcony!
The authorities in Amsterdam need to makeup their minds. I have walked around the Red Light District a hundred times. What do I see? Get your He-Man videos here. Then there are gay men escorts. Also gay bars with mostly men dating men. On top of that are prostitutes who are women on top and all man on the bottom and even ‘shake their thing’ at you as you walk by. Then you see this sign in the street.
I'm a cat lover and I like animals in general. So I was pleasantly surprised that the hostel where I was staying had its own cute pet - a big, red cat, whose name I can't remember now. He didn't belong to anyone in particular, it was he who chose the hostel, where he evidently felt quite at home. And all the staff loved him, he had his own bowls and a supply of cat's food in the kitchen, you could see him frequently dozing on a stool in the bar, where he could always count on free milk. He wasn't very playful but he didn't mind being stroked by strangers. He really was a star and a great attraction of the hostel.
The second proof I have that the Dutch love cats is the Amsterdam cats' museum. Just imagine, a whole museum devoted to cats!
Finally, look at the ad I saw somewhere in the street. I couldn't resist and took a photo. Although the quality is lousy I attach it here along with the picture of the hostel star.
If you are a coffee addicted like me, you will suffer in Holland!! Dutch 'espresso', although smaller and stronger, sucks! In adition to the fact that it costed 3 times more than in my country, I was never satisfied with it (though the little biscuits that come with it are pretty yummy!).
Only in the last day did I learn a golden rule: if you want to drink a decent coffee, search for a place that sells italian coffee- or something like italian coffee. Then, MAYBE you will be served something that doesn't taste like boiled water with coffee flavour.
When in Amsterdam, I decided 1 free night to go to an Organ concert given at Niewer Kirk
They have 2 organs there, 1 a small one in a trancept, and the main one in the body of the church.
The concert started with the chamber organ and then moved to the bigger organ, with the audience moving seats.
The concert was superb, but so was the audience, which included about 1 dozen men in full leather gear (and I mean full, nothing was left to the imagination,) obviously going to the local leather bar after the concert.
The locals in the audience obviously had seen this before, but for any visitors it was a bit unusual to say the least. At least it was great to see that the mix of people in amsterdam is very well tolerated.
In Amsterdam you can find several Surinamese restaurants as Suriname was Dutch colony in the Carribbean. The Surinamese cuisine is very special and it is characterised by its spices and simplicity. One of the most popular dishes is pom, a casserole of chicken and vegetables covered with a puree of tajer. Another dish is roti, a mixture of vegetables and chicken or meat served with a hearty pancake. You eat this without cutlery by using pancake pieces to scoop up the food.
You can find cheap and great Surinamese restaurants in the Cuypmarkt.
It seems not only is friendliness invited, it's rewarded in Amsterdam.
In booking a hotel room one night, we started up a conversation with the receptionist and were told the room was 100 Euro. We looked at the room, and decided it was a go. As we were moving our luggage, we noticed another couple looking to stay there who seemed a bit upset and stressed out. They were fairly rude and demanding. They got the same size room as we did for 150 Euro. My fiancee and I noticed a sign by the receptionist stand that said "Prices of your rooms may vary depending on your Attitude."
Also, as we stayed in Amsterdam for 9 days, we found a few places we enjoyed eating...and ended up eating at them fairly frequently. By the last day, we were paying significantly less than the first day for the same food! It pays to be nice! (And there's no reason not to, everyone is incredibly cordial in Amsterdam)
This is a classic Indonesian multicourse meal centered around rice, hence the Dutch name "rice table". It has much of the Chinese banquet or family-style meal only everything is brought out at once ( or so I have experienced it in Holland or elsewhere). It is quite HOT, but the rice and some of the condiments temper the heat.There are many fine Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam and many that are less expensive that serve this meal. Be sure to be hungry and sober before you start a meal like this. Expect to eat and drink a lot.To eat, place a heap of rice in the center of your plate and take a SMALL spoonful of many of the courses on the hot table(not the condiments around the edge). Have a liquid quencher of choice handy. (You may be told what each dish contains by your waiter if he is good and you can understand him/her).Now try each one until you have sampled them all. Remember which are most appealing or interest you. Now go back and take another spoonful of the ones you like and also appropriate condiments to supplement the taste. (Again your waiter may help). If you are not full, pick the one(s) you like the most and fill up on that. You are not required (are not able) to eat it all. If dessert is not included pour peanuts over the remaining banana. Be aware of how much alcohol you consume with your feast. Bon appetit!
When walking around admiring the buildings you may see some unusual wall tablets.
This was how Amsterdam identified their houses before street numbers were introduced, usually they depicted something about the profession, origin or religion of the resident.
In the attached photo taken in the Jordaan district the inhabitant would once have been a writer of sorts.
A wall tablet displaying a mail wago at Singel 74 commemorates the start of the postal system in Amsterdam in 1660. Further down the street there is a tablet with Eve tempting Adam with the apple - this was when that part of the street operated as a fruit market.
The tulip, introduced to Europe in the middle of the 16th century, experienced a strong growth in popularity in Netherlands boosted by competition between members of the upper classes for possession of the rarest tulips. Competition escalated until prices reached unsustainable levels.Tulip cultivation in the Netherlands is thought to have started in 1593, when Charles de L'Ecluse first bred tulips sent to him from Turkey by Ogier de Busbecq. The flower rapidly became a luxury item and a status symbol. Special breeds were given exotic names or named after Dutch naval admirals. In 1623, a single bulb of a famous tulip variety could cost as much as a thousand Dutch florins (the average yearly income at the time was 150 florins). Tulips were also exchanged for land, valuable livestock, and houses. Allegedly, a good trader could earn sixty thousand florins a month.By 1635, a sale of 40 bulbs for 100,000 florins was recorded. By way of comparison, a ton of butter cost around 100 florins and "eight fat swine" 240 florins. A record was the sale of the most famous bulb, the Semper Augustus, for 6,000 florins in Haarlem.
In England in 1800, it was common to pay fifteen guineas for a single tulip bulb. This sum would have kept a labourer and his family in food, clothes and lodging for six months.
The Sultan Art Gallery
1013 HE Amsterdam
The Sultan Art Gallery specialises in nude and erotic art of all styles and flavours. Please take your time to visit their website and discover what The Sultan has to offer. Only part of their collection - which changes almost weekly - can be found here. So when you have the opportunity, please visit the gallery at Brouwersgracht 224 in Amsterdam. Almost weekly The Sultan?s collection expands with the work of new artists.
Opening Hours: Saturday and Sunday - 2:00pm-8:00pm
Contact the Gallery for a list of Artists represented and/or shown
Amsterdam used to be full of warehouses where the goods of the VOC ships were stored until sold. Now-a-days the centre is much to expensive for this and the warehouses have been turned into housing for the Amsterdam locals. The appartments can be simple, but there are also numerous very expensive penthouses within former storehouses. The typical things stay that staircases are narrow and furniture is being towed up and inside through the windows (mark the crane lifts at the top of almost all the facades). The newest building projects actually immitate this way of living. New blocks are simulating the old warehouses that are now dressed up as appartments. This way even the newer parts of Amsterdam still have something of long time ago.
Amsterdam is a busy city, especial centercity and the Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein and the Red Light District.
At times things can be really noisy, like stag parties coming by or football fans celebrating their victory.
Queensday and New Years Eve are also two special days with more noise than normal.
You can find them in pancake places or in shoping mall cafes or in certain eetcafes.
They're not just mini pancakes - they're stylish and absolutely delicious small bites. The best time to have some poffertjes would be early in the afternoon, however they taste great at all times, even with your morning coffee.
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