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Amsterdam - Not everyone's cuppa
I always found it droll travelers who are whisking their way across Europe and barely spend two days in Amsterdam. Sure there are a lot of strange smells but the Dutch are very pragmatic and welcoming to their masses of visitors. Take the VVV. I was benefited from this well run government outfit for lodging, maps, and information about the local area. I am of the belief that the Dutch provide for foreigners in a number of ways. Most importantly, they are inclined to speak English if that is your tongue of choice. Dutch are very private people but yet they don't mind passerby's glimpsing into their private residence. The Dutch have a great flair for being decorative. Everywhere there are bronzed statues depicting some segment of the land we call the Netherlands. The character of the town rivals anywhere. Basically some could consider Amsterdam to be an Adult only playground much like Las Vegas portrays itself.
I was very affected by my time in Holland such that I would consider myself an adopted son. I get homesick for it regularly. It has art and architecture. Photographic moments around the corner. It has a rich and volatile history. The tap water is drinkable. It's totally acceptable to be drinking a beer at 10 am. I never felt out of place here. The street names are sometimes astonishing in the number of syllables it takes to pronounce them.
Amsterdam's synonymous with romance. A window girl was heard by me to say "the kisses are free but the sex will cost ya...." Yeah that sums it up quite well. Every thing has a price but the ambience is there for the taking. Amsterdam is the ultimate cosmopolitan metropolis.
The Old Sailor
The Red Light District is pretty much of a must do in Amsterdam.
Whilst you get a general idea of what it is all about by having a walk round you get a better viewpoint if you just stay in one place and of course the best place to do this is a pub!
To those of you who know me through my other pages this will come as no surprise!
The Old Sailor is situated slap bang (for want of a better expression) in the middle of the area and has a really good atmosphere even though it does get very busy as the evening progresses.
Under no circumstances even attempt to order food here at night, unless of course you like being laughed at - "This is a pub: we sell BEER!" was the barman's reply to a couple who came in looking for food.
Immediately opposite the Old Sailor is a brothel and it is fascinating to watch the punters comings and goings (once again for want of a better expression!) - the curtains being drawn, only to be reopened a couple of mins later and the guys leaving with quite a variety of expressions - these have to be seen to be believed!
- Beer Tasting
- Arts and Culture
De Wallen - The Red Light District
Purveyors of sex in this oldest section of Amsterdam were documented as early as 1275, near the harbor for visiting sailors and land-locked wannabes. Over the centuries, despite occasional attempts at control fostered by religious and political groups, the sex industry has thrived in this area ( and a few others scattered through the city as well including one near the Rijksmuseum ). The term however originated in a Milwaukee Wisconsin newspaper in 1894 and was rapidly adopted throughout the world. De Wallen derives from a wall built to shield the low-lying neighborhood from the sea. Prostitution, excluding streetwalkers, was legalized in 2000 ostensibly to diminish exploitation and forced servitude for the women, but probably just as important income became taxable by the government.
The sex workers behind the windows lit in red neon ( and for other 'variants' blue neon ) wear next to nothing, knock on the windows to attract interest from likely passerbys, and negotiate through open doorways. Few are Dutch, most are eastern European, with a smattering of other ethnicities. Many are very attractive, as noted by my beloved P. Room rentals for the girls are up to 150Eu for an 8 hour rental, so services apparently are quite speed oriented. A basic 50-60Eu fee ( according to internet services ) gets one some oral stimulation, satisfaction, and a quick trip to the exit, usually within 15-20 minutes. Anything extra, such as a modicum of foreplay, and the fees rise quickly. No pictures, no kissing, no ***, and mild S&M at an agreed upon extra cost exclusively at the discretion of the vendor.
As is usually the case in any neighborhood, there is a lot more to this district than its namesake service. The townhouses and narrow pedestrianized walkways are among the oldest in the city, and there are churches including the Old Church, good restaurants and decent hotels. Offerings include sex shows and theatres as well as museums for sex and marijuana ( most all described as tourist traps ). Perhaps the most fascinating venues are the shops selling sexual paraphernalia - amazing open in presentation, with frank and knowledgeably salesmen, they offer an astounding variety of devices of varying complexity at far more reasonable costs than in the United States.
Amsterdam's Sex Museum is the worlds first and oldest. The museum is located at 18 Damrak and is open to visitors aged 16 or over. The cost is around 4 Euros per person and is certainly very interesting if not a bit tacky. The museum has exhibitions from all over the world and is not a place to go for the prude.
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
De Wallen (Red Light District)
Situated in the heart of the city centre this famous district is popular with tourists.Covering several blocks of the city south of the Oude Kirk and crossed by several canals.De Wallen consists of a network of alleys containing over three hundred tiny one room cabins rented by prostitutes who offer their sexual services from behind a window or glass door.The rooms are usually lit with a red light,hence the term Red Light District of Amsterdam.The area also has a number of sex shops,sex theatres,peep shows and numerous bars and coffee shops.Popular with gangs of lads on a weekend trip or a stag event(popular with groups of women also) the area is also popular with the average tourist who is just curious and wants to see for themselves what all the fuss is about.the area is generally quite safe with regular police patrols and door men everywhere.You are not allowed to take photos of the working girls,do so at your own risk,it may get messy and you might find your camera at the bottom of a canal or worse.Please respect this.
- Gay and Lesbian
- Women's Travel
- Arts and Culture
Bronze Breast Sculpture
On the cobble stones surrounding the Oude Kirk is a bronze plated sculpture of a hand on a womans breast.It was placed here one night over fifteen years ago by an unknown artist who later on started to display various other art and sculptures around the city.It has since been discovered that the artist is a local Doctor who does art in his spare time.The local authorities and citizens of Amsterdam have now accepted him and his art as part of the city.The sculpure represents the women of the Red Light District.
- Arts and Culture
Red Light District Walking Tour
I generally stay away from tours, but this one was great. I heard great reviews about it, so I decided to try it out, I had nothing better to do at the time. We met in front of the tourist information center by the central station and head out to the Red Light District. I learned a lot from that tour and I am glad I did it. I got to see the world's first stock exchange, a condom shop filled with weird shaped condoms, some other historical places, some railings of naked girls and of coarse we walked by the prostitutes. Our guide had so much information that I would never had gotten if I went alone. The most important tip for anyone interested in using the women's services is learn the difference between the BLUE and RED lights ;) Our tour guide told us a story on how his friend found out and it was hilarious. I had a great time and would highly recommend it to anyone visiting Amsterdam. Our tour guide was very entertaining and that is what really makes or breaks a tour, in my opinion.
- Arts and Culture
More then what meets the eye
Of course ppl think about the RLD and think girls girls girls...while there are many women there there are also some good bars. I would recommend the Cubana...its a chill spot and a good time..playing salsa and regatton..in the middle of the RLD...I got a friend there who bar tends named checkin..Turkish cool dude...anyways good time at a good price...not in a sexual way
- Luxury Travel
- Study Abroad
Red Light District
I've heard so many stories about this place. People say it's a must visit for any tourist and in fact after reading several travel tips, I was convinced that I too must check it out.
We found Red Light District by accident. We were walking from Dam Square and to our surprised we were already there. There were so many people looking excited and curious. Then I saw those ladies inside the glass doors...that explain the whole thing. For those who might don't know, they are prostitutes and prostitution is legal in Netherlands. Some of them were good looking, some were not...really. I don't dare to take any photos of the ladies and I think we are not allow to do that. There were men 'negotiating' as well and yes, I dragged my 56 year old mum along. She was really cool with it...ha3.
Owhh I forgot, around this area...you'll find many shops selling sex stuff (toys, dvd, books, t-shirts, lingerie and others). Some of the shops looked very kinky, but I had fun exploring them.
I didn't really browsed all, one row of glass doors was enough for me. Anyway, I think its a good free entertainment (unless you're planning to 'fish').
Walking Tours, Best way to see this amazing city!
New Europe Walking Tours give free walking tours during the day and paid redlight district tours at night.
These guys are great, they hold tours throughout europe, and free tour guides work for tips, so they really give it everything!
I did most of the free tours and a free paid ones, and i recommend them highly!
Sauna Van Egmond - AWESOME EXPERIENCE
Sauna Van Egmond
Haarlem is just 20km West of Amsterdam. A short 15 minutes train ride will get you there for 8 euros or so.
It has an impressive church with a pipe organ but that`s not why you should go there.
I have only 3 words for you: Sauna Van Egmond.
26 euro per person will let you in and let you stay in for as long as you wish (up until midnight when it closes).
Reservation (by phone) is advised, but we were able to get in without one.
The website is in Dutch, but I`ll give the link anyway :)
Before you dial the number, have in mind that it`s mixed and nude. If you have a problem being naked in front of opposite sex, don`t go. But, please, try to go beyond your comfort zone, after 5 minutes it`ll feel normal and you`ll have a great time. I know we did. For 7 hours! :)
No need to bring anything with you. Shampoo/soap/salt scrubs are free. You can rent a robe, towels, slippers. And you can buy food/beverage in the restaurant there. It`s the only place where you should be dressed - in robe that is.
- Spa and Resort
OVER 18'S ONLY - WINDOW SHOPPING FOR LOVE
Prostitution is legal – in the Red Light District. It is licensed and controlled by the Government. Women working in the trade do have health checks. Throughout the area women stand inside glass doors and ‘advertise’. They rent spaces that contain beds, toilets and other fixtures needed for their business. All of these rooms have a panic alarm and security that is sometimes the big hairy bloke standing in the street next to you. If a curtain is closed over that usually means either they have not arrived for work yet, or are actively at work.
The ladies will stop and talk to you, but not for long when they realise you are not coming in for business.
Interested in renting a space? Look for signs with the details of the agents.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Watching the Cat in the Window.
So here I was on my last visit to Amsterdam idling away an hour or so at The Old Sailor with a couple of beers and watching the world go by when this pair of pics presented themselves as an "Upstairs, Downstairs" set and so just had to use them here.
PS if pic #2 is too lewd for you don't enlarge it!
PPS As someone once enquired - "What sort of pussy do you prefer?"
Me, I just like a soft fluffy one. I HATE cats though ;)
- Arts and Culture
- Beer Tasting
The "Wallen", "Walletjes" or Red Light District
This neighbourhood is maybe the most famous item in the world if it is about tourism and Amsterdam. Everyone immediately jumps to this conclusion and not without being right. The "Wallen" (Kay, Dike, stretch of hightened land along a canal or river) or "Walletjes" (little "Wallen") are a folk area that now houses the prostitution district with the many red lights. Surrounding the old church, this part has however also some other interesting things. It is one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam and many houses are really magnificently kept monuments. It is a district with a whole own character, which has nothing to do with criminal behaviour. So, when walking here, don't only look into the windows and into the nice ladies eyes (or 30 cm lower), but gaze up to the facades and discover the other side of the Red Light District (more about the "Wallen" under custom-tips).
Red Light District...
You don't have to put on the red light
Those days are over
You don't have to sell your body to the night
You don't have to wear that dress tonight
Walk the streets for money
You don't care if it's wrong or if it's right..."
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Amsterdam Travel Guide
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