Drug pushers (dealers) are often searching their targets in the redlight district and surrounding, but even outside those areas they might bother you. They try to sell to anybody of whom they think they might be interested. So my tip is, which always works for me, just simply ignore them. Act like you do not hear them in the first place, because as soon as they caught your attention or reaction, they might stick to you and try to make you buy their stuff.
Of course to those who want to use softdrugs (marihuana, hasjies) there are plenty of coffeeshops in Amsterdam or almost any other city in the Netherlands. Do not buy too much at once (I am not sure about the "legal" amounts, but I think up to 3 grams would be no problem), do not smoke too much (especially for marihuana) since the local grown grass is pretty strong.
As for other stuff like pills and mushrooms there are headshops, but I cannot advice in that matter since I never tried that. All I know is to listen to the warnings the owner of the shop might give you considering the stuff you bought, but in general I guess that it is better to use small amounts to test the effects first.
Finally, do not bring anything with you across the Dutch border.
You are using it at your own risk, just be careful and be happy! :-)
There is an area especially prone to the drugs, mostly hash. They will hawk you on the street to sell a piece, all wrapped for your pleasure. Do not stop to talk, but thye will persist and some follow after you if you are a recognizable tourist wearing shorts and baseball cap- ala US attire. I believe a large number of these people, mostly young and male, are wacked out, and you can see it in their eyes. I once was attacked by two of them and had to get defensive so I did not get hurt. This was on a low lit street going back toward the hotel. Keep your eyes open. YOu are better walking around a potential confrontation.
On the other hand, if you want to see the culture at its best, try a smoke shop. The bull Dog Cafe is a most famous, but ther are many. The counter holds a number of sizes and shapes of leaf, and parafanalia. Hash is outside.
Before we arrived in Amsterdam, we were well aware of the drug reputation here. The legality of this addiction we think is very sad.. albeit many people thinking it wonderfully democratic.
I was approached once by this chap whose eyes looked dazed.. he was carrying a box of goodies and was keen for me to buy. I said I wasn't interested, he then just asked me for money.
As a woman in a strange city (hubby was doing his own thing for a bit), I felt very uncomfortable and ill at ease.
I also felt dreadfully sorry for this man, who was an addict and needed help.
There is so much going for Amsterdam in the way of culture, history and beauty, and this, sadly, ruins it.
In the red light area, when someone approaches you and offer you drugs, just keep walking!!! duh! Some of these dealers go out of their way to chase you down and almost force you to buy their s#$%. Other than that, the red light district is not as dangerous as most people picture it to be... you'll get used to the "sights" after sometime. :-)
Just walk through the lightened streets and DO NOT be afraid of any characters at the streets of Amsterdam. They are weak and threatened junkies who want to make u give them some change. They try to rip me off three times, so i know what I`m telling about. Just say to them "back off man" or "leave me alone" and continue your trip.
If when wandering around in Amsterdam and sombody walks past you (they usually say "Charlie") or other things of the sort. DO NOT! talk or acknowlege them in any way they will cause you trouble and even if you say "no thank you" they will persue you still so it's just best not to talk at all.
Just walk as if you know exactly where you're going and completely ignore junkies. They are usually too stoned or whatever to do you any harm anyway. If they do approach you and started talking to you ('Can I ask you something? Do you have some money? - they can actually be rather polite - nonetheless annoying of course) just say 'nay' and continue walking.
Just don't purchase hard drugs from these sketchy people most of whom are in the Red Light District. There have been many stories floating around of people having their money jacked and their wallets taken. Most of these guys will want you to follow them somewhere. That is a sure sign of a hoist. If you are really hooked on hard drugs check out the mushroom shops and perhaps that will satisfy you desires.
Dont even go there ... chances are if youre lucky you will just get ripped off paying for baking powder. At worst you could get robbed .
Enjoy the coffee shops if you like that kinda thing at least these are more controlled.
Although on the whole it is safe to walk in Amsterdam after dark on your own it is not really in some parts of Red Light District. There are dealers, street prostitutes & their pimps, muggers, wierdo's etc. Dealers try to sell you their wares in dodgy corners.
Keep to the well lit areas those with red lights should be fine. Most clubs have their own private security.
My advice is just pass by rather quickly look confident & do not do anything which suggests you may have cash - looking unhappy is one way to get unnoticed.
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