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The tolerant Netherlands A feature article about my time in the Netherlands.

One of the many hundreds of parlours in Amsterdam’s Red Light District within De Wallen. Photo from Adobe Stock.

Amserdam: sex, drugs and tourism

As I stood and listened to the tour guide blabber on about an old, historical church, my eyes wandered over to the dark skinned woman standing in the neon-red lit window sill. An old man walked into the parlour, took her hand, the curtain closed and the lights turned off. There I was, in probably the most tolerant country in the world were marijuana, psychadelic truffles and prostitution are “legal” — or I guess I should say tolerated. Amsterdam, located in the Netherlands, is a beautiful city, full of diversity, historical architecture as well as sex, drugs and tourism.

A reflection into the attic that Frank once hid away from the Nazis in. Photo by Broderick Visser / Spoke News

Anne Frank house

The Anne Frank house is an educational and eye-opening experience and is a must-do. As I walked through the rooms where 13-year-old Frank hid to escape persecution from the Nazis, I realized how compelling and remarkably humbling this place was. The audio tour is about an hour and is available in nine languages.

As I walked out of the house and onto the streets, I realized there are two things you need to watch out for, trams (light rail carts) and bicycles. I couldn’t tell you a time where I almost didn’t get hit by a bike. At least at first, I learned quickly as I stumbled between bicyclists pissed off at another brainless tourist.

Rijksmuseum

(Left) The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo from Adobe Stock. (Right) The Great Hall inside the Rijksmuseum. Photo by Broderick Visser / Spoke News

The Rijksmuseum is dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. It is massive with roughly one million different pieces of art in its collection. You could spend a whole day there and probably not see everything. While in the museum, the Great Hall is a must see. The floor is filled with inlaid mosaics, the walls are covered in painted tableaus and there is an outstanding stained glass window masterpiece. It is a busy museum, but well worth the visit!

FEBO fast food vending machine. Photo from Abobe Stock.

Amsterdam food

While in Amsterdam, there are over 1,000 restaurants to choose from. If you’re looking for something fancy, I recommend Restaurant Bureau. While I was there I didn’t really know what I was ordering. I saw “steak tartare” on the menu, so I assumed it would be a traditional steak — but oh was I wrong. It is actually a raw steak paste-like substance with a raw egg yolk and added spices. It is quite expensive, so if you’re looking for something cheaper, go elsewhere. There are plenty of places like “Manneken Pis” where you can get a cone full of Belgian fries with any condiment imaginable globbed right on top. Or if you want a self-serve option go find yourself a “FEBO,” a fast food vending machine with traditional Dutch food and is delicious, especially the kroketten.

Scheveningen, Netherlands

The Pier SkyView in Scheveningen, Netherlands. Photo from Adobe Stock.

The sun glistened off the water as it became night. I strolled down the boardwalk admiring the beauty of this city’s coast. It is remarkable, like something you’d see in a movie. The sun began to set and gave off accents of red, pink and yellow in the night sky.

Scheveningen is a gorgeous coastal city located an hour southwest of Amsterdam. The most beautiful place is the pier, which features a white and black ferris wheel where you overlook the whole coast of Scheveningen. It glows white at night. There is also a boardwalk with different restaurants, beach clubs and a casino. It is a great place to go for a romantic vacation or for a nice afternoon in the sun on the beach.

Scheveningen food

Chicken satay, served with peanut sauce. A bartender pours a Hoegaarden beer from the tap. Photos From Adobe Stock.

While there, my aunt and I stopped at Vitesse Grand Café. It is a cozy and homey restaurant with excellent customer service, delicious food and really good on-the-tap beer. If you don’t know what to order, I’d recommend the pork or chicken kebabs served with fries and a traditional Dutch satay peanut sauce. I was seriously addicted to satay sauce when I was there — it’s dangerous, trust me. If you want a really good beer on tap I’d recommend “Hoegaarden,” a wheat beer from Belgium.

Efteling — Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands

My cousin, Pauline Leendertse and I posing with the guards of Etfeling. Photo taken by Marieke Gouw.

As I entered the park, I was greeted by the two guards who are full of energy and enthusiasm. The first thing I noticed when I trudged on further were these oddly strange statues with wide mouths yelling “papier hier.” I came to find out they were garbage cans where you’d feed the statues garbage and they thanked you for it, — some also passed gas.

Video from The Dark Side of Disney, YouTube.

The Baron 1898 theme ride at Efteling in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands. Photo from Adobe Stock.

At Efteling I’d have to say my favourite ride was “Baron 1898.” This ride is a smaller version of the Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland, but still very amusing with a tall drop and twists and turns that make your stomach drop and leave you wanting more. My favourite thing about Efteling was at the beginning of every ride they tell the story behind the ride’s fairytale. Every ride has a story, so climb in and listen.

The Efteling is an enchanting Dutch theme park located in Kaatsheuvel, Netherlands. The rides and attractions inside reflect ancient myths and legends from fairy tales, fables and folklore.

The best way to describe the park is that it is like Canada’s Wonderland on psychedelic drugs. I’ve said Efteling it is the place that nightmares are made of. But don’t let that scare you off, because you see, it is based off of Dutch fairy tales and such. As a foreigner, it’s a somewhat funny, interesting and full out strange experience to say the least.

If you go

I can’t stress this enough, if you can afford it, get a one-way flight directly to Amsterdam. I took WOW Airlines and had an overnight flight with a layover in Iceland and I nearly missed my flight scrambling to find my gate. It is so tiring to fly with layovers, especially when you are on your way home.

Go in the summer months! I went in March and although the flights are more expensive in the summer, you will enjoy your time in the Netherlands much more when you aren’t freezing your butt off! If you are up for adventure and enjoy a rowdy, busy environment then get a hotel in Amsterdam as it is such an eventful city. You won’t forget your time visiting the Netherlands, it is such a beautiful, well structured country.

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Broderick Visser
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One of the many canals in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo by Broderick Visser / Spoke News