HomeNetherlandsDrugs, alcohol, and debauchery: Amsterdam is the city with the worst reputation...

Drugs, alcohol, and debauchery: Amsterdam is the city with the worst reputation in Europe

The capital of the Netherlands is home to about 800 thousand people, while the city receives almost 20 million tourists annually. Amsterdam has become a magnet for those who want to see paintings by Rembrandt and Van Gogh, take a boat ride along the famous canals, enjoy the diversity of architecture, and try local waffles. However, at the same time, Amsterdam is famous for its nightlife, red-light district, and local coffee shops.

Although Amsterdam is popular, it is becoming increasingly difficult for locals to live in the city with the worst reputation in Europe, which is actively becoming a place of survival. Many people complain about the crowds of tourists who do not respect Amsterdammers. It got to the point where advertising signs with photographs of residents were placed in the city, reminding that this is not just a tourist city, but also someone’s home.

The Amsterdam City Council has even announced that it will eliminate tourism, which disturbs the peace of the city and creates misconceptions about the capital of the Netherlands. For example, in May 2023 it was prohibited to smoke marijuana in the red light district, and in July the council banned cruise ships from entering the city center.

A stay-away campaign has also been launched, targeting British men aged 18 to 35 who come to Amsterdam solely for drugs, alcohol, and sex.

Deputy Mayor of Amsterdam Sofian Mbarki stressed that tourists are still welcome, but only if they behave respectfully and do not create discomfort for residents.

Not only the capital of nightlife

Amsterdam is not only the red light district and the notorious coffee shops. The city has many museums where you can see famous works of art, as well as architecture, beautiful parks, and, of course, countless canals along which boats slowly float.

The city’s culture of cafes, restaurants, and bars is more interesting than many people think. Locals believe that the only way to experience the real Amsterdam is to visit the old “brown bars” or “brown cafes”, which get their name from the constant brown interiors. One of the oldest bars is Café de Druif, which has been serving locals for about 400 years.

Amsterdam is well known as one of the most bike-friendly cities. The total length of bicycle paths in the city is 400 kilometers. A bike ride around Amsterdam allows you to explore its most hidden corners and be away from the crowds of tourists in the city center. Locals recommend cycling to the NDSM Wharf, formerly a shipyard and now a hub for street art. Performance artists, street artists, and local artisans gather here.

Amsterdam is also home to several world-class museums. Tickets for the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum must be booked in advance. The Van Loon House Museum offers visitors an exhibition of contemporary art housed in a 17th-century building. You can learn about the history of Amsterdam at the Jewish Museum and the Het Schip Museum.

Amsterdam has more than 30 parks and gardens where you can admire a variety of trees and colorful flowers. Benches, paths, fountains, sculptures, ice cream, and waffle vendors – everything you need to enjoy this beautiful place, which is now trying to emerge from the shadow of its reputation as the “worst city”.

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