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Presenter : Jonathan Atherton

Amsterdam

Jonathan Atherton arrives in Amsterdam, a city notorious for its liberal attitudes to drugs, sex, and hedonism. Although he is intent on discovering the less infamous sides of Amsterdam,Jonathan Athertonits museums, its canals, and its architecture, Jonathan is not going to let the alternative Amsterdam pass him by. His first night is spent in the Hemp Hotel, a hotel pioneering the use of Hemp in the construction of fabrics, food, and cocktails.

As it happens, he’s just in time for the annual Gay Parade, an event attended by 300,000 gay men and women from all around the world. This year the parade coincides with the Gay Olympics. Much of the parade takes place on the canals. Next off, he rents a bicycle to explore the city. One of the best ways to get around Amsterdam is by bike. Although there are many trams which run a regular service, the flatness of the city and its cycle friendly laws make cycling extremely popular. There are approximately 500,000 bikes in the town – and, it is estimated, just as many are at the bottom of the canals!

Leaving the roads, Jonathan turns to the canals to transport him around the city. There are over 60 miles of canal in Amsterdam, over 170 canals, and approximately 2,000 bridges. Amsterdam has a severe housing shortage, and in an attempt to shorten the waiting lists, squatting in empty properties is often condoned by the government. Jonathan visits one of the larger squats, which houses a skate park, artists spaces, parties and a bar. Jonathan meets two of the residents – artists who design and make costumes for Amsterdam’s alternative club scene.

Amsterdam Gay PrideNext day, Jonathan investigates some of Amsterdam’s many museums. There are over 141 galleries in Amsterdam, and some 42 museums. Some museums cater exclusively for tourists, such as the Sex Museum, and the Hemp Museum. Jonathan suggests visitors should visit some of Amsterdam impressive ‘serious’ museums such as the Rijksmuseum.

Amsterdam is renowned for it liberal approach to soft drugs, and Jonathan goes to visit some of the coffee houses that sell marijuana, where he gets a swift induction into the complexities of pot production from one of the sales assistants. From here he goes to chill out inVondelpark. Jonathan visits the Albert Cuyp Market – a large market renowned for its range of food and goods from around the world, as well as typical Dutch goods such as sunflowers and raw herrings. Jonathan’s last evening in Amsterdam is spent attending a mass gay wedding. 40% of Amsterdam is gay, and gay weddings are more common than straight in Amsterdam.

Credits

Travel tip: Be sure to get your hands on a convenient IAmsterdam city card, for easy access into museums, attractions, discounts on food and entertainment, hop-on-hop-off public transport access, and you’ll even enjoy a sublime canal ride! Click here for all the details.

Places Mentioned - Netherlands

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Amsterdam

Netherlands

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Europe

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Netherlands

Europe

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