I walked through central Amsterdam on a Saturday Night and saw a little bit of everything. Having landed only that morning it was my first exposure to things which I've only read about. A lot of people were out having fun which in and of itself is not unusual. However the city of Amsterdam is anything but usual.
For instance, I'm not used to seeing people smoking weed and hash out in the open. I'm not used to seeing shops where hallucinogenic drugs are sold. I'm not used to seeing brothels in and amongst the shops, restaurants and bars. Perhaps most unexpected of all was that people seemed quite blasé about it all. These things are just taken in stride.
Honestly I don't know what I expected. I have this feeling that if we did the same thing in the United States it would be havoc, but that's probably just my own ill-conceived ideas. I did not see junkies strung out on the street corners. There appeared to be very little crime, I felt perfectly safe on the streets even late at night. It's the kind of town I could easily live in. In fact Amsterdam has a night mayor. It's a real position that ensures all the night life runs smoothly.
Anyway, it was early November and they already had Christmas lights up. That, along with all the happy (and possibly high) revelers out having a good time created a fun atmosphere. If I had to sum it up I would say that Amsterdam at night is an exceptional party town that could only exist in a European society. At least that was my first impression.
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