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Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, located in the North Holland province in the west of the country. The city which on the latest count had a population of 800 thousand people, comprises the northern part of the Randstad. The 6th-largest metropolitan area in Europe, with a population of around 6.7 million people. Amsterdam is by far the most popular travel destination in the Netherlands, it’s charms, old fashioned streets and canals along with museums, cultural sights and many tourist attractions attracts tens of millions each year to this city. The legalization of window prostitution in the Red Light District and marijuana draws 4,2 million people a year alone to the city of Amsterdam.

Its name Amsterdam is derived from Amstel dam, indicative of the city origin: a dam in the river Amstel where the Dam Square is located today. Amsterdam settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, became one of the most important ports worldwide during the Dutch Golden Agen, as a result of its innovative developments in the trade market. During those years the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and the 20th centuries, the city expanded and many new neighborhoods and provinces where formed.

The city is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many of the big universities, Dutch institutions and the world’s leading companies have their headquarters located in Amsterdam. Amsterdam’s main attractions, including the historic canals, the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House, the Rijksmuseum, its world famous red-light district De Wallen and its many cannabis coffee shops, draw 4.2 million tourists each year. Within the Red Light District a marijuana museum and sex museum can be found.

Amsterdam nightlife is worldwide famous, and for the right reasons! The parties continues till morning sun rises, the clubs are open any day of the week. Monday nights are as good as Saturday nights, as long you know where to go. There’s several nightlife areas spread across town.

A popular nightlife area which continues all night is the Red Light District / Warmoestraat area near the Amsterdam Central Station. This particular area is filled with coffee shops like Baba, Stoney’s Cafe and Bulldog but also with many small bars & pubs like Cafe Remember, Banana Bar, Winston Club, Redlight Cafe, Black Tiger Bar and many more. If you wish to get stoned and drink in small bars and cafe’s this is your area of choice. Average beer price is €2,50 for a regular tap beer. ** The red light district attracts a different type of crowd than the regular nightlife areas in Amsterdam city, in the area prostitutes and sex clubs are operating throughout the night. If you do not wish to be associated which such crowd please avoid this area.

Another area of choice can be Rembrandplein also near city center, a taxi from the Red Light District area to Rembrandplein should cost right around €12,- (about $15 dollar). Rembrandplein is a square with many cafe’s and pubs, and some coffee shops. Yet the cafe’s and pubs dominate the area. Please notice that some clubs may charge a entrance fee in this area. Average beer price is €2,50 for a regular tap beer.

The third area is called Leidseplein, Korte Leidsedwarsstraat en Lange Leidsedwarsstraat, this is by far the most popular area for people that like to continue till morning. The area is also situated around a square with two streets filled with clubs. Walk around to see the promotional girls offering you free entrance and free shots. Some good places to eat are situated here like Febo, Burger King and Kebab restaurants. Average beer price is €2,50 for a regular tap beer, some clubs charge a entree fee of €5,00.

Red Light District
The Red Light District also known as De Wallen or the Rosse Buurt from Amsterdam is famous throughout the world for window prostitution, live sex / peep shows and marijuana joints. The area has about 18 to 20 streets which are filled with red light windows, there’s a total of estimated of 300 windows operating in the red light district area. There’s countless of coffee shops where you can legally smoke weed, as well bars, pubs. The peep & sex shows are located on the main roads between the canals, the most famous one is named Casa Rossa where you can see live couples fucking, dildo shows the price as of July 2010 is €30,- for 8 shows, or €45,- for 8 shows including 4 drinks. ** Caution, the main area of the Red Light District counts some narrow streets during peek hours it can get quite busy here. Read every detail about the red light district here!

The city of Amsterdam is also a very good shopping destination for those who are looking for expensive brands, but also medium and knock off sales can be found. If you are looking for the rich and famous ask your taxi to take you to the number one shopping street in the Netherlands: PC Hoofdstraat. If you are branded goods against reasonable prices stay close within city center, from the center Dam Square you can enter the Kalverstraat with hundreds of brand stores to shop to your hearts content.

Public transport

Travelers arriving at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport need a valid passport and visa. American citizens can visit without a visa for up to 90 days. Amsterdam is a relatively small city so a good way to get round in the city is to rent bicycle or simply walk. The best time of the year to visit Amsterdam is between June and August this is when its summer in the Netherlands.