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When some people think of Amsterdam, they think of a hedonist’s paradise where marijuana and prostitution are legal. Scantily clad women stand in store windows advertising their “wares” and scruffy backpackers from all over the world cram themselves into cheap hotels for the opportunity to smoke some killer weed and pass out in doorways.

Amsterdam does have all that, but, in fact pot is not legal, and these attractions are just a tiny part of what this beautiful, centuries old city has to offer.

You can explore narrow, cobblestone streets and twisting canals, marvel at a Rembrandt or Van Gogh masterpiece or just sit at a sidewalk café watching the constant flow of bicycles, mopeds and pedestrians, and you realize that millions of people come to visit this city not for its lax vice laws, but because it’s simply one of the most beautiful and fun places in the world.

Almost everyone speaks perfect English


Unlike in other European countries, it’s not really necessary to stumble your way through a few carefully practiced phrases in their language before they’ll help you out. The Dutch are proud of the fact that they speak many languages and they’re not all that interested in hearing your version of the distinctive, gargling sound that is used in so many of their words.

It’s still polite to ask if someone speaks English before you start asking for directions, but most of the time the response will be, “Of course!”

The Dutch are also some of the nicest people in the world, and as long as you remember not to walk in the bike path, you’ll never hear a discouraging word from anyone.


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