Amsterdam Tourist Info
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Sex, Rave parties, sex workers is illegal in  Amsterdam

Amsterdam Climate and Weather
Amsterdam has a mild, damp climate but the weather can be variable with temperature extremes even in summer. Spring and autumn especially bring changeable, unsettled weather. In the winter months clear, frosty days are the norm, the coldest months being December to March. Rain is likely all year round. Bring an umbrella or a rain coat. Some of the springs and summers are stellar and the rain isn't too bad... But on the other hand, it can rain for weeks at a time, especially in the winter... So for your own comfort :) bring something waterproof... (It doesn't usually rain hard, just frequently.)
Amsterdam's climate can be considered temperate and continental, with the city often experiencing the same winds and rains that Britain and Ireland experience, while also experiencing hot summer flushes that are more common in the likes of Orleans in central France
May to early September is the best time to visit Amsterdam, with July and August receiving the hottest weather and June offering the best of both worlds, with warm weather, fewer tourists and cheaper accommodation. However, the weather is still quite variable in the summer months, with sudden showers sometimes blowing in from the North Sea. Spring and autumn have changeable weather, while the wintertime is the coldest and wettest season. Bring a warm coat, scarf and umbrella if you plan to visit at this time of the year, as the city's canals are host to strong gusts of icy winds.
Amsterdam Airports 
Located 17 km (11 mi) southeast of Amsterdam, Amsterdam Luchthaven (Airport) Schiphol (17 km (11 mi) southwest of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands. PHONE: 0900/0141,, pronounced "Shh-kip-hole") is the main passenger airport for Holland. With the annual number of passengers using Schiphol approaching 40 million, it is ranked among the world's top five best-connected airports. A hotel, a service to aid passengers with disabilities, parking lots, and a main office of the Netherlands tourist board (in Schiphol Plaza and known as "HTi" -- Holland Tourist Information) can prove most useful. The comprehensive Schiphol telephone service, charged at EUR0.10 per minute, provides information about flight arrivals and departures as well as all transport and parking facilities.

Taxis & Shuttles
KLM Shuttle (PHONE: 020/653-4975). Schiphol Rail Link (PHONE: 0900/9292). Schiphol Travel Taxi (PHONE: 0900-8876).
Duty-Free Shopping
Although the European Union eliminated duty-free shopping in airports in the Netherlands and in Europe, Schiphol's tax-free shopping center, See-Buy-Fly, maintains its ability to sell cheaper goods thanks to a subsidy from the airport; you can also make in-flight duty-free purchases.

By Train    The Netherlands has a compact network; the trains are among the most modern in Europe and are the quickest way to travel between city centers. Services are relatively frequent, with a minimum of two departures per hour for each route. The carriages are modern and clean, and although many Dutch people complain about delays, the trains usually run exactly on time.

Amsterdam is divided into zones, and the fare you pay depends on the number of zones you travel through. You can easily travel within one zone (two strips), but to travel across Amsterdam takes you through four (five strips) zones. These zones are displayed on transport maps. Each journey you make costs one strip plus the number of zones you travel through. When you get on a bus, you show the driver your strippenkaart and simply say where your final destination is, or the number of zones you plan to travel through, and let him or her stamp the strips.

Bike Rentals  Bike City (Bloemgracht 70, Amsterdam, Netherlands. PHONE: 020/626-3721). Damstraat Rent-a-Bike (Damstraat 22, Amsterdam, Netherlands. PHONE: 020/625-5029). MacBike (Mr. Visserplein 2, Amsterdam, Netherlands. PHONE: 020/620-0985, Marnixstraat 220, PHONE: 020/626-6964; Stationsplein 12, PHONE: 020/624-8391).

By Car    A network of well-maintained superhighways and other roads covers the Netherlands, making car travel convenient. Major European highways leading into Amsterdam from the borders are E19 from western Belgium; E25 from eastern Belgium; and E22, E30, and E35 from Germany. Follow the signs for Centrum to reach the center of the city. At rush hour, traffic is dense but not so dense as to become stationary. 
Your driver's license may not be recognized outside your home country. International Driver's Permits (IDPs) are available from the American and Canadian automobile associations and, in the United Kingdom, from the Automobile Association and Royal Automobile Club. These international permits, valid only in conjunction with your regular driver's license, are universally recognized; having one may save you a problem with local authorities.

Currency Exchange 

These days, the easiest way to get euros is through ATMs. An ATM is called a Pin Automaat, and you can find them in airports, train stations, and throughout the city. ATM rates are excellent because they are based on wholesale rates offered only by major banks. It's a good idea, however, to bring some euros with you from home and always to have some cash and traveler's checks as backup. For the best deal when exchanging currencies not within the Monetary Union purview (the U.S. dollar, the yen, and the English pound are examples), compare rates at banks (which usually have the most favorable rates) and booths and look for exchange booths that clearly state "no commission." At exchange booths always confirm the rate with the teller before exchanging money. You won't do as well at exchange booths in Schipol or rail and bus stations, in hotels, in restaurants, or in stores. To avoid lines at airport exchange booths, get some euros before you leave home.

Taxes     Hotel The service charge and the 6% VAT (Value-Added Tax), or BTW, are almost always included in the rate. Tourist tax is never included and is 5% extra. Always inquire when booking. 

Restaurant In a restaurant you pay 5% service charge, 6% VAT on food items, and 19% VAT on all beverages, all of which are included in the menu prices. 

When to Go to Amsterdam 
The Netherlands is at its best when the temperatures climb, and cafés and restaurants spill across sidewalks to invite leisurely alfresco meals. Unfortunately, because such weather is so transient, you may find yourself sharing your sun-dappled experience with many others. Spring is the driest time of year, and since it's also when the famous tulip fields bloom (April and May are the prime bloom-viewing months), this is the most popular time to visit Holland.
From tulip time (about mid-April) onward, it becomes increasingly difficult to book accommodation reservations. In addition, with the approach of summer, museums, galleries, and tourist sights heave with visitors. Some say that if you're making an extended tour of Europe, you should consider scheduling Holland for the beginning or end of your itinerary, saving July and August for exploring less crowded countries.
If you have to visit in high summer, be sure to take a vacation from your Amsterdam vacation with some side trips to outer towns that have historic, quaint Dutch beauty without the crush. The main cultural calendar runs from September through June, but happily there are so many festivals and open-air events scheduled during the summer that no one really notices.
The Netherlands has more art treasures per square kilometre than any other country on earth. Its museums are home to the world's richest and most comprehensive collection of art masterpieces from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Amsterdam also has many performance halls that play host to music, dance and the famous performing arts festivals.
Nationale feestdagen (national holidays) are New Year's Day (January 1); Good Friday (April 14 in 2006); Easter Sunday and Monday (April 16 and 17 in 2006); Koninginnedag (Queen's Day, April 30); Remembrance Day (May 4); Liberation Day (May 5); Ascension Day (May 25 in 2006); Whitsunday (Pentecost) and Monday (June 4 and 5 in 2006); and Christmas (December 25 and 26). During these holidays, banks and schools are closed; many shops, restaurants, and museums are closed as well. Some businesses close for May 4, Remembrance Day. Throughout the Netherlands, there is a two-minute silent pause from 8-8:02 pm, and even traffic stops. Take note and please respect this custom.


Business hours in Amsterdam are fairly relaxed, typically from 09:00 to 18:00, Tuesday to Friday, with most businesses being closed on Monday mornings and at weekends. Department stores also follow this weekday trend, although late night shopping can be had on Thursday evenings.
Banks: 09:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday (except Monday mornings)
Post Offices: 09:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday
Department Stores and Shops: 09:00 to 18:00, Tuesday to Friday; Monday afternoons; late night shopping Thursday until 21:00; Sunday 12:00 to 19:00
Museums: 10:00 to 17:00, daily except Mondays
Business Offices: 09:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday (except Monday mornings)

Holland has an excellent healthcare system, with many quality hospitals and clinics and a range of pharmacies spread throughout the city. Holland has reciprocal agreements with many countries; check with your embassy or consulate before embarking on a journey to Amsterdam.
If you have come here to try out some marijuana or hash, look for an establishment with a 'Coffee Shop' sign in English. These are licensed premises. 
Ambulance: 112
Emergency Hospital
Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe Gasthuis
Eerste Oosterparkstraat 179
Phone: +31 20 599 9111 
Central Medical Service
Phone: +31 20 592 3434 
Central Pharmacy:
Dam Apotheek
Damstraat 2
Phone: +31 20 624 4331


Dutch is the national language of the Netherlands, although English is compulsory in schools and is a second language to the Dutch and is widely spoken by most people. The Dutch are perhaps the clearest speakers of English from a non-English speaking nation and in addition, many Dutch people speak French and German.

The Dutch converted to the Euro when it was first introduced in 2002. Banknotes come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro, and coins come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents, and 1 and 2 euros. There are 100 cents in one euro.

Amsterdam Trins

Crime and Safety
In Amsterdam, if it isn't bolted to the floor somebody will try to steal it -- and even if it is bolted to the floor somebody will try to steal it. Watch out for pickpockets on trams, buses, and Metro trains, and in train and Metro stations. Constant public announcements at Centraal Station and Schiphol Airport warn about pickpockets, and signs on the trams say in a multitude of languages ATTENTION: PICKPOCKETS. Drivers occasionally recognize members of the fraternity (and sorority) who board their vehicle and put out an announcement for passengers. Pickpockets and other thieves often wait until you are occupied or distracted -- or act to occupy or distract you -- before making their move. Consider wearing a money belt. Women should wear their purse crossed over their shoulder so that it hangs in front, with the clasp or zipper facing in. A backpack worn on the back is an open invitation to thieves, so either don't wear it like this or don't put anything valuable in it (you could consider packing it with loaded mousetraps).

Violence is not unknown to Amsterdam, but it's not at all a violent city (foreign drug dealers whacking each other doesn't qualify, unless innocents get caught in the crossfire, and usually merits a single-sentence news story on p. 21 of the local papers). Drug-related crime is prevalent, most of it, like pickpocketing, is nonviolent, relatively minor, and opportunistic. Stealing bicycles is a big problem here! Mugging and armed robbery do happen, though incidents are not common.

There are some risky areas, especially in and around the Red Light District. Be leery of walking alone after dark through narrow alleyways and along empty stretches of canal. Don't use ATMs at night in quiet areas. It's wise to stay out of Vondelpark at night, but there are cafes on the edge of the park that are busy until closing time.

The rules about not walking alone in poorly lit and unpopulated areas at night apply especially to women. Although Amsterdam is generally safe, incidents of harassment do occur, and rape is not unknown. It's safe for groups of women to go around in the city's famed (or notorious) Red Light District -- always supposing they can stomach seeing other women serving purely as objects -- but a young woman on her own, particularly after dark, could be subject to at least verbal harassment, and misrepresentation as a "working girl." Public transportation is usually busy even late at night, so you generally won't have to worry about being alone in a tram or Metro train. If you feel nervous, sit close to the driver where this is possible. Many local women go around by bicycle at night.

Amsterdam has some weird folks who may lock onto you for one reason or another. If you can't shake them off, go into a cafe or hotel and either wait until they leave or call a taxi to take you away. More common are beggars. The generous Dutch welfare system ensures that few, if any, locals need to resort to panhandling. Those who do this might be drug addicts, illegal migrants, young visitors trying to make their money last longer, lazy ne'er-do-wells -- and some genuine hardship cases. If you are prepared to give money to these people, keep some coins handy rather than have to go rummaging through your billfold or purse, which might get grabbed by the intended recipient of your generosity.


Amsterdam Tourist Info
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