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Top Things You Thought Were True About Amsterdam (And How to Debunk Them)

In every place you visit for the first time, you’re always bound to hear and encounter several stories about that place that’ll surely creep you out, or, at the very least, make you feel that twinge of regret for visiting to begin with. These stories can often come in the form of urban legends, or folk tales, or sometimes, even the most random facts that people spew out about their place of origin can achieve the same effects as an urban legend.

Needless to say, the same can be said about Amsterdam. Being a place that’s very vibrant and brimming with life (whether during the day or at night), Amsterdam can’t help but be the subject of several stories and facts. If you’re the more impressionable type, then you’re probably going to believe everything you hear, and often, decide to avoid visiting Amsterdam altogether. However, there’s a lot of value to be had from verifing these stories, because, who knows? By deciding not to visit Amsterdam, you might be missing out on so much more. Plus, these stories may not be as true as you would like to believe.

Here are a few of those myths, as well as the truer facts that may serve to debunk them.

Smoking Weed in Amsterdam
Weed is legal in Amsterdam

Myth #1: Everyone in Amsterdam is on a high and doesn’t plan on making a landing anytime soon.

While it’s true that weed is legal in Amsterdam, and that there are a lot of places where they smoke joints there, it’s not true that everyone you meet is high. There will probably be a few people you meet on the street that will be riding that high, but there are a lot of sober people, too. You’ll probably encounter more sober people than those that are high, that’s the guarantee.

Myth #2: The Red Light District is a red flag and shouldn’t be visited.

While this may have been true decades ago, in no way does this still hold true today. The government has done a lot to clean up the Red Light District, actually. The hardcore junkies have been driven out of the area, pimping is illegal, and (much to your relief and convenience), there are police and security cameras in practically every corner of the Red Light District. So, there’s really no need to fret and avoid it. (A few tips though: don’t take photos of the prostitutes, and don’t buy anything from strangers. Yep. Not even a bicycle. It’s for your own good.)

Beer Brands
The Netherlands boasts of a lot of lesser known beer brands, which are just as good as (and even better than) Heineken.

Myth #3: Heineken is the only (or the best) beer in town.

Well, admittedly, Heineken’s marketing strategies all over the world are pretty top-notch, so you can’t really be blamed for thinking that it’s such a great beer. But the Netherlands actually has a micro brewery industry, boasting of a lot of lesser known beer brands, which are just as good as (and even better than) Heineken. For a weekly list, you can check out the Netherlands Beer Week website.

In the end, whatever stories you may have heard, and no matter who told you these stories, the best stories are still the ones you’ve seen, heard, and tried out for yourself.


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