Amsterdam is world famous for its city breaks and forward thinking attitude. The city manages to champion history and tradition with progressive and liberal agency for each Dutch citizen. Behind the clogs and tulips is a city brimming with art, cycling and laid back coffee shops. Here is a run-down of Amsterdam’s lesser known facts – this diverse city is a must-see for any travel lover of unique and European countries, attracting 4 million visitors per year.
The Must Knows – Canals And Stuff
The city of Amsterdam is like nowhere on Earth, but the city is also unique to the rest of the Netherlands. No single city in the country has a population over a million, each retaining their own unique architecture and landscape. The city of Amsterdam has more canals than Venice, and more museums than anywhere else per capita.
While The Netherlands do not pose to have all the answers, it is clear their progressive thinking works. The living standards in the Netherlands consistently rank high in the OECD’s Better Life Index consistently achieving the fourth best work-life balance and high levels of employment and wealth per household. Dutch children are also ranked as the happiest in the developed world in research conducted by UNICEF.
The lives of each citizen in the Netherlands are celebrated, even in death. The state provides a funeral for anyone that is alone, unlike in the UK where funerals are getting more expensive. The standard funeral has a chapel, three pieces of music, flowers, four pallbearers and a poem. This tradition is a powerful social construct-the idea that all lives are celebratory underpins the unique Dutch way of thinking – proper yet progressive, and many countries would do well to take notes.
The idea that every human being may decide about the matters of its own health is part of the Dutch social code. Aside for state funerals for the lonely, this attitude spills into to many laws that govern the land, including assisted end of life suicide – or Euthanasia.
The press officer for recovery website UK-Rehab.com has advised that, “In comparison to the United States, heroin is on the rise, while the ever-shrinking group of Dutch addicts is only getting smaller and older. Heroin use under the age of 40 is practically non-existent. In practice, this means that addicts are allowed to inject or smoke heroin three times a day in a solemn, no frills room in a building run by municipal health services. While soft drugs are decriminalised for personal use, this laid-back approach is not condoned in schools – where the dangers of drug use are taught.”
The first gay marriage was made legal and binding in Amsterdam by the city’s major in April 1st 2001. Gay pride still begins from the Waterlooplein in the Stopera, the home of the National Ballet and Opera.
The laws around the cities coffee-shops are somewhat appropriately hazy. We asked a spokesman for website Addictionhelper.com to explain them to us, “The sale and production of cannabis is still illegal, however possession for personal use (under 5g) has been decriminalised, with coffeeshops the number one place to buy and consume marijuana. This progressive law is to undermine the black market, and to raise taxes on lucrative coffee shops that entice large amounts of tourists every year.”