I’m sure you’ve heard (through friends or social media) about the relaxed cannabis and prostitution laws that seem be synonymous with Amsterdam. The use of weed is legal to an extent in the city; it can be purchased and consumed in smoking cafes littered around Amsterdam (Pictured above – Smoking cafe) however public smoking (streets etc.) is frowned upon. In fact, less than 10% of the dutch population smoke marijuana; the cafes are largely a tourist attraction (economic market) for younger travelers looking for a fun new experience (5 myths).
The other myth that I’ll look at is that the prostitution industry (Red Light District) is rampant, dirty, and dangerous; portraying the dutch in a derogatory light. This myth has some truth, as in the 70’s and 80’s the Red Light District was indeed a dangerous place; filled with junkies, pimps and forced prostitution. However, today the red light district is safe and often visited by tourists, due to the strict regulations imposed by the government in allowing for legal (voluntary) prostitution. The number of brothels and prostitute windows has decreased significantly most likely due to an increase in police presence and monitoring (Holland Myths).
These myths or misrepresentations can have a damaging effect on those that live in, travel to and aspire to visit Amsterdam (and Netherlands in general). In reality, these misconceptions are constantly changing and are becoming more positive as more people travel, explore and educate themselves about the true identity of places (Amsterdam). That’s it for today, thanks for reading and will see you all again in a weeks’ time.