Some practical things which might be handy to know when you're planning for a stay in Amsterdam. Learn about the currency, the voltage, liquor laws, opening hours and more.
Tourist Information Center:
The Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board is the official tourist information centre of Amsterdam. This information centre is very efficient and the people who work there are very friendly and always prepared to explain everything you need to know. But it can be very busy here sometimes, especially during summer.
There are 3 of these centers in Amsterdam. One is located at platform 2B at Central Station. Another one is at the Stationsplein, just outside Central Station and the last one is at the Leidseplein in the city center. There is also an information center located at Schiphol International Airport.
The national language of The Netherlands is Dutch.
Dutch is an incredible difficult language to learn. But you don't have to try anyway. Almost everybody in The Netherlands speaks English at a very good level. The Dutch always appreciate it when you try to say something in Dutch, but you will probably still get an answer in English. A lot of people in The Netherlands also speak (at least understand) some German and French.
Just as most other countries in the European Union the currency used in the Netherlands is the Euro.
If you have a Euro bankpass or a Cirrus logo on your card it’s best to get your money from an ATM.
If you need to change money the GWK office at Central Station is a very good option.
When changing larger amounts of money, it might be economical to shop around a bit searching for the best exchange rates and lowest commission fees. But don’t be fooled by the small money exchange offices which you can find throughout the city with their aggressive advertising. A sign often seen outside these companies says: No commission! If you see this, it only means: keep on walking.
We suggest just to go for the regular, larger banks.
Currency exchange rates can be checked at Oanda.
The weather in The Netherlands will be described by most people as pretty bad.
Depending on the season of your visit, be prepared for some cold temperatures and a lot of rain. If you prepare for this, the actual weather will probably not as bas as expected.
In general you can say about the Dutch weather:
- Spring: Low temperatures, not cold. Nice amount of sun.
- Summer: Moderate warm, mostly dry and sunny
- Fall: Cold, windy and lots of rain
- Winter: Cold, windy and lots of rain. Sometimes snow.
So of course the best period to visit Amsterdam is the summer. But don’t let the weather in other seasons scare you off. Whatever weather it is, Amsterdam is a fantastic city to experience.
220 - 230 volt. This is the standard European Union voltage. So if you’re from the US or Canada and want something to plug in here, you will need a converter or transformer.
Most tourist guides of The Netherlands and Amsterdam mention the phenomenon of tipping as not obliged in Dutch culture. And this is partly true.
Officially the service of the waiter is included in the price of the meal/drinks. But in of course this is just being cheap. Besides being cheap, it is very, very normal to give tips of 5-10% of the total amount. Of course, if you liked the service… So tipping is very common, but no obligations here.
Since 01-01-2005 everybody in The Netherlands is obliged to have a valid ID with him at all times when being in public. When you can’t show a valid ID a fine of 50 euros is yours. Together with this identification law the government has these days the power for random searches at people who are in a specific area. The major has pointed out a few specific problem areas, such as the red light district, where the police may do searches on everybody they want at a certain time.
If there is tourism, there will be pickpocketing. That’s one of the rules for tourism, and this one is unfortunately also valid for Amsterdam.
These guys are good at what they’re doing, so be careful with your belonging at all times. The areas where you especially have to watch out are Central Station, Red Light district, Leidseplein and the Kalverstraat (shopping street).
Most shops are open from 9.00-18.00 at Monday to Saturday.
The shops in the main tourist area are also often open at Sunday from 12.00 – 17.00.
Supermarkets are often open till 22.00 (Saturday/Sunday 20.00).
Coffeeshops are allowed to be open from 07.00 till 01.00. The actual opening times vary widely among the shops.
Bars, cafes and clubs are open till 01.00 during the week and in the weekend till 03.00 or 04.00.
It is legally allowed to buy beer and wine from the age of 16. The age limit for liquor is set at 18 years.
Supermarkets are only allowed to sell beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages upto 13%. Liquor is only sold in liquorstores.
It is in Amsterdam allowed to drink outside in public, except in some specific areas. A sign as shown here at the right are placed in these areas to warn the public. A fine is yours if you still get caught.
Smoking cannabis in public places:
Officially the smoking of cannabis in public is in Amsterdam not prohibited. But on the other hand; cannabis is still not legal also though. In real life this means you will actually not get in trouble if you smoke outside on the street. But of course, there are actually people living in Amsterdam. And maybe it's difficult to believe, but not everybody smokes in Amsterdam and not everybody likes the smell constantly around them. The general, unofficial code in Amsterdam is not to smoke outside or in public places. Lighting one up in a restaurant is not a normal thing to do. Also in Amsterdam...
In English you might just call these Bitterballs. Bitterballen are a national dish in Holland and they can be ordered in a lot of cafes. Don't miss them! And don't forget the mustard...
Important English words and sentences translated in Dutch:
- Coffeeshop = Coffeeshop
- Hangover = Kater
- Square = Plein
- Tram = Tram
- Bicycle = Fiets
- Fuck Off = Fuck off
- No = Nee
- Yes = Ja
- No idea = Geen idee
- Wooden shoes = Klompen
- Police = Politie
- Red Light District = De Wallen
- Canal = Gracht
- Damnit! = Verdomme!
- Fifty euro = Vijftig euro
- Pre-rolled = voorgedraaid
- Kingsize smokingpaper = Lange vloei
- Bong = Waterpijp
- Vaporizer = Verdamper
- Pipe = Pijp
- Pretty girl = Mooi meisje
- Beer = Bier
- Umbrella = Paraplu
- French fries with mayonaise = Patatje met
- Do you know a coffeeshop which is still open? = Weet je een coffeeshop die nog open is?
- Is your daughter 18 years old? = Is uw dochter 18 jaar oud?
- The pen is on the table = De pen ligt op de tafel
- Do you have a cigarette for me? = Heeft u een sigaret voor mij?
...if you spot something interesting, don`t hesitate to let us know...
Don't forget to check out our How to Roll a joint videos. More than 11.000.000 views and 60.000+ subscribers at YouTube! The Octopus, Windmill, Blunt, Hash joint, Classic, Wheel of Flavor and much more... New vids soon!
Quote of the Day
"Smoking's a way to let you down slowly from a ballgame. It also makes you use less of the resources around. It makes people better in the way they act towards society. Everybody's nicer. It's hard to be mean when you're stoned."
- Bill Lee (Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox)
More Cannabis Quotes
Rolling Papers 'The Daily Smoker' Now Available!
In our rolling videos on YouTube we use 'our own' rolling papers. Lately we got a serious amount of requests on how and where to get them. Well, it was almost impossible to get your hands on them. Until now! Finally we're able to get our papers out there, so if you're interested, READ ON...