No, not because of that. Or that. The open-mindedness of the city and its inhabitants is very appealing, but away from the weed smoke and the twinkling red lights there’s so much to explore. I’ve been to Amsterdam more times than I can remember now and it’s because of the people, the atmosphere and the beauty of the canals and buildings.
I won’t sport with your intelligence by recommending the Rijksmuseum or Anne Frank House – I’m pretty sure you’ll have heard of these. The best way to explore Amsterdam is on foot and just see what you find – there’s something to see on every street, even if it’s just sitting outside a neighbourhood café and watching the world go by.
It’s great for a solo traveller too – being such an internationally renowned city there are people from all corners of the globe visiting, and the relaxed atmosphere means it’s easy to strike up a conversation and make a new friend.
The city is compact enough to walk around in a day. You could spend the morning in the museum quarter, the afternoon at the Botanical gardens and the zoo in Plantage, and the evening enjoying dinner and drinks in the Jordaan. It’s the quieter areas away from Dam Square and Leidseplein that are the most fun to visit – you get much more of a feel of true Amsterdam, rather than being overrun by tourists and cheap Argentinian steak houses.
The number of tourists has become a quandry for Amsterdam – they keep the economy booming, but Amsterdammers are getting increasingly fed up with the sheer numbers and, on occasion, antisocial behaviour. With this in mind, it’s best to avoid visiting on a weekend in Summer if you can – if for no other reason than the accommodation costs will be even higher than usual due to too much demand and not enough supply.
However, if you stay away from the traditional tourist hotspots you’ll have a fabulous time whatever the weather or day of the week. Amsterdam is possibly seen at its best in winter, the canals lit up in the dark and the narrow streets covered with a dusting of snow. Beautiful.