Let’s put the stereotype aside, Amsterdam is more than just red lights and smoke. It’s a vibrant city on the water with so much culture, history, and cozy places to experience. Here are things you should know to explore Amsterdam with confidence. 

Language

Native English speakers have nothing to worry about as most of the people in Amsterdam speak English and they’re not afraid to show off. Dutchies are actually one of the best English speakers in Europe. They’ve knocked the Danish and Swedes off the first spot.

Feel comfortable asking for directions in English. But you can also learn some key terms like Dankjewel (thank you) and Goedemorgen (good morning).

Make reservations

If you’re traveling to Amsterdam between June and August, please make advance bookings. Most of the hostels in the city get fully booked during the Summer. For some attraction sites, you might have to spend hours queuing if you haven’t made an online booking already. For the major museums like Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, or Moco museum, you better off getting a ticket using the I Amsterdam city card. If you want to visit the AnnFrank House, get an online ticket prior to your travel as they have only a few available slots per day.

Coffee shops and cafes are different

Weed is legal in the Netherlands, that’s not news as people have been flocking to Amsterdam to sample some delicacies. However, if all you need is plain banana bread and good old coffee, please stay away from the coffee shops. Their cookies and brownies aren’t what you’re looking for. Get a cafe to get your caffeine fix.

Red lights district is like any other street at daytime

Many have been disappointed by visiting the district during the day when the neon lights are off. Plan to make your visit after the sunset as that’s when the streets turn red and come alive. All the action happens at night so plan accordingly. Oh! And don’t take a picture of the ladies at night.

Double-check if you have a sturdy bike lock

One of the most convenient ways to move around is cycling. However, lock your bike… twice. There are thieves looking to make quick cash so ensure your bike is twice harder to steal. And another thing, ignore the cheap bike offers on the streets as you never know if you’re moving around in a stolen bike.

Gift goodies

Bring some extra cash and bags to carry your goodies. There are lots of beautiful arts check out Banksy Amsterdam pieces, retro decor, vintage clothes, among others. There are also so many massive markets that provide a great way to learn about the culture and diversity in Amsterdam. In some markets, haggling isn’t a norm but the flea market prices depend on ‘how low can you go’ so have fun.