What's a Stokie you ask? The backpacker on a budget, the student with some study abroad holidays to burn, the gap year gapper with a gap in their galavanting, the solo traveler looking for some soul mates or the group travel group!
Started by a bunch of expat mates running a muck abroad, Dam Essential quickly evolved from a loose pack of animals roaming the streets and into a network of expats, travelers, local businesses and fun loving criminals chasing good times in Amsterdam. Whilst blazing a trail of glory through Amsterdam's cobbled streets and winding canals (You like what we did there?) we discovered tonnes of epic shit, some not so epic shit, and we too, fell sucker to your typical tourist traps.
Between the basics like: Smashing back a whole space cake on arrival could result in being glued to your hostel bed for 12 hours or remembering to update your Tinder profile to include height (Them Dutchies are tall) - we've chucked together a bunch of essential tips to keep you out of the shit and having a good time in Amsterdam.
A friends Mum once said: "Just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's good for you". Whilst we do love Amsterdam for it's open and tolerant policies, the old saying definitely rings true. Just because you CAN jump on your newly acquired rental bike, grab 2 boxes of the strongest shrooms known to man and go out on a shot fueled pub crawl with that crazy Aussie guy from the night before doesn't mean it's a good idea. Plenty of tourists fall victim to accidents every year, including falling into the canals which isn't actually as funny as you're probably imagining. Those fuckers are cold and hard to get out of.
- Grab a map, write your hostel name on your body and get exploring. Half the fun of Amsterdam is walking around aimlessly seeing what you come across. Besides getting home safely, it's always good to have an excuse to get naked. If you're feeling curious and want to learn something, check out one of the city's many free walking tours.
- Don't buy drugs off shady dudes lurking in the street. When the city plaster salerts all over the city - you should probably listen. If you insist on filling your face with nose candy, you'd be safer looking for a local in a bar that's having way too much fun.
- Choose a hostel/hotel who suits your style of stay. There's tonnes of Hostel's and Hotels all over the city all catering to different people. You Stokies would probably be at home smashing back some beers or joints at one of the Flying Pig Hostels or check out Hostelworld or Booking.com to see whats available - beware prices skyrocket on the weekends as the Lads flock in for the weekend and often sell out.
- Hire a bike. It's one way to say you did something Dutch, and it makes getting around a lot quicker, especially if you want to explore outside of Central. No you're not tripping (Or maybe you are?) but those ARE small cars and scooters in the bike lanes so be alert and keep to the right.
- Leidseplein, Dam Square, Rembrandtplein and the Red Light District are home to most of the cities bars, restaurants, coffee shops and other tourist orientated goodies. Although pretty safe by most standards, expect to pay tourist prices, get haggled by street dealers, (see above) and be cautious of tourist traps like being short changed, especially if you've been indulging.
- This weed is seriously stroong maaan. No we don't mean like when your dealer tells you that his latest batch "Is the best shit ever man". Not so surprisingly, the locals really have mastered the art of growing strong ass weed so use caution and don't try be a hero. There's literally hundreds of Coffeeshops dotted around the city, each with their own strains nicknamed like "OG Kush", "Pineapple Express" or "Dr. grinspoon" so go exploring and just remember where you parked your bike. This is where writing your Hostel name on your body might come in handy too.
-Check out the various parks, museums and attractions. There's no shortage here. To save you sometime we would suggest:
- Chill in Vondel park
- Check out Museumplein for that iAmsterdam selfie and museums if that's your thing.
- Smash some beers at IJ Brouwerij or The Heineken Experience.
- See the city from the canals (Hit us up here and we might even take you out on one of our boats - don't forget to bring us some treats though)
-Book a private tour with us if you want an insider perspective or do a free walking tour. 360 Amsterdam & Original Amsterdam walking tours do a pretty good job.
- Body World's exhibition
- Anne Frank Huis (Book online or enjoy your wait in line)
- Check out NDSM wharf in the Noord.
- For the nature lover check out Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forrest)
- The traditional Dutch food can be, well.. expect deep fried. You'll be able to find whatever food you're into in Amsterdam with countless restaurants and take-away joints spread through the city centre. For a slower pace, check out De Pijp, its close to the centre but offers a much more relaxed genuine Amsterdam experience - Bakers and Roasters do an awesome kiwi style brekkie and coffee that'll blow the cobwebs off. If you want to save some cash for more beers, head down to your local Albert Heijn to pick up some groceries and surprise your room mates with some much needed munchies.
Whilst the old if it's legal saying can ring true, if you've got a curious mind (Which let's face it, you do) don't be scared to get a little weird and try something new. Just use your brain and try to be responsible. When you look back on that weekend in Dam, it will be cool to actually remember something so approach with an open mind and be sure to surround yourself with some other cool cats.
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