|Welcome to Amsterdam, Gay Way to Europe|
Amsterdam is probably the gayest city in Europe, with something to offer everyone. Gay Games Amsterdam 1998 left the city with a new sense of pride and a stronger community that were eager to share with visitors from around the world. Amsterdam offers tons of gay bars, discos, shops and cafes, some of the worlds best and weirdest museums, classic architecture, and a lot of coffeeshops, all within walking distance from Central Station. Combine that with the unique spirit of tolerance and freedom of the Netherlands, and thats why the mayor proudly called Amsterdam "the gay way to Europe". While Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands, you dont have to bother trying to learn the difficult language, Holland is one of the only countries in continental Europe where most natives speak English fluently. Homosexuality is legal in the Netherlands. Gays and lesbians even won the right to get legally married this year. The age of consent for gay sex is 16, but for prostitutes its 18.
Unlike many cities, and to most tourists surprise, Amsterdam is a very compact, and therefor walkable city.
Tourism and Money
Check out the VVV (Amsterdam Tourist Information) at the floating wooden house in front of Central Station for tourist information, hotel bookings, tour information and local activities. The Netherlands and Amsterdam share a tremendously rich history and culture, which is shown off in everything from our beautiful architecture and world-renowned museums and concert halls to our scenic canals and endless fields of colorful flowers. The VVV can help you plan your time here wisely so you can accomplish all your goals in getting to know our beautiful country.
Being part of the EU, the Euro is the local currency. Paying for things with your credit card
is probably the best way to guarantee youre getting a good exchange rate, and most
stores accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express (in that order). Often the
easiest and most economical way to get cash from home is through one of the citys
many automatic teller machines (geldautomaat), especially if you have a Visa or
Master/EuroCard or a debit card on the Cirrus or Plus network. The best place to exchange
money is the GWK (at Schiphol Airport, Central Station and on 4 more locations down town).
Most banks in Holland are no more then 'service desks' nowadays, and do not offer change anymore.
Do not change money on the streets in Amsterdam; although in some parts of the world it's the most economical way of
changing, in Holland it definetely is not; it is a major crime under east-european thieves.
Transportation & Communication
When you are offered a bicycle on the street for Eur 25, you can be sure that you are buying stolen property, which is guaranteed to bring you much bad karma (and perhaps the angry owner).
Public transportation is easy to use, with lots of trams, buses, Metro, and trains. The system
operates from approximately 6 a.m. (weekdays, 7am on Sat, 8am on Sun) to midnight, although there are night buses for
partygoers as well. If youll be in town for a while, then buy a pass from the little
GVB kiosk across from Central Station. If youre here for a shorter time, you can buy
a daycard at Central Station, tabacconists and many other places, or just pay cash to the driver when you get on (the most expensive way).
If you need to make calls from public phones, they are merely extinct.
Best is to just get a local SIM card for your mobile phone, or use WiFi in your hotel.
Safety and Drugs
Tuesday 24 May
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Travel : Amsterdam : General information