Amsterdam has the reputation of being an “anything goes” city. Its relaxed, permissive, tolerant, liberal approach to things like sex and drugs are legendary, so one might think there were no rules or guidelines to abide by here. But, like anyplace, there are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when visiting the Dutch capital. Plenty of guidebooks and Google searches can tell you the things to do and the sites to see. This list is a bit different. Here are 15 things NOT to do in Amsterdam.
1. Don’t Take Pictures of the Women in the Windows
One of the most popular neighborhoods visitors flock to Amsterdam is De Wallen, the infamous Red Light District. As the oldest area in the city, it’s full of historic architecture, scenic canals and cobblestone alleyways. But that’s not what draws the tourist hordes. They’re here to check out the 300-odd window parlors of prostitutes on display like wares at a farmer’s market. Not everyone who comes to the RDL is looking to procure the produce, so to speak. Some just want to gawk at the salacious spectacle of it all. You’ll see wolfpacks of drunken guys, curious couples, gaggles of hen partiers and camera toting Japanese bus tourists among the “interested shoppers”. Look, even touch if you so desire (its not our place to judge), but do NOT take pictures of the working girls. That is strictly prohibited around here. If you get caught sneaking a pic, things could get confrontational.
2. Don’t Mistake the Blue Lights in the Red Light District
It’s no big shocker that De Wallen is known as the Red Light District, as the kamer sex cabins are literally illuminated with red lights. However, you may notice that a few of the windows are bathed in blue light. That indicates that a transgender sex worker is behind the glass. Not all buyers are aware of this, and some get a little more than they expect from their surprise encounter. However, if you’re looking for a such an experience, go towards the blue light.