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1st of May in Amsterdam

Amsterdam

It is a paradox – Holland is probably the only European country which does not mark the Labour Day, however, only one day before, on April 30th, Amsterdam hosts one of the biggest and wildest open-street parties in Europe – the Queen’s Day… A trip to Amsterdam for the Queen’s Day is always worth if you love parties

Many people associate Amsterdam with the girls in red neighborhood windows, free drugs, an unbelievably relaxed and liberal atmosphere. And they are right – Amsterdam has been an oasis of liberalism for hundreds of years, since it was at the forefront of commercial and artistic seventeenth century Europe. In 1815, prostitution was legislated and, in the 60’s, the flower power revolution won in Amsterdam, which became a center of tolerance regarding drug use and the acceptance of gay or lesbians. But you should not believe that Amsterdam is a sexual amusement park for the hordes of British people who take the city by assault weekend after weekend (50% of the shop window customers are British – we do not want to speculate why), Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with hundreds of beautiful 17th century houses bordering the channels defining for the city.Amsterdam is also home to some of the best museums and art galleries on the continent, is also a place where you can manage easily.

But let’s get back to May 1st. Why exactly May 1st? Because on May 1st, more precisely, on April 30th, Amsterdam hosts the biggest party in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe – it is the Queen’s day, the national day of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and, if in the more formal Hague, this day is celebrated officiously and with haughtiness, in Amsterdam, is celebrated with street parties throughout the center. Firstly, the center is closed for all traffic, so, every 100 meters, you’ll find DJs who mix the craziest techno, turning everything downtown into an open-air club. Then the Netherlands is one of the countries that love beer very much, so, at every street corner you will find plastic glass beer sellers that go very well with Dutch fast food: raw herrings or French fries with a lot of mayonnaise! And how could you not be in a great mood when you see thousands, maybe tens of thousands of people who have come from all over the Netherlands and not only to dance, drink, sing, and feel good.

The Dutch are a pretty well-behaved people, decent and having a cult for cleanliness… but, sometimes, especially on the occasion of popular parties, they have a great passion for doing what is prohibited at other times – dirt on the streets! There are piles of beer cans everywhere, bottles, plastic cups, bags of chips and many others that all revelers seem to have an orgasmic joy to throw away in the street and not in a bin. Do not think that dirt will last… if you accidentally wake up at 7 am (or, more precisely, if you go to the hotel after a night of partying), oh, well, you see hundreds of people in small cars gathering and cleaning everything up.

In general, on April 30th, in the central square, in Dam, you will also find an amusement park … there is some adrenaline going through roller coasters and other crazy devices. And if you want a little peace, also in the Dam, there is an Amsterdam subsidiary of Madame Tussaud’s – you can transpose yourselves into the world of the Golden Century of Amsterdam – the seventeenth century or to take photos with yesterday’s and today’s stars in music, sports and politics, all made out of wax.

And after a day of wild parties – this being April 30th, one day of relaxation will do you good – and you have places to choose from … you do not have to be scared that the Dutch would love French fries and herrings, Amsterdam has plenty of restaurants, with dishes specific to dozens of  national cuisines – from the already classical  Italians, French and Lebanese to Vietnamese restaurants (loempia had become a Dutch national food in the ’90s), Caribbean (ah, what aromas!) and Argentinean (oh, what steaks!). It’s time for a little art – Rijksmuseum  is one of Europe’s great museums, on the same level with the Louvre, British or Prado. In addition, we must not forget that classical masters have lived and created here – such as Rembrandt (his house can be visited) or revolutionary painters like Van Gogh – the Van Gogh Museum houses the world’s largest collection of the master’s works and is a mandatory objective to be visited. If you still want to remember that you are in Amsterdam, you can visit the Museum of Sex,  containing, among others, fourteenth century Viennese erotic paintings or Hash, Marijuana & Hemp Museum where you will find out that Queen Victoria used to quench her menstrual cramps with marijuana … and if even Queen Victoria used to do it, why would it not be done by today’s ladies … actually, the waiters in any coffee shop in the Red district will help you choose … they are used to amateurs, not only with professionals of marijuana.

The third day? Hm … well, where else shall we go – we danced until dawn, we got soaked in art and not only, what else might be left to be seen? What do you mean what? Netherlands is not just sex, marijuana, beer, Rembrandt, Van Gogh and mayonnaise, it also means flowers – who has not heard of Dutch tulips? And not only, the Netherlands is the largest exporter of flowers. And because you are in Amsterdam on May 1st, you can not miss a visit to Keukenhof, a small village not too far from Amsterdam who hosts the largest flower show in the world every spring. Nowhere in the world are flowers and spring colors as great as in Keukenhof, if you are lucky to have a clear day, too. Here you can relax and soak with beautiful, you see millions of flowering bulbs (not only tulips!) and the most spectacular floral arrangements. As I do not like to mess with cars, we chose the highly efficient Dutch public transportation – 6 times per hour, the NS trains connect Amsterdam CS to the station inLeiden, and from there a bus takes you directly to Keukenhof. At the entrance, you can photograph yourself some typically Dutch giant wooden shoes and then the rest is just a dream – flowers, floral ensembles, colour, bright green, windmills, and an idyllic landscape. For exotic flowers, more sensitive to cold and wind, there are specially equipped greenhouses for orchids and their Asian and South American sisters.

When you return, you can spend another hour in Leiden– it is a typical Dutch town, canals, windmills, the oldest university in the Netherlands and the birthplace of Rembrandt. IfAmsterdamlives its life at over 100 km per hour,Leidenis a soft, quiet and very Dutch place.

Back in Amsterdam, why don’t you give a round through the red district? And not anyway, but with an all-knowing guide. From near the train station at 20:00, you can leave on a guided tour – Randy Roy’s Red Light Tours – for 90 minutes at 12.50 Euros you will visit the place where Quentin Tarantino wrote Pulp Fiction, Eminem and Mike Tyson’s favourite coffee shops, but also discover the secrets of the brothels, the sex shops and the sex shows from the fascinating red neighborhood.

Don’t you want May 1st to come sooner?

How to get to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the Europe’s biggest hubs. The main carrier KLM is accompanied by dozens of other airlines, including a few low costs. Unfortunately, Amsterdam does not have a low cost airport of its own, but some low cost companies land at Rotterdam and Eindhoven. The rail network is particularly strong and dense, but pricey. High speed trains connect Amsterdam with UK, France, Germany and Belgium.

Where to sleep in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is expensive, and, during the Queen’s Days, you can hardly find any accommodation. If you are not horrified with the girls in the window and the pervasive smell of marijuana, there are several very safe, clean and reasonably priced hotels in the red district. A classic is the Bulldog. I usually stay at Hotel 83.

Food in Amsterdam

Full, restaurants over restaurants of all kinds. The cheapest ones are the Dam market towards the Red Quarter – numerous ethnic restaurants – Arabic, Chinese, Vietnamese (loempia is very popular in Holland). For Dutch specialties – French fries with mayonnaise and raw herrings, look especially for mobile food kiosks.

Pictures of Amsterdam

travel to Amsterdam

Amsterdam celebrating

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam: In Dam

Amsterdam: In Dam

In Dam

Amsterdam celebrating

visit Amsterdam

visit Amsterdam

Amsterdam: Night time in Dam

Amsterdam: Night time in Dam

Night time in Dam

Amsterdam; Sex Shop

Amsterdam: Keukenhof

Keukenhof

Amsterdam : Amazing flowers

Amsterdam: flowers

Visit Amsterdam: Amazing garden

Amsterdam: tulips

Amsterdam: tulips

Visit Netherlands

Visit Netherlands

visit Amsterdam

Travel to Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Amsterdam: Tulips

visit Amsterdam

travel to Amsterdam: yellow garden

Amsterdam

Amsterdam: Amazing Garden

Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Trip to Amsterdam

And I’m walking on water…

Amsterdam

IMGP3388.JPG

Amsterdam: Leiden

Leiden

Amsterdam: Red district

Back to the red district

Amsterdam: Madame Tussaud’s

Madame Tussaud’s

Asmterdam: Madame Tussaud’s

Lenin at the Madame Tussaud’s

Amsterdam

And the Queen of the Netherlands

Amsterdam: Madame Tussaud’s

Amsterdam: Madame Tussaud’s

The Dam on a rainy day

Amsterdam: Madame Tussaud’s

Boy George

Amsterdam: Madame Tussaud’s

I love you, Michael !

Amsterdam: Madame Tussaud’s

Where the streets have no name

Amsterdam: Madame Tussaud’s

So, tell me what you want, what you really, really want !

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    My name is Cezar (where the nickname "Imperator" comes from) and I have travelled to 105 countries around the world. In this blog, I would like to share with you stories, memories, travel tips & tricks and news to help you plan your journeys !

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