Amsterdam Expats

Dutch culture

Dutch culture is based on Christian ideology. Still, this ideology mostly influences Dutch politics. However, since the industrial revolution, the influence of other ideologies and religions increases.

Tipically Dutch mills Dutch society is modern and egalitarian. In general, inhabitants are tolerant, modest, entrepreneurial, and independent. Ambition, education, personal achievement and hard work are highly valued qualities. Most Dutch people repel towards people who flaunt themselves for no other reason then showing off. "Be normal, than you will be fool enough" is a common phrase in the Netherlands. Most Dutch people might come across as not polite, by going straight to the matter at hand. This usually makes them look stiff or uptight in a foreigners view. However, if you get to know them better, they might surprise you with a positive twist. For example: the Dutch are particularly good in their languages. Almost 90 percent of the Dutch is able to speak the English language and most of the people working in the tourist sector, are also capable of speaking the German and/ or the French language.
Their cultural heritage, artistic and musical legacy, rich history and involvement in international affairs are subjects Dutch people are proud of.


Holland is a country that is simply made for bicycling. With its endless miles of cycle paths and flat terrain, cycling is enjoyable, relaxing and more often than that, a necessary way of transportation. The Dutch love their bikes unlike any other European country and have a special, widely used biking infrastructure. In order to secure the safety of cycling and to stimulate the use of bicycles, parts of roads are reserved for bicycles. However, the extended use of bicycles, causes several problems; the cycle paths are getting crowded and more accidents are happening due to lack of knowledge of the traffic rules.Bycicle sign

In Amsterdam, cycling is often the fastest and easiest way of transportation. This is because Amsterdam is a compact city and the weather never gets too hot or too cold to ride a bike. Also, parking the bike is no problem, while car parking is a big issue. Bicycle theft is a big problem in Amsterdam. For this reason, the Dutch are spending as much on their locks, as they do on their bicycle and often use more than one lock in order to keep their bicycles.

Red Light District

Next to the windmills, the musea and the Dam, there is of course the Red Light District in Amsterdam. Here you will find window prostitution, sex shops and everything else that has to do with sex. It is called the Red Light District, because the women are sitting in windows with red lights. In Amsterdam it is also known as "de Wallen" or "de rossebuurt".

Window prostitution in Holland is completely legal since October 2000. Because it is a legal profession, the government ensures that all prostitutes have access to medical care and work in controlled environments. Next to this, the Red Light District is also a generally safe environment because it is crowded with policemen and personal bodyguards. Unfortunately, discrimination is still a problem in this trade and many prostitutes complain that banks are refusing to grant them mortgages.Sexy lips

If you are thinking about visiting the Red Light District, there are certain things you will need to know. The first and most important rule is that is not allowed to take photos of the occupied windows. This is to give the prostitutes the privacy they need. Next you need to be on the look out for pickpockets. They are present in every crowded area in Amsterdam, and this includes the Red Light District. If you want to see the Red Light District, but want more information, there are several tours available with a guide or an audio tape.


As you might know, in Holland it is legal to buy and use softdrugs. Harddrugs however, are strictly prohibited. This may be confusing, so we will explain the differences between soft- and hard drugs.Cannabis leef

Hard drugs can cause physically addiction, while softdrugs (if consumed correctly and in the right amount), will produce no worse effect than consuming alcohol.

Hash and marijuana are being sold in so-called coffee shops. The coffee shops need to pay attention to several rules. These rules are:

  • No more than 5 grams per person
  • No hard drugs may be sold
  • Drugs may not be advertised
  • The coffee shop must not cause any nuisance
  • No drugs can be sold to minors (under age 18), nor may minors enter the premises
  • It is prohibited to sell alcohol in a coffee shop

Coffee shops can be found in every big city in Holland and even in most towns. Amsterdam alone has over 200 coffee shops. For a complete list of coffee shops in Amsterdam, click here.

Growing marihuana yourself is allowed on a limited scale. Dutch seeds (wietzaadjes) can be bought online or through local headshops.