The stereotypes of the Netherlands are not entirely accurate however that is not to say that we didn’t spot many of the stereotypical symbols of the Netherlands. While driving through the country side we saw our fair share of windmills. Some of which resembled the typical Holland image while other were the slender moderns ones that we have seen in Canada.
The cheese was overwhelming. Visiting any regular grocery store it is clear how the Dutch attained their reputation for quality and variety of cheese. The display featuring rows and wheels of cheese of all kinds is found in most grocery stores, usually with an employee assigned exclusively to this section, and puts North American cheese sections to shame. The stereotype of the grandeur of Dutch cheese proved to be true. Clogs, however, were unseen during our time in the Netherlands. Part of this may be due to the nature of stereotypes but a small reason may also have been the weather. While we were in Amsterdam the climate was often cold and wet. This weather did not promote the growth of tulips, another image of the Netherlands.
Amsterdam as a city also has a world recognized reputation. Part of this is the country’s tolerant policies that thrive in the capital city. Recreational drugs, prostitution, LGBT rights, euthanasia and abortion are all accepted in Amsterdam.
This is evident throughout the city, especially around the world’s most well-known red light district. The area is near to the oldest parts of town and maintains one of the oldest industries. Even during the day, the district is busy. Burger joints, complete with escorts, are opened for lunch in the area.
Other lunch options are available in the nearby, Cannabis coffee shops. We did not dine in either types of establishments. Rather, we enjoyed a few slices of pizza on our way to the Amsterdam Museum. At the museum we learned about the history of the Netherlands and founding of the city of Amsterdam. The exhibits were nicely arranged. We enjoyed some of the interactive parts of the museum, such as trying on the old Dutch armor.
We left the Amsterdam enlightened. The Netherlands was wonderful to visit and so much more than just clogs and cannabis.