Alert: the Dutch government is attempting to close access to Dutch coffeeshops to tourists by the end of 2011 which is a major blow to Amsterdam’s single dude travel destination status. Monitor the situation before you visit. More on this here.
Amsterdam is my favorite city in the world. It has pretty much everything I like. Great food, great legal drugs, nice hot chicks, great art and music, great party, and a tolerant, cool, easy to get along with local population make Amsterdam a great location for single dude travel as long as a super low priced vacation isn’t a major need.
Amsterdam is not cheap. Especially if you’re an American traveler, with the strength of the euro vs the dollar these days, you can spend a lot of money pretty quick there. Expect for a cheap hotel to run at least 50 EUR for one, or 65 EUR for two. There are many cheap hostel options though, especially near the Red Light District. We recommend The Flying Pig Downtown Hostel. It’s right next to the RLD as well as a whole bunch of coffee shops and bars. They’ve got a pool table downstairs and a back room with sofas where you can smoke as well as their own bar.
Once you’re established in town, the world is your oyster. Want to go get high? Go to any coffeeshop (not cafe) and ask the in-house dealer what he recommends. Drink? The Dutch are great partiers and will definitely knock back some drinks. Like raves? Best in the world there. Fine dining, classical music, or museums*, check, check, and… check.
There is a big tourist culture in Amsterdam so you will have plenty of places to party every day. They tend to focus in the Red Light District which pretty much goes 7 days a week. The problem with a lot of the tourist types is they often are kids from Spain, Italy, etc, that are real lightweights and get super stoned in the coffeeshops and then stare off into space like zombies. It’s just hard to communicate with them after they go there.
The standard go-to place for Sunday-Wed partying that includes Dutch people is the Leidseplein, which has two long streets with bars and restaurants all the way down for blocks. Some hotspots include:
The Bulldog (Leidseplein) is the flagship coffeeshop in the square. they have a bar there as well attached, and it’s a classic place to go. If you only smoke pot once in you life, it should be here.
I also like very much Jazz Cafe Alto at Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 115. It’s a jazz bar with excellent music and is open for fun until at least 4 in the morning. Try to catch the local jazz legend Hans Dulfer on Wednesday night, it’s the most party-like music of the week and there’s always a bunch of people in there for him.
On the other side of the square are a couple of little bars including Cafe de Waard, which is a great place to sit outside and watch people when the weather is good. A tradition for young beautiful Dutch girls is to meet here in the Leidseplein after class/work and have a glass of wine and have intelligent conversation. This is a great time to meet 6 Dutch girls at once and figure out which of the hot ones likes you the most.
If you really feel like getting hammered during the week I highly recommend the Leidseplein Pub Crawl. It goes on every night and is always a pretty good party. It’s a pretty good go-to-party on the off days of the week if you want to get completely trashed with some DAFFS and German drinking tourists.
I think at this time a short discussion of Dutch girls will be useful to single dude travelers. I have had a number of Dutch girlfriends and very much like Dutch girls. But they are very different than American girls and must be handled accordingly.
Feminism has had a major impact on girls’ attitudes in Holland. The good news in this is Dutch girls are not looking for some man to come and sweep them off their feet and pay for everything and make them some princess and give them some stupid diamond. The are very independent and will buy you a drink within minutes of meeting you if they like you. I like smart independent girls, so this part is good. However sometimes I have thought that Dutch girls are robots. Like it’s really hard to get much of idea of what emotions they might be experiencing. I’ve had Dutch girlfriends that were very nice girlfriends but I never had any idea what they were feeling at the time.
But they are girls deep down, and they do have emotions, actually! The thing that feminism has done with a negative impact is that society tells them from the beginning that they don’t need a man, and that they’re their own person, etc., but their chick genes are telling them that they want a strong man to come sweep them off their feet and make them feel warm and fuzzy and warm and safe inside. So they have these conflicting ideas battling inside them and it’s good to keep this in mind.
Most Dutch guys will agree that Dutch women are difficult. This feminist conflict attitude makes them self-sabotage at times. They have also been known to be pretty bad cockblocks too. I have several times had a great time meeting a Dutch girl and spent hours on an insta-date with them one day to then be unable to get them to ever show up again to see me. Dutch girls can be quite flaky that way. Many Dutch guys just have the strategy of meeting a girl and sticking with it for the evening and taking her home that first night. We call that Foolsmate.
I generally agree with this principle: If you like a girl and think that you’d like to see her again, and you’d enjoy banging her later, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to bang her that night anyway. For example, a good friend and I picked up some super slamming 30 something Wall Street girls at Pastis in the Meatpacking District of New York once and one of them was really getting along with my friend . We all went back to her place, and after a while the other girl left. My friend took his girl into the bedroom and was making out with her, so I tried to leave. He was like, “Hey wait, I’ll come too”, and he stopped making out with this absolute knockout redhead. Our conversation:
Me: “Dude, what’s wrong with you? Go bang that chick immediately!”
Him: “Dude, it’s late, and don’t worry about it, I got her in the bag.”
From that point onwards, she flaked on more than one date the rest of the week and they never got together. He called her every time he came to NYC for years after that and she flaked every time.
Rule of life: If you get a chance to score, don’t put it off. Do it immediately. Even if you’re moving the ball 8 yards every play all day, if you have a chance to get in the endzone, you stretch out and dive over that pylon to get in. It might be your only chance. This is a general rule of life, when opportunity knocks, answer that call immediately. Sometimes the big breaks come only once.
This is very true with Dutch girls. If you meet one one afternoon, take her on an insta-date. Move to another part of the coffeeshop. Then dinner. Then dancing. Then your place. Or her place. This is the most reliable way to make it work in Holland. If you try to make a date for another day and romance the girl, etc, the odds of her flaking are high.
The standard line for meeting Dutch girls is: “Hi.” Or in Dutch, “Hei.” I love how straightforward Dutch people are. You don’t need a complicated seduction plan for a Dutch girl. Don’t beat around the bush here, you don’t have to be mean to them at first like American girls, you don’t have to come up with some subterfuge, just walk straight up to them and say, “Hi, I’m Charlie. What’s your name?” Then proceed to be smile, be brilliant, nice, cool, and funny, flirt your ass off, use good body language, and go for the gold. And by all means, let her buy you the first round.
Some other places to go include the Rembrantplein which is a more grown up version of the Leidseplein. This is more of a weekend location however. Another of my favorites is the Pijp neighborhood (pronounced “pipe”). The main drag there has lots of nice upscale bars and restaurants where the young professional girls as well as cougars like to have a glass of wine or dinner with their girlfriends. It’s a very good happy hour pickup location. Also remember to stick your head in the Irish pub while you’re in Amsterdam.
One other thing to be aware of: Dutch people are very nice and cool, but some of them really like being Dutch and aren’t really into foreigners much. The girls are usually the ones with the most unpronounceable names like Schxarkpfe or Xarkxette. Dutch people also like to go off and be Dutch together. There’s a lot of Dutch bars where they smoke constantly and play shitty Dutch pop, so if you go to one of those places, it’s good to have a Dutch person bring you so you appear legitimized. If a girl seems really super Dutch and she’s not raring to go, I’ve learned to just turn to the one of her friends with better English and a more normal name and try my luck there instead.
*One of the world’s finest museums is in Amsterdam- the Rijksmuseum. It is a treasure and super fun to visit on drugs. However it’s been closed for renovation since 2003, and is not scheduled to reopen until 2013. That’s right, 10 years or renovation. What is this, Mexico? Anyway, don’t waste your money on going to see the paltry temporary housing next door, just skip that and save your 10 euros for when it finally opens again. I think that this 10 year delay is disgraceful, by the way. Try the Van Gogh Museum in the meanwhile, and make sure to visit a coffeeshop first.