Going Dutch in Amsterdam
BY Billy Kolber
July 06 2009 12:00 AM ET
If there were ever a city designed for the convenient mixing of work and play, Amsterdam would be it. Well known for its legal and regulated red-light district and "coffee shops," where hash brownies are sold as casually as corn muffins, it's also the business and financial capital of the Netherlands. This is a compact city, laid out along radiating canals that were built during the 17th century, when its merchant marine made it the richest city in the world.
Today's Amsterdam is progressive, tolerant, and particularly welcoming to gay people, who will find affirmation everywhere, from the pink granite triangles of the Homomonument (Homomonument.com) to the gay-affirming, sex-positive exhibits in the Teen Facts zone of Nemo (E-Nemo.nl), the city's science center. Amsterdam even has a gay-specific information booth: Pink Point (at the Homomonument, Westermarkt; PinkPoint.org) open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. With unusual shopping opportunities, vibrant cultural offerings, and exciting nightlife, this city has something for everyone. And finding it all is easy. You can't stand on a corner looking at a map for more than a few moments without a friendly native offering assistanceâ€¦in your language: English is so widely spoken the only Dutch word you'll need to learn is bedankt (thanks!)