Visit Hans Brinker's Country
Misconceptions About Drugs in The Netherlands
Places To Visit and Things To Do in the Netherlands not related to the Amsterdam Red Light District and Coffeeshops
Historical Weed Location in the Netherlands
For those of you who associate the Netherlands with Amsterdam and Amsterdam with the Red Light district and weed-selling coffee shops: you may not have fathomed the existence of a far more mysterious weed location in the Netherlands, down south in a very large waterjungle called Biesbosch.
There weed was grown for rope production. This rope production used to be an industry that harvested the stems of the plants for rope. In those days, no one working in that industry used the hallucinating properties of the plant.
No one working in the rope producing ever thought of smoking the plant. In those good old days it was purely harvested for industrial purposes. Two large polders had weed grown and are still called "Spits and Hennip".
The latter Hennip stands for Hennep, the name for weed more commonly used in official documents in Holland.
Some time after the plant based rope industry disappeared hennep plants once again appeared, but in very small quantities. It raised the suspicion of people who went into the most narrow waterways that could only be traveled by small boats or canoes. They were grown on top of a large boat and apparently not for rope production purposes. It took time before finally, these weed plants had to be removed from that Biesbosch boat, after the whole waterjungle area became a national park. So, today, going to the Biesbosch for buying the famous Netherweed will most certainly end up with disappointment.
For those who visited Amsterdam in the sixties and seventies the Dam square was the place you had to go because in the 60 ties, the Dam square became the symbol for freedom, anti war, and local provo's (provocators) who were not only against the Dutch establishment but also against the USA's Vietnam war policies and on top against all materialistic, capitalistic governments worldwide. Hippies from all over the world would go to the Dam square in Amsterdam to celebrate "the age of Aquarius" with its "Happiness and Understanding", a part of the famous "Flower Power" movement. On Dam square, the "Children of God" a hippy movement flown in from the States were busy bringing the drug and weed smoking crowd back to a non commercial version of the bible, giving up all earthly possessions and following their leader Moses David.
In those days the mayor of Amsterdam felt that talking to the youngsters who in protest against the Vietnam war and money controlled upper class university systems had taken over the Central Railway Station and "Het Maagdenhuis", the university's administrative headquarters in Amsterdam was a better way to deal with them than intervention by the police and with force. It all calmed down and the Netherlands have been peaceful ever since.
Things you can do in Amsterdam that are not related to the Red Light District and the coffeeshops, are trips by boat through the canals which is a unique way to see Amsterdam and a trip like that will take you about one hour. These trips can be fun when you are first time in the city, but if it is your second time, you might as well opt for another city with canals where you can go on a boat tour, such as tours on the very special wooden boats in Giethoorn.
For first time visitors it may be worth their your while to go see the flee market, Madame Tussaud's, antiquity shops and various museums of which the Anne Frank museum, recalls the tragic situation of the Dutch Jewish people in Amsterdam during WWII. Anne Frank's museum is worldfamous and has many sites publishing information about it. It cannot escape your attention when you plan a trip to Holland, but if you have seen Anne Frank and have become a second time visitor to Holland I recommend you go see the Corrie ten Boom museum in a the nearby city of Haarlem, Barteljorisstraat 19. It is a museum in memorial of a woman who was a member of the Dutch resistance against a fascist movement occupying Holland in the 40 ties. This museum is an important asset to Holland and visitors from all over the world come and see where the Dutch family Ten Boom used to live. The "Corrie Ten Boom Museum" in Haarlem, is very close to the trainstation in Haarlem and only 15 minutes away by train from Amsterdam. In this home, Corrie Ten Boom and her family saved as many as 800 Jewish people in the course of three years, hiding them behind a fake wall till they were betrayed by a Dutch collaborator. Corrie was the only one in her family who survived the concentration camp and travelled much around the world afterwards. You may be acquainted with her book: "The Hiding Place".
A little further south and about an hours drive, you may want to go see the Dutch windmill village: "Kinderdijk". This village is a beautiful reminder of the earliest Dutch attempts to struggle against water and flooding. Going there will be a truly Dutch experience and very worth your while if you want to get a bit of insight into what Holland used to look like up to a century ago. You can take a boat tour along all the windmills in the village for little money especially when you take it as a group outing or company outing package.
Then after you have seen this part of West Holland and about half an hour's drive south from the windmill village: "Kinderdijk" you will reach the earlier mentioned waterjungle called "Biesbosch". This area is unique to Holland and its history is even more unique. Go see the Biesbosch museum in Werkendam city first to get an impression of the area's history throughout the ages before diving into all kinds of activities such as "Fluisterboat Biesbosch" trips, on a solar powered boat. You have a wide variety of activities in this area: you can go canoeing, cycling, solexing, or tandeming, or just walk on foot. Group outings and Company outings are organised inside the range of 40 - 80 square miles in and around the Biesbosch with as much as 11 cities to visit by boat and bus and more than 16 different activities you can participate in. You may want to spend a lot more time in the province of Brabant and the Biesbosch once you have seen this immense nature reserve by boat. The travel gets cheaper when you go on a group or company outing. Down here is more on the Biesbosch and its history. Biesbosch Waterjungle Information