Prosperity in Amsterdam today is apparent when travelling to this capital city in The Netherlands. A small country jam-packed with over 17 million English speaking citizens, Amsterdam has almost a million. Once well-known as a haven for hippies, it has since moved on to a large economy and successful cosmopolitan business center. The hippie era was the 60's and 70's when Amsterdam got it's name as hippie paradise, free from all culture. Many people from other countries still think it is this way.
In Amsterdam today, new economy has brought prosperity, evident from growing business zones and transformation of the landscape surrounding ancient town houses and canals.
Prosperity in Amsterdam today is evident, from a hippie haven to a bustling business city--still in the midst of transforming. The culture of free thinking and communal living has not yet gone away. The free culture is not an offshoot of semi-legal exotic plants, but a by-product of successful economic growth today.
Today Amsterdam's collective mentality does not as easily accept the hippie youth if they only participate in getting high as part of the city's culture. Youth with a spending capacity and business goals are more aligned with the present consciousness. Amsterdam has slowly transformed itself into a place where you can smoke hash and enjoy the city without considerable damage to the wallet.
Amsterdam historically has been a major trading post during the colonial times, for this reason scattered town houses are seen around the otherwise neatly aligned canals. These were built by the wealthy tradesmen; today these places mostly house smoke shops, exotic night life and brothels. This historical irony has been taken in stride by the local populace--and by a collective decision--legalized the brothels and sale of hash in licensed coffee shops. These are some of Amsterdam's major tourist attractions today.
It would be wrong and unkind to think that the locals are addicted or are always high on marijuana or hallucinogens. They are busy planning and remodeling town houses into various centers of innovative business. They are busy biking around or tasting ethnic food or just relaxing--watching life from the sidelines--reading newspapers at a sidewalk cafÃ©.
Amsterdam has its own charm that casts a spell when you see the 1200 bridges lit over 150 canals. The glory of Amsterdam charms you further when it emerges from the mist at sunrise. The basic attitude here is very friendly and carefree. Tourists are welcome and the locals are quite helpful as one visits the flower market that floats, or tours the Rembrandt Museum, Jewish Historical Museum and restaurants, nightclubs, canals, bridges and cafes.
Each province of The Netherlands has its own tourist organization strewn around with multi-lingual attendants. These Associations for Foreign Travel book accommodations, help with travel arrangements and keep visitors abreast of pertinent travel information.