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My experience in Amsterdam | alcoholism (?) and coffee shops | culture and vegan places

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a cosmopolitan and liberal city that serves as a significant hub for culture, economy, and tourism. I had the opportunity to visit it for the first time in late August of this year, and it honestly lived up to the image I had of the city before visiting. I consider it to be above average compared to the dozens of European cities I've visited so far.

Amsterdam Skyline

The society of Amsterdam can be perfectly summarized as diverse and multicultural. The city hosts people from all over the world, including young immigrants in search of employment in recent years, which is reflected in its culture and atmosphere. Compared to northern Tenerife, which is much more rural, Amsterdam's society is far more diverse. Northern Tenerife is traditionally an agricultural region with a local population, a far cry from the southern part of the island. In contrast, Amsterdam is a cosmopolitan city with a diverse population in terms of ethnicity, religion, culture, tastes, lifestyles, and attire, among other aspects.

With such a diverse population and a significant proportion of young residents, Amsterdam has a plethora of bars and restaurants, where alcohol is also served. This facilitates access to alcohol for people, as is the case in most places around the world, which is nothing new. However, from my experience, despite being a major European city where alcohol consumption is known, I did not witness any disorderly behavior, fights, uncomfortable situations, or visibly intoxicated people in the streets.

Amsterdam cannal on a cloudy day
Amsterdam cannal

One of the things that surprised me the most was the peace and tranquility in the heart of the old town. Considering its size and population, it was quite remarkable, especially coming from northern Tenerife, where such tranquility and comfort are more common.

The BullDog Coffee Shop, one of the most famous in the city
The BullDog Coffee Shop

Regarding the relationship between alcohol consumption and the existence of coffee shops in Amsterdam.

One distinctive aspect of Amsterdam compared to other places in Europe is the legal use of marijuana in certain establishments known as "Coffee Shops." Some studies suggest that marijuana could help reduce alcohol consumption since it's not legal to sell both substances in the same establishment. Marijuana can act as a substitute for alcohol, allowing people to relax and have fun without consuming alcohol.

On a different note, as a vegan, I'm always on the lookout for vegan options wherever I go. I must say that in Amsterdam, I didn't face any difficulties. Being a large city with a significant young population, which tends to lean toward veganism, and with the growing popularity of veganism worldwide, Amsterdam offers many more restaurant and food options than northern Tenerife, for example. I didn't have to make much effort to find places to eat and discover vegan choices. The city boasts numerous vegan restaurants, and there are also plenty of vegan options available in non-vegan restaurants.

Iván Luis 09/25


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