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This article was published on April 26, 2010

The beginners guide to having a good (and safe) time in Amsterdam

The beginners guide to having a good (and safe) time in Amsterdam
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Story by

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

Typical AmsterdamAbout half of the attendees at The Next Web Conference aren’t from The Netherlands. They fly (or drive) into Amsterdam early in the week and stay for the weekend after the conference.

We love it, and are very proud, that our conference has grown into an event with international appeal.

For our international visitors we have a few tips when it comes to surviving Amsterdam. Here they are, in no particular order:

Beware of people on bikes. There are more bikes in Amsterdam than people and the people riding these bikes don’t stop for anything. Stick to the sidewalks and keep your ears open. If you hear someone ringing their bells seek cover or they will run you down. It is great to experience Amsterdam on a bike. Go rent one at one of the many bike rent shops.

Amsterdam is sometimes referred to as ‘Drug capital of the world’. This is a lot more credit than we deserve but it is true that certain drugs are legal and readily available. If you absolutely have to get a taste then we won’t stop you. But be very cautious. Our soft drugs are very potent and can easily make you sick. Locals usually aren’t too interested in drugs either so be discrete about your experiences. Apart from that, enjoy!

Flying into Amsterdam via Schiphol? Get a taxi (you might call it a cab but in The Netherlands we call them Taxis) or the train. Train is cheap and comfortable unless you arrive after dark in which case I would advise to take a taxi. Trains leave every 15 minutes from schiphol – costs 3,80 euros), then take a tram (line 4 or 25 – costs 1,60 euros) and get out at Frederiksplein (right in front of Hotel V). Total travel time 40 minutes

Read this excellent article at The New York Times on how to arrive healthily and safe. In short: drink a lot of water, keep moving around and take lots of vitamins.

A taxi into town shouldn’t cost you more than 45 euros depending on where you need to go and should take no more than 35 minutes. Amsterdam taxi drivers can often be rude, unfriendly and unprofessional. Sorry about that.

Red Light District
Yes, the red Light District is a major sightseeing opportunity. Lots of sights to see there. Go ahead, check it out but pay attention to a few things. Beware of pickpockets: most people are so distracted by the sight of, ehm, certain things that they don’t watch their personal belongings. Also, don’t make photos of the ladies, or men, behind the windows. They DON’T like that and won’t ask you politely to stop if you do take a photo. Don’t risk finding out what they WILL do.

Where to go and for what
The Next Web Conference will be held at the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam. We’ve created a map with some interesting places in Amsterdam. We’ll add stuff to the map almost every day:

View The Next Web Conference in a larger map

Conference Venue Tuesday:
Tuesday’s venue is Felix Meritis:
Keizersgracht 324, Amsterdam

Conference Venue Wednesday and Thursday:
The venue is called the Westergasfabriek and most people in Amsterdam know where it is so you can ask anyone in the street. The exact address is:

Zuiveringshal West
Pazzanistraat 37

1014 BE Amsterdam

Tram 10 goes directly to the conference venue. Take the one that goes in the direction of “Van Hallstraat” and get out at “Van Limburg Stirumstraat”. 2 minute walk from there. A taxi is also an option, costs are about 10-12 euros from anywhere in the city center.