Amsterdam is known as a haven for hippies. It has since moved to become a larger economy and successful cosmopolitan business centre. The hippie era was the 60s and 70s when Amsterdam took its name from hippie haven of free culture for all. Most people visualize this expired idea even today. The new economy has brought prosperity evident throughout the growth of business areas and the general transformation of the landscape that surrounds the old town houses and canals.
With over one million population, the transformation of Amsterdam of a hippie haven to a buzzing business city is not yet complete. The culture of freedom of thought and collective life has not disappeared. Only free culture is not a branch of legal semi toxic plants and exotic, but a by-product of successful economic growth today.
Today in Amsterdam does not welcome the young hippies who think getting high on hash is a part of culture of Amsterdam but does prefer the young people with spending power. Not that you cannot smoke hash in Amsterdam, but gradually has become a city where smoking hashish and enjoy the city without great damage to the pocket.
Amsterdam historically has been a major trading post during the colonial times, the reason why you will find scattered town houses around the otherwise neatly aligned canals. The then wealthy tradesmen made these. Today these houses mostly house smoke shops, exotic nightlife and a string of brothels. This historical irony has been taken in stride by the local populace and by a collective decision licensed the brothels and the sale of hash in licensed coffee shops. These are a major tourist attraction today. It would be wrong to think that the locals are addicted or are always high on marijuana. They are busy planning and remodeling a few town houses into various centres of innovative business, they are busy biking around or tasting ethnic food or just relaxing and watching life from the sidelines while reading newspapers on a sidewalk cafe.
Amsterdam has its own charm that casts a spell when you the see close to 1200 bridges light up over 150 channels. The glory of Amsterdam charms is that even when it emerges from the mist in the morning. The day could not be more perfect for when visiting the floating flower market, Rembrandt Museum, the Jewish Historical Museum and the obvious social and joints such as discotheques, brown cafes, etc. English is the most common language used in Amsterdam, a significant portion of the population speaks it fluently. The basic attitude of the people here are very friendly and cheerful as one can chat with locals in a place in the course of a beer.
Each province of Netherlands has its own tourist organization strewn around with multilingual attendants. These Associations for Foreign Travel, as they are called or in short VVV (fay-fay-fay), book accommodations, help making travel arrangements and keeps the visitor abreast with latest programmes. They also publish Amsterdam Day by Day, a monthly magazine stating programmes for the month for a mere $2.50.