The 21 Worst Decisions You Can Make in Amsterdam

Like a Jäger shot on an empty stomach, we've all made some bad decisions. And while living in Amsterdam is a great decision, the city's permissive culture also provides ample opportunities to make some pretty poor ones. So save your sanity/wallet/life by avoiding these 21 Amsterdam no-nos...

1. Not trying the local beer

(Or thinking that means Heineken.)There are a lot of beer bars in this town, and more and more of them forgo the Belgian stuff in favor of local brews. (Again, we are not talking about Heineken.) We recommend starting with Oedipus, which you can now find in a bunch of bars and even most grocery stores.

2. Swimming in the canals

The water's actually not that dirty, since the canals are completely flushed out regularly and most of the houseboats are now hooked up to proper sewage systems. But there's a lot of crap on the bottom, like the rusted shards of broken bikes, which can leave you with a bloody and permanent souvenir of your adventure. Plus, you'll smell kinda funny after. 

3. Buying a "junkie" bike for €15

Is that the price of your soul?

4. Buying too many tokens at a festival

We all have those leftover plastic discs jangling around at the bottom of a bag, haunting us at €2.50 a pop for being too lazy or too far gone to finish them off or trade them back in by the end of the night.

5. Sleeping in too long on a sunny Saturday or Sunday

Skipping the nice weather would be your first mistake, which you'd regret one rainy week later. When the sky is blue, whether you're headed to a terrace or the park, you'd best carve out your territory early, because once everyone's sitting, no one's moving until the sun goes down. 

6. Buying any drugs offered to you on the street

Hard drugs are not legal, regulated, or supervised in the Netherlands, and tourists have died from buying the wrong stuff. 

7. Getting a multi-speed, second-hand bike

It'll be fun for a week, switching back and forth between the gears on the few steep bridges where it's kinda useful. Until the whole system inevitably (and swiftly) breaks down, leaving you stranded in impossible-to-pedal fifth... until the day your bike is stolen by a junkie and sold to an unsuspecting noob on a bridge near the Red Light District for €15. 

8. Window shopping on the Bloedstraat & Barndesteeg without knowing their deal

As we explained in our tour of the Red Light District, there are ladies on these streets packing something a little bit extra. And they get a good laugh out of surprising unsuspecting male visitors (after collecting the cash).

9. Not walking or biking everywhere you can

Cars are a pain in the butt in central Amsterdam and best saved for trips beyond, and public transport usually takes longer than the bike ride, with all that stopping and waiting around. 

10. Not having a smartphone

In this twisted-street town of watery dead ends, even longtime locals depend on Google Maps.

11. Trying new drugs without proper guidance and supervision

Even "soft" drugs like truffles and cannabis can hit you harder than you expect, so do pay attention when the instructions are doled out if you're going to try 'em for the first time. And then only do it somewhere safe with trusted people looking over you (and standing by with a fruit smoothie when needed).

12. Planning to do anything on King's Day morning

Not if you celebrated King's Night properly, you're not. 

13. Standing anywhere near intoxicated people with fireworks on New Year's Eve

Every New Year's Day the papers publish statistics about how many dumbasses have blown off their hands, or other people's hands. Don't be a number.

14. Leaving town on New Year's Eve

There ain't no New Year's Eve party like an Amsterdam Oud-en-Nieuw party. Seriously, all those fireworks... 

15. Listening to people from outside Amsterdam talk about why Amsterdam sucks

Haters gonna hate. 

16. Not getting some sort of screenage for your windows

Amsterdam's canals are mosquito breeding grounds.

17. McDonald's at 2am

There are better late-night options. (Hello, Cannibale Royale.) 

18. Standing up a Tinder/OKCupid date

This is a pretty small town when it comes to (online) dating. This will come back to bite you in the ass. 

19. Not learning as much Dutch as you can

Sure, everyone here speaks English, but life is so much better when you understand restaurant menus and train announcements.

20. Arguing with the bathroom attendant

Just pay the 50 cents. 

21. Not spending as much time as you can on the water

You'll never love Amsterdam more than when you're cruising through her canals. (If you can't afford a boat and aren't lucky enough to have a friend who can, there's always the "We are on a Boat" app and private tour operators, like Rederij Paping.)

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