In the 12th Century the place was a river delta that often flooded. Instead of losing their properties to flooding as people do all the time in America, the people started banding together in communities and built dams and canals to stop the flooding. The people of Amsterdam also built the first businesses of the modern age. Insurance, the first stock exchange and international trade like the Dutch East India Company. As the economy grew so did the city. One of the great 17th Century canals is the Herengracht Centrum that is where the wealthy businessmen built their stately homes. Each has a decorative plaque describing a picture in stone of what they sold to make their wealth.
It wasn’t all business. The laid back style of living encouraged some of the greatest artists to create. Famous paintings were inspired and painted there like Girl With a Pearl Earring by Vermeer, The Gypsy Girl by Hais, Rembrandt is all over inside the museum. His paintings had such expression and seemed to tell a story in each painting. There is Van Gogh there where there is an entire museum dedicated to his art. One of the cities most visited place is the Anne Frank Huis, the home where her famous diary was written during the 2 years she hid from the Nazi’s during World War ll.
If you are not into all the history born there, just see the openness there. People do not even have curtains on their windows. The tolerant attitude from marijuana use to sex is refreshing there compared to the very judgmental holier than thou attitude flourishing in America these days. There are over 200 coffee shops there where you can also legally buy marijuana and smoke it there with your cup of coffee. There is the famous red light district where there are literally lanterns attached to buildings with a red glow in them indicating that sex is legally for sale at that location. No one judges anyone. There is a Dutch word, Gedogen that means technically illegal but very tolerated.
Amsterdam is the birthplace of our sense of individual attitudes about anything and accepted by all. No protests there or fighting like we do all the time in America now. The Netherlands was the first place to legalize same-sex marriage. In other parts of the world people get killed for what is tolerated in this place. In the Philippians you get shot by police on the streets for drug use. In Russia and Dubai you get thrown in jail or more for homosexuality. Now there is a ban on Muslims from certain countries in America. The world is not a very tolerant place compared to the refreshing Netherlands. It is good to know that there is a place on earth that people can live a safe, educated, free, prosperous, artistic thriving life free of judgement on what you want to do.