Certain cities of the world manage to capture the attention of tourists more than others. Amsterdam is one of them and it manages to gather an impressive number of tourists every year as a “Sin City”.

Why is Amsterdam called Sin City? Keeping in mind that the name Sin City originated in Las Vegas because of the high level of gambling, organized crime, prostitution and such. Amsterdam among others is popular for its Red Light District and the fact that Cannabis is legalized with boundaries.

The truth is that you can find quite a few amazing cities on the old continent, decorated with historic buildings, narrow rock-paved streets, and with a rich cultural background. However, Amsterdam attracts tourists in a very different manner. Called “Sin City” as well, this city offers a couple of features that can’t be found anywhere else. So, if you’re looking for an interesting and exciting city break, Amsterdam deserves to be on your list.

Why do they call it Sin City?

Reading the name is self-explanatory. A city of sin, an area or city where boundaries can be pushed or illegal activities are tolerated. Examples include gambling, prostitution and other sex-related services, drug use, organized crime, and gang activity.

Why is Amsterdam Famous?

A city that beats its popular nickname

If you’re attracted to visiting Amsterdam because it is a “sin city”, think twice, as this town has much more to offer than an open door to pleasure. It is an old European city that is packed with history and culture. It is an art center with several museums that are worth to be mentioned and visited. It is simply amazing to be there because this city has something to offer to every type of tourist that decides to visit it.

So, don’t see Amsterdam as a vulgar city, where everything is allowed. On the contrary, you will conclude that people over here are very welcoming, warm, friendly, and courteous. They are extremely tolerant and ready to embrace visitors regardless of their background culture. In other words, you will not just have a great time in Amsterdam, but you will also feel amazing and will give yourself the chance to live unique experiences.

A free and relaxed city

As soon as you arrive in Amsterdam, you will immediately notice just how relaxed and laidback everybody is. In fact, things are so permissive in Amsterdam that smoking is allowed even in indoor spaces. So, if you’re a smoker and weren’t allowed to smoke in enclosed spaces, this will no longer be an impediment in Amsterdam. Here, you can forget all about your worries and enjoy everything you want.

Due to the fact that, compared to other cities, Amsterdam decided to adopt a more liberal attitude toward smoking and products destined to smokers. It’s not like the city encourages the use and abuse of substances, but is more relaxed when it comes to other types of experiences as well and gives people the chance to judge what’s good and what’s bad.

So, if you want to enjoy a vacation where restrictions don’t exist or wish to enjoy things that are illegal in most parts of the world, Amsterdam can provide such experiences.

The rich culture and easy-going attitude

One of the best parts about visiting Amsterdam is that no one in the city will judge you for wishing to indulge in sinful behavior or try out less-moral activities. The inhabitants of this city are very relaxed and easy-going, being fully aware of why people choose to visit Amsterdam. Because Amsterdam itself has a rich cultural background, people here are accustomed to embracing diversity, cultural differences, and personal preferences, so you will certainly feel at home in Amsterdam.

You will never be judged based on how you look, how to talk, where you come from, and what you prefer doing in your spare time. And finding such a generous degree of freedom is very hard to find anywhere else.

While during the day the city is busy, it will truly come to life once the sun goes down. The evening is the moment when you can see the real colors of Amsterdam, as people of all kinds and ages, inhabitants and visitors, go out to enjoy the beauty and freedom of this urban center. Evenings are even busier during spring when the city is assaulted by tourists.

It is very easy to become part of the city and mingle with the locals if you choose to visit a bar and grab a casual drink. The locals are very open-minded and you’ll make friends easily. The relaxed attitude we talked about earlier is everywhere you look and Amsterdam is known for not being afraid to do things in its specific manner.

The ideal place for creativity and art

Leaving behind the tolerance and rich nightlife of Amsterdam, it is worth mentioning that this city has a very impressive artistic background. Here, art in all of its forms is encouraged, appreciated, and embraced. This can be easily seen in the high number of museums that can be visited in Amsterdam.

Without a doubt, this city loves its art traditions and will do everything it can to protect them. If you love art, you will be mind-blown in Amsterdam, as this is the place where you can enjoy, for real, the works of art of the most popular and appreciate artists in the world. So, when you’re in Amsterdam, make sure to visit the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Stedelijk Museum at least. You will not feel sorry for doing so. And in case you’re passionate about history, the Anne Frank House is the kind of museum that will quench your thirst.

If you’re lucky enough, you could even participate in art exhibitions during your stay in Amsterdam because many events of this kind are organized in this city. Some of them are extremely interesting, as they show sides less known of world-renowned artists, so it is definitely the kind of experience to look after. You can even come across artists in the city since many contemporary artists come to Amsterdam in search of inspiration. This city is known for depositing great efforts in preserving its artworks, artifacts, and historical vestiges, so no wonder it is so appreciated by artists and art enthusiasts alike.

Sin City is not the best nickname for Amsterdam

While it is true that the Red District exists in Amsterdam and that there’s a higher level of freedom, even when it comes to the darker side of life, Amsterdam is not a real “sin city”. In the opinion of people living in Amsterdam, the city is not about sins and living in disgrace, but a more practical and realistic life. Prostitution, drugs, and alcohol are not being hidden, as it happens in most cities of the world. They are unveiled and highly visible, and no one is ashamed of them.

The intriguing decision of making all these legal has nothing to do with the desire to give people the ultimate freedom but to regulate. Is the acknowledgment that making them illegal and forbidden will not help anyone, as there are always ways to go round the law. In Amsterdam, local authorities are fully aware of the fact that forbidden things will always be attractive to people. Thus, to avoid excesses and crimes of various kinds, the decision to make them legal seemed a much better option.

So, you will be amazed just how well is everything organized and systemized. Despite the fact that what is considered a sin by others is seen as normal activities in Amsterdam, you will not see people behaving wildly or wreak havoc in the city. In other words, it is possible to enjoy everything you want, but the game has rules and it is in the benefit of everyone to respect the rules. This is why even the Red Light District is safe to walk around, not worrying about a thing. Even young people can have a tour around it, not worrying that something bad will happen. There’s a high degree of civilization in this city, as every citizen will respect the privacy of the others, not bothering or interrupting unless you show clear signs of interest. Thus, you don’t have to worry about being assaulted by all kinds of people if you wish to visit the famous District. It will be as relaxing and safe as walking through the park.

All of this is possible because sex is not considered taboo in Amsterdam. If other cities don’t like treating this subject publicly, in Amsterdam it is seen as a normal and natural part of life. So, it is better to say that Amsterdam is a free city, rather than calling it a sin city. People here are not encouraged to sin or indulge in negative behaviors but are more allowed to take decisions into their own hands and live life as they wish to.

An amazing city to visit

Amsterdam is a city where people are allowed to indulge in their pleasures, regardless of their type, while still showing a high level of respect and tolerance to others. Thus, you will not be bullied, disrespected, judged, or offended in this city. These people are open-minded and more than ready to accept people of all kinds. Also, let us not forget the rich historical heritage of this city and the incredible art scene available here. Name the “Sin City” mostly by outsiders, Amsterdam is a capital city with very many things to offer. So, while it is recommended to take a bite of its freedom, bear in mind that Amsterdam can generate incredible experiences that go beyond the Red Light District and colourful coffee shops and bars. Amsterdam can open doors toward a unique culture and perspective over life, which makes it worthy to explore every side of it.

Frequently asked questions

Are drugs legal in Amsterdam?

Not al drugs is legal in Amsterdam. And if it is legalized it concerns softdrugs and are their boundaries for possessing or using them. Hard drugs is completely prohibited.

There is an exception for people older than 18 years if they have a small amount of soft drugs strictly for own use and not for selling. Only coffeeshops may sell softdrugs to a person once a day, max 5 grams

Drinking Alcohol in public is not allowed.

How safe is Amsterdam?

Amsterdam in general is a very safe place and tourist friendly. For your safety, like everywhere in the world you should always take precautions for not becoming a target for example pickpockets.