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Legal cannabis cultivation in Netherlands to test organized crime impact

By Janene Pieters on October 9, 2017 - 11:20

Cannabis plants
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flowering_Cannabis_Plants.JPG. Impression of a cannabis plantation. (Cannabis Training University/ Wikimedia)

The new Dutch government is planning an experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation, to see if this legal cultivation will decrease organized crime and increase the safety of cannabis in the country. In the experiment, the government will give one organization a government license to grow cannabis, which will be distributed in six to 10 municipalities, RTL Nieuws reports.

 

Which organization will grow the government cannabis, and how exactly will be handled, is not yet clear. Municipalities can sign up for the experiment. The intention is that mainly large and medium sized municipalities take part.

 

 

Under current Dutch law, it is legal for coffeeshops to sell cannabis, but it is illegal to buy and cultivate the drugs, according to RTL. In practice it means that coffeeshops buy their supply through criminals, which presents a lot of danger and problems. 

 

In addition to decreasing organized crime, the new government also hopes that this legally cultivated weed will have benefits for public health. Illegally grown cannabis may contain harmful substances, as no one regulates it. 

 

This experiment can be considered a breakthrough. Dutch municipalities have long been advocating for experimenting with regulated cannabis cultivation. The four parties in the government formation process are divided on the issue. The D66 has always been for regulating this. The VVD always spoke out against it in parliament, though a majority of VVD members voted for regulated cultivation at the party congress last year. The two Christian parties - CDA and ChristenUnie - are against it, saying that the government must do everything in its power to keep addictive substances out of society, according to RTL.

 

 

https://nltimes.nl/2017/10/09/legal-cannabis-cultivation-netherlands-test-organized-crime-impact

 

 

 

 

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Rotterdam may experiment with "municipal weed" in new cannabis policy

By Janene Pieters

November 2, 2017

Ahmed Abou Taleb
Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb

Rotterdam plans to soon start growing its own "municipal weed", mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said on Wednesday. The Rotterdam mayor already spoke to new Justice Minister

 

Ferdinand Grapperhaus about participating in the new government's regulated cannabis cultivation experiment. "I was one of the first mayors to talk to Minister of Justice Grapperhaus. We would love to be the first test municipality", he said when announcing Rotterdam's new cannabis policy in the city hall, AD reports.

 

Aboutaleb's "municipal weed" plan has been ready for some time, according to AD. But Rotterdam was unable to implement it, because - until now - the national government was always against regulated cannabis cultivation. 

 

 

If it is up to the Rotterdam mayor, not only the production of cannabis will change in his city, but also the distribution. According to him, it is not at all obvious that coffeeshops will continue to be the main distribution point for cannabis. "The question is whether the phenomenon coffeeshop will still be needed in the future", he said in the Rotterdam city hall on Wednesday. He thinks other forms of distribution will be better. "Order online, and then get it delivered by bona fide package deliverers. Or through a vending machine."

In this way, the mayor hopes to be better able to guarantee the quality of cannabis. "With coffeeshops it is often not pure coffee", he said, according to the newspaper. 

 

https://nltimes.nl/2017/11/02/rotterdam-may-experiment-municipal-weed-new-cannabis-policy

 

 

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Dont you love it, when governments monopolize products in the name of our safety, instead of making laws that make retailers responsible for quality control. Why don't the hypocritical bastards be honest and say, were taking over, because every one else is now legalizing Cannabis around the planet and our country wont be condemned as much bye other governments for legalizing or becoming involved in Cannabis, and we want to make more money and control the price, for increased tax revenue.

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Amsterdam's Leidseplein reopens after major renovation

By Janene Pieters on November 3, 2017 - 14:50

Artist rendering of the renewed Leidseplein in Amstedam
Artist rendering of the renewed Leidseplein in Amstedam.

The first half of the Leidseplein renovations are done, and alderman Pieter Litjens will officially re-open the popular Amsterdam entertainment district on Friday afternoon. On Monday, the new taxi stand on Leidsebrug will also be taken in use.

 

The goal for the renovations to the Amsterdam district - which involved pouring around 2 thousand tons of asphalt and 1,5000 m3 of concrete on Stadshouderskade, Leidsebrug and Marnixstraat over the past 18 months - was to reduce car traffic and increase atmosphere. The GVB also laid 1.5 kilos of new tram tracks. From Monday the square will be car-free and pedestrians and cyclists can use the entire space. From January, only electric taxis will be allowed to use the new taxi stand on Leidsebrug.

 

 

"The work at Leidseplein has been very disruptive for everyone who goes there, lives there or works there. Day in and day out, hard work was done and with results. The square has become much more attractive", Litjens said in a press release. "Next year we will start with the reconstruction of the Klein Gartmansplantsoen and te construction of the underground bicycle storage facility with 2,000 places. Once completed, Leidseplein will be completely ready for the future."

 

Litjens is officially re-opening the Leidseplein at 3:15 p.m. on Friday. To celebrate the completion of the new square, several festivities were arranged on the square on Saturday November 25th, from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. These festivities, arranged along with entrepreneurs and cultural institutions, include music performances, guided tours and several activities for kids organized by the contractors and Stadshout Amsterdam. 

 

https://nltimes.nl/2017/11/03/amsterdams-leidseplein-reopens-major-renovation

 

 

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Dutch councils queue up for regulated marijuana project

Society
 
November 7, 2017   

 

 
marijuana-joint.jpg

 

So far 25 of the Netherlands’ 380 local authorities have come forward to say they wish to take part in trials to regulate marijuana production, broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday

 

 

The new government plans to set up experiments to grow marijuana in eight to 10 places in the coming years.

 

While officials turn a blind eye to the sale of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, how the drug ends up in licenced coffee shops remains a grey area.

 

Dozens of local authorities have for years argued for licenced production to remove drugs gangs from the entire chain. The local authorities association VNG also recommended regulated production in 2015.

Among those councils which have come forward are Breda, the Noord-Brabant town of Cuijk, and Rotterdam, where mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb wants the experiment to cover distribution as well.

 

Breda mayor Paul Depla told NOS he hopes that the government will opt for as many different sorts of production plan as possible ‘so we can choose the best one for regulated growing,’ he said.

 

Bankrupt

Depla has long campaigned for formalised marijuana growing. ‘Everyone can see that the current policy is bankrupt,’ he told NOS radio. ‘You can buy and sell but how it gets into the cafes is a mystery. And that does not make sense.’

 

The government is expected to announce where the trials will take place next year.

 

The police dismantled 5,856 marijuana plantations in 2015, or nearly 16 a day, according to the latest available figures. However, police estimate this is only one fifth of the total.

 

  https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/11/dutch-councils-queue-up-for-regulated-marijuana-project

 

 

 

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Dutch municipalities rushing to join regulated cannabis experiment

By Janene Pieters 

November 7, 2017

Cannabis
 Cannabis / Wikipedia

A total of 25 municipalities have signed up so far to take part in the Rutte III government's experiment with regulated cannabis cultivation, NOS reports. The government wants to start the experiment next year by letting eight to ten municipalities regulate the marijuana cultivation for their regions. 

 

Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb already stated that he was one of the first mayors to talk to Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security about taking part in the experiment. Rotterdam has a 'municipal weed' plan ready to go, which does not only change how cannabis is produced, but also how it is distributed.  "The question is whether the phenomenon coffeeshop will still be needed in the future", Aboutaleb said earlier this month. He thinks other forms of distribution will be better. "Order online, and then get it delivered by bona fide package deliverers. Or through a vending machine."

 

 

The D66 in Cuijk also hopes that the Noord-Brabant town will be one of the participants, though there is still opposition from the local CDA faction, D66 councilor Rolf Asbroek said to NOS. If it is up to him, there will soon be a large cannabis complex next to the A73. "I want to put everything there. From research to production and from packaging to distribution", he said, also acknowledging that this plan is "more of a dot on the horizon". 

 

Mayor Paul Depla of Breda is pleased that so many municipalities are showing interest in the experiment, even though there's only limited space, he said according to broadcaster NOS. Depla was one of the initiators of the "weed manifesto" in 2014. Dozens of municipalities signed the document, which stated that cultivated production is the solution to the problems with the Netherlands' soft drugs policy. 

 

"Everyone can see that the current policy is bankrupt. Buying and selling is allowed, but how it comes to the coffeeshops is a mystery", Depla said, according to NOS. He calls it dangerous, not knowing how the cannabis is cultivated. "We do not know how the stuff in our coffeeshops is made. That's a big probem."

 

He is therefore happy that the experiment will easily fill its available spots. "I want to experiment with as many models as possible, so we can choose which one is best for regulated weed cultivation."

 

Which municipalities will be chosen for the experiment, will be announced in the course of next year. 

 

 

 

https://nltimes.nl/2017/11/07/dutch-municipalities-rushing-join-regulated-cannabis-experiment

 

 

 

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Video: Light artist Roosegaarde’s €13-million installation illuminates Dutch dike

By Janene Pieters

November 24, 2017 -

The Afsluitdijk illuminated by Daan Roosergaarde's Gates of Light installation
The Afsluitdijk illuminated by Daan Roosergaarde's Gates of Light installation. Photo: Studio Roosergaarde

Working with a 13 million euro budget provided by the Dutch government, Studio Roosergaarde of light artist Daan Roosegaarde turned the 32 kilometer long iconic Afsluitdijk into a beautiful and sustainable art installation with three separate projects - Gates of Light, Windvogel and Glowing Nature. Together the projects aim to enhance the innovative character of the dike, while highlighting it as an "exemplary model of a smart landscape for today and tomorrow", according to the studio.

 

Gates of Light illuminates the historical architecture of the dike that connects Friesland to Noord-Holland without using any energy. The 60 monumental floodlights installed on the dike in 1932 were fully restored and augmented with a retro-reflective layer. In the dark, the headlights of passing cars light up these structures, by reflecting the cars' lights through small prisms. If there are no cars on the road, the structure remains dark - thereby not contributing to light pollution. 

Windvogel consists of energy generating kites that float and move around in the air, connected with a specially designed cable to a ground station. The push and pull of the cable transforms the movement of the kits into energy. The kites can potentially generate up to 100 kW of energy, enough to supply around 200 homes. Windvogel is a tribute to Dutch astronaut Wubbo Ockels. "Whilst flying, Roosegaarde’s Windvogel creates a visual symphony of dancing lines to celebrate the beauty and poetry of green energy."

Glowing Nature is a "unique encounter between man, biology and technology", according to Studio Roosergaarde. This project consists of live bioluminescent algae installed at the Friesland bunker on the Afsluitdijk. The algae lights up when you step on it. 

All three projects can currently be seen on the Afsluitdijk by night. Gates of Light and Windvoghel can be viewed from your car. Windvogel and Glowing Nature will be installed until January 21st. 

 

[url=https://nltimes.nl/2017/11/24/video-light-artist-roosegaardes-eu13-million-installation-illuminates-dutch-dike]nltimes[/url]

 

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10 Best Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshops to Visit

September 22, 2017
 
  • la-tertulia-amsterdam-coffeeshop-1280x800.jpg

(Courtesy of Karina Hof)

 

Early this year, news on the shuttering of Amsterdam’s oldest coffeeshop spooked smokers round the world. Many feared the fate of Mellow Yellow, established in 1972, would befall more Dutch cannabis dispensaries. Evolving national legislation has indeed forced closures, though often in connection to specific circumstances, such as proximity to a school. According to a report published in June by independent research bureau INTRAVAL, Amsterdam had 288 coffeeshops in 1999 and by 2016, only 173.

 

 

While the Netherlands was ahead of the curve in decriminalization and the fostering of an open, informative environment—coffeeshops often have signs and multilingual flyers offering tips for getting high safely—dispensaries here lag in one practice: specifying THC and CBD percentages. Rarely can dealers advise on the subject, and even the most detailed menus use emoticons, not chemical compounds, to communicate a particular strain’s effects.

 

Still, if there’s one trait the Dutch capital possesses in volume, it’s dynamism. Amsterdam has always been avant-garde of social progress. In this year’s national elections, the city cast most votes for the Greens – a leftist party so named for espousing environmental priorities, though inevitably also associated with their other verdant leanings. Notable, too, is INTRAVAL’s calculation that Amsterdam still has one coffeeshop per every 4,907 residents, and that the nationwide decline feared originally “has somewhat stablised.”

So while the outlook for dispensaries in the Netherlands is not cloud-free, the landscape remains fertile and varied, as the 10 Amsterdam coffeeshops below attest to. These are our picks for the best places to stop, sip a coffee, and sample both new and classic strains the next time you’re in the Netherlands. 

Green House, Centrum

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: Green House (Courtesy of Green House)

Oudezijds Voorburgwal 191, 1012 EW Amsterdam

One day Green House Centrum may be considered the Studio 54 of coffeeshops. Opposite the dealers’ bar, gold-framed photos crowd the wall, proving how many celebs have been proud patrons. Rihanna and Kid Cudi may not surprise, but older-school Hollywooders, such as George Clooney and Wesley Snipes, smile down too. Frequently appearing in portraits is Green House Seed Co. owner Arjan Roskam, now globally known as a Strain Hunter in the eponymous VICE/HBO documentary series. Alongside its three Amsterdam coffeeshop branches, the company does genetics development and purveys its own exclusive seeds. It has earned oodles of accolades, winning 42 Cannabis Cup awards to date. The slender chalice trophies all glimmer in their display boxes under dimmed lighting, fitting right in with the venue’s Egyptian-palace-meets-Vegas parlor vibe.

Tweede Kamer

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: Tweede Kamer (Courtesy of Tweede Kamer)

Heisteeg 6, 1012 WC Amsterdam

In Dutch, Tweede Kamer means “second room,” which is apt for a place providing cannabis users with a third space. Interestingly, it is also what folks here call the Netherlands’ House of Representatives, causing some amusing mix-ups in Amsterdam-centric conversations. Forget politics though, this coffeeshop attracts everyone—Dutch hip-hop heads, introspective Euro backpackers, sweet North American retirees, et al. What it lacks in size, it makes up for in style: Art Deco lamps, portraits of old Dutch royalty, and seafoam-colored walls that up the classiness level from legal to regal. Kind and easy to talk to, the dealers double as capable baristas, serving coffee from Australian micro-roaster Lot Sixty One.

Grey Area

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: Grey Area (Courtesy of Grey Area)

Oude Leliestraat 2, 1015 AW Amsterdam

In the heart of the Grachtengordel—Amsterdam’s canal ring, today a designated UNESCO World Heritage site—a bouncer can be found shepherding the line outside Grey Area. “You’ll get hit by a bike,” he gently warns tourists on the sidewalk. Inside, the shoebox-size coffeeshop feels part punk club, part Western Union office. Stickers paper the walls and queuing customers bifurcate the room: on one side, a small bar with a Volcano Vaporizer; on the other, a few tables and chairs. Despite the dust-covered behind-the-counter clutter, the buds are some of the freshest in town. It’s not for nothing Grey Area has won multiple Cannabis Cup and Amsterdam Unity Cup awards.

Boerejongens West

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: Boerejongens (Courtesy of Boerejongens)

Baarsjesweg 239, 1058 AA Amsterdam

The olden-days apothecary aesthetic is new to Amsterdam. Most coffeeshops came on the scene between the late 70s and the early 90s, when design was heavy on synthetics and Bob Marley was still pot’s poster boy. But Boerejongens, this year celebrating a decade’s existence, counters that. Their three locations have lab-like interiors warmly offset with Art Deco furnishings, and staffed by affable white-coated dealers and doormen with the demeanor of bellhops more than bouncers. The company works with cannabis seed purveyors Amsterdam Genetics, who have helped Boerejongens gain repute for their high-quality menu, including a uniquely wide array of hash. Although the West branch prohibits smoking of anything on the premises, its hours, 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., fulfill the walk-in-smoke-out desire of many locals.

La Tertulia

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: La Tertulia (Courtesy of Karina Hof)

Prinsengracht 312, 1016 HX Amsterdam

While many coffeeshops have an unshakable bro-y ethos, La Tertulia is, refreshingly, run by a mother-daughter team. Now in its 35th year of operation, the place is bright, well ventilated, and plant-filled. It is situated in the picture-postcard neighborhood of the Jordaan, on the same canal as the Anne Frank House and a stroll from some of Amsterdam’s most beloved open-air markets. Accordingly, the venue attracts a more mature, artier clientele and, um, some occasional Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. There are two levels of generous seating, and bistro-like chairs and tables are set up outside, where an homage-to-Van Gogh mural serves as the backdrop. 

The Bulldog, The First

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: The Bulldog (InnaFelker/iStock)

Oudezijds Voorburgwal 90, 1012 GJ Amsterdam

Like its canine mascot, The Bulldog brand is spirited, tenacious, unmistakably present in its wide stance, and cutely butch. Established in 1975 in a former sex shop, The First was not only the business’s original location, but also one of the earliest incarnations of the modern-day Dutch dispensary. Company owner Henk de Vries claims coinage of the word “coffeeshop,” saying it came from trying to capture the “coffeehouse feeling” that his space offered residents of the surrounding Red Light District. Today the company has a whole litter of coffeeshops and gift stores, a restaurant, a pub, and a hostel, all in Amsterdam, plus a hotel in British Columbia, Canada. 

Katsu

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: Katsu (Courtesy of Katsu)

Eerste van der Helststraat 70, 1072 NZ Amsterdam

De Pijp, once a predominantly residential neighborhood, has become an Airbnb hotbed, rife with trendy lifestyle stores and social-media-shutterbug-conscious cafés. But through all the changes, the zip code’s coolest coffeeshop, Katsu, has stayed true blue—a real winner, as its name means in Japanese. With a predilection for reggae and a kindly commanding veteran woman dealer, Katsu attracts many local clients—think Larry David-meets-Willie Nelson-esque gents, Rastas, and contemplative artists—while small groups of chill younger folks gravitate to the booth seating backlit by ode-to-Amsterdam wall art. Others come in for the changing 5-gram deals or give the De Verdamper vaporizer a whirl and a waft.

The Dolphins

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: The Dolphins (Courtesy of Karina Hof)

Kerkstraat 39, 1017 GB Amsterdam

Five types of weed and three types of hash make for a small menu at The Dolphins, but the big draw here is the ambience: acqua-core. The coffeeshop opened 21 years ago, when interior décor evoking a Lisa Frank folder was à la mode. But the seapunk sensibility emerged in earnest from the owner’s interest in diving and longstanding eco-friendliness. The coral colonies that line the walls are made from repurposed paper and disposable cups, explains a staffer with Windex-blue lowlights in her blonde braid. Other unique attractions include a submarine parts-accented basement hospitable to tobacco smokers; six De Verdamper vaporizers; and hash muffins with rainbow nonpareils, frosted in pink and, of course, blue. 

Bluebird

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: Bluebird (Courtesy of Bluebird)

Sint Antoniesbreestraat 71, 1011 HB Amsterdam

Bi-level Bluebird is a fixture on this broadway, which wraps around Waterlooplein’s famous flea market and is the site of the Rembrandt House (where the Golden Age master once lived and worked). Since its beginnings in the early 80s, Bluebird has cultivated a reputation for being welcoming and relaxed. This coming March, the coffeeshop undergoes a brief renovation to create a comfier lounge area and better bar, expecting to expand its food and drink menu beyond toasties, juices, and hot beverages. The reopening is scheduled for the start of April 2018, and the manager assures no azure avian artwork will be harmed in the process.

Kashmir

Amsterdam Cannabis Coffeeshop: Kashmir (Courtesy of Kashmir)

Jan Pieter Heijestraat 82, 1053 GM Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s milieu is seesawing between its own late 20th-century kaleidoscopic diversity and the neutral-toned, less-is-more cosmopolitanism currently washing over Western cities. Nearly 20 years old, Kashmir embraces the former. While the coffeeshop is a fine, friendly place to purchase cannabis, its sister business across the street (at numbers 85–87) is an even finer spot to smoke. The Kashmir Lounge has a bar, serving spirits and thus permitting a rare confluence of consumption in the Netherlands since laws prohibit simultaneous vending of cannabis and alcohol. At night, the DJ booth brings in a mix of Afro-funk, reggae, Latin, jazz, and house. The low-to-the-ground seating, mirror-work tapestries, and Hindu deities painted on the stucco walls transport visitors elsewhere—if not to some pre-hashtag-era hash den in northern India, then at least to a conspicuously vibrant vintage Amsterdam.

 

https://www.leafly.com/news/food-travel-sex/10-best-amsterdam-cannabis-coffeeshops

 

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Santa on a sex bike: Amsterdam’s red light district at Christmas

 

By Max Opray   

December 27, 2017
 

Society
 
 
 

RedLightDistrictChristmas2-560x374.jpg

Photo: Max Opray

 

Amsterdam’s famous red light district gets into the festive spirit much like anywhere else in the Netherlands, with local cafes decked out in Christmas trees and serving mulled wine.

 

In front of strip club Casa Rosso is a huge cardboard cutout of the venue’s signature pink elephant flanked by bikini-clad women and mistletoe, wishing customers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

 

The erotic museum features a mannequin dressed in a Santa outfit riding a sex toy bicycle, while the Pure Lust erotic store has shopfront windows brimming with fake snow, perfectly-wrapped presents and mannequins wearing lingerie. Two metres away on the opposite side of the alley, the windows house real women soliciting the visitors who are passing through.

 

Amsterdam is establishing itself as a major winter destination – in December inner city hotel bookings grew 10.4% last year according to the city’s promotions agency Amsterdam Marketing’s, and foreign arrivals at Schiphol airport jumped 11.6%. Yet sex industry workers and business owners in the city’s red light district say the Christmas period remains one of the quietest times of year in terms of business.

 

Luis Delgado, a Mexican sociology student visiting the area on the Friday night before Christmas, said the red light district in winter wasn’t quite the same.

‘I was here once before, two years ago in summer,’ he said. ‘I don’t remember a lot, as you can imagine! It was warmer, the mood was totally different, there was much more life. I think now it is a bit quieter.’

 

One Australian tourist shivering as he walked down a canal seemed to agree, yelling: ‘I think I’ll come back in summer!’

 

Tour companies are nevertheless keen to push the area as a Christmas destination.

 

Decorations

 

Mokum Events sells a ‘Christmas delights in the red light district of Amsterdam’ tour promising to immerse tourists in the area’s ‘beautiful decorations’.

 

‘Santa tells you everything about the three P’s of the redl ight district: prostitutes, pimps and blushing pedestrians,’ goes the website pitch, which also promises mulled wine and hot chocolate with whipped cream.

 

The Amsterdam Red Light District Tour company is another to encourage tourists to consider a yuletide visit. ‘Yes, Amsterdam’s red light district is open during Christmas,’ the website reads.

 

‘Most of the prostitutes who work here come from Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary and they usually work during Christmas. For them, Christmas can be a good time to work because there is less competition which means more customers. Most of the (Dutch) prostitutes who have family here in the Netherlands, do not work during Christmas.’

RedLightDistrictChristmas3-560x374.jpg

Photo: Max Opray

 

The company claims that only 30 of the 278 window brothels are closed during Christmas, telling DutchNews.nl that this figure was based on their own observations of the area.

 

On the Friday night before Christmas, most windows did indeed fill up, and the dozen sex workers who spoke to DutchNews.nl were all migrants. They unanimously agreed that it is a bad time for business, saying clients were spending their time with family and their money on presents.

 

Maria, a sex worker from Romania, said: ‘Christmas is always a bit quiet – this time of year the clients are with family.’

 

She dismissed the idea that the decorations were part of a bid to make the area more of a Christmas attraction. ‘Not everything is for clients and tourists. We decorate it a little bit just for us – it is Christmas, it’s a beautiful time of year. We like it to look nice.’

 

According to Hungarian sex worker Angyalka, extra winter tourism doesn’t win her customers: ‘Half the girls go home for Christmas, so that is helpful, but it is so slow out there it doesn’t help that much – all the tourists can make the clients too embarrassed to visit.’

 

Esta Steyn from Stop the Traffik Netherlands said the organisation makes a special effort to reach out to women during this time of year – although she stressed there is less human trafficking in the highly-regulated Amsterdam red light district compared to other Dutch sex work hubs.

 

Presents and a chat

 

‘Our partner organisations around the world visit [red light districts] during Christmas and let them know they are loved, give presents and having a chat,’ she said.

 

She said she used to hear stories of men taking the opportunity to visit a sex worker while their partners were distracted by Christmas shopping, but said she was not sure whether Amsterdam’s growing winter tourism boom would provide sex workers more business.

 

‘I hear that they make less money because all the tourists scare away people who buy sex,’ she said.

 

‘It is appalling to see people acting as if they are watching animals in the zoo, taking pictures and laughing at them. I think this attitude is part of why we let human trafficking go on in the sex industry – we don’t see them as human. It is not the Christmas spirit!’

 

 

http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/12/santa-on-a-sex-bike-amsterdams-red-light-district-at-christmas

 

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Forget big art – here are some of the Netherlands’ stranger museums

Life & culture
January 5, 2018   

 

 

Pianola-1-Brandon-Hartley-560x420.jpg

Photo: Brandon Hartley

 

Have you already checked out the latest exhibit at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam and explored every corner of the Rijksmuseum? If so, then you might want to visit one of the Netherlands’ smaller and much more unusual museums. Here’s Brandon Hartley’s look at some of the oddest ones scattered across the country.

 

Pianola Museum – Amsterdam
Over a century ago when phonographs were still in their infancy, pianolas were all the rage…among those that could afford them. These player pianos were quite the status symbol and some of them cost as much as the average school teacher’s annual salary. Nowadays, it’s hard to even give them away and many have wound up in dumping grounds. Fortunately, the proprietors of this museum, which can be found in a house along the Westerstraat, have spent the past several decades trying to rescue and restore as many of them as possible. Visitors can watch several pianolas pound out the greatest hits of the early 20th century and view thousands of preserved rolls that can play everything from classic symphonies to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’.

 

Glasses museum – Burgh-Haamstede
The Netherlands is home to many offbeat museums and this one is devoted entirely to eyeglasses. Curator Henk Bergmans began collecting them as a hobby over 40 years ago. When his stockpile of spectacles outgrew both a bedroom and the garage at his house, his friends convinced him to open a museum. It recently relocated to the small town of Burgh-Haamstede from Amsterdam and contains tons of interesting and unique eyewear in addition to paintings and unusual clothing.

 

Chess museum – Amsterdam
You may be familiar with the large chessboard that is often used by players on the Max Euweplein but you might not know that the square also has a museum dedicated to the Dutch chess grandmaster. Euwe worked as a mathematician, educator and author during his lifetime but his real passion was chess. In the eponymous museum, you can view exhibits about his life and career along with others devoted to the culture surrounding the timeless board game. 

 
Max-Euweplein-chess-game-560x368.jpg

 

Museum de Heksenwaag – Oudewater
Many Dutch communities are still home to historic weigh houses where goods were once placed on scales before being transported to nearby markets. This one in Oudewater is home to a strange set that dates back to 1482. They were used to test whether or not someone was a witch and still are to this day. The scales were authorized by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, which supposedly ensured that those on trial would be evaluated fairly, so they attracted alleged sorceresses from all over Europe who were determined to prove their innocence.

Over five hundred years later, they have yet to yield a guilty verdict (former Dutch queen Juliana herself was declared ‘not a witch’ during a visit in 1952). If you’ve been thinking about sending an application to Hogwarts, you might want to hold off until you visit the museum and step on the scales yourself. But if you’re already skilled in the dark arts and would rather keep it a secret, you can instead enjoy the displays about the history of witch hunting in Europe.

 

cube-house-560x391.png

Photo: Brandon Hartley

 

The Cube Houses – Rotterdam
They’re among the most iconic and unusual architectural wonders that you’ll find in a city that’s full of them. Rotterdam’s Cube Houses were designed and built by Dutch architect Piet Blom in the 1970s. They still serve as homes but this one has been set aside as a museum so the residents can avoid being constantly pestered by curious visitors. You can explore nearly every corner of this ‘show cube’ and get a look at what it’s like to live in one of the planet’s strangest households.

 

The Dutch Pinball Museum – Rotterdam
Most museums won’t let you touch the exhibits but you can at Rotterdam’s Dutch Pinball Museum (provided you don’t tilt them). Located in a former warehouse across the Rijnhaven from the Hotel New York, it’s home to 70 different machines that span several decades. While some of the older ones are for display purposes only, visitors can play well-known classics like The Addams Family as well as more obscure titles inspired by everyone from the Harlem Globetrotters to Dolly Parton.

 

Museum Bommelzolder – Zoeterwoude
Zoeterwoude resident Pim Oosterheert is such a fan of cartoonist Marten Toonder that he turned his attic and eventually the ground floor of his own home into a museum dedicated to the late cartoonist. Best known for Tom Poes, a daily comic strip about the titular cat and Oliver B. Bumble, a wealthy bear, Toonder was once one of the most successful cartoonists in the country.

Diehard fans of the strip typically refer to it as Bommelsaga (thus the museum’s name, which translates into English as ‘Bommel Attic’). Visitors to the museum can view over four decades of Toonder’s strips along with toys, puzzles, stamps, and other products that his work inspired. Entry to the museum is free but an appointment must be arranged in advance.

 

Escher Museum – The Hague
Its inclusion on this list may be a little too on the nose, but the Escher Museum and its namesake are undeniably weird. Housed within the gorgeous Lange Voorhout Palace since 2002, it’s home to many of the famous Dutch artist’s woodcuts, lithographs, and prints that still adorn countless dormitory walls all around the world. The third floor has several interactive exhibits that include the ‘Escher Room’, which makes tall visitors appear shorter than their more pint-sized cohorts. Also keep an eye out for the strange chandeliers designed by Rotterdam artist Hans van Bentem that feature everything from glass spiders to stars endlessly reflected in a series of adjacent mirrors.

Atlantic wall museum – Scheveningen
Museums are typically focused on what hangs on their walls rather than the walls themselves but this one is an exception. It’s devoted to the Atlantic Wall, a colossal project orchestrated by the Nazis to construct a 5,000 kilometre series of fortifications to prevent the Allies from invading the European continent during World War 2. Located in a former German bunker, the museum offers exhibits about the bizarre undertaking and the poor souls forced to help build it in addition to former living quarters furnished with historical furniture and other objects.

 
Rietveld-Schroderhuis-plan-560x378.jpg

Rietveld Schröder House – Utrecht
Truus Schröder-Schräder, a widowed Dutch socialite and trained pharmacist who participated in the De Stijl art movement, came up with an odd idea while commissioning a new house for her and her three children: she wanted one without interior walls. It was a tall order, especially in the early 1920s, but architect Gerrit Rietveld was game. What the two created wasn’t quite what she originally envisioned but it was considered revolutionary upon its completion in 1924. The house is now one of the best known examples of De Stijl architecture and a World Heritage site. Oh, and a museum too where visitors can view unusual features like its ‘invisible corner’.

The Waterlinie Museum – Bunnik
Water has served as both a friend and a foe to the Netherlands for centuries. This museum located outside of Utrecht covers some of the times when it helped defend the country’s borders, instead of merely causing major headaches for its engineers. Housed in Fort bij Vechten, which is part of the historic New Dutch Waterline, the museum contains large models and exhibits that offer a glimpse at infamous moments when the Netherlands was able to use h2o as a weapon.

 

 

https://www.dutchnews.nl/features/2018/01/forget-big-art-here-are-some-of-the-netherlands-stranger-museums

 

 

 

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Christmas in Amsterdam

Post by RoMoney » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:53 am

So folks, here goes my first Travelogue......Christmas in Amsterdam.....bit of a struggle to remember the timeline, but between photos, WhatsApp and ACD chat I've pieced it together.

Day 1.
After a minor delay of an hour due to fog I was on my way to Schipol. From disembarking on the plane to gettiing on the train to central station took me a grand total of 10 minutes, gotta get that airport sprint on and have change ready for the train ticket :)

Upon reaching central station I was greeted by wind and rain, ohhhhhh, just like home I thought, as Amsterdam weather often is :) I made my way to Utopia and took the Gorilla Glue (2/g for €20 special as it wasn't buds) and after a lovely joint of pure GG, my one hour delay was but a distant memory and I was in Mokum Mode™.
 
I rolled another and smoked half before making my way towards Grey Area which had smoke cominng out from the upstairs and the street was closed with fire engines etc. which was bizarre. Though slightly confused by all this, I headed towards Vondel to check in, setting a new record of only going to one CS before checking in!

After check-in and a joint in the hostel smoking room I walked to Albert Cuyp market to buy a cheap pipe and indulged in some apple based Christmas pastries too. Strolled to YoYo closeby then, where I got the Cheese and Frisian Cheese. I really like this CS, there are always some local students in there and prices are very reasonable. From there I headed to Sarphatia park for a quick joint and swang by Club Media for some Amnesia before making my way back to Vondel.

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That evening I made my first trip to Cafe de Klos for the Lamb Chops (which were divine)
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and also visited Massawa CS to sample their much loved Royal. It was a really nice, typical Moroccan hash, strong stoned buzz. As mentioned in the coffeeshop reviews, both the hash and coffee there taste like Morocco and the dodgy Arab pop music made it even better. It's nice to frequent local places for a change and not be surrounded by tourists with wheely suitcases going to and from the airport.


Day 2.
The second day I had a cheese joint and coffee in Vondel for brekkie
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before I met ACD's own Stulid in Bluebird for a Toke & Talk, took the OG Kush, 1.1g for €12.5, we wandered from there to Het Ballonetje where I got some G13 (price I do not recall), nice place, cool staff. From there we made our
way to Nude Burger Club for some Burger goodness and finished up in Siberie where I took the Dutch purple for brekkie joints. At this stage Stulid was balling it in Siberie with the Gorilla Glue and Red Leb combo joints :)
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That evening I walked up to Marnixstraat to visit 1e Hulp and sample some of their fine hashes. First visit there I tried the Strawberry Banana and Gorilla Glue hashes, both of which are sublime. After that I went to Bronx which had some lovely lemon haze but was a bit of a dive. To cut a long story short, it could do with a lick of paint and they could do with not sweeping the tables with the same brush they use for the floor!

Day 3.
Rolled a massive fatty of Dutch Purple nn Christmas eve morning and I made the trek to DNA Coffeeshop to try and get some LA Confidential as a recent menu had shown them stocking it, but they no longer do. Got the AK Kosher Kush based on budtender recommendation, nothing on leafly about it, but heavy Indica strain, it was ok, but no LA Con. Was annoyed at myself I forgot to visit De Kade while in the area, but not the end of the world.

I rocked into the Centrum later and got some Space Invader from Voyagers and Cheese Cookies from Utopia. The cheese cookies made up for not finding the LA Con as did the carrot cake in Brood Bar. Shoutout to Matty223 for the recommendation.
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In the evening I popped into Barneys Lounge to use their vape and vaped some Lemon Haze and G13, both VERY tasty. I should add that I was shocked they let me use the vape even though I only bought a sprite.

Day 4.
Christmas day I met VertigoAgogo and we went to Utopia (tried the Orange Cognac - as the English dude (James?) who works there had recommended it previously - nice smoke), Brood Bar (for more Carrot Cake), Voyagers (more Space Invader) & an Irish bar (the shame!!!) because Hill Street Booze was closed. before heading back the hostel for Xmas dinner and chilling in the smoking room. Took a stroll around Christmas evening and was surprised a lot of places were already open again. You gotta love the Dutch, don't miss out on an opportunity to make money.

Day 5
Went to Bluebird and had Amnesia for brekkie, think it was 1.2g ir 1.3g for €12.5. They had the Buena Vista Social Club album on and over two joints I got to listen to the whole thing, in the smoking room, on my own, it was a divine start to the day. In the afternoon I meet up with YoungDoc and went to Grey Area (which hadn't burned down ^_^) and I got some Exodus Cheese, then went back to the Bluebird, he got some temple ball which didn't look great.
 
Our next destination was 1e Hulp for more hash and this time I tried the 24k and Kosher Kush, the KK was REALLY heavy, great for a nightcap. Still think the GG is the best hash they have for the stoned. After that we went to Massawa and I got a little more of the Royal and soaked up a little more of Moroccan vibes.

Day 6
Another day and more Utopia, went for the Cheese Cookies again and spent some time chilling there, went to Voyagers for some Amnesia after, mentioned it in the coffeeshops review but it never ceases to amaze me how good a well grown Amnesia still manages to hold up against the newer strains.
 
After a little nap I spent most of the evening in the hostel smoking room on a mission from god to finish all my hash before my departure. Not as many stoners in the hostel as usual but I did have a couple in my room (German speakers) who literally spent the whole time I was there either in bed or in the hostel smoking room with a load of bags of different . Props to the randomers keeping it lit.

Day 7
After 6 nights, it was nice waking up on Day 7 and not being really depressed about going home. I think with shorter trips you feel like you didn't get to do enough, but with a week I had a great chance to go to lots of places and go through a lot of strains. To close out I went to Siberie in the morning for some Jesus OG, from there I went to Utopia for some Tangie Dream and to say goodbye. Both lovely smokes, the Jesus OG especially hit the sport and was €11/g or €12/g I think.

After floating around a bit I went into Get Down To It for a few pipes, before grabbing my bag from the hostel and getting the bus from Leidseplein to the airport. Blazed up a Cheese Cookies joint outside the airport to say goodbye to Amsterdam and it was back to the little green island for me!

I should add that this whole trip was peppered with canal joints, vondel joints and AH stops. AH Vers Sap for the win!

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Next Stop: Barcelona Jan 6th....
 
 
 

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16 January 2018

The Ramen Roundup: 10 Ramen Restaurants in Amsterdam – Rated

I was all ready to publish this article when another ramen restaurant opened in Amsterdam, which just goes to show how hot the ramen trend seems to be right now… It seemed like a waste not to try it and make this list a little more complete, albeit I’ll have probably failed in my quest for completeness by the end of the week – such is the pace of new openings.

 

But before we get into all the noodly details, let me start with a caveat: I’ve never been to Japan. I’ve never even eaten ramen outside of Amsterdam. I’m comparing these places on a level playing field – but I’ve never played on another field, as it were. So I’m no expert – I’m simply speaking as I find, according to my own subjective tastes. With that in mind, and without further ado, I bring you my Ramen Amsterdam Roundup: what you should eat at 10 ramen restaurants, and how I rate them against each other.

 

I tried seven different types of ramen soup in one sitting – yes, that’s some serious ramen dedication for you.

 

 

 

Tokyo Ramen Takeichi

A relative newcomer on the Vijzelstraat, Takeichi gets packed with locals and tourists every lunchtime. The occasion I visited, I got the Nouko spicy chicken ramen with egg. The flavour of the broth was good (savoury and spicy), but a bit too thick for my taste and overly salty by the bottom of the bowl. The toppings in general were a highlight: I liked the little chicken meatball, thick slices of chicken, and spring onions. I wasn’t so keen on the raw yellow onions and slimy brown things that said they were bamboo shoots but had a texture very like mushrooms. The egg (which cost extra) was perfectly cooked, although seemed to have been chucked into the soup from cold. Unfortunately, the seaweed was also an optional extra so I didn’t get to taste that. In fact, a general point I’d make is that several of the newer ramen places seem to offer many of the toppings as optional extras – so what starts out as a €14 bowl of soup quickly tots up to €20 if you add in all the elements you’d actually want.

Ramen Amsterdam restaurant - Tokyo Ramen Takeichi Nouko spicy chicken ramen at Takeichi
  • What to order at Tokyo Ramen Takeichi: Nouko spicy chicken ramen
Ramen rating: 3.5/5 Cost: €14 plus extras Website: takeichi-ramen.com

Vatten Ramen

In the same vein as Takeichi and also a newcomer, Vatten Ramen serves mostly chicken-based noodle soups – so once again I went for the spicy variety. The broth was slightly thinner than that at Takeichi but tasted good – I think I preferred it, but then again I dislike any soup that feels gelatinously thick. The toppings, however, were less impressive: the chicken char siu was just simple white chicken with little flavour. The egg came whole and was hard-boiled – which meant it was missing the gorgeously orange, rich, oozy egg yolk you’d expect. Also in the bowl were wilted greens (but more like spinach than seaweed), raw and fried onions – they tasted good, but again I missed the sea-fresh umami hit you get from seaweed (it was, once again, an extra).

Ramen Amsterdam restaurant - Vatten Ramen Spicy chicken ramen at Vatten Ramen
  • What to order at Vatten Ramen: Spicy chicken ramen
Ramen rating: 3/5 Cost: €14 plus extras Website: vattenramen.com

Umaimon Amsterdam

I liked Umaimon so much the first time that I went back again four days later; the first time was a press event – the second I was a regular paying customer. Umaimon Amsterdam is “powered by” Takumi Düsseldorf – where Japanese chef Saeki has been peddling noodles for over a decade. And with good reason: they keep their ramen noodles in a special temperature-controlled cupboard, only getting them out when they’re just about to be cooked. At the press event, I tried seven different types of ramen soup in one sitting – yes, that’s some serious ramen dedication for you. As fabulous as they all were, I liked three better than the rest; so when I went back a few days later with the Honey Badger, we attempted to order two of them. Clearly something got lost in translation as I ended up with a thin chicken bouillon rather than the creamy, almost medicinal soup I’d been craving. But the issue finally got resolved and I now know what I want to order next time: the Noukou Tori Soba – a house special that’s as rich as it is fresh, with generous slices of roasted chicken, tiny but tasty chicken meatballs, deep-fried chunks of chicken (imagine a version of KFC that’s Japanese and awesome), sweet bamboo, bok choi and excellently marinated and barely boiled egg.

Ramen Amsterdam restaurant - Umaimon Noukou Tori Soba – house special at Umaimon (photo credit: Joyce Goverde)

For something less rich, try the Teriyaki Wantan Ramen, which has a much lighter broth but is still generously stuffed with wantan parcels and all the other trimmings. The Butatama Miso Ramen is also a hit – a sweeter, miso-based broth plays host to thin slices of pork and what I assume are lightly caramelised sliced onion. Whatever you order, it’s pure comfort in a bowl.

  • What to order at Umaimon: Noujou Tori Soba
Ramen rating: 5/5 Cost: €15.50 (but includes everything) Website: facebook.com/UMAIMONamsterdam

Sapporo Ramen Sora

Tucked away behind the tiniest shopfront on the Ceintuurbaan is Sapporo Ramen Sora – judged by many to serve some of the best ramen in town. I have to say I disagreed: the pork bone broth that made up my Tonkotsu Shoyu ramen was thin and strange in texture – it looked like it had split. Meanwhile, the Charshu Shoyu’s broth was just a bit salty and uninteresting. Although I did appreciate the seaweed in both.  The usual boiled eggs were off the menu due to the Dutch egg scandal the time I visited, which was a shame – and we weren’t offered anything else to make up for it. The venue itself is pretty basic and lacking in gezelligheid, which would be no problem if the ramen was better – but I remained unconvinced.

Ramen restaurant Amsterdam - Sapporo Tonkotsu Shoyu ramen at Sapporo
  • What to order at Sapporo Ramen Sora: ISHII’s Tonkotsu Shoyu ramen
Ramen rating: 2/5 (Editor’s note: I’ve had significant push-back from the many people who agree that Soro serves the best ramen in Amsterdam. I’m prepared to accept that they may have been having a particularly bad day in the kitchen, and will go back and try again. In the meantime, I’d appreciate it if everyone could refrain from further death threats!) Cost: €14 Website: ramensora.nl

Taka Japanese Kitchen

Serving lunch Wednesday through Sunday in the cooking studio on the second floor of Toko Dun Yong, Taka Japanese Kitchen keeps its menu extremely simple: Tonkotsu or vegetarian ramen for €10 a bowl. With Jasmine tea at €1 a cup, this is probably the cheapest ramen experience you’re likely to have too. The tonkotsu is made with a combination of pork and chicken bones, while the vegetarian has a miso-based broth. So what of the tonkotsu? Both the noodles and the broth were fine – not mind-blowing but perfectly good – and not excessively thick or fatty. Things I loved: surprise additions of kimchi, pickled ginger, and black truffle. Things that slightly let the side down: the egg was hard-boiled, and the pork was a little dry. However, for €10 a pop, you can’t do better for a ramen fix in Amsterdam – and I think all the customers with their ADE hangovers who were at Taka when I was there would agree.

Taka Japanese Kitchen - ramen Amsterdam Tonkotsu ramen with kimchi and truffle at Taka Japanese Kitchen
  • What to order at Taka Japanese Kitchen: Tonkotsu ramen
Ramen rating: 4/5 Cost: €10 Website: facebook.com/ayanokouji.sasuke

Hakata Senpachi

Hakata Senpachi has been around long before all the other contenders, but its location out near Amsterdam RAI means I only visited for the first time very recently. It certainly feels authentic, and the chef there only makes ramen at lunchtime on weekends – presumably to ensure he has enough time to devote to his bone broth. The rest of the week he serves other Japanese food (which I’ve not tried so I can’t vouch for it). The ramen menu is a little confusing, but when we asked a few questions it transpired that the broth is more or less the same but you’re looking at three different types of noodles. Mr Foodie got the thinner noodles (that apparently Japanese people generally prefer) while I got the thicker noodles that are more favoured by Europeans. Having tasted both, I can confirm I am European (should I have needed more proof). The noodles had good texture and bite, and the boiled egg had been perfectly cooked so it was runny in the middle and full of flavour. The pork belly in my Tonkotsu Buratama came two ways: essentially thinly sliced and thickly sliced (do I sense a theme here?) while the rest of the bowl was taken up with beansprouts and seaweed. But what about the most important bit: the broth? It was fine – warm, comforting, creamy, but just fine. It lacked some depth of flavour for me, although many Amsterdammers swear by it as the real deal. As always with ramen, it’s entirely personal!

Ramen Amsterdam - Hakata Senpachi The Tonkotsu Buratama Ramen at Hakata Senpachi
  • What to order at Hakata Senpachi: Tonkotsu Buratama ramen
Ramen rating: 3.5/5 Cost: €15.50 Website: hakatasenpachi.com

Fou Fow

I first reviewed Fou Fow back in January 2015, although I’ve been back several times since. It was arguably the first place to be serving proper ramen in Amsterdam, and as such holds a bit of a special place in my heart. Fou Fow offer their noodle soup in three sizes, with various different bases to their broths. Pig addict that I am, I usually go for the pork broth which is served with more pork, various types of seaweed, and half a boiled egg (which is both warm AND oozing with yellow yolk). The first time I went, I was warned that the pork broth had “a stronger flavour” than the regular chicken, vegetable or miso broths. Bring. It. On. I loved every spoonful.

Ramen Amsterdam - Le Fou Fow Tonkotsu ramen at Fou Fow

Having now tried other ramen places in Amsterdam, I realise that Fou Fow’s broth is not as thick as some of the other contenders – which I actually like as I find some ramen too rich and cloying. So if you want to try the pork broth without slipping into a food coma afterwards, this is the place to do it. Plus, they now have two locations: Elandsgracht and Van Woustraat.

  • What to order at Fou Fow: Tonkotsu pork ramen
Ramen rating: 4/5 Cost: €10-15 depending on size Website: foufow.nl

Ramen-Ya

Ramen-Ya is in the Red Light District, which can be handy when you have visitors to show around. I’ve tried various versions of their wide selection of ramen since I first reviewed Ramen-Ya in December 2016: namely the “Kimchi Ramen”, the “Hakata Deluxe” and the “Veggie”. The former comprised chicken broth with kimchi (obviously), pork char siu (essentially BBQ-ed pork belly), black wood-ear mushrooms, half a boiled egg and, of course, the noodles. The ramen themselves had great bite and flavour to them; the char siu was melt-in-the-mouth; the egg was perfectly cooked with a rich orange yolk; the mushrooms tasted like seaweed (luckily for me); and the kimchi added a welcome sour kick. In short, I loved it.

ramen-ya-amsterdam Kimchi Ramen and Hakata Deluxe at Ramen-Ya

The vegetarian ramen was slightly disappointing compared to its meaty counterparts, but I guess it’s difficult to recreate the rich creaminess you get from bones in a broth made from vegetable stock. The Hakata Deluxe was a pork broth (far creamier and stronger in flavour than the chicken broth of the Kimchi Ramen) with soy sauce and a fattier variety of pork char siu. The Honey Badger loved it the first time, but I found the richness of it all a bit overpowering. With that being said, the last time we went to Ramen-Ya, either a different chef or a different recipe was being used and the pork broth was so thick and fatty that even the Honey Badger couldn’t finish it and ended up feeling pretty ill afterwards. Another foodie friend gave me a similar report just the other day. It’s a shame, but if you avoid the Hakata and stick with the Kimchi you should still be ok.

  • What to order at Ramen-Ya: Kimchi Ramen
Ramen rating: 4/5 Cost: €14.50 Website: ramen-ya.nl

Men Impossible

Given that I get a ramen craving at least once a fortnight, I clearly needed to find an alternative to my tonkotsu addiction during Vegetarian January. Enter Men Impossible: a communal-dining experience in the Jordaan, at which for €25 you can eat your fill of vegan ramen plus a veggie starter, drink and tea. I’ll leave you to read the full review for the rest, and here I’ll crack on with the main event: the Red Dragon Ramen. These are tsukemen – dipping ramen – the noodles hand-rolled, and the broth a thick, umami-rich, spicy, miso- and tomato-based soup. I must admit the noodles had an extremely satisfying bite and the soup was very generous in flavour, despite the lack of animal products. It also came with some shredded vegetables (raw carrot and red cabbage), cooked courgette, crispy fried onions, and a mushroom that I steered well clear of. Better still was the accompanying spoonful of black garlic oil that added an extra depth and savoury note to the whole dish. I doubt Men Impossible will be replacing my ramen fix once Vegetarian January is over, but for now I’m happy to have found out that vegan ramen is – after all – possible.

Vegan ramen at Men Impossible Vegan dipping ramen at Men Impossible
  • What to order at Men Impossible: Red Dragon tsukemen
Ramen rating: 3.5/5 Cost: €25 (includes starter, one drink and tea) Website: facebook.com/MenImpossible

TonTon Club  

The TonTon Club in Westerpark isn’t a ramen restaurant per se, but they do serve a dish that at least calls itself tsukemen – or “dipping ramen”. Cold noodles, pak choi, enoki mushrooms, a soft-boiled egg, and either pork belly or chicken katsu (breaded, fried strips of chicken). The soup was warm, but not warm enough to really heat up the rest of the ramen ingredients that were designed to be dipped into it – all of which were served fridge-cold. Plus, the broth tasted artificially thick, cloying, and overly sweet and salty. There are many other good reasons to go to the TonTon Club (the ramen burger is fun, as are the arcade games), but the dipping ramen isn’t one of them.

Amsterdam ramen TonTon Club Tsukemen (dipping ramen) at TonTon Club
  • What to order at TonTon Club: anything but the Tsukemen!
Ramen rating: 1/5 Cost: €13.50 Website: tontonclub.nl/west

 

 

https://www.amsterdamfoodie.nl/2018/ramen-amsterdam

 

 

 

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Five Hours

 

Post by ACD Member: kibby »

Sun 18th Feb 2018

 

 

Hi Folks, five hours in La-la Land, had 150 euros to blow on blow.

Landed at station, passed Central Coffeeshop and there was a solitary person at the counter so nipped in a for a quick look.
Wide variety, Silver Haze at 9pg smelled wicked so grabbed a tenner deal, very impressed.
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Then hit Voyagers.

Casey was 10pg so took two, earthy aroma.
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Lemon Bubble stank outrageous, purchased 3 at 12pg.
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Was a beautiful morning, got extra large/strong coffee and strolled to 1e Hulp via Jordan
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€30 of Soma Amnesia and €20 Gorilla Glue hash. Place packed at midday.
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Back to town...
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Last hour of trip, some window shopping...
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Hit Tweede Kamer, had a good laugh with budtender, place reasonably quiet for a Saturday.

Blue Amnesia at 11pg dank & honking, purchased two, and got one big nugget.
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14 euros left in pocket, went in Siberie, first time in 15 odd years, place was beautiful and packed with a nice crowd,

Sort of coffeeshop u dream about finding, very cozy, nicely decorated, hawt budtenders.

Spent last 14bucks on 24k Kush hash, was 10,60 a gram. Texture & bouquet is astounding....
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All in All, Dam is still fukin fanstastic and the weed spot on. 150 euro well spent on half an ounce of the finest ;-)
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Till next time...
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Amsterdam ranked 12th nicest city to live in worldwide

By Janene Pieters

March 20, 2018

Amsterdam
Amsterdam / Wikipedia

Amsterdam is the 12th nicest city in the world to live, according to an annual quality of life ranking by Mercer. The Dutch capital scored well in the categories of education and economic climate, but fared less well when it came to traffic problems. 

 

Mercer annually ranks cities based on urban characteristics that are most important to expats. These include safety, public transport, international schools and cultural offerings. Amsterdam also came in 12th place last year, and 11th in 2016.

 

 

The Austrian capital of Vienna came in first place for the 9th year in a row. Zurich in Switzerland came in second place, and Germany's Munich and New Zealand's Auckland shared third. Europe is well represented in the top part of the list, with European cities taking 8 of the top 10 spots. 

 

The bottom part of the list is mainly made up of cities in war-torn countries. Baghdad in Iraq came in last place. Damascus in Syria, Sana'a in Yemen, and Bangui in the Central African Republic are also in the bottom 10. 

 

https://nltimes.nl/2018/03/20/amsterdam-ranked-12th-nicest-city-live-worldwide

 

 

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Solving the Dutch Pot Paradox: Legal to Buy, but Not to Grow

By CHRISTOPHER F. SCHUETZE

MARCH 25, 2018

 
 
 Jasper Juinen for The New York Times

MARCH 8, 2018

 

BREDA, Netherlands — Acting on an anonymous tip about marijuana growers, Dutch police officers last month raided a basement laboratory in Best, a small village about 15 miles from the Belgian border.

 

The officers found 539 plants in four growing rooms equipped with sophisticated equipment like a programmable irrigation system. The operation would bring in about $66,000 every 10 weeks, according to the police report.

 

While the news of a marijuana raid in the Netherlands may have been surprising to the throngs of tourists who visit the famous coffee shops in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, it is illegal to grow more than five cannabis plants for recreational use in what has long been seen as Europe’s marijuana capital. And the Dutch national police actively seek out and shut down hundreds of operations a year.

 

While licensed coffee shops have the right to sell small amounts of recreational cannabis and hash to buyers older than 18, they have to rely on the black market to acquire their wares in bulk.

 
merlin_135376521_e7c65d0a-e55f-4960-a484
 Customers smoking cannabis inside the de Baron coffee shop in Breda, the Netherlands.

Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times

 

“Right now, you are allowed to buy the milk, but you can’t know anything about the cow,” said Vera Bergkamp, a lawmaker with D66, a center-left party in the governing coalition that supports a bill that would test decriminalizing cannabis.

 

  “It forces us to legal splits,” said Hendrik Brand, who has run the popular de Baron coffee shop in the southern city of Breda for decades. “One foot on the legal side and the other foot somewhere else.”

 

Stocking his shelves (or, in the case of de Baron, an old wooden drawer under a counter), is technically illegal, if tolerated by the police.

 
xxnetherlands-pot-combo-master675.jpg
 

From top left clockwise: Young people smoking cannabis in the de Baron coffee shop in Breda; bags of cannabis on sale there; a customer rolling a cannabis joint; and pre-rolled joints on sale.

Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times

 

The government is taking steps to address the situation. It has proposed a pilot program to explore the effects of legalizing, standardizing and taxing the sort of professional-grade marijuana operation that was broken up in Best.

 

“To make the system logical again is to also tolerate the production of the cannabis,” said Paul Depla, the mayor of Breda and an outspoken proponent of legalization.

 

Supporters of the test hope decriminalization will help assure that users have access to safer marijuana.

 

Mr. Brand said years of raids on small growers, whom he called “hippies,” has left him struggling for suppliers he knows and trusts. “We do everything we can to protect the health of our customers,” he said, adding that before purchasing the cannabis for his shop, he puts samples under a microscope to see whether they are laced with anything impure or appear otherwise unhealthy.

    
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Paul Depla, the mayor or Breda, is a proponent of revamping marijuana laws in the Netherlands. “To make the system logical again is to also tolerate the production of the cannabis,” he said.

Credit Jasper Juinen for The New York Times

 

Backers of the pilot program also hope it will remove organized gangs from the supply chain.

 

Last month, the national police union, Politie Bond, released a stinging report warning of the growth of organized crime in the country, fueled by the drug trade.

 

“The Netherlands fulfills many characteristics of a narco-state. Detectives see a parallel economy emerging,” the report stated, noting that while crime over all had decreased, those producing and trafficking drugs were becoming ever more sophisticated.
 

“We have to be honest about the current situation, where organized crime has taken over marijuana growing situations,” said Arno Rutte, a lawmaker with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, or VVD, a liberal party currently in the four-party governing coalition.

 

The proposal, which is being shaped in committee and is scheduled for a vote in Parliament in the summer, would allow six to 10 Dutch cities to legally produce and sell cannabis for four years.

 
Although only the rough outline of the proposal is known so far, the law would most likely license official growers, who will then be allowed to grow specific strains, similar to how medical marijuana is handled in the Netherlands.

Whatever final shape the pilot project takes, it is likely to create a multimillion-dollar industry, and stakeholders — from corporate greenhouse suppliers to coffee shop owners — are vying for a say.

“We ask to be part of making the rules,” said Nicole Maalsté, an activist who helps represent nearly half the 567 Dutch coffee shops nationwide. “We want to be partners in this.”

The coffee shops are a fixture of neighborhood life in many Dutch cities. Close to the picturesque center of Breda, de Baron is typical — as far as the term can be used in an industry that prides itself on individuality. Clientele of various ages hang out, smoke joints or play cards, often for hours.                  

 

If it were not for the penetrating smell of cannabis, it could pass for a cafe anywhere. (In another quirk of Dutch law, those who prefer to smoke their hash with tobacco have to leave the premises, as the laws do not allow tobacco smoking in such public rooms.)

 

A shared fear among those connected to the current coffee shop scene is that a fully open and commercial system would squeeze out the smaller growers they have come to count on.
 

But others see such a shake-up as an inevitable part of commercialization.

 

“Whether you like it or not, the consumption is so widespread that you have to organize the production,” said Mr. Depla, the mayor of Breda.

Meteor Systems, a major manufacturer of horticultural systems based in Breda, hopes to be one of the beneficiaries of the revamped law. It produces everything from the irrigation systems used by Dutch tomato growers to the suspension and support systems for commercial flower growers in California.

 

Since the proposed legalization of cannabis in Canada and several American states, the company has also seen demand increase for its products from legal marijuana growers there. For instance, it is helping to equip greenhouses in British Columbia for the company Canopy Growth. When finished, they will house three million square feet of growing surfaces.

 

The company hopes to leverage the commercial know-how gained in North American markets to score big in the Netherlands when cannabis production becomes legalized here.

 

For all the legal challenges around marijuana, growing the plant with professional equipment is much less demanding than a number of other crops, according to Peter Lexmond, Meteor’s commercial director.

 

“Everyone who can grow a tomato, can grow a pot plant,” he said.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/25/world/europe/netherlands-marijuana-legaliziation.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FMarijuana and Medical Marijuana&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection

 

 

 

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Ingeburgered? Then here are a few of the best and most bizarre burgers in NL

Life & culture
April 11, 2018
 
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The Burgermeester’s Beefburger Royale. Photo Today’s Brew

The Netherlands is in the middle of a full-fledged burger bonanza. It seems like there’s a cafe devoted to them on every corner, especially in Amsterdam. This means there’s a burger for nearly every taste, whether you’re a vegetarian or eat red meat with every meal. Here’s Brandon Hartley’s picks for a few of the best, weirdest, and wildest ones in the country.

 

A burger for those who consider variety the spice of life

 

Burgermeester – Amsterdam


Since 2007, Burgermeester has specialised in a wide array of burgers. They now have four locations in the nation’s capital where you can enjoy ones with patties made out of everything from salmon to apples and cheese. There’s several beefy burgers too, of course, and they include the ‘Cheese Deluxe’ (Blonde d’Aquitaine beef, cheddar, jalapeños, pancetta, onions, and harissa mayo). Burgermeester also has a monthly burger. The one for March was a vegan option with a spicy falafel patty. If you can’t pick just one, try the Mini Trio, which features three pint-sized burgers of your choice.

 

DIY burgers

 

Burger Bar – Amsterdam, Utrecht and The Hague


The burgers at this small chain tend to get so messy that they’re served on metal trays that catch everything that slips out of them. Ordering one also involves a lot of decision-making and there’s no telling exactly how many different combinations are possible (feel free to do the maths and let us know).

 

Customers can try one of three different types of beef, which include a Kobe-style patty, that are minced in the kitchens each day. There’s also vegetarian options that include portobello or chickpea patties. Burger Bar also offers four different buns and four different varieties of cheese. Then there’s all the toppings, which include jalapenos, avocado, and even fried eggs.

 

Burgers for foodies with dark senses of humour

 

Cannibale Royale – Amsterdam


While you (probably) will never find any human burgers on the menu at any of these four disturbingly named cafes in Amsterdam, they do specialise in a few ambitious ones that could drive even a cow to do the unthinkable.

 

In March, Cannibale Royale’s ‘Burger du Moment’ was dubbed ‘La Dinde et L’oeuf’. It featured a turkey patty, grilled pineapple, cucumber, yellow zucchini, homemade chili-tequila mayonnaise, and several other ingredients on a cheese onion bun with a fried egg proudly perched on the top.

 

This burger and its predecessors usually stick around on the menu for a few weeks but permanent additions include the more traditional ‘La Classique’ and ‘L’Herbivore’, a vegetarian option with a patty comprised of beets, goat cheese, and lentils. Cannibale Royale also specialises in a variety of other meat dishes so there’s something to tempt the taste buds of even the hardest to please of bloodthirsty flesh-eaters.

 

Needless to say, vegans should probably steer clear of these cafes, which feature macabre decor that wouldn’t look out of place in Wednesday Addams’ bedroom, and their grimly funny website.

 

A burger for those who still frequently quote Pulp Fiction

 

Rotisserie – Amsterdam


If you spent your teen years in America in the 1990s, Amsterdam was synonymous with three things: weed, tulips, and director Quentin Tarantino’s profanity-soaked and infinitely quotable Pulp Fiction. One iconic scene features Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta talking about Parisian and Dutch fast food burgers, which include the not quite accurate ‘Royale with Cheese’.

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A Rotisserie special

You can enjoy a tasty burger inspired by Tarantino at both of Rotisserie’s two cafes in Amsterdam. It comes with a double-beef patty, tomato, pickles, and sauce. There’s also the self-explanatory ‘Fried Chicken Bun’ and ‘Solid Veggie’, a vegetarian option served with broccoli. Rotisserie also has an impressive selection of gin and tonics in addition to a monthly burger as part of what the proprietors call ‘The Dynamic Burger Development Program’. The one for March featured both fake crab and fried chicken.

 

Burgers that walk on the wild side?

 

Getto – Amsterdam
This eclectic restaurant, lounge, and club in Amsterdam’s red light district has been going strong since 1996 and it’s the home of Elvis, a remarkably unflappable cafe cat who can often be found slumbering in the dining room. It’s also known for its ‘Diva Dinners’ and ‘Fabulous Diva Burgers’ named for drag queens. One of the most recent additions is the ‘Aryelle Beef Burger’, named for the winner of the 2017 Amsterdam Drag Olympics.

 

Locally-sourced burgers

 

The Beef Chief – Amsterdam (and sometimes elsewhere)


Chef Simon Parrott owns and operates this catering company, which features two food trucks that typically pop up at festivals. His highly-rated burgers, which often feature kimchi as a principle ingredient, can also be found at the Cafe Tapmarin in De Pijp and the Oedipus Taproom in Noord.

 

He uses locally-sourced ingredients to create some of the best traditional burgers in the country along with a few unusual ones as well. Have a look at his Instagram account where you’ll find a recent goth-themed burger with a black bun. If this sounds like your sort of thing, check out the Beef Chief’s Facebook page to track down his schedule and learn where he’ll be grilling up perfection next.

 

The not-so deceptively named burger

 

The Dutch Weed Burger – various locations


Contrary to what you might think at first glance, this super healthy burger isn’t made out of marijuana. Nevertheless, it’s proven to be a hit at the cafes and other establishments that serve them all around the country.

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The Banzai Burger from The Dutch Weed Burger

Weeds are, however, the main ingredients. These burgers are seasoned with seaweed and the patties are made up of soy and Royal Kombu, a sustainably grown weed that’s harvested in the Oosterschelde National Park. Then there’s the bun, which is infused with Chlorella, a type of microalgae that’s typically used as a detoxifying supplement. You can learn more about the ‘Dutch Weed Burger’ (and where to find one) by visiting its website.

 

The once and possibly future best burgers in Rotterdam and beyond

 

Ter Marsch & Co – Rotterdam and Amsterdam


‘The Ter Marsch Grande’ earned Ter Marsch & Co Esquire’s award for Best Burger in Rotterdam back in 2015. It comes with Scottish Angus beef and several other toppings that include lightly-grilled Spanish onions, truffle mayonnaise, and farmhouse cheese. Two of their other burgers have won similar awards in competitions in Amsterdam and, believe it or not, Florida as well. In 2015, their crew nabbed another award for ‘Best Hamburger of the Netherlands’ at the World Food Championships over in America’s ‘Sunshine State’.

 

Burgers from the 1950s

 

Gracy’s – Rotterdam
‘50s-style diners were all the rage in the United States and beyond back in the 1980s. Several of them are still in operation around the Netherlands. Gracy’s is one of the best and it’s down in Rotterdam. There you’ll find Grease playing on a loop on the TV behind the counter and milkshakes topped with enough whipped cream to replicate Marge Simpson’s iconic beehive hairdo.

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Gracy’s pretzel cheeseburger

‘The Amazing Gracy’s Burger’ comes with Black Angus beef and a stack of toppings along with the cafe’s signature Gracy’s sauce. This one and the cafe’s other burgers are also cooked on an ‘open fire’ Spanish grill-oven with a slow-cooking technique. Together, they landed on CityStyleGuide’s list of ‘Best Hamburgers in Rotterdam’ for 2017.

 

Burgers for the whole family

 

Meneer Smakers – Utrecht
This small chain in Utrecht serves artistinal burgers at their three locations (and a food truck) that come with familial names like ‘De Opa Harry’ and ‘De Tante Connie’. ‘De Mevrouw Smakers’ is a particular favourite and it comes with a spicy beef patty that’s served with grilled peppers, zucchini, jalapeños, and Secret Smakers sauce.

 

Those who don’t like meat will likely enjoy ‘De Tante Lieke’, a veggie burger with a patty made of white lupin beans, carrots, and curry spices along with grilled peppers, cashew nuts, and mango chutney as toppings. Meneer Smakers’ location on the Oudegracht also features some rather unusual murals in the stairwell that leads to the bathroom on the first floor.

 

The prerequisite American fast food burger

 

Five Guys – Utrecht and Eindhoven
McDonalds and Burger King stormed the shores of the Netherlands long ago but this popular stateside chain is a recent arrival. Its burgers are also much better than its fast food forebears.

 

The ‘five guys’ in question are the five sons of a couple that started the franchise in Virginia in 1986. Since then, their burger empire has grown to over a thousand locations in North America. Regulars swear by the quality of their ingredients and their simple but complex menu. According to one estimate, it’s possible to create around 250,000 unique burgers out Five Guy’s various toppings. There’s also the milkshakes, which come in ten different flavors that include bacon, coffee, and salted caramel that can all be mixed and matched for the truly daring.

 

The most controversial burger in the Netherlands

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Photo: Brandon Hartley

The Unwanted Animal Kitchen – various locations


This food cart has shocked and/or delighted plenty of attendees at Amsterdam’s annual Rollende Keukens festival over the years. It’s also received press attention from The Huffington Post, NPR, and other international media outlets.

 

It’s because the duo that owns and operates it has filled their menu with meat from ‘unwanted’ animals that would otherwise be discarded following their deaths. These have included old horses, pigeons, crayfish, geese, coots, parakeets, swans, and even rats.

 

But their signature dish is ‘The My Little Pony Burger’, that is, yes, made out of ponies. It should go without saying that a stop at the Unwanted Animal Kitchen is *not* for the faint of heart. However, the entire point of the operation is to draw attention to humanity’s relationship with the animal kingdom and the often inhumane practises of the meat industry. You can learn more about the kitchen and the crew’s periodic dinner events by visiting their website.

 

 

https://www.dutchnews.nl/features/2018/04/ingeburgered-then-here-are-few-of-the-best-an-most-bizarre-burgers-in-nl

 

 

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