Amsterdam is famous for its relaxed laws and easy going lifestyle. With many tourists flocking to the capital to experience this atmosphere first hand, city breaks to the capital are in full swing. The generally tolerant attitude of the Dutch spills over in to every walk of life, with a humanist, pragmatic and practical attitude towards any problem in their society.To newcomers, Dutch society might seem open and informal, but some complex social rules lie below the polders. Over the top behaviour is never encouraged and egalitarianism is valued. The risks taken to combat social difficulties. The Netherlands has the fourth best work-life balance, coupling high levels of employment and household wealth. Dutch children are ranked as the happiest in the developed world, topping two surveys conducted by UNICEF.
No Dutch city has yet reached a million inhabitants, each with a unique character and architectural style. For those thinking of moving to Amsterdam it is important to understand the intricacies of Dutch life and that Amsterdam is quite different to the rest of the Netherlands.
Their progressive laws have meant that other countries follow their lead, whether the laws are in regards to drugs, euthanasia or sex. While the small country of the Netherlands can be used as an example on how to govern tricky, controversial issues, they by no means boast that they hold all the answers. The ability to think outside the box and tackle issues such as drug abuse as a medical problem rather than a criminal one has seen sixty Dutch cities provide solutions to help hard and soft drug use head-on since the 1990s.
Dutch drug policy is directed by an idea that every human being may decide about the matters of its own health. The Dutch consider this rule as fundamental, and as such this viewpoint and agency gives each Dutch citizen the rights to decide on one’s own destiny.
Their drug laws help to understand the core roots of addiction for an individual, taking away the complex issues that make it easier to hide away from society, such as stealing, health issues arising from shared needles and social stigma.
A spokesman for the addiction web site Addictionhelper.com reports “that the provision of maintenance drugs and safe spaces for as a result there is a huge decrease in younger people recreationally using harder drugs and in turn, less addicts.”
Meanwhile the well known addiction site UK-Rehab.com have said, “The legal use of drugs classed in the ‘softer’ category does have an effect on the societal make up of the capital, due to its large tourist industry and liberal red-light district. The personal use of cannabis in all its forms is legal and public use is not prosecuted. Drug use is not condoned by the government and the dangers are taught in schools as a two pronged measure to influence young people.”
The lifestyle in Amsterdam has many nuances and explains the cultural impact the Netherlands has had on the rest of the world. With more museums proportionally than anywhere on the planet, the country is a wealth of contradiction, tradition and forward thinking, a place you can visit multiple times to really scratch the surface.