The American Douchebag’s Guide to Europe: The Netherlands

Is’t That Vierd?!?!

Overview

Let’s get the confusion out of the way right now. The Netherlands is the name of the entire country, Holland is a section of the country, and Amsterdam is the capital city. I shit thee not, this caused a lot of confusion on my bus.

When most people think of the Dutch (What people from The Netherlands call themselves), they think of only 2 things: wooden shoes and legalized marijuana. This is completely accurate. One thing, however, that most people don’t realize is that Holland is the New Orleans of Europe more than just because of the crazy sex and the mountains of drugs. Geographically speaking, The Netherlands is  like New Orleans because they both are shaped like bowls and their lowest points are below sea level.  And while The Netherlands do not get Hurricanes so they shouldn’t be allowed to bitch, flooding is still a serious problem for the Dutch. This is why they have canals, NOT because they are trying to steal Venice’s thunder, although that shouldn’t be ruled out quite yet. If we start seeing gondolas in Amsterdam we’ll know for sure. But by then it will be far too late.

I stole a Dutch giant’s shoes!

Initial Thoughts

To best explain my first thoughts upon arriving in The Netherlands, I’m going to relay a conversation that occurred between my good friend and fellow traveler, Brennen, and myself:

[Minigan wakes up screams]

Minigan- Wha- Where the fuck am I?!?!

Brennen- [turns around] Minigan! You’re awake! That’s good; we thought you might have died. You filled yourself with a lot of random chemicals before we left Brussels. Ha ha, classic Minigan.

Minigan- [jumps up] WHO ARE YOU?!?!?!

Brennen-[confused stare] I’m Brennen…. We’ve been on this trip together for the past week. I saved you from that angry mob of British people after you tried to get an up-skirt shot of the Queen.

Minigan- [laughs] I would do something like that. But if you’re really my friend, why am I covered in this thick mucus like substance? [he gasps]  WHAT DID YOU GUYS DO TO ME?

Brennen- Dude, that’s drool. We heard you gurgling about an hour ago. That’s how we knew you weren’t dead and to not stuff you under the bus with all the luggage.

Minigan- Oh, sweet. So where are we?

Brennen- We’re in The Netherlands now. We’re a couple of hours away from Amsterdam. Andy said that we will be stopping soon to clean out all the broken glass and blood. How did you get that deer on the bus anyway?

Minigan-[not listening to Brennen but staring out the window] This is the Netherlands?

Brennen- Yeah, we’re almost to-

Minigan- Where are all the tulips?

Brennen- What?

Minigan- The tulips. The Dutch grow them here. I want to frolic through them.

Brennen-  Is that another one of your weird code phrases that means you’re going  to do a lot of drugs, because I still haven’t gotten the blood stains out of my dress shirt from last time.

I mean both meanings

Minigan- I told you I rage.

Brennen- yeah, but you forgot to mention the whole “roid” part of the rage. And besides, tulips only grow in the spring.

Minigan- [not listening, looking out the window again] Where are the windmills? And the lesbians? Man, The Netherlands sure are disappointing so far.

Brennen- I’m sure we’ll see some soo- Wait. Did you say lesbians?

Minigan- Yeah, lesbians. Holland is supposed to be crawling with them.

Brennen-  I’ve never heard of that before.

Minigan- I swear it’s a thing- Dutch lesbians. My one friend told me that The Netherlands has tons of dykes.

Brennen- [sitting quietly and staring at Minigan for a few seconds] You are either a complete moron, or the worst kind of person ever.

Minigan- Don’t pretend to not know which one it is. We both know that you know.

Accommodations

Much better than in Brussels, I can say that much.  Although our hotel was more out of the way than anyplace else we had stayed so far. The rooms were still kind of fun in an Oddly-shaped-and-inconvienent kind of way. The Bathroom was circular, which at first seems cool, until you remember that you’re talking about hotel rooms, and that all hotel rooms are rectangular. This means that situated in the one corner of our hotel room was this giant orange cylinder that housed our toilet, sink, and shower. Artsy? Yes. Interesting? Yes. Creates a space that both is accessable and makes sense? God no. I would like to say that the upside of our hotel was that there was a Burger King next door, but they charged for extra ketchup. EXTRA KETCHUP! Amsterdam is surely a place of great evil.

Sites

The sites to see in Amsterdam can be watered down into 2 different categories: do you want to feel like a shitty person now? or like a shitty person once you sober up? For the first group, you can go see the I Amsterdam sign which moves from place to place because it hates tourists.  Or if you really feel like getting all depressed, you can go to the Anne Frank House, where you can experience what it was like to be a Jew hiding in Nazi occupied Amsterdam in the 1940s. Well, except you are free to leave and smoke some pot whenever you want, and there isn’t a regime in power that wants you dead. But other than the constant fear of being caught and sent to concentration camps, the experience is exactly the same.

I understand all too well how you feel, murdered Jewish girl.

If you want to hate yourself and all the decisions you’ve made in your life later instead of now, then first stop at the Heiniken experience, where you get  bombarded with propaganda, served beer, then forced to navigate through an elaborate gift shop where your lowered inhibitions are being teased by all the merchandise that you don’t really need. If you get through without buying anything, you are given a gold star. I, unfortunately, did not get said gold star.

totally worth it, even if it promotes a beer that I describe as “It’s alright, I guess.”

Let’s say you want to want to have a good time, and to you, having a good time means you’re doing something that is at least frowned upon, if not outright immoral. Well I’ve got three words for you, you sick pervert: Red Light District. You want to get hammered? Red light district. You want to smoke some pot? Red light district. You want to ogle some strippers? Red light district. You want to window shop for prostitutes? Red light district. I swear, that last one is totally a thing. I was not joking.  I’m going to be honest here. Walking through Amsterdam’s red light district was a new experience for me. You could get a contact high just from walking past the open doors to the coffee shops, and anytime you saw pink neon lights, you knew that as soon as you turned you head you were going to be face deep in hooker boob. The unapologetic sleaziness of it all made it just that much more magical. Plus, there are canals all over the place, so it’s also very romantic, just as long as you keep your gaze away from Candie and her fellow sex peddlers.

See, you can window shop for prostitutes. I told you so.

Oh, and a fun fact about Amsterdam: Their symbol is XXX. It is on their flag and their coat of arms. This could be due to the fact that it is in a series of roman numerals on a tower in Amsterdam, or do to the fact that the majority of things that go on there are for adults only.

If you look close, you can see the Roman numerals in the lower left hand corner. I was in a boat when I took this picture. That is why the tower is not center. Keep off of me about it.

Food

OK, so I had Indonesian food and Burger King while I was in Amsterdam, so I’m not going to talk about either of those. But I did have authentic Dutch cheese and ice cream, so let’s talk about those. We went to a cheese farm… a cheesery? A cheese factory? Whatever the fuck you call a place that makes cheese. The cheese there (I do not know what kind it was) had varying levels of deliciousness. My favorite being  the one that had garlic mixed in. It was like licking the butter off of garlic bread, but without you having to question what has become of your life and sense of shame.

As for the Ice Cream? It wasn’t my favorite of the trip, but it was still pretty good. It was more of a banana flavored soft serve than scoops of ice cream, but it was still good.

Alcohol

I’m going to start with talking about their beer, both because it seems like a logical place to start, and because I have some important things to say about it. The Dutch serve beer warm there. It’s not right-out-of-the-unrefridgerated-case warm, but something closer to the temperature of a nursed beer on a warm summer day. Now, in some places they do serve beer to American coldness, but it’s a smaller glass and it costs more. That’s fucked up Holland.

As for other types of alcohol, the thing I want to talk about most is this sign:

If that sign is to be believed, the Dutch are more fucked up than we thought. Wine is not a beverage you chug (unless you are dared to do so), and jagermeister is not, under any circumstances, to be sipped. Jager is what you drink if you want to black out before you start violating every law or goat you come across. It is NOT to be sipped out of stemmed glassware by people who wear scarves.          

People

They Spoke English! This is awesome, except for the fact that you could not be too sure who was a local and who was just another tourist. And the only person that I really talked to was a guy who sold me my brother’s shot glasses. He was wearing a deep V-neck, so I had to assume he was European. It was either that or the possibility that the guy was an American hipster, which is impossible, cause this guy was more muscular than me, and that’s saying something (ladies).

Overall Atmosphere

Just like everywhere else,  The cities of the Netherlands and the rural towns are quite different. I think that should be a given, but I decided to state this just in case any of you weren’t sure.  While Amsterdam is an active city with night life straight from an Evangelist’s nightmares (again, just like every city if you know where to look), the rural villages and coastal towns are quaint and charming. But to be fair to each part of The Netherlands I have been to, I’m going to give the overall atmosphere of each of them separately.

Amsterdam had the overall feel of a dark, mysterious mistress. Possibly a sexy gypsy. Sure, when you see it during the day you see the historical sites and the overall beauty in the architecture. But at night, at night it takes of it’s pretty mask and tells you to talk dirty to it. You roll over each other, being as rough as you damn well please, groans of pleasure escape yours and your temptress’s lips. You bite, you scratch, you lose your humanity and devolve back into a creature that only relies on instinct. And right now your instinct is screaming for you to push onward, to delve into the dark depths, the seedy underbelly, the vagina, if you will. And you fucking do. Because that’s the only real reason you’re there. You want to see things that would normally get you put on some government watch list, and you’re going to watch the shit out of those things, because F.U.C.K.Y.E.A.H!!!!!!!!

What I’m getting at here is that going to Amsterdam is kind of like buying a hooker. Sure, it seems like a good idea at the time, but if you don’t do things right, you’re gonna get stabbed and some rare STD.

So if Amsterdam is like a hot night with a prostitute, then The Dutch Countryside is kind of like a picnic with your girlfriend in the park if your girlfriend isn’t the adventurous type. There is no denying that she isn’t stunning. You both know it. And you just love being around her; she just makes everything seem peaceful. Even the worst moments of the day seem delightful in her company. You don’t care that you’re getting a sunburn or that no one cleans up after their goddamn dog (seriously what the fuck is this place, a kennel?); you don’t even care that despite the amount of romance in the air, you two are still not having sex. You just enjoy her company so much that nothing else in the world seems to matter, and if you could, you would never leave this particular moment, because you know that nothing that has come before it and nothing that is still yet to come will ever make you feel content as you do at this moment right now.

If only she would give you a hand job.

OK here are some more pictures!

Windmill!!!! If I only got to frolic through the tulips, the trip would have been perfect. And yes, I still mean both meanings.

I really have no clue what this building is.

WOO! Photo-op in front of the Anne Frank House everybody! BTW, these next pic are courtesy of Julie. I thank you Jules!

Cheese!

Pfsh, of course a girl would take a picture of shoes.

Getting hammered in the Heineken Brewery

Well, I am.

De vrede (That means “peace” in Dutch!)

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