Thursday, June 20, 2013

Walking Tour of Amsterdam - June 16

Dr. V had his students to take the free walking tour that was offered on our first full day. In the tour, we learned a lot about the history and culture of Holland.  They are very accepting of others, having allowed gay marriage in the 1980s and are famous for having legal prostitution and are tolerant of marijuana "coffee" shops.  Although I don't partake in any of those activities, I really admire that openness in culture and wish that we could be as tolerant in the United States.  Maybe in my lifetime?  

The Dutch was notorious on focusing on money and growing their economy and allowing others to do whatever they want socially.  During the colonial era, they ended up losing New Amsterdam to the English in what is now New York City.  Although that is the black eye for them now, Holland was very profitable in trading goods.  In fact, it dominated the merchant trading business compared to its European cohorts.

We also went around various neighborhoods, including the famous Red Light District.  It was also interesting to learn about the Jewish Quarter and learn more about what happened during World War II.