Time Out Amsterdam

Time Out Amsterdam

Time Out Guides

£12.99

When a travel book takes you to your destination before you’ve even arrived, it must be doing something right and worthwhile. Such is the case with Time Out Amsterdam, the more elongated version of the Shortlist series – which I recently reviewed. From the correct way to consume a herring (I kid thee not) to the world’s first lesbian style magazine (I kid thee not), these three hundred and thirty six pages of pure travel guide, do not disappoint.

With a Street Index and several pages of maps, alluring colour photographs, not to mention in-depth sections on several areas of Amsterdam (everywhere from the Jodenbuurt to the Jordaan), there’s something herein for everyone; even those with a desire to travel further afield in Holland (City Breaks).

Moreover, if it’s a brief overview of the city you’re after, then the ‘In Context’ section at the outset of the guide is most definitely for you.

It covers an interesting array of subjects: from History to Amsterdam Today, from Architecture to Art, from Sex & Drugs to The Creative City – which in itself, accounts for the first fifty-five pages. On page 13 for instance, there’s an interesting, though rather astute piece of writing called ‘Pondering polder multiculturalism,’ in which the editors write: ‘’Historically, the Netherlands has always been a haven for minorities and refugees who were persecuted […]. Freedom of religion was widely accepted and set in the constitution of 1848; there was never much tension between the Dutch and the communities of newcomers, which were relatively small. The situation changed however, during the second half of the 20th century […]. Until the 1990s, the Netherlands had a great reputation for being a free and tolerant country, where each and everybody, regardless of faith, gender, political beliefs or sexual orientation, could do whatever he or she wanted.’’

As we have seen in recent years, this is no longer the case.

The upsurge of anti-Muslim sentiment – triggered in part by the slayings of Pim Fortuyn in 2002 (‘’the first political assassination since the murder of the father of the fatherland, William of Orange, in 1584 – shocked the nation’’) and the controversial film-maker Theo van Gogh (‘’a big Fortuyn supporter’’) in 2004 – has stirred up a political hornet’s nest of inflammatory design, which continues to this very day. Not that the majority of travellers to Amsterdam are particularly interested in the country’s problematic social rumblings’n’politics.
Their prime attraction to the city, is surely the ready made availability of both blow’n’blow; which, depending on how you like your vices inflamed, is open to interpretation (and a whole lot else besides).

Either way, you can’t go far wrong with Time Out Amsterdam . It essentially informs you on everything you might need to know on the city, thereby ensuring your trip to Amsterdam will be as easy, provocative and stimulating as possible. Indeed, with the possible exception of dinner with Rembrandt, ‘tis nigh the next best thing to actually being there.

David Marx
www.davidmarx.co.uk

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