April 20, 2012

0181 NETHERLANDS (Netherlands / North Holland) - A bird’s eye view of Amsterdam in 4/20

"Hey ... you know what day is today? April 20, ie 4/20, ie look here. Happy Birthday!" wrote on facebook a friend who adopted the nickname April Sea. I clicked, I read... "Ha. Interesting. I hadn't any idea," I answered, and I said to myself "I must to post a card on the blog on this occasion." But what? I have nothing related to this counterculture holiday. The only postcard that would have something to do with it seemed to me to be this one from Amsterdam, the European paradise for "recreational drug" users. Be it the chosen.

In this bird’s eye view of the Grachtengordel (The Canal District), the viewer is high enough to guess the structure of the old town, but not enough to admire in all its splendor the canals honeycomb shape. The bird should be higher than that. About Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht, included on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010, I wrote here, so I will not repeat myself.

Some tourists who visited the city say that the very regular streets and canals structure helped them to orientate, others argue that contrary, the repetitiveness completely annihilated their sense of orientation. Probably that each is right in his own way. Isn't the same thing if you go to the bar or turn from it. Romanians would say "una-i una, alta-i alta" (that literally means "one is one, another is another"). If I think well, I tend to agree with the last ones, given some of my experiences in hospitals and office buildings with (too) many identical hallways, following the indiscernible plans.

Comparing the satellite map of the city with the picture shown in the postcard, I dare to say that what can be seen is exactly De Wallen, the largest, and best-known red-light district in Amsterdam, planted in the heart of the oldest part of it. Known also as Walletjes or Rosse Buurt, it consists of a network of roads and alleys containing hundred of small apartments rented by sex workers, but also a number of sex shops, sex theatres, peep shows, a sex museum, a cannabis museum, and a number of coffee shops that sell marijuana. Considering that image is too high, I can't go into details.

About the stamp, Europe gives green light, I wrote here.

sender: Dragoş Cioroboiu
sent from Amsterdam (Netherlands), on 28.11.2011


  1. "the repetitiveness completely annihilated their sense of orientation."

    When leaving a book store in the center I once went to the left instead of going to the right. I only noticed my error after more than 30 minutes walking in the complete wrong direction. While carrying heavy bags filled with books. So I was quite frustrated.

  2. :D Thanks for confirmation. And for that you visited my blog. Only very few people write a comment (though quite many visit it), which gives me some frustration. :)