Netherlands Shopping and nightlife
Shopping in Netherlands
Special purchases include Delft blue pottery; earthenware from Makkum and Workum, both in Friesland; silverware from Schoonhoven; cheese from Gouda and Edam; glass and crystal from Leerdam; and diamonds from Amsterdam. Items that show up all over the place include porcelain costume dolls, Jenever (Dutch gin), miniature windmills, and, of course, wooden clogs (blank or painted).
Bulbs and plants may not be exported except by commercial growers, or by individuals with a health certificate from the Plant Disease Service. A reasonable number of bulbs for personal use are allowed.
Mon 1200-1800, Tues-Fri 0900-1800 and Sat 0900-1700. In Amsterdam, Rotterdam and other big cities, supermarkets are open 0800-2000/2100. In large city centres, shops are open Sunday 1200-1700. In many towns, there's evening shopping till 2100 on Thursday or Friday and stores open on the first Sunday of the month.
Nightlife in Netherlands
The Dutch like to have fun, and have a reputation for an open-minded approach, so a night out in The Netherlands can be something of an eye-opener for the first time visitor. Large cities are well-supplied with sophisticated nightclubs and discos, but the late-opening bars and cafes are just as popular. There are no official licensing hours, so it is possible in the big cities to get a drink more or less at any time.
There are theatres and cinemas in all major towns - the arts are popular in Holland and play a big role in life. Amsterdam is a cosmopolitan city, with some of the liveliest nightlife in Europe. The brown cafes are an institution - Holland's equivalent of the local pub. Its famous (or infamous) red light district, de Wallen, is a magnet for visitors, and there are numerous bars, clubs and 'coffee' shops (for those in search of a different sort of stimulant, namely marijuana) in the vicinity. Interestingly, although tobacco smoking is now banned in enclosed public spaces, joints rolled purely with marijuana can still be consumed in these places, which are also evident in most other Dutch cities.
Rotterdam has an excellent selection of nightclubs, and a lively harbourside café and restaurant scene, while The Hague leans heavily on theatre and dance. University city Utrecht offers a large casino and the lively nightlife scene associated with a large student population.
Another popular option is a dinner cruise through the canals and harbour aboard a glass-topped boat. There are legal casinos in several main towns and cities.