There are no social activities arranged as part of this one day Annual Amsterdam Chlamydia Meeting (AACM).
However for those from abroad staying longer than one day we would like to make a few suggestions for things you might wish to visit (options mentioned below) since Amsterdam is a wonderfull city for exploring!
Although Amsterdam is a relatively safe city, it is adviseable to be aware of pickpockets, especially in busy areas, in the public transport system, and often near street performances.
Travel in Amsterdam The quickest most practical way to travel through Amsterdam is what the locals do: by bike. Bikes can be rented at several locations and some hotels have their own bike rental service. The second best way is Amsterdam's cheap and efficient public transportation: especially trams and the subway. Payment is by PT smart cards (OV chipkaart). So unless you have the IAmsterdamCard (which gives you free access to trams, buses, and the subway for 24, 48, or 72 hours, next to free access to museums etc.), you need to buy a PT smart card. When entering ("checking in") a tram, bus, or subway (note: for subways, the reader is on the platform and not in the subway itself), you have to hold your smart card against the reader until you hear a beep. “Check out” by holding the card in front of the reader near the exit when you leave the bus / tram / subway. You’ll be charged for the distance you have travelled. Don't forget to check out in the same way when leaving the tram/bus/subway, or it will cost you much more. If you are staying for a few days, you can best buy a disposable smart card. They are pre-charged and give access to trams, buses and the subway for time slots of 1 hour, 2x1 hour, 24 hours, 48 hours, or further time slots up to 168 hours (i.e. a full 24/7 week). If the credit is used up, throw them away. Buy disposable smart cards at GVB ticket offices on all the Amsterdam train stations, or from the vending machines on Amsterdam subway stations. The vending machines accept euro coins and Dutch bank cards, but often no credit cards. Disposable smart cards for 1 hour are also for sale inside trams and buses (but not inside the subway). Smart cards, smart card readers, and selling points / machines can be recognised by the pink logo above.
The Canals of Amsterdam The Canalbelt (grachtengordel in Dutch) is a series of concentric canals around the city centre. These canals have give Amsterdam the nickname “Venice of the North”, and with over 100km of canals, about 90 ‘islands’, and over 1500 bridges connecting it all, it is a name well deserved. The canal belt consists of four main canals: the Herengracht (Patrician’s or Lord’s canal; named after the governors of the city), the Keizersgracht (Emperor’s canal; named after the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I), the Prinsengracht (Prince’s canal; named after William I, Prince of Orange), and the Singelgracht (moat canal; this canal was the last canal used for defence and water management). Most people will know the canalbelt for its famous gabled houses, some of the warehouses of merchants, many of them the houses of the wealthy. Nowadays these houses are still inhabited mostly by the wealthier citizens. The Canalbelt with 1550 monumental buildings along the main canals are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Canalcruise A canalcruise is a relaxed way to see Amsterdam. The boats will show you various sites in Amsterdam (note: themed tours are available) and experienced tour guides will tell the most interesting stories. The Lovers boat company offers canalboat tours, the Floating Dutchman – an amphibious bus –, and combined tours (e.g. canal cruise combined with museum visits or a visit to the Artis Royal Zoo). The Canal Company offers canalboat tours, canalbikes (pedal and explore on your own through the canals), Canal Hopper (a large sloop that will take you where the larger canal boats can’t go), and the CanalBus, a hop-on-hop-off boat service that takes you along the museums, shopping areas, and tourist attractions. The WaterTaxi with its distinctive yellow boats are the yellow cabs of the Amsterdam waterways. They will bring you where you want to (max. 8 people per boat). Lovers and the Canal Company are the two largest providers of canal cruises but there are more companies offering canal cruises and entertainment on the canals. This website site has a more extensive list.
Coffeeshops / drugs Let’s first get one thing straight: We are note the drugs addicted country some people believe us to be. Yes, we have legalised some specific drugs, but not all. The “soft” drugs (cannabis / marihuana / weed, and hash) are sold legally in coffeeshops, and only in coffeeshops. All other drugs (including ‘magic’ mushrooms (i.e. psilocybins) are illegal. Legalising the soft drugs has increased the control over the sales and it has increased the gap between the soft and the hard drugs, preventing more people from getting in contact with the more addicting hard drugs. Drug use in the Netherlands is much lower compared to countries with a complete ban on all drugs. Having said that, coffeeshops provide an excellent opportunity to enjoy a joint. Be aware that the Amsterdam Weed is very strong (contains very high level of THC; double that of weed in the USA, for instance.). If you are unsure what to order then ask the staff for advice. They will be happy to help you. The coffeeshops in Amsterdam are not allowed to advertise, but can be easily recognised by the cannabis leaf on the shop window, the use Rastafari colors (red, yellow, and green), or you can use this map.
Smoking Ban There is a tobacco smoking ban in all public buildings, restaurants, bars, terraces, and even coffeeshops. Smoking indoors is only allowed in special smoking rooms, where the staff is not allowed. Smoking of joints on the street is illegal, but is somewhat tolerated if you’re no nuisance.
More information on the coffeeshops: History, FAQ, map, reviews, and facts. Do NOT buy from dealers in the street, no matter what they're offering. It is illegal and often you will not get what you think you were buying (e.g. washing powder instead of cocaine).
Museums Amsterdam is the city with the most museums per inhabitant of the world. Art The Museumplein has the three best known museums of Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum (17th century art), the van Goghmuseum (19th century art), and the Stedelijk Museum (modern & contemporary art), and the Concert hall (Concertgebouw). The Nieuwe Kerk is not a museum, but a church, but it houses excellent temporary art and cultural/historical exhibitions.
History Anne Frank Huis (the Anne Frank House / Secret Annex). With over 1 million visitors per year it is the most visited historical museum in Amsterdam. It is the scene of the famous story of the Jewish girl hiding with her family from the Nazi's. Besides the original hiding place behind the bookcase (the Secret Annex) the museum houses a permanent exhibition on Anne Frank. Be aware that waiting lines can be long. It is adviseable to go early or buy tickets online.
Joods Historisch Museum (Jewish Historical Museum). Amsterdam has always had a large Jewish community (only deminished during WWII), and parts of Jewish culture and Hebrew words have found their way into everyday Amsterdam life. The nickname for Amsterdam was (and still is): "Mokum", derived from the Hebrew word for city or safe haven. The museum show the religion, history, and culture of Jews in the Netherlands. It is located opposite to the 17th century Portugese Synagogue (which was used as a staging area for the deportation of Jews during WWII). The Portugese Synagoge still has some of the original features from 1675, and houses 17th century paintings and artifacts, and a Unesco protected library, one of the most special Jewish heritage collections in the world.
Scheepvaart Museum (The National Maritime Museum). Build in 1656 this building was originally the main land store and arsenal of the Amsterdam Admiralty and has been used by the Dutch Navy until 1973. Nowadays it is a museum devoted to our rich maritime history. Right next to the museum is a replica of the “Amsterdam”, a three masted trading vessel of the Dutch East India Company, which sank on its maiden voyage in the English Channel.
The Royal Palace The Royal Palace on the Dam Square was originally the town hall for Amsterdam’s administrative and judicial authorities. In 1808, the Town Hall became a palace when Louis Napoleon, brother of Napoleon and then King of Holland, decided to make the Town Hall his residence. Wary of the liberal attitude of his brother Napoleon forced him to leave the country. In 1813 William of Orange (later King William I) returned the Palace to the City of Amsterdam. After taking the throne he came to appreciate the benefits of having a residence in the capital, and the city agreed to grant him the use of the building once more. At present the Royal Palace is used for State Visits, the Queen’s New Year receptions and other official functions, including the annual presentation of the Erasmus Prize, the Silver Carnation, the Royal Awards for Painting, and the Prince Claus Prize. When not in use by the Queen or members of the Royal House, the palace is open to the public under the auspices of the Amsterdam Royal Palace Foundation. Each summer temporary exhibitions are held highlighting different aspects of the Royal Palace. This summer is dedicated to the legacy of Louis Napoleon, and the superb collections of Empire furniture, clocks, and chandeliers, that are part of the Palace.
Other Sex museum / Venus temple. This museum at the Damrak was the first of it's kind worldwide and is a leading museum on the theme of sensual love with an extensive collection of erotic pictures, paintings, objects, recordings, photographs and even attractions. It shows the morals and attitudes towards sex from the Greeks and Romans to modern day, while avoiding blunt pornography. The museum is not to be confused with the Erotic Museum in the Red Light District.
Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum. This permanent exhibition shows you how cannabis and hemp have been part of clothing, medicine, sea travel, agriculture, and more throughout the history of human civilisation.
Red Light District The Red Light District. Everybody knows it, everybody has an opinion about it, everybody has heard the rumours. Many of the rumours are true, many are not. Of course it is the area where women of various nationalities and ages ply their trade. But it is also one of the oldest areas of Amsterdam, with long, narrow, winding streets in 14th century architecture. Prostitution has long been tolerated in Amsterdam and in the Netherlands. Since 2000 it has been legalised, giving prostitutes all benefits of the medical care system, police protection, and better working conditions, but it has also made them taxpayers! The Red Light District is an amazing area to walk around sightseeing or visiting some of the shops and shows. The best time to visit the Red Light District is during the evening, when the district is busy and the red lights illuminate the streets.
A few rules apply:
Do NOT (under any circumstance) photograph the women in the windows. This is considered impolite and will not be tolerated. It will result in aggression and may result in (severe) injuries. Your picures/camera may be confiscated and/or destroyed.
Beware of pickpockets. The streets are crowded and people are easily distracted.
Do NOT buy from dealers (whatever they’re offering (drugs, bikes, etc.). It is illegal and quite often you will not get what you think you have bought (e.g. washing powder instead of cocaine).
Do not go alone.
The police patrols the area frequently and in numbers, so the area is mostly safe, but a little caution does not hurt. A safe (and informative) way to visit the Red Light District is to take a tour; yes you read it correctly, the Red Light District has its own tour guides. More information.
When you are in the Red Light District visit the Condomerie Het Gulden Vlies: the world’s first specialised condom shop. They sell condoms in all shapes, sizes, colours, and tastes. More attractions in the Red Light District (not all sex related) can be found here.
Zoo The Artis Royal Zoo is an oasis in the city centre. It's full name is Natura Artis Magistra: Nature is the teacher of the Arts. 19th century architechture is mixed with 200 different species of trees and 900 animal species. It was the first zoo in the Netherlands and has incorporated some of the original buildings surrounding it into the zoo (e.g. the original Oak and Linden Inn, which is now the Wolf House, and the Masman garden house, which is now home to the scarlet ibises). Walk around through the zoo and notice the changes in the pavement. Each change marks an expansion of the zoo. Marvel in the aquarium (which features an aquatic tank representing an authentic Amsterdam canal), the butterfly pavilion (largest in the Netherlands), the Planetarium, the insectarium, its gardens, lecture rooms, and even a museum.
IAmsterdamCard The IAmsterdamCard offers free entrance or discounts for several of the attractions mentioned above. Discounts are also offered on selected music performances, transport/tours (e.g. bike rental, canalboats, etc.), in selected restaurants, and in selected gift shops. The Card also functions as a free public transport card. The card can be purchased online, at Schiphol airport, and at several locations in Amsterdam. More information can be found on the website.
Additional information for sightseeing can be found on the official site of Amsterdam or on the Amsterdam Advisor website (besides the many websites that can be found on the internet).