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This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Liberal to a Point

Much is made of the Netherlands’ supposedly liberal attitude to drugs, and if the drug in question is marijuana, then yes, there is a tolerant and relaxed demeanour in that direction. But anything “harder” and the law is brought to bear as in the UK. I was reminded of this when searching for an apartment during my work time back in 2000.

The place I’d come to inspect was at the north end of Zeedijk, not far from Centraal Station, and as I discovered, also not far from the Rosse Buurt (that’s Red Light district in English). Arriving early, I checked out the property from across the street, and noticed a group of blokes gathered on a nearby street corner. Were they waiting for someone, I wondered? Yes they were, and presently he arrived on his bicycle. There were furtive glances all round, and then the transactions took place. After a conversation had got started, the man on the bike got a call on his mobile, following which the gathering broke up very quickly indeed.

Sure enough, around a minute later, the law arrived, also on their bicycles. I made myself look as inconspicuous as possible, in case there was a request to indicate which way they went (as if I’d taken any notice).

Not much different to the UK. And I didn’t bother with the one on Zeedijk, settling soon after on a place in the Jordaan. Eetcafe visible from front window. One has to set priorities.

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