Amsterdam

Scantily dressed - to the dismay of some Muslims -  members of The Originals, a brass band from Almer, near Amsterdam, perform on Nieuwendyk street. Photo by Gerd Ludwig

Scantily dressed - to the dismay of some Muslims - members of The Originals, a brass band from Almer, near Amsterdam, perform on Nieuwendyk street. Photo by Gerd Ludwig

With its cannabis coffee shops, tolerance for homosexuality, and legalization of prostitution, the city of Amsterdam has long been a place to put liberal ideals into action.

 Besides being the hallmark of the world’s more forward-thinking values, Amsterdam in many ways represents typical Dutch lifestyle, ethos, and philosophy. Sex shops and shows, multicultural street fairs, psychedelic-infused rock music, avant-garde art and films, as well as radical politics have all been vibrant parts of Amsterdam’s history. These freethinking alternatives to otherwise populist views have made Amsterdam the place for those wanting to live undisturbed by the judgmental eye of the right wing. One drawback of this rampant individualism has been the neglect of the Dutch to encourage immigrants to assimilate into their beloved city – mostly in fear of being accused of cultural close-mindedness.

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