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You will see wooden shoes, stacked high on gift shop shelves, next to the windmill fridge magnets. You will meet weekender tourists who beeline to the hash cafes and red light district. You might look at the debauchery and kitsch, and think you’ve got this place figured out. Please don’t.

Instead, make like the Dutch and hop on a bike to travel the pancake-flat countryside and fishing towns on the coast. Don your brightest orange and take in a football game Down some pilsner and pannekoeken. In Amsterdam, follow the capital city’s canals to the Rijksmuseum for a dose of Dutch Golden Age art.

Matador can tip you off to daytrips, night biking, and yes, smoking pot.


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