No Pants No Problem – Getting here, Getting Around, Staying Safe
No Pants No Problem
The not-to-be-missed-party details announcement! This is happening at The Marktkantine on Thursday July 26th. The Marktkantine is next door to the main wholesale food market in Amsterdam and a short bus/tram ride from most of central Amsterdam.
There is a Facebook page where you will be able to find out the times and how to book tickets. Check it out – the rumours are that it will cost 12 euros entry (with cheaper/free entry for those who can’t afford it) and that it will start around 9.00pm.
For more information about the sheer fantabulousness of the No Pants No Problem experience look here.
All profits from the event will be used to support HIV Criminalization and Sex Worker advocacy efforts globally.
Getting to Amsterdam … safely !
I don’t want to replicate anything on the AIDS2018 website but….
The way that I arrived in Berlin for the 1993 International AIDS conference is not to be recommended unless you have absolutely everything in order … and even then would be risky. Make sure you have ALL the documents (and any medication) you need in your hand luggage! This may include your letter of invitation, scholarship award letter proof of your hotel/accommodation etc., Check out any specific requirements on the AIDS 2018 site here . And yes the picture on the right is me : Julian Hows checking in at London City Airport on their way to Berlin International AIDS conference (1993)
Take a taxi – up to 50 Euros. Uber is slightly cheaper but there are moves to ban Uber in Amsterdam as it is less regulated than the licensed taxi services and drivers do not get the same employment protection
Take a train into central station and other train stations in Amsterdam –including the conference centre – less than 5 Euros.
Take a bus – 5 Euros – but much less if you have a ‘chipkart’
All take about the same amount of time! Having lived here for 9 years I suggest the BUS , several go into Amsterdam; the 397 going to Leidseplein.
All start from just outside the airport terminal on ‘Schiphol plaza’. Having sorted where you are going and how you are getting there buy a ticket in advance of travel !
if you are in Amsterdam for week or more your cheapest travel is to buy on arrival an anonymous chipkart ((which will cost you 7,50 Euros for the card itself) but if making an average of 3 trips a day you will save you money . You can buy this type of card at Central Station, the airport and several (but limited) other locations. You will need to pre-load it with to travel. For for a week in Amsterdam I would suggest 20 Euros. This card (which is check-in and check-out for each journey) can be used on bus, tram, and metro.
More information can be found here – especially for buying a card at the airport.
Getting around Amsterdam and to the conference site
Amsterdam, I have often (perhaps unkindly) referred to as the ‘village of the swamp dwellers in the land below seal level’ . But it is true, Amsterdam is located about 6.5 ft below sea level. The lowest point in Amsterdam is 21.9 ft below sea level. What keeps Amsterdam from flooding is an extensive network and system of sea dikes, sand dunes, dams, and floodgates. That means there is a lot of water, almost as many canals and bridges as roads, but it all works – they have been practising for several hundred years ! Indeed it has an incredibly efficient public transport system – tram, bus(including night buses) rail, and ferry. Of real note is that the ferry – running from central station to Amsterdam Nord are ‘free‘ – and may become redundant when the long-awaited ‘North –South’ line opens as the conference opens (expected on the 22nd of July) which may make it possible to stay in the North of Amsterdam but still get to the conference site in the South (the RAI) within an hour.
And yes, the RAI is not in central Amsterdam, So so plan your journey well – and in advance . There are a very few hotels within walking distance of the conference site – most are 20 -40 minutes away! if you are still looking for accommodation and are astonished at the prices/availability in Amsterdam, look south of the RAI with rail connections to the RAI station.
Use these sites to plan your journeys in Amsterdam: https://www.gvb.nl/ https://maps.gvb.nl/en or via google maps. All are accurate and efficient ! The conference site is on the Amsterdam Metro and Rail systems. Check out the sites above but also the map and site here
Amsterdam is flat . The bicycle is King(or Queen indeed!) with dedicated cycle lanes , priority for cyclists at intersections which other road users almost universally respect . The distance to the conference centre from ‘most’ places in central Amsterdam is less than three miles (5km) and for these distances whether by tram or bus or bike the travel time is relatively similar.
Enquire whether your hotel provides free bikes or bikes for hire
Think of hiring a bike for a few days or the time that you are going to be in Amsterdam – on average this will work out at 15 euros a day or 80 -100 euros a week .There are 101 websites for bike hire !
To be really radical
Want to buy a bike for the week and then donate it when you leave to a refugee or asylum seeker ? If are arriving on Friday the 20th or Saturday the 21st and have at least an hour to spare to buy a bike (probable cost 80 -120 euros inclusive of padlocks and basic lights at one of the central Amsterdam flea markets) and are able to leave it at a designated point in the global village when you leave on Friday or somewhere else if you leave after this date then contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I can give you more details.
For your information: Asylum and refugee applicants in the Netherlands get an allowance of 50 Euros a week whilst their claim is being processed for food, clothes, etc. This does not go far especially as they do NOT get free or reduced rate travel; providing a bike is a real help !
As in all major cities, pickpockets are typically active in crowded places and cafés, bars and restaurants. Pickpockets are known to target major events (especially during the summer season) and the Museum District, as well as public transport (especially trams and train services between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Amsterdam Central Station). Mind your belongings carefully – take extra care of valuable items such as smartphones – and if possible, leave your valuables in a safety deposit box or safe at your hotel, or a locker at the station. It’s advisable to keep the amount of cash you carry with you to a minimum. If you are the victim of pickpocketing, report it to the policeOk this seem pretty standard info – but the website is useful for a whole lot more so check it out
In another blog I will be looking at safety in relation to specific issues re drug use, sex work and LGBT issues.