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November 12, 2014


‘One Night in Amsterdam’ follows a stag and a hen party as the different individuals explore the city’s Red-Light District. The characters experience the hedonism full on, with most of them embracing the madness offered by the tolerant laws. They get increasingly drunk on both the lager they are consuming, and on the extremes of pleasure offered round every corner. I have visited Amsterdam on a stag weekend, and tried to make the setting an integral part of the story. Many visitors feel out of their comfort zone here and react in bizarre ways. Walking around the streets filled with prostitutes and sex shows forces you to consider your own values and priorities. Dean and Chloe, in particular, have their past, ‘safe’ lives thrown into turmoil.

Amsterdam is a weird and wonderful city, most famous for its Red-Light District (Rosseburt) and the 200 cannabis coffee shops scattered through it. But it is also the home of Philosopher Baruch Spinozer, Holocaust victim Anne Frank, and footballer Johan Cruyff.

In the 17th century, the Dutch capital (it is still constitutionally the capital of the Netherlands, although the government resides in The Hague) was an important world trading post, and the leading centre for finance and diamonds. The canals of Amsterdam are a world heritage site, whilst the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum are two of the finest art galleries in the world. The city also boasts some of the best examples of Renaissance and baroque architecture.

Amsterdam is one of the most popular European destinations for tourists, mostly because of the 16 million day trippers who visit every year. De Wallen is the most famous part of the Red-Light District, where prostitution has been legalised. The network of alleys contains hundreds of cabins where sex-workers ply their trade, by standing behind glass doors in their underwear. The area also contains sex shops, theatres and peep shows.

There are three significant locations in ‘One Night in Amsterdam’. Firstly, The Bananenbar, or Banana Bar, is a place where naked women dance on the bars, doing surprising things with bananas and other objects. Secondly, the Cassa Rosso, is a 180 seat theatre running non-stop ‘live erotic entertainment’ with shows involving single dancers and couples – sometimes with audience interaction! And thirdly, the Sex Museum Venustempel, which is a hilarious journey through erotic art and inventions through the centuries, including a Marquis de Sade room filled with the sound of a steam engine hissing over the screams of a never-ending female orgasm.

When you’re sick of seeing naked bodies, and of puffing on spliffs or drinking frothy lager, you can seek culture in the museums mentioned earlier, or be inspired by walking through Anne Frank’s House. Doing so is a sobering experience.

Amsterdam is a city of bewildering contrasts, intriguing culture and challenging experiences. It was certainly a weekend I will never forget.

One Night in Amsterdam




Chloe organizes Jo’s hen weekend in Amsterdam, glad to get away from the usual boring or married men that she sleeps with. Perhaps she’ll meet some cool guys up for a bit of fun. If not, at least she’ll make sure her best friend gets very drunk while they all party in style.

Dean is getting married to Tamsin, but having serious doubts. His mates take him to Amsterdam for one last weekend of debauchery before settling down for the rest of his life. But is Tamsin the right woman for him?

When Chloe and Dean meet in Amsterdam’s red-light district, they are immediately attracted to each other. Dean tries to justify one last fling before marrying Tamsin. Chloe feels bad about having sex with someone else’s intended. Yet, a night of amazing sex is exactly what both of them want. So, why shouldn’t they just enjoy one night of fantastic, guilt-free sex?



There came a knock on the door.

Chloe jumped up to let in Jo and Glynis. Everyone fell silent on sight of Jo’s sister, with her ever-judgemental stare.

Glynis cleared her throat. “So what’s the plan, Chloe? We should get going and not waste time.”

“The plan is to get pissed and get laid,” Chloe replied.

“You sound like fifteen year old schoolgirls,” Glynis said with a sniff. “Hope you’ve brought plenty of protection with you. Perhaps we should ask Joanna what she’d like to do. After all, it’s her weekend.”

“Oh God, who brought Miss Boring along?” Di groaned.

“Oi! That’s my sister. You watch your big gob—”

“Girls! Stop it.” Chloe stood between them all as the self-appointed mediator. “Let’s not get bitchy before the weekend has even begun. Maybe Glynis is right.” She turned to Di with a warning look.

“Whatever,’ said Di with a tone of resignation.

“You tell ‘em, sis,” Glynis said, as all eyes turned to the bride-to-be.

Jo studied each of them in turn, cranking up the anticipation. She tapped her lips in deep thought, and opened them as if to speak and then stopped. The others leaned in slightly to catch her words.

“I think we should…” Jo moved over to the double bed and sat down next to Ushma. “That is…it seems that, well, Glynis has a point about being responsible and staying in control…”

Glynis smirked and leaned smugly back against the wardrobe.

“But on the other hand,” Jo continued, “we’re in Amsterdam – city of debauchery – on my hen weekend. So I say we go out on the lash, get completely hammered, watch beautiful men ripping off their underwear and go and flirt with some horny guys.”

“Woohoo!” Chloe and Di screamed, rushing over towards Jo. Ushma joined them in a group hug.

Jo beckoned to her sister. “Come on, Glynis. We’re not married women like you. We’re still young, free and single – well only just for me, anyway. And I’m gonna bloody well enjoy this weekend. So come on, ma bitches. Let’s get out there and own this city.”

Even Glynis joined in the singing of Lady Gaga songs as they marched arm-in-arm down the corridor, stairs and through the reception, waving at the bemused receptionist.

Chloe used her mobile to track down the right tram to get them to Dam Square, on the outskirts of the infamous Red Light District, known locally as Rossebuurt. It was a clear, bright day with lots of people sitting outside eating, drinking or strolling along in groups and couples. The extensive canal network punctuated the roads with bridges, barges and houseboats. Market stalls added colour and life to various cobbled squares. Chloe had also read that many of the buildings were from as long ago as the fourteenth century, but she didn’t think this would interest the others. The Red Light District didn’t really come to life until it got dark, although it was easy to find signs and evidence of seedy nightlife and practices.

Chloe found a cash machine and prayed that it wouldn’t swallow up her card. Thankfully, it allowed her to take out fifty Euros, to add to what she’d already brought. She didn’t dare try for any more.

They wandered through a few lanes until Chloe suddenly shrieked outside a shop with a window display of condoms, vibrators and various sex toys.

“I guess we’re in the Rossebuurt then,” she said.

“We’ve found our first tarts,” Jo quipped, drooling over the gateaux and pastries. They all stared greedily at the chocolate fondue fountain, with molten chocolate waterfalling down a glass sheet.

“What a choice, eh?” Chloe said, standing where the shops joined and looking from one to the next, as if watching a tennis match. “Sex or chocolate?”

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JazH005  AUTHOR BIO: Jaz Hartfield is a writer and actor who loves travelling. He’s always looking for his next thrill, having tried bungee-jumping, parachuting, white-water rafting, pot-holing and deep sea diving. Jaz has lived in many different places; his favourite parts of the world include New Zealand, Kenya, Ireland and the Lake District in England. Having been on a stag weekend in Amsterdam, Jaz is unwilling to admit whether this story has elements of the truth in it or not.

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