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cars - driving
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policy on drugs

Policy On Drugs
For the record, trafficking in (importing or exporting), selling, producing and processing either hard or soft drugs are offenses in Holland. As you will probably be aware though, the Netherlands and especially the Amsterdam authorities carry a liberal policy on 'soft' drugs (marihuana and hashish). This means that although legally the selling and buying of soft drugs is forbidden, certain 'coffeeshops' are allowed to sell small quantities and you're allowed to smoke your purchase inside. The current rates lie between 5-€10 per gram. Be careful though, while smoking can be allowed in certain places it is certainly not considered acceptable behavior everywhere. As a general rule, if you see other people smoking it should be no problem.
See also: coffeeshops.   
Residence / Work Permits
If you intend to stay in the Netherlands for more than three months, or if you intend to seek employment, you must apply to a Netherlands diplomatic or consular representative in your country of residence, for a residence permit prior to entering the Netherlands.
If you intend to work in the Netherlands, you will require a work permit. This is issued by the 'Center for Work & Income' (CWI) in the city of your employment.
If you came to the Netherlands as a tourist and wish to change your status to that of a resident, you must apply to the immigration authorities (Aliens Police at the local police station) for a residence permit.
Studying From Abroad
As you might expect, Amsterdam is rated high by the international student community. The presence of several renowned educational institutions, the cultural environment and the nightlife all combine into an attractive package. The general laid-back atmosphere of the Dutch, and the fact that Amsterdam is smaller then most major European cities, generally make it easy to feel at home for students from abroad. Institutions which offer international study programmes:
UvA - Universiteit van Amsterdam
HvA - Hogeschool van Amsterdam.

Amsterdam taxi rates are among the highest in Europe, with taxi companies being able to set their own rates, within certain legal limits that is. In recent years Dutch government has tried to regulate and clean up taxi services, but this seems to have had mixed results to put it mildly. At this moment there are a number of taxi companies and a large pool of independent drivers, with service ranging from good to appalling. Most complaints are about drivers refusing short rides and overcharging. Especially the taxi ranks at Central Station and Leidseplein are best avoided if at all possible. At a taxi rank you do not have to take the first taxi in line and many locals prefer to only use taxis from TCA (Taxi Centrale Amsterdam), because these operate at fixed rates. These might be your best bet indeed. Instead of picking one up at a rank, you can order one by phone at 020 777 77 77.

When dialing from abroad, prefix any number you find in this site with +31 (for Holland) and 20 (for Amsterdam). For example, you've found a hotel in the sleep section and the number listed is 123 45 67: from abroad dial + 31 20 1234567. All public telephones in the Netherlands use calling cards, available at post offices and tobacco shops. As an alternative you could go to a 'calling center' which offer competitive rates for overseas calling.
Due to the influence of the nearby North Sea, Amsterdam has a moderate climate with mild winters, cool summers and a fair bit of rainfall. It can be a bit windy, especially in spring and autumn. Below is a chart with the long term averages for temperature and precipitation. As you can see, on the average it doesn't freeze much during winter, but on the other hand it is not that uncommon to have the canals frozen over, a really picturesque sight. During summer average daily highs are around 68°F / 20°C, and you can expect some rain. Days with temperatures in excess of 75°F / 24°C are considered hot.

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