For city with streets that are almost as densely packed as Singapore and Sydney, I did not see a single act of public aggression in all of my 10 days there.
There were no public arguments, no raised voices, no overt intoxication or antisocial drunken behaviours. The user experience of Amsterdam was interestingly different from other cities.
A bicycle ran into a scooter right in front of me. Young men were involved. There were no injuries even as both vehicles fell over. And also no raised voices. No cuss words.
I saw many other near misses between combinations of cars, bicycles, scooters, trams, pedestrians and street cleaning vehicles. Again, consistently, there were no raised voices, no gesticulating fingers, no angry honking.
There were also no loud music playing from passing cars, no muffler-challenged motorcycles, and no muscle cars.
People clearly drink. As well as indulge in other substances. But iI did not once see the inebriated ape chest-beating behavior (ok so I didn’t stay out past midnight.) People don't even call out loudly to their friends on the street!
And it was not as if there were police everywhere either. Or some draconian punishment for making noise in public.
I can’t say the same for Dublin. Definitely not any of the night spots of Perth and Sydney.
Like in Singapore and Sydney, people in Amsterdam live in and actively use their city. They stay out late. They use their (excellent) public transport. Unlike in Singapore and Sydney, the people on public transport in Amsterdam didn't seem particularly stressed out at all. I wonder if this chilled-attitude is related to the lack of noise and public aggression?
So what is it about Amsterdam? And no, I don't get the sense that the locals use marijuana to any significant extent to make this a contributing factor; that seemed to be more of a tourist thing. Perhaps it is the prevalence of cats?