Throughout the 1970s, Amsterdam experienced rapid development. To reduce the use of automobiles, city planners have favored public transportation. Trams remain the primary transportation mode in inner Amsterdam, while buses play a critical role in outer districts. A high-speed metro line opened in 1976, and a new fast rail line to Schiphol was opened in 1988.
The cultural revolution of the 1970s made Amsterdam the magisch centrum (magical centre) of Europe. A tolerant attitude toward soft drugs made the city a favorite haunt of hippies. Geert Mak called the “twenty years’ urban war” (twintigjarige stadsoorlog): a period of an extended conflict between radical youth and the city government. In the mid-20th century, Dutch culture was severely repressed by religion, but the tolerance of difference has persisted in Dutch culture because of the traditional economic boom and the severity of religious restrictions. The city’s relatively open tolerance for recreational drug use and escorts resulted from this radicalism. There were many radical movements in the 1970s, some highly political and rigidly structured, but many played out in street theatre, satirical and playful.
Below are some fascinating vintage photos that show the street life of Amsterdam in the 1970s.