Amsterdam 2015-6

Amsterdam Exposed, the latest book by David Wienir, tells the story of life in Amsterdam as an exchange student at Vrije Universiteit.

David originally set out to write about Amsterdam’s famed red light district but this book also details a seedy culture that’s rapidly disappearing.

Follow him as he unfolds tales of love, tragedy, humour and survival in a city filled with life.

Amsterdam Exposed cover

Having lived in The Netherlands for eight years, I can truly attest to the vibrant culture and themes that Wienir exposes in the pages of this entertaining and thoughtful paperback, due on shelves May 1 (preorder info below).

Another time, another place

Amsterdam Exposed is a slice of late-1990’s student life and will make an enjoyable read for anyone who’s ever been to – or is interested in – visiting Amsterdam. You’ll get to follow the author’s personal journey into the red light district as he tries to chat with sex workers, makes pub friends and explores the city.

David’s stories of sex workers (such as Emma, with whom he formed an emotional bond) is open and candid; on the flip side of the coin (and something I can very much relate to after having lived there) is surviving in The Netherlands.

Amsterdam Amsterdam
Amsterdam Amsterdam

As a naïve student aboard, David regularly steps out of his comfort zone as he walks along De Wallen (Amsterdam’s most notorious red light district street) hoping to meet a prostitute that will offer an honest look at life “behind the red curtain”.

After several approaches (and numerous rejections) asking girls if they’ll talk with him (and not have sex), he finally convinces Emma, a young woman in her early 20’s, to help him. Rather than impose the standard 50 guilders fee, the two connect and become friends over a few dinners. There’s a bond formed that crosses the boundary of sex for money and it’s an interesting aspect of the book (and one of the author’s main goals).

Fellow expat friends I’ve made over the years have a love/hate relationship with The Netherlands. Wienir describes his book as part tragicomedy/part survival guide. Mostly I just dug the world he brings the reader into—it’s a rarely dull one!

Amsterdam 2017-3

Amsterdam Exposed offers so much more than your average travel story. People often ask me what it was like to live in The Netherlands, to which I always answer, “living in a place versus travelling through one are two very different things”.

Once you’re over the initial culture shock, there’s a complex language awaiting you; what comes later is the more complex, emotional impact you get from living abroad and David doesn’t sugar-coat any of it here.

So take a ride through the Amsterdam’s kaleidoscopic nature, via history, bikes, coffee shops and neon. Fans of the HBO series Weeds, take note! David is married to Dr. Dina, a pioneer of the medical cannabis movement and the inspiration behind Nancy Botwin’s character.

You can pre-order Amsterdam Exposed (paperback, USD $12.95; Kindle, $4.57) here.

David Wienir Amsterdam Exposed

About the Author

David Wienir is a business affairs executive at United Talent Agency and an entertainment law instructor at UCLA Extension. Prior to UTA, he practiced law at two of the top entertainment law firms where he represented clients such as Steven Spielberg and Madonna.

His previous books include Last Time: Labour’s Lessons from the Sixties, The Diversity Hoax: Law Students Report from Berkeley and Making It on Broadway: Actors’ Tales of Climbing to the Top (foreword by Jason Alexander).

Instagram photos by @redlightdistrictbook on Instagram.

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