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The Netherlands is renowned for their liberal drug policy . While technically still illegal because of international treaties, personal use of (soft) drugs are regulated by the Ministry of Justice under an official policy of gedogen ; literally this means to accept or tolerate . Legally, this is a doctrine of non-prosecution on the basis that action taken would be so highly irregular as to constitute selective prosecution.

You are allowed to buy and smoke small doses (5g or less) of cannabis or hash. You must be 18 or over to buy. For this you have to visit a coffeeshop , which are abundant in most larger towns. Coffeeshops are not allowed to sell alcohol, and minors (those under 18) are not allowed inside. Coffeeshops are prohibited from explicit advertising, so many use the Rastafari red-yellow-green colours to hint at the products available inside, while others are more discreet and sometimes almost hidden away from plain view.

Hallucinogenic ("magic") mushrooms, once legal, are officially banned. However, "magic truffles", which contain the same active ingredients as magic mushrooms, are still technically legal and are sold in some Amsterdam head shops.

Prostitution is decriminalized, but only for those prostitutes registered at a permitted brothel. Safe sex and use of condoms is common practice, and the prostitute will usually have these available. It is illegal for sex workers to solicit customers on the street. Prostitution is most common in the capital, Amsterdam, with its red-light district, even if tourists only visit as a memento of their trip. In more rural areas, prostitution is almost non-existent.

A wide range of accommodation is available, concentrated on the major tourist destinations. They include regions popular for domestic tourism, such as the Veluwe and Zuid-Limburg .

Rental trailers at Camping Zeeburg, Amsterdam

Camp sites are widespread and available in pretty much all corners of the country, as well as close to most of the major cities. Outside the main tourist season (July-September) there's usually a place available and most camp sites will find a spot for small trekker's tents any time of year. For caravans, camper vans or family tents it's advisable to make reservations beforehand, especially during summer holidays. In popular domestic and regional tourist areas, such as the on the coast, on the West Frisian Islands , in Zuid-Limburg and on the Veluwe , high end camp sites with lots of facilities and entertainment are easy to find. In rural areas, smaller sites next to farms are very popular (see Stichting Vrije Recreatie (SVR) ). Pure natural landscapes can be vividly experienced on the so called natuurkampeerterreinen ( terrains for nature camping ). As it comes to shopping facilities it might be possible to buy products of the place itself.

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This is a guest post by Alex J. Hughes, a writer and software product manager based in Nashville, TN. He is also the author of the popular article on our site “ 8 Stoic Secrets to Help You Build Mental Toughness .”

“Fortune falls heavily on those for whom she’s unexpected. The one always on the lookout easily endures.” –Seneca

Most of us are torn between the duality of what’s playing out in our minds and what’s actually taking place around us.

We all have certain expectations that things should go a specific way. For some of us, it’s holding fixed expectations that our relationships should be exactly as we’ve imagined—perfect partner, kids, family, friends. For others, it’s the expectation that we should have it all figured out by now, that our careers should follow a carefully plotted path, or that some special event—wedding, birthday, vacation abroad—should live up to the hype.

The trouble with this line of thinking is that higher expectations do not equate to higher levels of happiness, gratitude, or performance. Additionally, projecting fixed expectations is in fundamental opposition to the impermanence and ambiguity that define life. Expecting things to go a set way is to reject the fabric of life. You cannot and will not eliminate all uncertainty from your life, no matter how hard you try.

In reality, there’s no such thing as the way it should be. Everything is in a state of constant motion.

The harder you work to eliminate uncertainty and ambiguity from life, the smaller the confines of your comfort zone become. True comfort is found through embracing discomfort, not shielding yourself from uncertainty—and this is the paradox of comfort . The wider the range of potential scenarios that you’ve trained yourself to handle, the better things will turn out.

It’s not that expectations are inherently dangerous. But they become exactly that as we fixate on a single outcome that’s outside of what the Stoics deemed as our ‘reasoned choice’—one which we have little to no control over. Positive visualization—setting expectations sky high and fixating on the best-case scenario–is not so much a strategy, as it is a recipe for failure. Sooner or later you’ll end up wrecked by something beyond your control.

Expectations outside of your reasoned choice leave you fragile, rigid, and reactive. Focusing your limited energy on trying to control every variable and getting from A to B like you’ve dreamed it in your head is restrictive and ineffective. It limits what you will learn, what you can achieve, and the person you will be.

“Who then is invincible? The one who cannot be upset by anything outside their reasoned choice.” – Epictetus

Negative visualization —contemplating the range of potential outcomes, including the unfavorable and worst-case—is a far more effective technique offered by the Stoics (also known as premeditatio malorum ). The greatest minds don’t sit around thinking of a fanciful alternate reality where everything plays out according to plan. They develop the resourcefulness to navigate inevitable obstacles and turn them to their advantage.

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British World English challenge

1 A call to someone to participate in a competitive situation or fight to decide who is superior in terms of ability or strength.

dare , provocation
problem , difficult task, test, trial

2 A call to prove or justify something.

confrontation with , dispute with, stand against, test of, opposition, disagreement with

3 Medicine mass noun Exposure of the immune system to pathogenic organisms or antigens.

1 Dispute the truth or validity of.

question , disagree with, object to, take exception to, confront, dispute, take issue with, protest against, call into question

2 Invite (someone) to engage in a contest.

dare , summon, invite, bid, throw down the gauntlet to, defy someone to do something
contend , vie, fight, battle, clash, tussle, grapple, wrestle, wrangle, jockey, wage war, cross swords, lock horns, go head to head
rival , keep up with, keep pace with, compare with, be the equal of, match up to, match, be on a par with, be in the same class as, be in the same league as, come near to, come close to, touch, approach, approximate, emulate
test , tax, try

3 Medicine Expose (the immune system) to pathogenic organisms or antigens.

Origin

Middle English (in the senses ‘accusation’ and ‘accuse’): from Old French chalenge (noun), chalenger (verb), from Latin calumnia ‘calumny’, calumniari ‘calumniate’.

Pronunciation

challenge

/ˈtʃalɪn(d)ʒ/
foible

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