There are endlessly weird, random and interesting facts to learn about Amsterdam. The city of Amsterdam is one of the most interesting places in the World and is famous for its history and lifestyle. The capital of the Netherlands for sure one of the most cultural and fun cities in Europe.
Here are 35 fun facts about Amsterdam you probably didn’t know:
1. Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands. However, the government of The Netherlands is not seated in Amsterdam, but in The Hague.
2. Amsterdam is home to the highest number of nationalities out of any city in the world.
3. Over 85% of Amsterdam residents can speak more than two languages. The most common languages spoken in Amsterdam are Dutch, English and sometimes German
4. Amsterdam got its name from the Amstel River: Amsterdam was originally founded in the 12th century as a fishing village named Amstellodamus. The village derived its name from the Amstel River. Over time Amstellodamus evolved into Amsterdam.
5. Amsterdam residents are the second largest consumers of coffee in the world! The average coffee consumption in Amsterdam is around 3.2 cups of coffee per person, per day.
6. Amsterdam’s coat of arms has 3 “XXX” that represent the crosses of Saint Andrew – a fisherman who was martyred on an X-shaped cross in the 1st century.
7. Amsterdam has 165 canals – in total, these waterways add up to more than 100 kilometres! In 2010 the seventeenth-century Canal Ring became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.
8. The French impressionist Claude Monet painted the South Church13 times during his visit to the Netherlands.
9. The city is one of the top 25 safest cities in the world! There should be a positive correlation between legalizing marijuana and prostitution with safety, what do you think?
10. The Dancing Houses were built by wealthy bankers and merchants on swampy soil with stilts. This caused them to wobble and sink into the river
11. The city has 1281 bridges – more than Venice has (409)! That’s three times as many as Venice! There are 80 bridges within the centre of Amsterdam.
13. Magere Brug, also known as the Skinny Bridge, is the most famous bridge. Approximately every 20 minutes, the bridge opens to let boats pass through.
14. There 45% more bee species in Amsterdam since the year of 2000. Amsterdam has abolished harmful pesticides and has set up special flower gardens inside the city.
15. The city has more than 1500 bars and cafes!
16. At the beginning of the 20th century, dancing was forbidden here.
17. There are more women than men living in the city. For every 100 men in this category, there are 145 women!
18. Why just having a normal mayor? Amsterdam has a nightlife mayor, a bike mayor and a city poet!
19. My favourite spirit, the gin, was invented in the Netherlands! Back in the days, the gin was called “jenever” and was used for medicinal purposes during the 16th century.
20. The city is built on more than 11.000.000, 15 to 20 meter long wooden poles! The wooden poles sink through the mud and support Amsterdam’s buildings. A normal house has about 10 poles. In comparison, the central station has more than 9.000!
21. All over Amsterdam, there are hidden water taps under the ground so the people of Amsterdam would always have drinking water.
22. There are 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam. Most of the houseboats you see on Amsterdam’s canals are occupied by residents but some are available for rent to visitors. There are different types of houseboats. The wooden ones need to be repainted every three years.
23. In 1850, 30% of the population in Amsterdam lived off begging.
24. Dutch people are the tallest people in the world! Most men average at a height of 184cm while the average Dutch woman towers at 170cm.
25. The city was the first capital city in the world to allow gay marriage!
26. The city was once surrounded by defensive walls which were torn down in the 19th century.
27. More than 30.000 bicycles end up in the canals each year! Oddly, they say only 8,000 bikes are pulled out of the canals annually. So the canals are 3m deep – 1m water, 1m. mud and 1m bicycles!
28. Here you can also find some catboats full of stray cats! The boats are run by volunteers in the canal just west of Central Station.
29. Schiphol, Amsterdam’s airport, sits 4m below sea level! Hopefully, it won’t become a harbour in the next years …
30. In the Red Light District, if a room is lit with blue or purple light it means the woman is probably not a woman…
31. The first gay bar “Cafe ‘t Mandje” on Zeedijk 63 was opened in 1927 and it still exists!
32. Amsterdam has more bicycles than people! 900.000 is approximately the number of bicycles. In comparison, the city has about 815.000 residents living within the city area.
33. Over 20 Millions of Tourists visit the city each year! That’s about 20 times as many tourists as locals!
34. Anne Frank’s diary is translated into 70 different languages and published in over 60 countries – that makes it the most translated Dutch book!
35. People living in the city on a low income can take their pets to the vet for free once a year.
36. The smallest cinema in the worlds called CINEMA41 is located here. CINEMA41 is one-person-cinema and one movie ticket + popcorn + soda costs about 3 €!