Did you know that Amsterdam was founded on 27th October 1275, making it one of the oldest cities in Europe? Yet we hardly hear about it when we think of European history.
The city might not be famous back then but today, the Dutch capital is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Europe.
With the city’s characteristic, impeccably kept architecture and elegant floral bridges crossing houseboat-laden canals, Amsterdam has achieved the title of one of the most incredible cities in Europe.
Let’s dig deep into this city and find out what interesting facts it is hiding.
Fact #1 – The city is sinking
Amsterdam and its surroundings are built on water. You may notice in images that some buildings are a bit lop-sided. The reason behind this is the swampy soil present below.
To create buildings in the city, long poles are required for support to prevent the structure from sinking. In medieval times, wooden poles were used but modern-day buildings are now constructed using concrete or steel piles.
Fact #2 – Multicultural city
A fun fact for you – Amsterdam has the highest number of nationalities out of any city in the world.
You can ride a minute down the road on your bicycle, grab a Thai curry, eat it while you are waiting for your turn in a Turkish saloon and then head with your peers to grab a beer served by an Aussie.
Fact #3 – Multiple languages in one place
Because of its multicultural makeup, over 85% of residents can speak at least three languages, the common combination being Dutch, English and German.
So if you think language will be an issue when visiting Amsterdam, think again.
Fact #4 – Big, big and big people
Speaking from a general point of view, Dutch people are ginormous. In fact, they can be considered one of the tallest people in the world.
The average height of Dutch men is around 184 cm (6 ft.) while women tower around 170 cm ( 5.5 ft.).
How do your countrymen fair in comparison?
Fact #5 – Bikes, Bikes and Bikes everywhere
As the title says Bicycle Friendly City, the sight of two-wheelers on the road is something you definitely can’t miss. Over 60% of trips are made by bikes in the inner city. It may sound like chaos but it is a chaos that’s fun, healthy and most importantly, environmental friendly.
Another fun fact for you – There are over 813,562 people living within the city limits of Amsterdam. However, it is estimated that there are 1,000,000 bicycles out there. So do the math!
Fact #6 – Amsterdam says no to smoking but there is a catch…
Tobacco smoking is illegal in cafes and restaurants. It was banned in the year 2008 but you can still smoke WEED in coffee shops.
So in simple terms, it is okay to smoke a joint but if you are caught smoking tobacco, not good for you at all.
Fact #7 – We are LGBT friendly
The first capital city in the world to allow same-sex marriage is the one-and-only yours truly Amsterdam.
Same-sex marriage was legalized in the Netherlands on 1 April 2001 and within 10 years… 15,000 same-sex couples married legally.
Fact #8 – Safety-first city
Amsterdam ranks 25th among the safest cities in the world, that is even with all the marijuana smoking and prostitution going on here!
That’s not to say that Amsterdam is completely crime free but crimes on the street are very rare. You won’t feel scared walking on the streets even at night.
Fact #9 – Indie Cinemas
Amsterdam is home to the world’s smallest movie cinema called CINEMA41 – a pop-up movie theatre with only 1 seat. You can watch a movie at just 3 euros INCLUDING POPCORN. Great spot for a solo movie night.
Fact #10 – There’s coffee everywhere
Tiny in size yet it’s the city boasting the second highest coffee consumption in the world, at around 3.2 cups of coffee per person per day.
Whether it is early morning or late at night, a coffee place will always be open near you to keep you fresh and alert.
Ending this article with 10 facts only because it’s never wise to give everything away all at once. Some things you just need to explore by yourself. Hopefully this article will provide you with some inspiration in getting know the beautiful and charismatic city of Amsterdam.