Amsterdam Facts and Figures
1. Although Amsterdam is officially the capital of the Netherlands, the political capital is the Hague where you will find all the government buildings.
2. Amsterdam is part of the province Noord Holland (North Holland), however the capital of the province is Haarlem, just 15 minutes away by train.
3. Amsterdam was built on long wooden poles that had to be driven into the ground and this is the reason so many buildings lean to one side.
4. Amsterdam is the most multicultural city in the world with 175 different nationalities. No wonder we have so many different types of restaurants to choose from.
5. The Nickname of Amsterdam is Mokum, which is Hebrew for city or place. This is due to the large Jewish population that lived around the old Jewish Quarter of Amsterdam.
6. There are more bicycles then people - the population of Amsterdam is around 760,000 and there are nearly a million bikes. There are also twice as many bikes then cars. Join the fun and rent a bike.
7. You can cycle nearly anywhere in Holland as there are more than 15,000km of bike lanes.
8. Amsterdam has more museums per square metre then any other city in the world.
9. During the golden age it’s estimated that more then 5 million paintings were made. You can see the paintings from Dutch master painters here in Amsterdam at the Rijks Museum and Van Gogh Museum.
10. Amsterdam’s beautiful canal belt was finally added to the world heritage list in July 2010.
11. Amsterdam is known as the Venice of the North as it has around 1,200 bridges and 165 canals. Best way to experience them is on one of the many boat tours.
12. There are also around 2,500 house boats along the canals where locals live and there is even one for cats called the Poezenboot. You can visit the houseboat museum or even stay on a houseboat during your visit.
13. The Beurs Van Berlage Amsterdam’s stock exchange is the oldest anywhere in the world.
14. The oldest building in Amsterdam is the Oudekerk (Old Church) situated in the red light district area. It dates from 1306.
15. Consuming soft drugs such as cannabis has been decriminalized in the Netherlands but is still illegal. Check out our section on drugs advice for more info.
16. Coffee shops in Amsterdam can sell up to 5 grams of soft drugs to a person and there are over 200 coffee shops around the city. Smoking on the streets is not allowed though!
17. Amsterdam’s Red light District is probably the most famous of them all. There are over 500 windows in the city and about 1000 working girls, who have a union and need to pay tax like every other working person. Find out more at the Prostitution Information Centre.
18. Amsterdam was the first capital city to allow gay marriage when the Netherlands adopted the law in 2001 and is the gay and lesbian capital of Europe.
19. The name Amsterdam comes from the river Amstel and the Dam that they built to be able to construct the city.
20. Amstel beer is named after Amsterdam’s River Amstel.
21. The Koh-I-Noor or Mountain of Light Diamond, one of the most famous in the world, was polished regularly in Amsterdam’s Coster Diamonds.
22. Schiphol Airport is one of the worlds busiest and has been previously voted best airport in the world. You can even get married there.
23. Schiphol is also around four metres below sea level and around a quarter of the Netherlands is also below sea level.
24. Dutch people are the tallest in Europe and the worlds 2nd tallest, so don’t be surprised to feel shorter while in Amsterdam.
25. There are still around 1000 windmills still working in Holland. Nearby Amsterdam are the famous Zaanse Schans windmills. The Brouwerij 't IJ (brewery) is located in one of a few windmills in Amsterdam and has great beer to try,
26. Holland is also famous for its flowers because 75% of the flower bulbs are produced here. In Amsterdam you can visit the popular flower market or if the season is right you can take a trip out to the Keukenhof.
27. During World War 2, at the time of the so called 1944 "winter of hunger", the people were so hungry they had to eat their own tulip bulbs. You can read more about this at the brilliant Amsterdam Tulip Museum
Red Light District - Amsterdam
Waterlooplein Flea Market
Albert Cuyp Market - Bicycles
De Amsterdam - Replica Ship
De Bijenkorf - Amsterdam
Amstel Hotel - Amsterdam
"Travel and change of pace impart new vigor to the mind" - Seneca