15 Facts You Didn’t Know About Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is postcard-perfect with its unique architecture, quaint canals, relaxing parks, and heavenly spring tulips! It also has a vibrant and inclusive culture, great beer and coffee, amazing food, and a laid-back vibe that leaves you wanting more. Check out these fun facts about Amsterdam that are absolutely worth knowing!

1. When you think of Amsterdam, the first picture that will come to your mind is probably that of the picturesque canals. Did you know that there are 165 canals here that add up to more than 100 km? Wow!

2. Amsterdam is the most bicycle-friendly country in the world, so much so that there are more bikes than there are people within the city limits. Also, around 10,000 bikes are dredged out of the canals every year. The question is, how do they get there in the first place?!

3. At the beginning of the 20th century, dancing was forbidden in Amsterdam. Sounds strange but it’s true.

4. A coffee shop doesn’t mean the same thing in Amsterdam as it does everywhere else. Simply put, you go to a cafe for coffee and a coffee shop for marijuana, where you can buy up to 5 grams of cannabis. This may also be a good time to mention that smoking tobacco in cafes and restaurants is banned but smoking a joint is fine.

5. Everyone knows that Amsterdam is home to some world-class museums like the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum. But you can also find some quirky museums including the Sex Museum, Torture Museum (Ouch!), Funeral Museum and Museum Vrolik, where you can see a collection of human deformities!

6. Amsterdam is actually below sea level which means the slightest increase in global sea levels could cause it to sink just like the mythical Atlantis.

7. Amsterdam’s leaning houses are iconic, to say the least. So why exactly are these houses crooked? Turns out they were built on wooden poles a long time ago and with the swampy soil causing these poles to rot, the houses have started to become wonky.

8. If you have crazy cat lady tendencies, you will love the Catboat or “De Poezenboat” which houses many abandoned and stray cats, making it the only floating animal sanctuary in the world!

9. While most cities have just one mayor, Amsterdam also has a nightlife mayor, a bicycle mayor and a city poet!

10. You may have noticed that most of the houses in Amsterdam are not only beautiful but also very narrow. There’s no aesthetic reason behind this. It’s just that back in the day people were taxed based on the width of their house, so they chose to go tall rather than wide. Funnily enough, a lot of these houses are narrow in the front but wide at the back. Sneaky!

11. Amsterdam is famous for its open-mindedness. Did you know that it was the first capital city in the world to legalize gay marriage in 2001?

12. Tired of walking around? Just hitchhike Amsterdam style. All you need to do is shout “Backie” when you spot a local cyclist with a yellow luggage rack and get on. Sounds like fun!

13. CINEMA41 is the world’s smallest movie cinema. How small, you ask? Well, it only seats one person. It is a pop-up movie theatre and the entire experience will cost you 3 Euros with popcorn. Sounds like a deal!

14. Because Amsterdam is such a diverse city, over 86% of the population are polyglots, meaning they can speak more than 2 languages fluently. Impressive!

15. There are more women than men in Amsterdam. For every 100 men in the age group of 20-25, there are 145 women. In the words of Beyonce, “Who run the world?”.

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