Amsterdam Fun Facts

posted on Wednesday, August 03, 2016 at 8:38:17 AM

Built on more than 6,000 piles or stilts, Amsterdam is a vibrant and one-of-a-kind European city with a plethora of adventure. Coming a long way from its origins as a fishing village, Amsterdam is now a culturally diverse, eco-friendly city with something for everyone. Explore our Amsterdam vacation packages and prepare for a whirlwind of a trip.

1. Amsterdam is home to the highest number of nationalities in the world.

2. It’s the most bicycle-friendly city in the world and actually has more bikes than people. However, more than 25,000 bikes end up in Amsterdam’s canals each year.

3. It is illegal to smoke tobacco in cafes and restaurants as of 2008 — but not marijuana. But don’t confuse a coffee shop with a café. Coffee shops are licensed sellers of cannabis products, while cafés serve coffee and meals.

4. Amsterdam was the first capital city in the world to allow gay marriage.

5. Looking for a unique tourist destination? Visit De Poezenboot, a houseboat full of stray cats. It’s the only one of its kind in the world and is run by volunteers in the canals west of Central Station.

6. Often nicknamed “Venice of the North,” Amsterdam is home to 872 bridges — more than Venice, Italy.

7. The majority of Amsterdam’s land area is below sea level. Because of this, each building is supported by wooden or concrete poles that support its foundation.

8. Houses in Amsterdam are famously narrow because they used to be taxed on the width of their front.

9. The "XXX" on the official coat of arms for the City of Amsterdam does not mean what you might think. They are the crosses of St. Andrew, who was a fisherman who was martyred on an X-shaped cross in the 1st century when Amsterdam was a fishing village.

10. The Dutch are the tallest people in the world. The average Dutchman is just over 6 feet, while Dutch women average 5 foot 7 inches.

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