interesting facts about amsterdam

7 Interesting Facts About Amsterdam

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is famous for its beautiful houses, coffee shops, canals and nightlife. It is also one of the top cultural capitals of the world with more museums per capita than any other city. From bridges to bikes, flowers to finance, we take a look at some of the most interesting facts about Amsterdam.

7 Interesting Facts About Amsterdam

1. Amsterdam has a lot of bridges

There are 1,281 bridges in Amsterdam, 80 of which you can find within the canal ring – the centre of Amsterdam. If you stand on the corner of the Reguliersgracht and Herengracht bridges you can see 15 bridges at the same time. One of the most famous bridges in Amsterdam is the Magere Brug or Skinny Bridge, it even made an appearance in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. For comparison, there are 391 bridges in Venice and 37 in Paris.

2. Amsterdam is the ‘Venice of the North’

Amsterdam is nicknamed Venice of the North due to its 165 UNESCO protected waterways and its Canal Ring dating back to the 17th-century. In total, there are more than 100 kilometres of canals. The most popular canals are the Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht. As a comparison, there are 177 canals in Venice totalling around 41km.

interesting facts about amsterdam

3. Amsterdam has the most museums per square meter

Amsterdam has the highest centration of museums per square meter of all cities in the world. That’s more culture per capita than any other world city. Amsterdam is famous for its museum, for instance, the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, and Stedelijk Museum – which are filled to the brim with world-class artworks. The city is also home to the Anne Frank House and a bevvy of smaller, more nitch museums, for instance, the Torture Museum, Sex Museum, Hemp Museum, and the Funeral Museum.

4. The smallest house in Europe is in Amsterdam

You’ll find the smallest house in Europe at Oude Hoogstraat 22 in Amsterdam. Measuring just 2.02 metres (6 feet 8 inches) wide and 5 metres (16 feet 5 inches) deep, with one room per floor, this teeny house dates back to 1738. Amsterdam is famous for its slender houses and located at Singel 7 you’ll find a house that has the slenderest façade in the city, but the rest of the house is of average width. The svelte façade is just one metre wide. The houses are so narrow for taxes purposes. Back in the 17th-century, officials taxed locals on the width of their properties, so designers created the houses with narrow fronts that go wider at the back. This way they gave the appearance of being narrow and avoided high taxes.

interesting facts about amsterdam

5. Amsterdam has the only floating flower market in the world

The Amsterdam Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt) is a floating flower market that has been in existence since 1862 and is the only floating flower market in the world. Over the century, the market has bloomed into one of the most famous flower markets in The Netherlands. Located along the Singe Canal, the stalls are on fixed barges that have glasshouses on top. This is a hark back to the past when the flowers were delivered by boat. Bonus fun fact about flowers: The Netherlands is the world’s biggest flower grower and exporter.

6. Cyclists have right of way in Amsterdam

There are more bikes than inhabitants in Amsterdam and there are four times more bicycles than cars. Amsterdam has over 400km of bike lanes and bikes have the right of way over both cars and pedestrians.

interesting facts about amsterdam

7. Amsterdam is the home of the world’s first stock exchange

The Dutch East India Company established the world’s first stock exchange in 1602 in Amsterdam. The Dutch East India Company was a multinational corporation and it is thought to be the largest company to ever have existed in recorded history. It once occupied the impressive Beurs van Berlage building – Holland’s most important 19th-century architectural monument. For comparison, the New York Stock Exchange traces its history back to 1792.

Melanie May

Melanie is an intrepid solo traveller, endlessly curious about people, places and food. She is a fan of slow travel and loves exploring the world by mouth, discovering a culture through its food. Having backpacked her way around the world she turned her wanderlust into a career and is now a full-time travel writer.

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