14 Fun Facts About Amsterdam You Probably Didn’t Know
The unusual quirkiness of Amsterdam is one of the reasons people from far and wide have fallen in love with the city. But there really is far more to it than meets the eye. From whacky tours with retired ladies of the Red Light District, to what to shout if you want a lift around the city for free. Read on to learn the weird and wild things about Dam that’ll make the itinerary for your next trip there even more interesting…
1 The narrowest house in Amsterdam is only 2.02 metres wide and 5 metres deep
This teeny tiny house was built around the year 1600 at Oude Hoogstraat and could only fit one little room on each floor!
2 Bikes outnumber people
Is this even surprising? It’s been estimated that there are around 30,000 more bicycles than humans in Amsterdam.
3 Rijksmuseum is the only museum in the world to have a cycle path running through it
Typical Amsterdam. With over 400km of cycle paths around the city and counting, there had to be some building that would be accommodating to them!
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4 You can take a tour with retired sex workers
Where else in the world would offer a tour with retired Red Light District workers? The 70-something year old twins in charge of this quirky activity definitely have some stories to tell…
5 Shout “backie” and you’ll be offered a lift wherever you wanna go
Decided against the bike hire and starting to get aching feet? Only in Amsterdam would you be able to yell “backie” at a local riding a bike with a yellow rack on the back wheel, and get a lift anywhere you need to go. That’s Amsterdam-style hitchhiking for you.
6 Amsterdam is home to the world’s first specialised condom shop
The Condomerie on Warmoesstraat was founded in 1987. Did you know that the teenage pregnancy rate in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in the world? Go figure!
7 Thousands of wild parakeets live in Amsterdam
Around 4000 wild rose-ringed parakeets live in the city. The small green-feathered birds originate from much warmer parts of the world, yet they also thrive in built up areas in the north of Europe.
8 Pop into a Huiskamerrestaurant for a cheap local meal
Huiskamerrestaurant or a ‘living room restaurants’ are a fantastic way to get a real taste of local Dutch cuisine, cooked by regular people in their family home. These home cooks open their cosy home for a couple of nights a week (to those who have pre-booked a seat) so they can show off their amateur skills and earn a few euro as an added bonus.
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9 An anonymous sculptor has been installing work across Amsterdam since the 80s
The man sawing the branch of a tree in Leidsebosje park, the three little men talking on red chairs in Ten Katenplein, the man playing the violin through the ground in Stopera… It’s been over 30 years and we still don’t know who created all these sculptures and more!
10 Amsterdam is home to the only floating flower market in the world
Floating on the oldest canals in the city, this flower market will be the most colourful thing you see on your trip to Amsterdam. It’s the only floating flower market you’ll ever see so you’d better pay it a visit.
11 And the only floating cat shelter
Cat lovers, take note. The world’s only floating cattery can be found on Amsterdam’s canals. Consisting of two barges, tourists are welcome to visit and pet these friendly felines.
12 Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands but not North Holland
It’s the biggest city in the country for sure, but the capital city of North Holland is Haarlem, which is pretty much next door to Amsterdam!
13 Thousands of bikes end up in the canals for reasons nobody knows
12,000 to 15,000 bikes are found drifting down the canals every year but nobody can say how they ended up there!
14 Electric Ladyland is the brightest spot in Amsterdam
This psychedelic art gallery is all about the fluorescents including an entire room that glows from top to bottom.
Want more? Check out our 101 Hidden Secrets of Europe
Article by Darcy King
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