11 Very Interesting Facts To Know About Amsterdam

9 February 2024
By Sarah Angela Almaden
Japanese House

Unsplash: Pauline Loroy

There are plenty of things that are found only in Amsterdam. Not New Amsterdam, but Amsterdam, as in the capital of the Netherlands. Here’s a brief overview of this Dutch city: Amsterdam, aka the Venice of the North, is the most populated city in the Netherlands and it is located in North Holland. The city is more than 700 years old. Its stock exchange called Amsterdam Stock Exchange is known to be the oldest “modern” stock exchange on the planet. I know, crazy, right? Anyhoo and last but not least, it is important to mention that Amsterdam is recognized as a multicultural city. But what else is Amsterdam all about? Read on and let’s find out!

  • There are 165 canals in Amsterdam: Amsterdam is known as the “Venice of the North” because it is home to 165 canals, totaling more than 60 miles in length.
  • There are over 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam: More than 2,500 unique houseboats float on the Amsterdam canals, including the Hendrika Maria houseboat museum and De Poezenboot, a non-profit shelter for stray cats.
  • There are more bikes than people in the city: Amsterdam boasts about 1 million bikes, with approximately 25,000 disappearing or being thrown into canals each year, and around 100,000 being stolen. Some individuals work as "bike fishermen" to keep the canals clear.
  • Amsterdam is built on and supported by 11 million wooden poles: Wooden poles support various structures in Amsterdam, including the Royal Palace and Central Railway Station, due to the city's clay soil and location below sea level.
  • Amsterdam is sinking: Despite wooden support, many buildings in Amsterdam are still sinking, leading to structures like the "Dancing Houses" along the canals.
  • The only floating flower market can be found on boats: Amsterdam's Bloemenmarkt, established in 1862, is the world's only floating flower market.
  • The narrower the house building, the lower the property tax: In the 17th century, property tax was determined by house width, leading to the construction of tall, narrow buildings along the canals.
  • The smallest house in Europe can be found at Oude Hoogstraat 22: Built around 1738, this tiny house measures only 2.02 meters in width and 5 meters in depth, featuring a single room on each floor.
  • Amsterdam was the first city in the world to legalize same-sex marriage: On April 1st, 2001, four same-sex weddings were officiated at City Hall.
  • It has the most museums per square meter in the world: Amsterdam is home to over 90 museums, including the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, and Anne Frank Museum.
  • The Red Light District is locally known as De Wallen: De Wallen is famous for its red lights, used by cisgender and transgender sex workers to indicate services offered.