Amsterdam is the nominal capital as well as the largest city of Netherlands. Its name has been derived from ‘Amstel Dam’, a dam built on river Amstel. The city is popularly known as the ‘Venice of the North’, owing to the popularity of its historic port, the Rijksmuseum, its red-light district (de Wallen), its laissez-faire coffee shops and the numerous canals. Amsterdam was merely a small fishing village founded in the 12th century. However, it gained importance by becoming one of the important ports during the Dutch Golden Age. In effect, it transformed into a leading center of finance and diamonds. Today, Amsterdam is home to many large Dutch institutions and to some of the Fortune 500 companies. It is ranked high in terms of quality of living and is one of most visited places in the world. A beautiful city with enchanting landscapes, Amsterdam also boasts of a rich architectural history. Given below are some other interesting and fun facts about Amsterdam.
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Established In: 1275
Established By: Cou nt of Holland
Population: 820,654 (2012)
Area: 219 km2
Interesting & Fun Facts about Amsterdam
- Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands.
- The city houses more than 1 million bikes.
- Amsterdam is home to more than 300 coffee shops, which are legally allowed to sell up to 5g of soft drugs per person.
- The city owns 70 glass topped canal boats.
- Amsterdam is known to house the maximum number of museums in the world, per square meter.
- If the sea level rises even slightly, Amsterdam would be one of the first cities in the world to drown, as its altitude is below sea level.
- The Van Gogh Museum and the Kröller-Müller Museum of Amsterdam contain the largest Van Gogh collections in the world.
- Though the city is the capital of the Netherlands, it does not have a parliament, as it is situated in Hague.
- The world famous ‘Kohinoor’ diamond of India was actually cut in Amsterdam.
- The city is entirely built on piles, by means of huge stakes driven into the ground.
- Amsterdam has more than 150 canals and 1,200 bridges within its bounds.
- The city also comprises of the northern part of the Randstad, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Europe.
- Out of the top 500 companies in the world, as many as seven, including Philips and ING, are based in Amsterdam.
- Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the oldest stock exchange in the world. It is located in the city center.
- The city lies in the west of the Netherlands, next to the provinces of Utrecht and Flevoland.
- The oldest area in Amsterdam is known as de Wallen and it is home to the city’s famous red light district.
- Oude Kerk (Old Church) forms the oldest building in Amsterdam. Situated in the heart of the Wallen area, it was consecrated in 1306.
- While earlier, wooden building used to dominate the city, today only two of them remain standing, of which the oldest one is het Houten Huys.
- The administration of the municipality of Amsterdam has been divided into 15 boroughs or stadsdelen. The city is governed by a mayor, aldermen, and the municipal council.
- Amongst the numerous large Dutch corporations and banks headquartered in Amsterdam, one can include ABN AMRO, Akzo Nobel, Heineken International, ING Group, Ahold, TomTom, Delta Lloyd Group and Philips.
- There is boat full of cats called Poezenboot, in Amsterdam. It is home to number of stray and abandoned cats and is the only one of its kind in the world. This boat has become a tourist attraction now.
- Vondelpark is the largest green space in Amsterdam, named after the renowned poet Joost van den Vondel.
- Amsterdam is the first city to allow gay marriage with regular rituals.
- Amsterdam has a nickname ‘Mokum’, a Hebrew word for ‘city’.
- The city has been ranked among one of the top 25 safest cities in the world. The crime rate here is much less than any other European capital.
- The canals of Amsterdam were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.