17 Random Facts About Amsterdam

I Amsterdam Sign

We were very unlucky with the weather when we visited Amsterdam due to icy winds from Serbia and lots of rain, so we didn’t see a lot of the attractions we wanted to. However, by spending a few days in this fascinating city we did learn some interesting and random facts about Amsterdam.

You can book a local guide to take you on a private tour of Amsterdam here.

1. There are more bikes in Amsterdam than there are people

You will literally see bikes everywhere you look. There are even more bikes on the road than there are cars.

2. Bikes are the most dangerous thing in Amsterdam

Bikes have their own road in Amsterdam and it looks just like a footpath so it can be very easy to forget and walk onto it without looking. This is very dangerous so look both ways (twice)…they come from everywhere! 

Amsterdam Bikes

3. There are over 100km of canals throughout Amsterdam

The most popular way to travel in Amsterdam is firstly by bike and secondly by boat.

4. 10,000 bikes are fished out of the canals each year

I couldn’t believe this fact when I heard it. That means on average, 27 bikes fall into the canals every day!

Amsterdam Canals

5. XXX is the symbol of Amsterdam

You’ll see the sign XXX all around the city but don’t be concerned, it has nothing to do with porn!

6. A company called Sandemans does free walking tours of the city

This is a great introduction to Amsterdam where you will learn about its culture, history and attractions.

Amsterdam Walking Tour

7. The toilets in Amsterdam are weird

You’re first time taking a number 2 here may feel a bit strange. For some reason, the toilets in the Netherlands have a drain at the front which means that when you take a poo it doesn’t fall straight in, it falls on the toilet shelf. A bit too close for comfort!

 8. You can get Hop-On-Hop-Off tour tickets for 15 Euros

This includes unlimited travel on selected tour buses and boats. However, we found out later that you can actually take canal cruises from the back of Central Station for FREE (If only we knew!)

9. The average height of buildings in Amsterdam is 4-5 storeys

The skyline is quite flat and that is exactly how the locals like it because they want to keep the city looking authentic. We used AirBnB to stay in a typical Amsterdam house to experience living like a local instead of staying in a hostel or hotel.

 10. Tony’s New York Bagels cafe makes THE most delicious bagels

The coffee and bagels were so good that we came to Tony’s for breakfast 2 days in a row. We even tried making our own version when we got back to England.

Amsterdam Bagels

11. It is common to smoke cannabis in coffee shops

When you sit down at some coffee shops you will get asked: “What would you like to drink and what would you like to smoke?” Some places even have a menu entirely for cannabis.

12. Surprisingly cannabis is actually illegal in the Netherlands

If you’re smoking a joint and drinking a beer on the street, the police will stop you and fine you for drinking on the street but won’t ask what you’re smoking. They wouldn’t do that because it would be bad for tourism.

13. You must take a picture of the ‘I Amsterdam’ sign

It is almost impossible to get a picture of the whole sign without lots of tourists getting in the way but it has to be done when in Amsterdam.

I Amsterdam Sign

14. Prostitution is a legal business

Prostitution has been common for centuries in Amsterdam, however in the year 2000 it became legal. Prostitutes now have to get a licence, abide by rules and pay taxes. As a result, a lot of abuse has stopped, the prostitutes get access to healthcare, and the business is a lot safer for everyone.

15. You can see prostitutes in the windows at the Red Light District

There have been prostitutes here from as early as the 1400s but things were different back then. These days they definitely don’t keep their business secret, especially when they pay 150 Euros per day to rent a window.

16. There is a Museum of Prostitution at the Red Light District 

What do you learn at Red Light Secrets? Some very interesting things…

Amsterdam Red Light Secrets

17. As long as you’re respectful, you can do whatever you want in Amsterdam

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If you’ve been to Amsterdam before we’d like to hear from you…What have you learned or experienced in Amsterdam? Leave us a comment…

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