With colorful and diverse neighborhoods, Amsterdam plays an integral part of the tourist’s European itinerary. Thousands of push bikes are found parked together on every corner, sex museums are the norm, and riding the canals are considered part of their daily life. But there’s more to this vibrant city than crazy sex museums, drugs, and bicycles. This city thrives on being different, welcoming everyone to visit their quirky culture. Everyone knows about their coffee shops and Red Light District, but there are some interesting facts about this city that might be a surprise. Check out the list below to see why Amsterdam is well, the very best.
Push bikes outnumber people!
Yes, that is correct. There’s a reason why every postcard, tourism advertisement, and picture includes a bicycle; there’s enough to go around and then some! There’s an estimated 1 million push bikes in the city of Amsterdam and the population as of 2011 was almost 800,000. Take in to consideration that Amsterdam is known for bike theft and people falling into the canals with their push bikes, this number seems appropriate. That’s a lot of bicycles!
Ice skating on canals
A favorite pastime of the locals, ice skating on the canals in the wintertime only happens when the temperatures drop below -4ºC. When it gets this cold, canals freeze up, creating natural ice skating rinks for everyone to enjoy. If the winter season is not cold enough, ice skating rinks are created around the city to make up for the warmer temperatures. Amsterdam’s Leidseplein is a great alternative to canal skating. The square is turned into a giant skating rink for the winter months so visitors and locals can enjoy a skate or two. Don’t worry about bringing skates, they have rentals available.
The city is built on top of poles
The entire city was built using large wooden poles that were placed in the sediment at the bottom floor of the river. Each building called for a certain amount of poles to be driven into the riverbed, but the most impressive is the Royal Palace in the centre of the city. The palace has over 13,000 wooden poles keeping it afloat!
Mayonnaise is life
It might not seem to big of a deal that the Dutch eat their hot chips with mayo, but that’s ALL they eat them with. Tomato sauce is available for tourists, but traditional chips only come with one sauce, and that’s mayo. The chips usually are put in a paper cone with a big heaping mound of mayonnaise on the top. This favorite Dutch snack is eaten more than any other food in all of Amsterdam.
Orphan cats live in houses on the canals
There is a good amount of stray cats in Amsterdam, and those who are lucky enough to make it to the floating sanctuary are in for a treat. The floating house called The Catboat, houses up to 50 cats at one time who are either living on the streets or have been abandoned. This incredible organization that owns the floating house also neuters, chips, and regularly finds new homes for the cats. Started in the 1960’s by a local woman who took pity on some strays, started the organization to take care of the animals who no longer had a home. The Cat Boat is a unique experience that every visitor should do.
Amsterdam is home to over 50 museums. Some of them house the most popular artists of all time including; Van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, and Rembrandt. But that’s just the art museums! There’s sex, books, film, photography, architecture, music, culture, and historic museums as well. The most notable, the Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum are undoubtedly the most popular. With stunning architecture, rich history and a first-hand look at the past, museums in Amsterdam are an impressive sight.