Amsterdam: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about Amsterdam.

  • Amsterdam is the capital and largest city in the Netherlands, with a population of about 1,500,000. The city was named for a dam built on the River Amstel.
  • The city was founded in the early 14th century, and by the 17th century it was the richest city in the world. Today, it is twinned with over 12 cities, including Manchester, Moscow and Beijing.

  • Amsterdam is home to the world’s oldest stock exchange, dating from 1602.
  • The city’s oldest building is the Old Church, built in the early 14th century.
  • Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world with about 400 km of bike paths. There are about 1,200,000 bicycles in the city, of which 80,000 are stolen every year.
  • Amsterdam is famous for its canals, with almost 170 of them, crossed by over 1,200 bridges. There are also an estimated 2,500 houseboats moored on the city’s canals.
  • Most of the city is below sea level and it would be the first major city to be flooded if sea level rose slightly. The city’s airport is about 4 metres below sea level.
  • Almost every building in Amsterdam is built on long wooden poles driven into the swampy ground, some of which can still be seen. The Royal Palace was built on over 13,000 poles.
  • Amsterdam was one of the first large cities to allow same sex marriages, in 2001.
  • It is one of the top 25 safest large cities in the world.
  • The city’s Van Gogh Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of the Vincent van Gogh‘s paintings.
  • Amsterdam’s huge Rijksmuseum has more than a million works of art in it.
  • Amsterdam has been a major diamond centre for about 400 years, and diamond workshop tours are popular. The famous and valuable Kohinoor diamond of India was cut in the city.

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