Amsterdam Netherlands is a city that symbolizes the freedom of life to many tourists. The Redlight district, gay parades, legal marijuanas (also called weeds pot, or cannabis) in the coffee shops, are some of the common things that come to mind when Amsterdam Netherlands is being mentioned. Indeed, these are expressions of the liberated Dutch mindset. There are logical reasoning behind this mindset of freedom which is embedded in Dutch value as a trading nation. For example, the openness of the Dutch to sexuality is partly because of education and that sex is taught at a very young age as a normal part of being human. This does not mean Dutch are more sexual or casual about sex but they are rather open and free about sexuality. The gay parade is a symbol of this sexual freedom as well as a symbol for equal rights in society for couples of all genders. Similarly, the legality of marijuana has logical reasons behind it. The legality of marijuana is not only an expression of freedom. By allowing Dutch to grow up to five plants of marijuana at home, as well as legalising the smoking of marijuana, criminality is reduced. Even though, or maybe because of marijuna being legal, the Netherlands has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and has a lower addiction rate than other countries where marijuana is prohibited.
In addition to a liberal mindset on marijuna and sex, there are many other reasons to visit Amsterdam Netherlands. You’ll find in Amsterdam city old, historical, and magnificent architectures in a modern setting. At the same time, Amsterdam Netherlands is also a front runner in terms of circular economy. You will find in this city many innovative and sustainable businesses and building designs, in addition to the sustainable way of living of people. This blog is divided into three parts. The first part focuses on my top ten favourite facts about Amsterdam. The second part focuses on the unique experiences to do in Amsterdam. The third part looks on the considerations for tourists when visiting Amsterdam.
My top 10 favourite facts about Amsterdam Netherlands
There are many interesting facts about Amsterdam Netherlands. Below you’ll find my top ten favourite facts, which include its history, cultural diversity, and current situations.
1. Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and this was only legally recognized in 1983. However, even before Amsterdam became the legal capital of the Netherlands, this city was unofficially accepted as the capital by many people.
2. The XXX symbol of Amsterdam stands for St. Andrew, a fisherman who was crucified in an X cross during the first century. The use of this symbol in Amsterdam started in 1505 when Amsterdam was still a fishing town. However, many people currently associate this symbol to the Red light districht and the Dutch openness to sexuality! Now you are informed what the XXX actually means.
3. The Schiphol airport, one of the largest airports in Europe, is situated in Amsterdam. It is interesting to know that this airport is actually four meters below sea level.
4. The Red-Light District is of course well known for its red lights. Yet, you can also find blue lights in this district. The blue lights means that there is a transgender woman in the room.
5. There are around 866,000 inhabitants in Amsterdam composed of 170 nationalities. Due to this huge population densities, it is normal to find people living in boat houses in Amsterdam! No wonder that due to the high demand of accommodation in Amsterdam, the prices in the city is quite expensive as compared to visiting another Dutch city.
6. Amsterdam has 165 canals, which jointly is more than 100 kilometres. In terms of numbers, Amsterdam canals are actually more than Venice while the bridges are more than Paris!
7. There are one million bikes in the city (versus the 866,000 inhabitants), with 100,000 bikes reported stolen every year!
8. Approximately 14 million tourists visit Amsterdam every year. Approximately 4.5 million of these visitors are Dutch tourists, while the remaining 9.5 million are foreigners. Imagine how crowded this city can get, including its 866,000 inhabitants!
9. Amsterdam consists of more than 7,000 monumental buildings. Ready your camera, since wherever you go around the city, you can find many historical buildings worth taking photos.
10. Amsterdam is one of the top 25 safest cities in the world despite, the legalisation of marijuana and prostitution in this city. In fact, since it is legalised, criminals cannot easily exploit women and earn from the marijuana industry!
Unique experiences to do in Amsterdam Netherlands
When visiting Amsterdam, there are many exciting things to-do for tourists. Below you will find some of the fascinating activities to complete your Amsterdam experience, whether you are with your family, friends, or with your special someone.
1. Visit the various museums in Amsterdam Netherlands.
Yes, there are so many museums to visit with varying themes in Amsterdam Netherlands. When going on these museums, better to buy tickets online than queing with people during your visit. Besides there are many discounts that could be found online. In most cases, especially if you are living outside Amsterdam, you can find combo deal in the NS spoordeelwinkel site, such as combination of the entrace ticket to these museums with the train ticket.
Here are some of the museums you can find in Amsterdam Netherlands depending on your interests and hobbies. If you are interested to see wax figures of famous personalities worldwide, the Madame Tussaud is a place to visit. This museum is not only found in London, Berlin, or Hollywood, but even in Amsterdam!
If you are interested to see some incredible trivia’s and facts worlwide which is impossible for our eyes to see, better go to Ripley’s Believe it or Not in Amsterdam and judge whether they are truth or illusions!
If you want to see hundreds of masterpieces of famous artists such as Rembrandt, Jan Steen, and Johannes van Meer, time to go to Rembrandt Museum! Or if you are a fan of van Gogh, time to visit the van Gogh Museum!
Of course, there are also museums for kids such as the Nemo Science museum, Het Scheepvaart museum (National maritime museum), Kindermuseum and Museum of Amsterdam illusions.
2. Do boat tour and experience some of Amsterdam’s historical places!
There are many boat tour companies operating in Amsterdam in front of Amsterdam centraal station. Once boarded, the boat will tour you to the canals and to many of Amsterdam’s historical buildings and places. In most boats you can also dine in whether daytime or evening.
3. Watch movie in Amsterdam’s historical Pathe Tuschinski.
There are many pathe or cinema in Amsterdam. But Pathe Tuschinski is one of a kind! Although originally built to provide opera and cinema for the masses, this cinema turned out to give a beautiful, luxurious experience for people. In fact, Pathe Tuschinski is considered to be one of the most beautiful cinemas in the world. The moment you enter this cinema, you will be mesmerized by interior design of 1920s at the present time!
4. Watch the gay parade!
If you are visiting Amsterdam in the first wekeend of August, it is a good opportunity to witness the famous gay parade in this city! You will many of them in a parade of boat in Amsterdam canals. Since this event is very popular to people, expect to be competing with the crowd to view these liberal minded, strong, and beautiful people!
5. Enjoy shopping in the street of Amsterdam.
The city center of Amsterdam is also boasting with many shops. One of the best time to come to get nice discounts are during special events, such as Black Friday, Christmas, and end of the year sales. Beware that these shops could be crowded and there could be pickpockets lurking around.
6. Have a photo with Iamsterdam.
I amsterdam is a popular symbol of Amsterdam, which can be found in Sloterplas Lake in Amsterdam West and outside Schiphol airport. At the same time, there is also an I amsterdam sign that are goes around the city. If interested to know where this sign is currently located, check the link here.
7. Have a photo in the big clogs near the Amsterdam square.
These big clogs near a fries shop close to the Amsterdam Dam is probably not as popular as the other Amsterdam icons to many tourists. But it is a nice to have a picture in this place, most especially that it is not as crowded as compared to other famous icons.
8. Explore the world of sexuality with sex museum, peep show or live show!
We are in Amsterdam, so every body has open minded! If you are curious about exploring the sexuality world, from a simple museum to a peep show down to a complete or live show, then it must be something to experience when in Amsterdam. As mentioned earlier, people are very open about this is partly because of education and that sex is taught at a very young age as a normal part of being human.
9. Visit the Dam Square and enjoy many of its attractions.
The Dam Square is surrounded by many magnificent buildings, such as the Royal Palace in Amsterdam in the center and the museums on the other side. Simply being in the Dam Square and feeling the glory of these buildings is already a nice experience. You will also find various shows or entertainments that run in the Dam Square often for free or by donation basis.
10. Enjoy the Keukenhof.
Keukenhof is not exactly located in Amsterdam centraal but is very accessible from Amsterdam. Keukenhof features many of the flowers including tulips cultivated in hectares of land in Lisse. This is a very popular tourists destinations, which attract millions of visitors, during spring time (March-May). Thus, it is better to visit this place during weekdays and during regular or nonpublic holidays.
Things to consider when visiting Amsterdam Netherlands
Visiting Amsterdam Netherlands could be fun but there are some considerations tourists should know when visiting this city. Below I discuss some of them.
1. Amsterdam is very busy as compared to other Dutch cities.
If you are a person who doesn’t mind heavy traffic and can go along with the busy crowd, then Amsterdam is a city for you to visit. As I mentioned earlier, in adition to 866,000 inhabitants there are 14 million tourists that visit here every year. But if you are the type of person who loves country side but would like to see comparable places as Amsterdam, there are many places in the Netherlands to visit! Below are some links to my blogs:
2. Amsterdam is more expensive as compared to other Dutch cities
Similar to many popular cities in Europe such as London and Paris, being in Amsterdam means also spending more money than visiting other Dutch cities. Food and hotel prices are relatively expensive. The 50 euros per night budget could probably reach a low-budget hotel (without any food included). Parking fees are also quite high, as I will mention in the next consideration when visiting Amsterdam.
3. Driving in Amsterdam could be quite a challenge with expensive parking fees!
If you go by car to Amsterdam, the parking fee outside the Amsterdam centraal/downtown is 4,50 per hour or 27,50 per day. Inside the city center it costs 7,50 euros per hour, which can amount up to 40-50 euros! With the amount of parking fee, it is better to go to Amsterdam by public transport. It even saves you from the amount of traffic and hassle to park due to small streets and lots of cars.
4. Petty crimes are common in Amsterdam.
Again, similar to many European major cities such as Paris, Madrid, and Rome, the presence of busy crowds in Amsterdam attracts crimminals as well. Crimes such as pick pockets or street fights could still happen, though as mentioned earlier, Amsterdam in general is still a safe city.
5. The streets could smell like weeds in Amsterdam Netherlands
Due to many coffee shops offering marijuana and space cakes in the city, you’ll find out that the smell of weeds are rampant. So if you have allergy or get dizzy in this smell, perhaps Amsterdam is not a place to visit.