Amsterdam is known for many things, from an extensive history to its relaxed reputation and red-light district; however, did you know that when you land at Schiphol Airport you are four meters below sea level? Amsterdam is a unique city that has many well-known attractions, but it also has several very strange features.
Who’s Riding All of These Bikes?
Many statistics regarding Amsterdam simply make you wonder. For example, there are over one million bikes within the city limits, yet there are only about 700,000 people in Amsterdam. This leads us to the top 10 weird facts about Amsterdam.
1. Amsterdam Has the Most Museums in the World — When measured by museums per square metre, Amsterdam has more museums than any other city in the world. It boasts 51 well-known museums that are dedicated to a many varied topics from the history of sex to the use of marijuana to the life of a famous painter.
2. Amsterdam May Soon Disappear —The majority of Amsterdam is below sea level. At its lowest point, it is 6.7 metres below sea level. If climate change causes even a small increase in global sea levels, Amsterdam may go the way of Atlantis.
3. Amsterdam’s Engineers Are Levy Masters — This weird fact may help keep Amsterdam on the map, even if the sea level does increase. Amsterdam’s engineers are world-renowned for their ability to prevent the sea from taking over their city. In fact, several of Amsterdam’s engineers were called in to help repair New Orleans’ levies after Hurricane Katrina.
4. Amsterdam Supplies Most of the World’s Bacon —Many people around the world enjoy bacon. It has become so popular that the mention of the word can incite a craving. Next time you fire up the stove, see where your bacon is from. 70 percent of the world’s bacon comes from the Netherlands.
5. Amsterdam Was Built on Stilts —The entire city of Amsterdam was built on piles — massive stakes that are driven into the ground. These piles laid the foundation for every building in the city. This means that if you stay at one of the many Amsterdam hotels, you are actually staying on stilts. Over 6,000 piles are used to hold up Central Station. Regular maintenance keeps these piles in load-bearing condition.
6. Amsterdam Is Full of Polyglots — Polyglot is a term used to describe anyone who is fluent in more than two languages. 86 percent of Amsterdam residents are polyglots, speaking English, Dutch and a third language fluency. This makes a trip to Amsterdam an easy experience for English speakers.
7. Amsterdam Is Made of Caffeine Fiends — Amsterdam residents are the second largest consumers of coffee in the world. On average, an Amsterdam resident consumes a minimum of 140 litres of coffee per year or about 3.2 cups of coffee per day.
8. Amsterdam Natives Are the Tallest in the World — The average height for a Dutch male is 184 cm, and the average height for a Dutch female is 170 cm. According to several different studies, this height is attributed to their DNA and healthy eating habits.
9. Amsterdam Knows How to Brew a Beer — The Netherlands is the world’s biggest exporter of this popular intoxicant. Twice as much beer is exported from the Netherlands than the United States, the second biggest exporter. Approximately 1.3 billion litres of beer are exported each year, and the number is growing!
10. Amsterdam Has More Canals Than Venice —While Venice is the most well-known canalled city in the world, this isn’t because of quantity. Often called the “Venice of the North,” Amsterdam boasts over 165 canals that compose a comprehensive network throughout the entire city.
Beyond the more well-known attractions, Amsterdam has created a unique and wonderful culture that attracts visitors from every corner of the earth. Whether they come for the beer, the coffee or the canals, Amsterdam has plenty of quirks to entertain anyone.