This list contains 35 interesting Amsterdam fun facts you probably didn’t know about. But first, we answer 3 frequently asked questions about Amsterdam.
(Last updated: 26 April 2021)
This beautiful city is known for its glinting boat-filled canals, interesting history, fantastic centuries old architecture, ‘coffeeshops‘ and especially the unique Rotlichtviertel area with its red-lit window brothels.
Furthermore, Amsterdam is known for world’s best art by Rembrandt van Rijn, van Gogh, Vermeer and Frans Hals? Amsterdam is also known for being a very LGBT-friendly city. And of course Amsterdam is known for the most famous Dutch person in the world: Anne Frank.
The inhabitants! The Dutch – and Amsterdammers in particular – are one of the most liberal and open-minded people in the world. Only here can you find a church surrounded by window brothels, a daycare center next to a 5D Pornokino. And, the world’s first condom shop with dozens of condoms displayed in the window.
People in Amsterdam accept things faster than elsewhere in the world. The city is also known for its friendly and environmentally conscious inhabitants who do everything by bike. In addition, all Dutch people have a particularly good command of the English language.
Mokum. This is the nickname that Amsterdammers use. The word Mokum originates from the Hebrew word “makom“, which means place.
Some people from the competing city Rotterdam use ‘020‘ as a nickname for Amsterdam, because they prefer not to call the capital its real name. 020 is the area code of Amsterdam. This is often used by avid football fans of clubs like Feyenoord, FC Utrecht or PSV.
Foreigners use the nicknames “The Dam“, “Venice of the North“, “World’s Most Liberal City” or “City of Freedom“.
Here are 35 facts about Amsterdam you probably did not know about.
1 | The Red Light District has 4,465 residents. (source: Amsterdam Red Light District Wiki wiki)
2 | Amsterdam has 8 windmills and 165 canals. (source)
3 | Sex workers in Amsterdam pay 150 – 200 euro per night to rent a window brothel and charge at least 50 euro per client. (source: Rotlichtviertel Preise)
5 | The mayor of Amsterdam is a woman. Her name is Femke Halsema and she is the first female mayor of the Dutch capital. (source)
6 | World’s first gay marriage took place on April 1st, 2001 in Amsterdam. (source)
7 | Amsterdam has 164 (cannabis) coffeeshops of which 14 are located in the Red Light District area.
8 | In 2019, 11% of all jobs in Amsterdam were in tourism. In other words; one out of nine people worked in the tourism-industry. (source)
9 | The oldest building in Amsterdam is The Old Church – or De Oude Kerk in Dutch – which stands in the middle of the Red Light District.
10 | Ocean’s Twelve was recorded in Amsterdam. In the film George Clooney’s team wants to steal shares of the Dutch East India Company. One of the scenes took place in coffeeshop De Dampkring. (source)
11 | This is the narrowest alley of Amsterdam. It is 75 cm wide and is located in the Red Light District. (Dutch source)
12 | The minimum age to use cannabis in the Netherlands is 18. (Dutch source)
13 | Coffeeshops are not allowed to sell more than 5 grams of cannabis per person. (source)
14 | One of the least known Amsterdam fun facts: The oldest house in Amsterdam is a gay club. (source)
15 | The minimum age to work as a window prostitute in Amsterdam Red Light District is 21. (source)
16 | In coffeeshops in Amsterdam it is not allowed to smoke tobacco. (source)
17 | The first condom shop in the world is located in Amsterdam’s Red Light District.
18 | STD-testing for sex workers in Amsterdam are not mandatory. Also not for sex workers elsewhere in the country. (source)
19 | The oldest non-religious building of Amsterdam is De Waag.
20 | The first coffeeshop in Amsterdam – Mellow Yellow – was founded in 1972.
21 | The former CEO of Heineken (Freddy Heineken) was kidnapped in 1983 by an infamous criminal called Willem Holleeder – who is now in jail (source). At the time, Holleeder and his fellow kidnappers invested the obtained ransom in buildings in Amsterdam Red Light District. (source)
22 | The Red Light District in Amsterdam gets 3.1 million visitors per year. (source: Amsterdam Red Light District wiki)
23 | Amsterdam’s Central Station and The Rijksmuseum were designed by the same architect – Pierre Cuypers. (source)
24 | Rembrandt’s wife is buried in Amsterdam’s Old Church, which stands in the heart of the Red Light District.
25 | Amsterdam used to have a legal cocaine factory that was founded on 12 March 1900. (source)
26 | The Dutch invented stocks. World’s first stock exchange opened in Amsterdam during the 17th-century.
27 | Only 1% of the Dutch smoke cannabis daily and 7.2% of the Dutch used cannabis last month. (source)
28 | The richest Dutch person is a woman. Her name is Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken – daughter and owner of the Amsterdam beer brewer Heineken. (source)
29 | XTC and cocaine are illegal in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. However, there are 31 drug testing centers in the country were people can get the illegal drugs tested legally on the content. (source)
30 | The cover of Eminem’s album Marshall Matters LP (below) was taken on the Warmoesstraat in Amsterdam’s Red Light District. (source)
31 | In Amsterdam Red Light District it is not allowed to drink alcohol publicly on the streets.
32 | Amsterdam’s Red Light District gets 3,1 million visitors per year. This visitor-research was last conducted in 2017. The most busy day of that year was Saturday 9 September 2017, whereby the Red Light District had 14,675 visitors.
The Oudezijds Achterburgwal.
33 | De Wallen has a total surface of 40 hectares, of which 35 is land and 6 is water (100 hectares = 1 km2). 3,195 households live in this area of Amsterdam.
34 | The Red Light District in Amsterdam has three religious buildings. A protestant church, a buddhistic temple and a hidden catholic church.
Ons Lieve Heer op Solder is a 17th-century hidden church in Amsterdam Red Light District.
35 | The Trompettersteeg is the most narrow allow in Amsterdam. It’s located in the Red Light District, it is 75 centimeters wide and contains nine window brothels.
36 | Henk de Vries – Owner of Coffeeshop The Bulldog was born and raised in Amsterdam Red Light District. In his younger years, the front woman of the Salvation Army put him on the right path. In return, he donates money annually to the Salvation Army. All his employees must also work for this religious organisation 1 day a year. (source)
And? How many of these Amsterdam fun facts did you know?
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