Did you know that Amsterdam is built on 11 million wooden poles and has more than 100 kilometers of canals? Check out these 10 interesting and fun facts about Amsterdam you probably didn’t know.
10 FUN FACTS ABOUT AMSTERDAM IN NUMBERS
165: That’s the number of canals in Amsterdam. In total these waterways add up to more than 100 kilometers or about 60 miles. The Seventeenth-century canal ring area of Amsterdam inside the Singelgracht became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2010. So pretty, right?
3: That’s the number of Xs in Amsterdam’s coat of arms. The XXX on the city’s coat of arms does not stand for pornography, so get your mind out of the gutter. Most historians say they represent crosses of Saint Andrew. St. Andrew was a fisherman who was martyred on an X-shaped cross in the 1st century. Amsterdam was originally a fishing village, so there you have it. Or it could symbolize the three kisses that Dutch people give when greeting. You decide.
11,000,000: That’s the approximate number of wooden poles that support Amsterdam’s buildings. All of the structures in the city are supported by 15 to 20 meter long wood poles that sink through the mud and are fixed in a sandy layer that is 11 meters deep on average. A typical house has around 10 wooden poles keeping it out of the muck, but Centraal Station is supported by nearly 9,000 houten palen. Amsterdam is quite the pole dancer!
25,000: That’s the number of bicycles that end up in Amsterdam’s canals each year. Oddly, they say only 8,000 bikes are pulled out of the canals annually. It sounds like there are quite a few bicycles still lurking under the waters.
1,515: That’s the number of bars and cafes in Amsterdam. Wow! That’s a lot of Heineken. Why not visit a few of our favorite bars in Amsterdam.
4: That’s the number of meters Schiphol, Amsterdam’s airport, sits below sea level. If sea levels rise, the airport might have to be transformed into a shipping port. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen.
1,281: That’s the number of bridges in all of Amsterdam. There are 80 bridges within the center of Amsterdam. Magere Brug, also known as the Skinny Bridge, is the most famous bridge in the city. The crossing of Reguliersgracht and Herengracht is known as the Bridge of 15 Bridges. If you stand in the right spot, especially at night, you can see a total of 15 arches into the distance. Pretty!
881,000: That’s approximately the number of bicycles in Amsterdam. Oddly enough, there are only about 799,400 people living in the city. Some estimates say around 100,000 bicycles are stolen each year. That might account for the discrepancy between the numbers of residents and bicycles!
2,500: That’s approximately the number of houseboats in Amsterdam. Most of the houseboats you see on Amsterdam’s canals are occupied by residents but some are available for rent to visitors. There’s even a special houseboat just for cats, De Poezenboot on the Singel canal! If you are curious about houseboats, check out the Houseboat Museum.
20,000,000: That’s approximately the number of tourists and day-trippers who visit Amsterdam in a year. That’s about 20 times as many tourists as locals! Luckily it is still possible to find peaceful places to relax. Check out some of Amsterdam’s beautiful parks.
Did you like these fun facts about Amsterdam? Check out our fun facts about the Netherlands!
If you’re interested in Dutch cuisine, take a look at our Guide to Dutch Food Series: Dutch Foods You Should Try Part I, Part II and Part III.