Amsterdam – Did you know?

Amsterdam can be a pretty odd place. There are all sorts of little facts and things that locals know about but strangers would never expect. I bet you didn’t know any of these things about Amsterdam.

The name Amsterdam comes from the combination of the river Amstel and the dam that was built on it in order to found the original village there. You might have heard of Amstel as the name of a beer that was named after the river, because that’s where it was brewed.

Amsterdam has the most museums of any city in the world, measured per square metre. There’s a museum around almost every corner, covering all sorts of weird and wonderful topics, from famous painters to (inevitably) the history of marijuana.

If global warming causes the sea levels to rise, Amsterdam will be one of the first world cities to get flooded, because it’s so close to sea level and is almost entirely flat. Better see it while you can!

You can’t visit Amsterdam’s parliament building, because there isn’t one. Although Amsterdam is the largest town in the Netherlands and is the official capital, all of the government functions take place at the Hague.

When it comes to transport, Amsterdam boasts over 600,000 bicycles, almost 250 trams, over 150 canals – and around 1,200 bridges. Hardly anyone drives in the city centre, and it’s almost impossible to find anywhere to park there.

Finally, you almost certainly won’t know that one of the canal boats in Amsterdam, known as the Poezenboot, acts as a home for stray cats. A woman who had been re-housing stray cats had the idea of getting them a houseboat – after all, if people can live in them, why not cats? Forty years later, the volunteers at the shelter look after seventy cats at a time.

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