Top 10 Weird Facts About Amsterdam

Last Updated on January 23, 2014.

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.

Lost in Amsterdam

1. Amsterdam Is One of the Capitals with the Most Museums in the WorldWhen measured by museums per square metre, Amsterdam has more museums than most other capital cities of 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.   To be confirmed….

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 PolyglotsPolyglot 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 FiendsAmsterdam 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 WorldThe 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 BeerThe 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 VeniceWhile 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.

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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.

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  • Reply
    November 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Great article! Didnt know all of them…about the bacon, are you saying 70% of the worlds bacon is produced here?

    • Reply
      November 13, 2013 at 11:33 am

      I read that somewhere but now I can’t find it and it appears China is taking over the world’s pork production. Think I better remove that one until my initial source can be tracked down and confirmed..

  • Reply
    November 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Paris has over 150 museums on 105 square kilometers – Amsterdam has 51 on 219 square kilometers.

  • Reply
    Farmer Kees
    November 21, 2013 at 4:23 am

    The amount of pigs held in 2012 in The Netherlands = 12 233 649
    Amsterdam is not the area where these pigs are kept and Amsterdam is not at all a bacon or meat industry city.
    It are more the wide spread areas in the south and east of the Netherlands.
    Most of the Parma Ham from Italy are made from dutch pigs.
    They are transported to Italy and then slaughtered and processed in to ham.
    Then they export it over the world as Parma Ham.

    • Reply
      November 21, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you for enlightening us on that. Really, that’s very interesting to know.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Given the quantity of jews and nowadays muslims that live in Amsterdam, Amsterdam isn’t much of a pork friendly city. Although you can perfectly eat pork there, pork isn’t the most eaten kind of meat. According to my experience as I lived there once, the most eaten meat is chicken.

  • Reply
    November 30, 2013 at 6:01 am

    About being the tallest people in the world I have my own (unproven) theory about it: living below sea level.

    Below sea level the gravity is slightly higher and the air density is also slightly higher. A slightly higher gravity burden on our own body since birth exercises the muscles. More oxigen also make people more euphoric, abrupt and unfortunately sometimes rude and mean – typical from Amsterdamers actually.
    I see that the Dutch are usually taller and stronger than their northern European neighbours. Dutch people with either southern European or with non-European immigrant parents also tend to be taller than their non-Dutch parents.

    Food, bicycles and trees can be another factor, but the Dutch also eat a great deal of unhealthy food and smoke a lot.

    This could be a myth, I admit. Anyway it could be subject to a research on people living in other areas around the world below the sea, namelly the Caspian Sea, the Dead Sea, New Orleans, etc. Are people living in these places also taller and stronger?

    • Reply
      December 2, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Interesting theory. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      June 9, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      Sorry to contradict you, but gravity falls as you go below sea level- the land above counters the pull of that below. if you could make it to the centre of the earth, gravity is zero!

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