"You could spend your time with your nose buried in a guidebook, but Amsterdam really is best explored on foot, so you can stumble upon the city's hidden gems. The architecture and the beauty of some of the buildings is also wonderful." — Gregory Porter
Did you know that Amsterdam is not only the sixth safest city in the world, but also known as the safest city in all of Europe according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's Safe Cities Index? The explanation for this is simple — all of the things we associate with sketchiness are largely controlled in the city, which keeps bad behavior off the streets. Let us skimp over the nitty-gritty details, as what you may have come to associate with Amsterdam is actually legal. With that being mentioned, it is time to forget what you think you know about Amsterdam and simply visit the city.
FUN CITY FACTS ABOUT AMSTERDAM
1. THERE ARE OVER 100 KILOMETERS OF CANALS IN AMSTERDAM.
In 2010, the Amsterdam Canal Ring was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List. Still a main mode of transportation today, Amsterdam's Canal Ring actually celebrated its 400th birthday in 2013. Learn more.
2. THERE ARE OVER 1,000 MONUMENTS INSIDE THE AMSTERDAM CANAL RING.
Important landmarks and museums, such as the Anne Frank House and Museum Van Loon, as well as plenty of other historical sites are located along the Canal Ring.
3. THERE ARE MORE BICYCLES THAN PEOPLE IN AMSTERDAM.
Amsterdam is home to an estimated one million bicycles. Residents from all walks of life choose to travel in this eco-friendly way. Make sure to always look both ways, whether driving or walking, as I have never seen busier streets in a city. Approximately 10,000 bikes end up in the city's canals every year for different reasons, and Amsterdam's municipality actually relies on specialized boats to fish them out. Learn more fun facts about bicycles in Amsterdam.
4. THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE IS THE MOST VISITED SITE IN ALL THE NETHERLANDS.
Truly, no visit to Amsterdam would be complete without learning about its darkest period in history. As you plan out your travels, be sure to buy tickets to the Anne Frank House at least three months in advance. Learn more about Anne Frank.
5. AMSTERDAM STANDS ON ELEVEN MILLION WOODEN POLES, WHICH SUPPORT THE CITY'S BUILDINGS FROM SINKING.
With half of the Netherlands sitting just one meter (3 feet) above sea level, and Amsterdam itself being built on clay, the foundation of the city is a giant feat for engineering.
6. MANY AMSTERDAM RESIDENTS ACTUALLY LIVE ON HOUSEBOATS.
In a city primarily made up of canals, calling a houseboat home is a pretty standard way of life. Tourists may also find a houseboat for rent to experience a night on the water while visiting Amsterdam. Learn more on houseboat tourism.
7. VONDELPARK IS FULL OF PARAKEETS.
An estimated 4,000 parakeets, or green-feathered parrots, live in Vondelpark. Why? One well-known urban legend states that a truck carrying exotic birds overturned, allowing its cargo to escape. Others believe that an old woman set a pair of mating parakeets free. Whichever the truth, if any, the birds' existence is both bizarre and fitting for the city's culture. View photo and learn more about the parakeets occupying Vondelpark.
8. THE CITY FEATURES THE MOST MUSEUMS PER CAPITA THAN ANY OTHER CITY IN THE WORLD.
For a relatively small capital city, Amsterdam is head and shoulders above most when it comes to culture. The city reportedly boasts more museums and theaters per capita than any other city in the world. If the world-class works of art in the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum or the Stedelikj Museum do not suit you, there is absolutely plenty more to see.
Jaq Jaq Bird's Cities of Wonder Erasable Book Collection allows children to trace and illustrate their travels, in-person or imaginary, all while learning to love the world around them. Each book includes an educational, interactive map guide featuring landmarks, facts and more about the city.