Famous for its extensive network of canals among many other things, Amsterdam, sometimes known as the "City of Festivals," has something for everyone. The city boasts a great number of museums in addition to its infamous red-light district and unique coffee shops. Offering countless music and film festivals, a fabulous nightlife scene and a multitude of historic monuments, visitors are sure to find something to do day or night.
The real core of Amsterdam is Dam Square, with its beautiful Royal Palace. Most visitors arrive by train, which takes passengers from Centraal Station along the Damrak right past this busy tourist area. All kinds of souvenir shops, street performers and restaurants,...
Interesting Facts About Amsterdam:
Weird fact: During WWII the Dutch had to eat their own tulip bulbs to survive the "Winter of Hunger" - the bitter winter of 1944.
Interesting Fact: Even though prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, streetwalking is illegal. This is why the women working in the Red Light District cannot leave their windows to solicit customers.
Interesting Fact: Marijuana is illegal in the Netherlands – it is merely tolerated by officials.
Fun Fact: The Royal Palace in Dam Square was built during Amsterdam's Golden Age and its original purpose was that of city hall. The Magna Plaza behind it was a mere post office.
Fun Fact: When France invaded and Louis Bonaparte became king, Louis converted the city hall into his Royal Palace. He wanted to learn Dutch and address his new people. Unfortunately, the Dutch word for "king" and "rabbit" are very similar, and when Louis spoke from the balcony of his palace, he proclaimed: "I am your new rabbit!"
Random Fact: The Dutch had no last names until the French invaded and forced them to get some. When registering their new last names, the Dutch thought they would take advantage of the fact that the French don't speak Dutch by choosing silly names. In the long run, the joke is on the Dutch, and there is still more than one Mr. Of the Pants (Van Den Broek) in the phone book.
Random Fact: Rembrandt's world famous painting, the Nightwatch, was cut down in size so it could fit in the hall of the Royal Palace.
Weird Fact: Bloedstraat, or "Blood Street", is a small street off Nieuwmarkt. It got its morbid name because Nieuwmarkt was the site of public executions, Amsterdam is a rainy city, and Bloedstraat is a sloping street.
Random Fact: Amsterdam has a population of 750 000, but there are over 1 000 000 bikes on the streets at any point in time.
Weird Fact: Amsterdam's main train station, Centraal Station, is built on four man made islands on the site of the city's old port. This is done to preserve that site as the city's main entry point despite changing modes of transportation.
Interesting Fact: Amsterdam has over 100 kilometers of canals, 1500 bridges and 90 islands
Fun Fact: Over 30 000 bicycles end up in Amsterdam's canals each year.
More Amsterdam descriptions
Oosterdokseiland, just east of Centraal Station, is the latest piece in the rapidly filling harbor redevelopment jigsaw. The city's giant new Centrale Bibliotheek (Central Library) opened here in 2008; it has an excellent English department, good for anyone who wants to spend a rainy day browsing the bookshelves. Nearby is the shiny new Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the city's music school, where you can take in concerts staged by the students in their fine new concert hall.
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