15 Things You Didn’t Know About Amsterdam

by Kooky Loves to Travel
December 9, 2021 | 8 min read

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Amsterdam

The cosy and unusual vibe of Amsterdam is one of the reasons people from all around the world have fallen in love with this city – including me. In fact, I decided to spend even four years of my life in it – pretty long for a wild soul like me! 🙂

But somehow, Amsterdam was always enough interesting and wild.

With this post, I would really like you to feel the magic and peculiarity of this city. I will show you some of details that are not in plain sight especially during a short visit.

Read on to learn the weird and interesting things about this city!

An amazing sunset colours in Amsterdam
An amazing sunset in Amsterdam West


Cats are holding a special place in the heart of the Dutch people. You probably didn’t know that almost all major cities have one cat cafe (the Kattencafe in Amsterdam).

A cat sleeping on a huge teddy bear seen from a window of a optical store in Haarlemmerstraat
Optical shop in Haarlemmerstraat
Beautiful cat called Mini who is 15 years old
A lovely cat called Mini-15 years old!


To be frank, traffic in Amsterdam is my favorite part of the city. It’s super lively but also fun and exciting. Each day you can spot many insane vehicles and when I say that I mean literally: from improvised futuristic ones, old timers to Lamborghini.

A red old timer cabriolet captured on the streets of Amsterdam West
Old timer
An interesting three-wheeled motor vehicle spotted in the streets of Amsterdam
Three-wheeled motor vehicle
Unknown and interesting vehicle that reminds me of a Mad Max movie
This reminds me of a Mad Max movie vehicle
An interesting three-wheel vehicle from Byondo delivery company
Byondo delivery service vehicle
Yellow retro van/camper captured on the streets of Dutch capital-Amsterdam
Retro van/camper
Graffiti painted car with a sign: ''Bring it on'' captured on the streets of Dutch capital-Amsterdam
600Graffiti painted car


Amsterdam not only has more than 1200 bridges but 61 of them are movable! The process of opening and closing one bridge takes from 2 to 8 minutes, and this can cause some congestion problems in the traffic. However, it always goes more or less smooth and it’s really fun to watch – only first time, later you get bothered because of waiting. 🙂

Also, many of the bridges hide amazing art underneath so don’t miss to watch it; if you are lucky enough to actually encounter this happening!

Beltbrug - movable bridge Westerpar Westerpark Jan van Galenstraat x Tweede Hugo de Grootstraat
Beltbrug – movable bridge Westerpar Westerpark Jan van Galenstraat x Tweede Hugo de Grootstraat
The view from the Beltbrug on Mollen de Otter (The Otter Windmill)
The view from the Beltbrug on Mollen de Otter (The Otter Windmill)
Movable bridge in Amsterdam with art underneath
Movable bridge with art underneath


No matter where you wander around the city, you’ll always see something artistic: graffiti, posters, outdoor house decorations, statues, sculptures, stickers…even people! The city is full of artists and no wonder there are dozens of museums and galleries around!

A former shipyard NDSM with graffiti: Make art not Euros
A former shipyard NDSM is always full of graffiti
Cute and romantic graffiti art in NDSM are in Amsterdam
Cute urban art in NDSM
Graffiti art of Tiktoy
Graffiti art of Tiktoy
Tyler Street Art of a soldier holdin a heart baloon in Prins Hendrikkade in Amsterdam Dutch capital
Tyler Street Art in Prins Hendrikkade


Amsterdam has moderate sunshine of 1662 hours annually-around 69 days a year. That’s not much, of course, but when those days appear, hurry up outside to get some rays and to witness some pure magic! When it’s sunny, the city starts to shine in very vivid colors together with smiley faces of people. 🙂

Beautiful colours of the sunset in Nassaukade street, Amsterdam West
The sunset in Nassaukade street, Amsterdam West
Colorful clouds during the sunset time captured from the Buiksloterweg ferry in Amsterdam city
Sunset from the Buiksloterweg ferry
One more sunset from my previous apartment in Nassaukade, Amsterdam West
One more sunset from my previous apartment in Nassaukade, Amsterdam West
Woman sitting next to a Amsterdam canal and enjoying the sunny day
When it’s sunny, everybody is outside and enjoying the sun literally wherever they can


Once you’ve seen all the street-level sights, it’s time for rooftops as they offer unique experience unlike any other in Amsterdam. And if you are lucky knowing a local person, you can enjoy some panorama views of the sprawling streets and canals below from house terraces. (Dutch people love terraces!)

Some of the best rooftop places are: SkyLounge Amsterdam, Twenty Third Bar, Canvas, Floor 17.

The view on the roofs of Amsterdam houses
The view on the roofs of Amsterdam houses
Rooftop view on Flower market in Dutch capital Amsterdam
Rooftop view on Flower market
Rooftop view while eating Dutch stroopwaffel
Rooftop view while eating Dutch stroopwaffel


Amsterdam’s festival agenda covers all tastes and genres. Indisputably, there’s something for everyone here. The range of festivals is broad and diverse no matter which time of the year. If you want to check the festival agenda for 2020, you can do it here.

Indoor festival in Amsterdam and lightshow
600Festivals in Amsterdam are really impressive; both indoor & outdoor
909 festival in Amsterdam and its blue lightshow
909 Festival
Girl dancer in one of 300 festivals in Amsterdam
Girl dancer in one of 300 festivals in Amsterdam
Blue sky and interesting clouds with bubbles all around in Amsterdam Cannabis Cup Festival
Amsterdam Cannabis Cup


In the whole country, outdoor spaces are carefully and nicely decorated. Dutch gardens have traditionally been an orderly affair and their gardens today are at the forefront of modern landscape design. You will probably notice how each house has many plants outside and inside all well taken care of.

Beautiful flowery houses of Amsterdam
Beautiful flowery houses of Amsterdam


Cannabis in the Netherlands is not legal, but decriminalised for personal use. Recreational consumption of the drug is tolerated, and it’s available in coffee shops.

However, locals don’t partake much in that activities relate to marijuana as much as the non Dutch residents and tourists do. On the other hand, the city is full of cannabis vehicles, posters, stickers, clothing, signs…you will be amazed where all you can see it!

You probably did know that people here are very open to soft and even hard drugs. On the other hand, you probably didn’t know that Dutch people often advertise on street posters and boards every time a fake or even more dangerous drug arrives on the streets!

Amnesia Haze strain Amsterdam Coffee Shop
Amnesia Haze strain
A perfect example of a tourist fraud: Grow your own weed
A perfect example of a tourist fraud. This is not weed and you can’t grow anything from this
Street sign in Leidseplein: White heroin sold as cocaine in Amsterdam Dutch capital
Street sign in Leidseplein, Amsterdam


The whole city is a real eye-catching pleasure for anyone, especially architects. Fascinating architecture mixture of innovative and futuristic projects, luxurious canal houses from 17th century and charming gabled facades. Add to all that numerous Dutch geniuses built a city out of nothing and-voila, the paradise is born!

Frog's perspective from a pedal boat in canals of Amsterdam
Frog’s perspective from a pedal boat in canals of Amsterdam
Another example of a fascinating Dutch, modern architecture
Another example of a fascinating Dutch, modern architecture
An impressive and modern building of Amsterdam Dutch capital
An impressive building of Amsterdam
Extraordinary and Dutch modern building as an example of brilliant architecture
Extraordinary and innovative Dutch architecture
Modern part of Dutch capital Amsterdam
Modern part of Amsterdam
Very impressive Dutch architecture and its modern buildings
Dutch architecture never stops to impress me…


Each year, the celebration of the New Year lasts longer and longer. In fact, fireworks on New Year’s Eve in 2018 were lasting periodically until 3 in the morning! The biggest firework goes from midnight to one in the morning. I can remember that my boyfriend was picking me up from work soon after midnight and our trip back home was nothing but a pure luck. Seriously, it seemed like a war.

If it was your first celebration of this kind in the Netherlands, you might have been a little shocked by the chaos and commotion on New Year’s Eve. Hopefully-you survived. According to interest association Pyrotechnics Netherlands, people in the country collectively shelled out 77 million euros worth of fireworks in 2019!

Fireworks on New Year's Eve 2018 from Nassaukade, Amsterdam West
Fireworks on New Year’s Eve 2018 from Nassaukade, Amsterdam West
Amsterdam's Canals decorated with lights in December
Amsterdam’s Canals in December


Forget about public transport and taxis-they are expensive. Bikes are handy, but it’s not handy at all cycling in winter time especially during rain and snow.

CAR2GO is the world’s first free-floating car sharing service. All you need is a payment method and your driver’s license. Just install the app and use it to find the nearest Car2Go. It’s electric and you don’t even pay a parking spot-which is bloody expensive in Amsterdam!

Besides, you have an option for scooter sharing with Felyx company and bike sharing with Hello-Bike.

Car2go smart electric car while charging
Car2go while charging


In winter time, there are plenty of days when you will wake up and see ice on the streets, plants, your bike…everywhere! And if the wind blows, it gets even colder. Try to book your trip during the warmer months and if you can’t, at least make sure you have enough clothes.

Frozen morning in Amsterdam captured ice on grass
Frozen morning in Amsterdam
Snowy day in Amsterdam streets and roofs full of snow
Snowy day in Amsterdam
Frozen canal of Amsterdam
Frozen canal of Amsterdam


Sex work of many kinds is legal in The Netherlands. Mainly in the Red Light District (The Wallen) you will see window businesses, brothels, clubs, escort agencies and even a theater! There are many sex shops that work 24/7 and they are nothing stranger here than a regular grocery store.

Window of a sex shop in Amsterdam Dutch capital of the Netherlands
Window of a sex shop in Amsterdam

On the other hand, if you are sugar addict (which we all are a bit) you will certainly enjoy in Dam. The city provides wide range for all the folks that are attacked of the munchies, whether stoned or not. However, I advise you to seriously be careful what you eat, where and how fresh it is.

My advice is to avoid city center as places there work much on quantity not quality.

Window of a candy store in Amsterdam, Dutch capital
Cakes and biscuits are all around Amsterdam
Window of a candy store in Amsterdam, Dutch capital
Candy store in Amsterdam


Amsterdam is the bicycle-friendly place with 40% to 60% of all trips within the city made on bikes. It has 165 canals and unfortunately some of the bicycles from time to time end up getting wet. Some…the number reaches from 12 000 to 15 000 bikes a year ending up in the canals!!

It is generally assumed that vandalism is behind these numbers and bicycle thieves that want to quickly dispose of evidence. Besides, strong winds can be the reason too because people often forget to tie their bicycles to something. Amsterdam’s local government has to regularly dredge up these discarded bikes in order to keep the city’s canals clean, safe and accessible. I hope you will be lucky to see this way of ‘fishing’ because it’s truly interesting experience!

Dutch way of fishing for bikes in canals of Amsterdam
Dutch fishing for bikes

Given these points, I think Amsterdam already became one of the most interesting and entertaining cities in the whole world! Well, at least it is for me!

However, I still haven’t been everywhere, but is on my list. 🙂

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Any thoughts, tips or questions?

My name is Valentina and I was born and raised in Croatia. At the age of 18 I started my nomadic adventure – exploring the world as much as I can! Writing is one of my great passions. My blog, Kookylovestotravel.com, is about adventures and exploring this planet, with a special focus is on adventure travelling and positivity, enjoying life to the fullest and being eternally happy.

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