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!
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).
2. STREETS ARE FULL OF UNUSUAL VEHICLES
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.
3. MOVABLE BRIDGES
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!
4. ART IS LITERALLY EVERYWHERE
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!
5. THE SUNSETS ARE SPECTACULAR
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. 🙂
6. ROOFTOPS & TERRACES AS A WAY OF LIVING
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!)
7. 300 FESTIVALS A YEAR
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.
8. PEOPLE ARE PLANT FRIENDLY
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.
9. MARIJUANA IS EVERYWHERE
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!
10. ARCHITECTURAL PARADISE
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!
11. NEW YEAR’S EVE IN AMSTERDAM LASTS THE LONGEST
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!
12. CAR SHARING
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!
13. QUITE COLD WINTERS
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.
14. SEX AND SUGAR
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.
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.
15. BIKE FISHING
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!
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. 🙂