Here are some fun facts of Amsterdam:
1. Amsterdam has the highest density population of any city in Europe.
2. For 12 years during a housing shortage, in Vondel Park there were 5,000-7,000 people living in tents. They played drums, smoked pot, and lived a hippie lifestyle. Stealing milk from the steps of the locals is what eventually got them kicked out.
3. It is legal to have sex today in Vondel Park. It is however preferred that you do it at night.
4. There are 178 of the Earth’s nationalities living in Amsterdam.
5. Paradiso nightclub/concert venue used to be the church for the prison.
6. Melkveg nightclub/concert venue used to be a dairy farm.
7. The Dutch started the South American global coffee trade.
8. The Dutch had the first foreign currency exchange office in the world.
9. Amsterdam was a gigantic swamp. The city bought 200,000 trees from Norway that they pounded into the ground to build on. The city footed the bill for this, and then charged property taxes based on width of houses in Amsterdam. As a result, most houses are very narrow but very tall.
10. Almost all of the buildings in the center of Amsterdam are heritage sites.
11. Unless it is critical, house owners are not allowed to correct their leaning properties. The city wants the leaning building to remain as part of the charm of Amsterdam.
12. Oude Kerk (Old Church) in Amsterdam was built overtop of a 10,000 person cemetery.
13. Amsterdam was the first city in Europe to have a freedom of religion area.
14. The Dutch have the philosophy, ‘If what you are doing is not harming anyone but you, then what is the problem?’
15. In the 1970’s they had the highest hard drug percentage in the world. The idea of tolerance began.
16. Amsterdam was the first city in the world with needle exchange centers and methadone clinics to try to help people clean up.
17. The Dutch now have the lowest levels of hard drug addition of anywhere in Europe.
18. 4% of the Dutch population claims to smoke marijuana on a regular basis. 12% of people in the United States claim regular use.
19. 7,000 square kilometers, or 1/3 of the Netherlands is made of land reclaimed from water.
20. There are 4,000 house boats around Amsterdam that house approximately 12,000 people