There is a lot to know about a city that is nicknamed the gateway into Europe. Amsterdam is a place for historical buffs, culinary extraordinaire and museum lovers. There are many words and synonyms for this place, but even if you've visited Amsterdam a few times, there might be a lot you don't know about this biggest Dutch city. (Did you know that!?)
2013 is a big year for Amsterdam
What is your excuse for not getting a cheap ticket to Amsterdam? Did you know there is a lot to celebrate in 2013? Where do we start with how Amsterdam is celebrating 2013? First of all, it is the 400th Anniversary of the Canal Ring; the famous UNESCO canals that make Amsterdam so picturesque. It was also the reopening of the renovation of two of its best museums; The Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. 2013 was also special for The Dutch in particular who inaugurated a new King after a century of female rule. (By the way, did you know that the Dutch have a royal family?)
The Dutch speak excellent English
If you’ve tried to practice Dutch, most likely if you are a native English speaker, you’ve had some difficulty. The guttural sounds that accompany the Germanic Dutch language is hard to pronounce for Americans. Luckily, in Amsterdam especially (And all over the country), you can find English speakers quite easily. The Dutch pride themselves in mastering the English language. Growing up, Dutch speakers had the help of subtitles under English shows instead of dubbing to help them understand English better.
Amsterdam was once named the world’s most multicultural city
When in Amsterdam, the joke is- where can you find a true Dutchman? In 2007, Amsterdam was acually named the most multicultural city in the world. With a total of 177 nationalities living in the Dutch capital, mixed with visiting tourists that makes for lots of cultural diffusion. Amsterdam is home to native Dutch and other immigrants that flock to the Netherlands. There are many Moroccans, Turks and Dutch Caribbean natives from Curacao and Aruba. This wonderful influence is seen in Dutch culture and cuisine.
Amsterdam may be the Capital, but Amsterdam is not the seat of the government
Quick: What is the Capital of The Netherlands? If you answered Amsterdam, you are indeed correct. But if you wanted to know where the seat of government is, it is not in Amsterdam. There are actually only 3 other cities in the world with this special relationship. Since the 16th century, The Hague has been home of the Dutch parliament and government. Amsterdam is actually called a "Royal City"; only used for inaugurations and royal events. If you visit The Hague, the atmosphere is completely different; reflecting a more political ambiance in its city center.
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the oldest Stock Exchange in the World
Amsterdam's Stock Exchange may not be as famous as the glorified one in New York, but it holds a special title. Did you know that it is the world's oldest Stock Exchange; dating back to 1602? At the peak of the Dutch Republic, the Dutch East India Company housed this place to print its stocks and bounds. The actual former building; known as the Beurs van Berlage is now an important monument and exhibition hall.
Photo credit: maurobrock