Bikes and Canals – Reasons To Visit Amsterdam
I created this list of Reasons To Visit Amsterdam to hopefully change some peoples minds about this magical place. I had this image of Amsterdam in my head from stories and movies. In this image Amsterdam was dirty, full of drugs, prostitutes, raves, techno music and more drugs. We gave ourselves only about 30 hours in Amsterdam when we planned our trip. That was the biggest mistake we made all summer.
In a short time we fell for the city. It wasn’t anything of what we expected and more than we could imagine.
Everyone is happy and helpful, they don’t hesitate to say hello while passing complete strangers while riding bicycles down cobblestone roads.
Multiple times we were stopped on the street by a local just so they could give us suggestions or directions without us even asking. There is no noticeable graffiti, the streets are clean of trash. Yes, there are “drugs” being sold in nearly every coffee shop, and by that I mean Marijuana, but it is part of the culture and not abused.
Since leaving Amsterdam I have promised myself to return one day and enjoy it for a longer period of time, I feel as though I was only exposed to a small glimpse of an amazing unique city. In the spirit of hoping to get back, I have compiled a list of facts and reasons for anyone thinking of visiting Amsterdam or just wanting to learn more about it.
There are 165 canals throughout the city, making up a total of 60 miles in overall waterways. There a plenty of ways to get around the city, but one of the best by far is a private boat tour through the canals. You could also ride your bicycle around town, but be cautious as more than 25,000 bicycles sink to the bottom of the canal every year. If you really want to explore the canals, you can rent out a houseboat and stay a few nights right on it.
With more than 1500 bars and cafes in Amsterdam it is a great place to grab a drink. By euro standards most places are pretty cheap and come with a view. You’re also allowed to drink in the streets as long as you’re not causing a ruckus.
Making many travelers list of reasons to visit Amsterdam is the bicycle culture. With over 880,000 bicycles in the city, they out number the 800,000 people living in the city. Even though Amsterdam has one of the lowest crime rates in the world, about 100,000 bicycles are stolen every year, most believe that tourists and intoxicated locals are to blame for this.
4. Living Under the Sea
Most of Amsterdam is actually below sea level, and the ground that its built on shouldn’t be able to support a city, but use of over 11 million wooden stilts are used throughout the city to support the buildings on the loose muddy foundation. The houses in the city are unusually narrow due to the fact they used to be taxed on width.
5. The Redlight District
The red-light district is known far and wide for its prostitutes and the open sexuality of parts of Europe. Amsterdam offers free STD treatment from special public health clinics throughout the city. Even if not partaking in the events, it’s an interesting spot to check out. Take a walk through, it’s a big part of the culture and history. I believe any real traveler should be open to at least taking a look into everything a city offers.
On of our top reasons to visit Amsterdam is the culture diversity. This is more culturally diverse than any other city on the planet, housing more than 175 different nationalities as permanent residents. That is one of the greatest parts of the city, there is a little piece of everywhere and it shows in the food, the art and the culture and maybe this is the reason everyone is so open and friendly.
Resources for Traveling Amsterdam