Information On Amsterdam - Amsterdam Facts on People, History, Economy, etc.

The following information on Amsterdam is meant for readers with a general interest.

Find facts here on Amsterdam politics, the economy, people, culture, history and more.

Also see our page with important Amsterdam information for tourists, or our fun Amsterdam facts page.

For further travel information, see the attractions and guide sections.

General Information on Amsterdam

  • Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, but the Dutch government's seat is in The Hague.
  • Amsterdam is built several meters below sea level. If the dikes break, the whole city would disappear.
  • Amsterdam has 165 canals, crossed by 1,281 bridges. Each year, the city administration takes up to 10,000 bicycles out of the canals.
  • Amsterdam has more bikes (1 million) than inhabitants (750,000). Only 30% of Amsterdammers own a car.

Amsterdam Population

  • The city of Amsterdam has 756.500 inhabitants. Due to new housing projects and immigration, the number is rising steadily.
  • However, the bigger Amsterdam metropole area (including Almere) has 2.1 million inhabitants.
  • The city has 2,500 house boats, meaning boats with a fixed location in a canal that are used as houses.

International Amsterdam

  • Having inhabitants with 175 nationalities, Amsterdam is the most international city in the world (according to the city administration). Almost 50% of the population are immigrants, or children of immigrants. A third are from non-Western countries.
  • Amsterdam receives 4 million business and leisure visitors a year (of which 2 million foreigners).
  • Due to it's international hub function, Amsterdam has the 4th busiest airport in Europe (Schiphol Airport). Measured by international travelers, it's even the busiest of the world (since other airports have more domestic flights).

Political Information On Amsterdam

  • Amsterdam's city administration consists of mayor Job Cohen and his eldermen, who are kept accountable by an elected City Council of 45 members.
  • The social democrat party (PvdA) has been dominating Amsterdam politics for ages.
  • Amsterdam is currently in the middle of a big subway expansion project - not easy in a city with buildings going back as far as the 13th century, who are all built on poles. The costs born by the city of Amsterdam have risen from 300 million to 1.46 billion euros (at the time of writing...) and it will only be finished in 2017…
  • The city administration of Amsterdam has (relative to the population) twice as many bureaucrats as the neighboring city administration of Zaandam.

The Amsterdam Economy

  • Amsterdam Schiphol Airport provides jobs to 62,000 people.
  • Amsterdam has over 6,000 shops.
  • Amsterdam tourism brings in 5 billion Euros a year and provides 48,000 full time jobs.
  • Amsterdam has 357 hotels with a total of 33,000 beds. And they're just about always full.

Historical Information On Amsterdam

  • Amsterdam was founded around 1250 BC as a small village. After it received city rights in 1300, it grew fast.
  • In the 17th century, Amsterdam was a world power, and center of the emerging international economy.
  • Capitalism was invented in Amsterdam: it had the world's first company to issue stock (the VOC in 1602), the first stock exchange (in 1606) and the first wave of enormous price rises due to speculation (the Tulip Mania in 1636).
  • The city still has almost 7,000 buildings dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th century, while the Old Church even dates back to the 13th century.

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