We all think that Amsterdam is just about bicycles, cheese, clogs, windmills, tulips, canals, and bridges. It is indeed a beautiful city lined with doll houses and buzzing with energy, but there are many things which people coming to Amsterdam are oblivious to. Initially, some of these caught me unawares too. So, I decided to list it all, in this latest article on Eur0ping. Hope you’ll enjoy reading it.
The people in Amsterdam are the tallest in the world
The average heren(man) measures in at 1.837 m (6 ft 1 inches) and a vrouw(lady) towers at 1.693 m (5 ft 6 1⁄2 inches). Now, I am not particularly gifted in this department. Imagine my impediment, walking on the streets of Amsterdam, like a little kid in a carnival, lost among all those grown-ups around. Sometimes, I have to wave at them to avoid being trampled!
Amsterdam houses are usually curtain-less
When I came to Amsterdam 6 months back, I found it quite surprising to see Dutch houses with huge glass windows but no curtains. They were quite hard to resist for my curious eyes that just wanted a peek. The Dutch believe that they have nothing to hide, so why put the curtains on.
You won’t get your favorite coffee in the Coffeeshops of Amsterdam
Weed is easily available in Amsterdam and the place to go is a “coffee shop”. You can spot them everywhere. Just follow the smoke. If, you just want to have a coffee go to a café instead. But, as tradition demands, you will make this mistake once, as I did.
Amsterdam has the one and only Cat Boat
De Poezenboot, which literally translates to – the Catboat, is a cat sanctuary or floating pet shelter on the Herengracht canal. Quite weird, but it’s actually a houseboat for stray and abandoned cat. Worth a visit if you care for some its good karma to rub off on you.
Blue lights in Red Light District
Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam and restricted mostly to the streets of the famous Red Light District. It’s a major tourist attraction in the city identified by its ubiquitous doors with neon red lights atop. But, as they say here, ‘Let Op!’ Look at the light above the door before entering. A blue light indicates a transgender. So, now you know.
A school bag on a Dutch flag!
The first time I saw a school bag proudly dangling outside a house on a flagpole, I was confused. I found out later that it’s a tradition – bag-on-a-flag. Parents do this when their kid passes the high school exams. It’s an announcement to the neighbors who come flocking with congratulations.
World’s only floating flower market is here in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is all about tulips, flowers and flower-seeds. Bloemenmarkt, the only floating flower market in the world, is located in the heart of city. The vendors set shops in actual boats floating on the canals of Amsterdam along Singel. It’s a must-visit tourist attraction in the city, also known as Singel flower market.
A popular Dutch snack is raw fish topped with onions
Dutch Haring is an extremely popular snack in Amsterdam which is basically a raw fish, not to be confused with a sushi. Dutch have been eating it for over 600 years, but tourists might find it a little daunting. Worth a shot though.
Top breweries in the world are based here
Yeah, that’s true! Netherlands is the world’s second-biggest beer exporter. You can find a lot of breweries in Amsterdam and even get a tour of the most famous one, Heineken. The Dutch are very particular about their beer and like them strong.
Bike is an inseparable body part
What would you rather pick out of a shiny revving Jaguar and a sleek Gazelle? Well, a Dutch might own both, but when going around the city, the latter it is. Hail or snow, heat or storm, you will find people here clinging to their bikes frantically peddling away – everywhere. Do not under any circumstances, ask the Dutch to let go off their bike. Except, when it’s a parade. In which case they just throw their bikes on the street and join the fun!