11 Amsterdam Facts: Things To Know Before Visiting Amsterdam Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands, is among the most vibrant cities in the world. Thousands of visitors tour the city for its rich history and culture, picturesque canal network, and genre-defining museums. There’s also great food and drink in this European melting pot. Before visiting Amsterdam, check out these Amsterdam facts to help make the most of your visit.

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Amsterdam 101: Important Thing To Know About Amsterdam Netherlands 

People often associate visiting Amsterdam with red-light districts and marijuana. Those things do exist in the city, but it has so much more to offer visitors. I had low expectations for our first trip to Amsterdam over 15 years ago. What I found was one of the most charming and friendly cities in Europe.

We spent hours wandering along canals, sitting at cafes, and enjoying all of the international food in Amsterdam. Of course, we ate some iconic Dutch foods, and yes, wandered through the red-light district. But all of that was secondary to just how absolutely stunning the city is. After multiple trips to Amsterdam over the years, I would move there in a heartbeat – that’s how much we love Amsterdam!

What Country Is Amsterdam In? The Netherlands, The Dutch, And Holland

Amsterdam Facts: Things To Know Before Visiting Amsterdam Netherlands

Most visitors consider Amsterdam to be one of the most exciting European cities. With plenty of sights, incredible nightlife, and vibrant markets, there can be no doubt that this city deserves the crown. But what country is Amsterdam in? 

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is one of the low-land countries that are located in Northwest Europe.

Amsterdam is located in the Dutch province of North Holland. But is Amsterdam in Holland? The Kingdom of the Netherlands is the country’s official name, which is informally referred to as Holland. Though they are different, most people use Netherlands and Holland interchangeably.

The population of Amsterdam is about 907,000 in the city center and 1,558,000 within the urban area.  

Amsterdam Is The Venice Of The North

Amsterdam is the venice of the north
Drinking Amstel beer on the Amstel River

Amsterdam is also called the “Venice of the North” because of the numerous canals that form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This city derives its name from Amstel Dam, which was dammed on the Amstel River to control flooding. It was originally a small fishing village in the 12th century. During the 17th century’s Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam became one of the world’s most important ports and a leading center for trade and finance.   

Amsterdam is known for its historic canals. It has more than 62 miles of canals, 1,500 bridges, and 90 islands. We walked a lot when visiting Amsterdam. On some days, I could swear we walked all 1,500 bridges, but I know that’s impossible.

Amsterdam weather is warm in summer, June to August, with lots of daylight. It is the perfect time to visit the city and enjoy outdoor events. November to February has mild temperatures, and a little snowfall is normal in December and January. March to April is spring and is the best time to explore the flower markets.

Where Is Amsterdam Located? 

The Netherlands is located along the North Sea, with Belgium to the south and Germany to the east.

Major cities near Amsterdam are The Hague, Rotterdam, and Utrecht. The distance between Amsterdam and Rotterdam is 35 miles by air and 48 miles by road. The Hague is 32 miles away from Amsterdam by air and 39 miles by road. 

How To Get To Amsterdam  

Amsterdam Schipol Airport Is One Of The Most Connected In Europe

flying KLM to Amsterdam

It’s no surprise that Amsterdam is among the world’s most connected cities. Amsterdam Airport, Schiphol, is the Netherlands’ largest airport, with over 90 airlines serving 332 scheduled destinations. It is also ranked among the top five busiest airports in Europe.

Several airlines have direct flights from the United States to Amsterdam. These airlines include KLM, United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta. 

  • KLM has year-round flights from New York, San Francisco, Washington, Atlanta, Boston, Austin, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Chicago. It also has seasonal flights from Miami.
  • Delta has year-round flights from New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Detroit, Boston, and Minneapolis. It has seasonal flights from Las Vegas and Orlando.
  • United Airlines has year-round flights from New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston, with seasonal flights from Washington.
  • American Airlines has year-round flights from Philadelphia and seasonal flights from Dallas. 

Amsterdam, Netherlands, is well-connected to numerous European cities. Multiple airlines have direct flights from these cities to Amsterdam. We flew KLM from within Europe and upgraded to their business class for only €110, which was well worth it. The food was amazing, and the salt and pepper shakers were clogs!

Flying KLM to Amsterdam
Our meal on KLM

Amsterdam Is Well Connected By Train

You can also visit Amsterdam via train from several European cities. Most trains have enough luggage space, comfortable seating, and free WiFi. They also offer different classes, with Premium or First Class offering extra luxury.  

A train trip from Paris, France, to Amsterdam takes an average of four hours and 37 minutes. However, the fastest service can take three hours and twenty minutes. Fifteen trains serve this route daily. 

A train from London to Amsterdam takes approximately four hours and 42 minutes. This train will allow you to go through the world’s longest continuous underwater tunnel, the Channel Tunnel, which is over 31 miles long. Three trains travel daily on this route. 

Twenty-eight trains travel from Frankfurt, Germany, to Amsterdam daily. It takes an average of six hours and ten minutes to cover the 226-mile distance. 

The Euro Is The Currency In Amsterdam

People who are new to traveling to European countries, often ask what is the currency in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is part of the Euro Zone. The Euro is the official currency in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Other currencies are not accepted. Rather than bringing USD and exchanging money, use your ATM card to withdraw Euros at any major bank in the city.

Most stores, restaurants, and tourist establishments accept credit cards. When using cash, carry smaller denominations of Euros because most restaurants and shops will not accept 200 and 500 Euro notes. 

Learn more about packing for Europe and other travel tips about accessing money when traveling to Amsterdam.

Is Amsterdam expensive? Yes! Amsterdam is among the ten most expensive cities in Europe. However, the cost of living in Amsterdam is 27 percent less than in London and 39 percent less than in New York. 

What Languages Are Spoken In Amsterdam? English Is Widely Spoken

Amsterdam is known for international cuisine

Dutch is the official language of Amsterdam. However, it is multicultural, and its residents speak various languages. Moreover, the Dutch are known for their ability to speak foreign languages well.

English is also widely spoken, and over 90 percent of the population can speak it fluently. It is used by numerous international organizations, businesses, and learning institutions. English is closely followed by German at 70 percent and French at 30 percent. 

Other languages spoken in the city include Arabic, Indonesian, and Turkish. 

We had no problem communicating with anyone in Amsterdam.

Types Of Amsterdam Accommodations

Amsterdam canals and houseboats

Amsterdam city center has numerous accommodation options for visitors. You will find hotels and apartment rentals with varying facilities and amenities to fit the needs of any traveler.

Airbnb has some of the best places to stay in Amsterdam. You will have inspiring accommodation options, from luxurious flats to romantic apartments floating on famous canals. Yes, you can book an Amsterdam houseboat when visiting Amsterdam.

Numerous hotels in Amsterdam ensure there is no shortage of accommodation. You will find hotels rated from three to five stars with varying amenities. Some international hotels in the city are the Intercontinental Amstel Hotel, Amsterdam Marriott Hotel, and Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel. 

How To Find Accommodations In Amsterdam

  • We often use Booking.com to book all sorts of hotels and apartments when traveling. Go to this link to get all the hotel options in Amsterdam. On the left-hand side, you can search for hotels, apartments, and even houseboats in Amsterdam.
  • If you are looking for a houseboat in particular, check this out, with all of the Amsterdam houseboat options.

Is Amsterdam Safe To Visit 

canals, bridges, and bikes in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of the safest European cities with an overall low-risk level. Safety will be the least of your concerns when you travel to Amsterdam. 

Most people believe the worst that can happen to a visitor is being hit by a cyclist. Pedestrians should be careful when crossing roads because there are numerous bicycles. I constantly felt like my head was on a swivel when crossing even the smallest roads. We were always on the lookout for pedestrians, cyclists, cars, and trams all at once!

Public transport and taxis are safe, and most taxis are metered. Though there are unlicensed illegal taxis, they are easy to spot. Uber is also available and the tram system is easy to use. We generally walk almost everywhere, though, because Amsterdam is so easy to walk.

Pickpocketing is common in busy streets, while bag snatching may occur on trams and trains. The risk of mugging is very low, and the bare minimum precautions will reduce the risks.  If you are concerned about this, one of the best things to do inorder to protect your valuables is with an anti-theft travel bag

bicycles in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Has Over 80,000 Bicycles

The streets of Amsterdam are charming and allow you to step back in time. The quaint buildings and narrow streets of Jordaan, originally a working-class neighborhood, are one of Amsterdam’s desirable quarters. They have antique shops, courtyard gardens, independent art galleries, and charming restaurants and bars that provide a memorable shopping experience. 

Cycling is a way of life in Amsterdam. The city has over 880,000 bicycles and a network of cycle routes. Exploring the city on a bike allows you to find hidden gems. You can cycle to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel and explore the historical sights in the 12-century village.

Things To Do In Amsterdam 

Some ideal places to visit in Amsterdam are outside the city center. There are gorgeous countryside landscapes, historic towns, windmills, and beaches in the surrounding areas. A 20-minute train will take you to Haarlem, where you will enjoy golden beach stretches and plenty of water sports. Most of the most important things to do in Amsterdam, though, are located within the city center and within walking distance of everything.

Anne Frank House

One of the top things to do in Amsterdam is to visit Anne Frank House. It is a 17th-century canal house now transformed into an educational center and museum. After fleeing persecution, Anne Frank and her family hid there for two years from the Nazis.

The house is now a thought-provoking museum that allows visitors to reflect on World War II and the horrors committed against the Jewish. A permanent exhibition of Anne’s life and time in the house is a moving testament to humankind’s perseverance and resilience.  

It is recommended to book online in advance or visit early in the morning to avoid lengthy waits.

Take a Canal Cruise 

taking a canal cruise when visiting Amsterdam

Canal tours are excellent ways to explore and are among the best things to do in Amsterdam. The UNESCO-protected canal belt was built in the 17th century. A view of the belt offers a breathtaking postcard vision of Amsterdam.

You can take a canal cruise after sunset when fairly lights light up the bridges. Floating along the canals under the stars and sparkling lights is a perfect way of enjoying a romantic evening with a magical feel.  

You can also take your Amsterdam trip a notch higher by enjoying dinner and a cocktail on a cruise as you listen to a live jazz band.  

  • We took this Amsterdam Canal Cruise, which included unlimited gin and tonics and was a lovely day to be out on the canal.
  • We got lucky with a nice early fall sunny day. If you’re concerned about weather, this is a similar Amsterdam canal cruise, which is covered!


Rijksmuseum is a spectacular Gothic and Renaissance museum in Amsterdam established in 1978. It displays a phenomenal collection of artifacts from the Golden Age. There’s a collection of over one million pieces with over 8,000 on display, making it the largest museum in the Netherlands.   

Art lovers will enjoy viewing countless Dutch masterworks. The museum hosts an extensive collection of Rembrandt van Rijn, including The Night Watch. You will also find the works of popular Dutch painters like Jan Steen and Frans Hals.   

There is also a Michelin-starred restaurant and a library on site. You can book a guided tour through the museum’s app. 

Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam

This Amsterdam art museum is dedicated to the works of an influential painter, Vincent Van Gogh, from the Netherlands. You will get a chance to learn about his life and what inspired his style. A Gerrit Rietveld-designed building located next to the Rijksmuseum hosts this art museum.

The museum hosts over 700 of Van Gogh’s works and paintings by other artists, such as Gauguin and Monet, who influenced him.  

Vincent van Gogh was a post-impressionist painter and among the most influential artists. His paints were characterized by broad, expressive brushstrokes and bold colors that remain fascinating even today.  

Heineken Experience 

Drinking Heineken in Amsterdam

Heineken is a popular beer brand first brewed in 1864 in Amsterdam. Today, more than 165 breweries in over 70 countries produce the brand.

The Heineken Museum Amsterdam offers an interactive self-guided tour of the initial brewery. You get to learn how the beer was produced and the company’s evolution over the decades. 

You’ll receive two beers when you visit the museum, so book a tour and learn about Heineken’s history.

  • There are a variety of ways to experience the museum, including options to add the Heineken Museum onto a canal cruise or other walking tour. Learn more here.

Amsterdam, Netherlands offers endless things to do and sights to visit. This article will assist you in planning a trip to the city to enjoy the majestic canals and the 17th-century buildings packed with history.  

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