Frequently Asked Amsterdam

Where is Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. It is located in the Southeastern part of the province of North Holland, which is in the west of the country. The Netherlands — often also called Holland — is located in the Northwestern part of Western Europe. It is bordered in the east by Germany, in the south by Belgium, and in the west and north by the Northsea.

What language do they speak in Amsterdam?

That depends on who ‘they’ are. The official, native language is Dutch, but most people in Amsterdam also speak quite a bit of English. The city is home to people from 187 nationalities, so you will hear a lot more than just Dutch and English. You will not need to know any Dutch in order to enjoy your visit to Amsterdam.

How many people live in Amsterdam?

Last time we checked, 747,290 in Amsterdam proper, and 2,158,592 in the metropolitan area.

What does ‘Amsterdam’ mean?

The name Amsterdam is derived from the city’s origins: it grew around a dam in the river Amstel. However, the city may actually have been named after a Dike built years earlier.

What is the Dam?

Dam Sqaure— in Dutch simply, de Dam — is Amsterdam’s best-known square, and it is a handy central location from which to explore the medieval city centre. It’s the site of the dam mentioned in the previous answer, though nowadays the erstwhile dam is no longer visible. Featuring the Royal Palace, Dam square often is the focus of events of national importance — as in the annual Remembrance Day (May 4) ceremonies which take place at the National Monument, commemorating those who died during the Second World War.

What do you call someone who lives in Amsterdam?

Lucky! Actually: Amsterdammer, but if you want to surprise your Dutch friends, use the colloquial ‘Mokummer’ instead.

How many canals are there in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam has 165 canals — with a combined length of 100 KM (60 Miles) and is often referred to as “The Venice of the North”

What is the best time of the year to visit Amsterdam?

That depends on what you are looking for. The summer season is very popular, of course, but Amsterdam is a fun and fascinating city any time of the year. The main tourist season is July and August, with the best chance of good, sunny weather. The cultural season runs from September to May. The bulb fields — with tulips and other flowers — near Amsterdam are in bloom from mid-April through mid-May. Winters are relatively mild but can be cold and wet nevertheless.

What currency is used in Amsterdam?

The Netherlands is part of the European Union and uses the Euro. Until 2002 the Dutch Guilder was used.

What is a brown café?

A brown Cafe is a pub with a dark wood interior, nicotine-stained ceiling and low-wattage lighting. You can find brown cafés throughout Holland, but Amsterdam features more of them than any other city in the Netherlands.

Is Amsterdam safe?

According to the 2008 Quality of Life Survey from international consultancy firm Mercer, Amsterdam ranks 22 out of 215 world cities for personal safety. Cities like London and Paris did not even make the top 50.

Can women safely travel around Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is a safe city for women of all ages traveling alone or together. Journeywoman.com, ‘The Premier Travel Resource For Women,’ calls Amsterdam ‘female-friendly’ and recommends it as a city where women travelling alone can feel comfortable and safe.

Is Cannabis Legal in Amsterdam?

In The Netherlands the substances which are commonly seen as ‘illegal drugs’ are divided by law into 2 groups: harddrugs (List I) and softdrugs (List II).
Cannabis is seen as a softdrug so in some cases the Answer is 'Yes". Within the Netherlands there is no active prosecution against the individual users of softdrugs, but the substances itself maintain illegal status.
The Dutch created their own official ‘Policy of Tolerance’ (in Dutch: ‘Gedoogbeleid’). The government explains it quite difficultly, but in street terms you can just explain it as an official ‘closing of the eyes’.
This Policy of Tolerance does have its limits: - You are not allowed to possess more then 5 grams of cannabis in a public area or 30 grams in a private area. - For cultivation you may not exceed the amount of 5 plants.
When you exceed these limits the tolerance stops and there will be some legal charges against you. So if you just follow these limits above you won’t have to worry about legal troubles at all.

Why is Amsterdam so tolerant?

Historical reason: Amsterdam is a city where trade has always been more important than ideology or religion – overly strong views would only hamper relations. Too, Amsterdam is traditionally a city of immigrants. Jews from Spain and French protestants found a safe haven, centuries ago. When it comes to prostitution or the use of drugs the Dutch feel that if it’s going to happen anyway it is better to legalize and control it than to let it fester underground.

What is the quality of life in Amsterdam?

In the 2011 version of its annual listing of the World’s Best Cities to live in, Mercer Consulting ranked Amsterdam at Number 12 — up one place from number 13, a spot the city had occupied each year since 2006.

How much should I tip in Amsterdam?

While tipping is common, by law all prices in the Netherlands include tax and tips. However, leaving a tip (fooi – sounds like ‘foy’ with a drawn-out ‘o’) is customary in restaurants, bars, and pubs.

What is the best way to get around Amsterdam?

Dependent on what you want to see and where you want to go there are many good ways to get around, but even more not so good.  For the Fit and young hearted renting a bike is great and convenient. Trams are also a good alternative to see the city and great offers on Day passes always help. Walking however, is also great. Amsterdam is flat and also has a small centrum which is walker friendly.

What is the most popular park in Amsterdam?

With 10 million visitors a year, Vondelpark  is the most popular park not just in Amsterdam, but in all of the Netherlands.

What is the difference between a Coffeeshop and a Koffie Huis?

A Coffeshop is a place where you can legally buy soft drugs (marijuana or hashish), space cakes, coffee, tea, and sometimes freshly-squeezed juices and sandwiches.

A koffie huis (coffee house) is the same thing, minus the soft drugs and space cake.

How many tourists visit one or more coffeeshops in Amsterdam?

A 2007 report by Amsterdam’s Department for Research and Statistics shows that of the 4.5 million tourists who spend the night in Amsterdam during a given year, 26% visit a Coffeeshop. According to the Amsterdam Tourism & Convention Board, 10% of tourists even mention this as a primary reason to visit the city.

Will tourists be banned from coffeeshops?

The previous Dutch government planned to introduce a Membership System for Coffeeshops, available only to legal residents of the Netherlands — effectively barring tourists. Amsterdam's leaders opposed plans. The current government has — under its provisional governing pact adopted in October, 2012, nixed the Wietpas, but retains the stipulation that only legal residents may purchased at coffeeshops. The language is somewhat unclear, but it appears that the new government will leave it up to individual cities to enforce the resident rule. Amsterdam has always opposed the pass, claiming that it will hurt tourism, and increase illegal drugs trading on the streets. Amsterdam Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on November 1, 2012 declared that all 220 Coffeeshops  in Amsterdam will remain open to tourists.

What is a Weed Pass or Wietpas?

In an effort to combat nuisance caused by drugs tourists the previous Dutch government wanted to turn coffeeshops into private clubs open only to legal residents of the Netherlands. Members would receive what the government called a ‘club pass.’ Normal people referred to it as the "Wietpas", using the Dutch colloquial term for marijuana. Another suggested name was ‘grass pass,’ but the foreign media preferred the term ‘weed pass.’ The incoming Dutch government has rejected the idea, but retains some of its proposed rules. Cities may now determine whether or not to allow tourists into coffeeshops. In Amsterdam, tourists can continue to Smoke.

What, Where & When is Queen’s Day?

Queen’s Day is the annual Dutch national holiday in honour of the late Queen Juliana’s birthday.

On Queens Day there are celebrations throughout the Netherlands. However, the most popular destination is Amsterdam where up to one million visitors join the 750.000 locals in the world’s largest street party. Celebrated on April 30th which is actually the Queen Mothers Birthday,  It is likely to Change as the head of The dutch Monarchy will be a King quite soon.

What does “I AMSTERDAM” mean?

‘I Amsterdam’ is the advertising slogan with which the City of Amsterdam brands itself. Located at the back of the Rijksmuseum, the I AMSTERDAM logo — 2 meters (6.5 feet) high and 24 meters (26 yards) long — has become one of the most photographed sights in Amsterdam. A smaller copy of the motto is moved around the city. The motto, designed in 2004 by advertising agency KesselsKramer, is meant to convey Amsterdam’s inclusiveness: everyone should be able to say, “I Am Amsterdam.” It is meant to serve not only as part of the city’s tourist and business promotion activities, but also to convey to the city’s hugely diverse population.

What is the weather like in Amsterdam?

The good news: the old joke about Amsterdam having four seasons a day is just not true. The bad news: at times it seems like it could be true anyway. Overall Amsterdam has the same mild climate as the rest of the Netherlands, but the Weather In Amsterdam remains somewhat unpredictable.