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5 Fun Facts about Amsterdam

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Amsterdam is a city with a long and eventful history, much of which will be known to visitors and much of which won’t.
amsterdam: fun facts
Firstly, the origin of the name Amsterdam is in a combination of the river Amstel and the recognisable English word ‘dam’. The dam was built by locals protesting about the imposition of a bridge tax during the thirteenth century. This makes Amsterdam the location of one of history’s first tax avoidance schemes.

Holland’s struggle against the sea is famous around the world, often because of the story of a heroic young boy perishing after sticking his finger in a leaking dyke to save the countryside from flooding. The advance of technology has made this battle easier to an extent, although the basic problems remain. In total the country has 4,000 km of navigable rivers and canals which is incredible given its size. One of the busiest airports in the world, Schiphol, is four metres below sea level.

Amsterdam was where the conquering British brought the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond to be cut after it was captured during their Imperial adventures in India. The diamond was said to be cursed as it had been passed between various religious and ethnic factions on the subcontinent causing chaos, death and destruction wherever it went. Only when it became part of the British crown jewels did the curse relent and it has been peaceful ever since.

Considering the size of the population and economy of the Netherlands it is surprisingly home to seven of the world’s top multinational corporations. Phillips and ING are just two of those which have their headquarters in Amsterdam. Today’s business friendly environment has been inherited from the financiers and merchants of time passed who made the city their home. Amsterdam was the sight of the world’s very first stock exchange at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

The Dutch are known as a practical people as well as being keen environmentalists. The preference of the humble bicycle over cars are obvious even before you take into account Amsterdam’s narrow, cluttered streets. Today there are actually more bikes in Amsterdam than there are people.

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About the author

Venere Travel Blog writer will joce

Will Joce is a recent graduate from the London School of Economics who has a morbid fear of working in an office. As well as travelling and writing he has worked in the UK Parliament and as a press monitor. Refusing to follow advice and get a real job he will soon be beginning a Masters degree at St Petersburg State University

5 responses to “5 Fun Facts about Amsterdam”

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  1. Cynthia says:
    November 22nd, 2010 at 18:28

    Amsterdam was the sight of the world’s very first stock exchange at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

    SIGHT is not the same as SITE

  2. Rosa Calamunci says via Facebook:
    November 22nd, 2010 at 18:58

    ci ritorno al piu’ presto…..splendida città…..

  3. Inna Demidova says via Facebook:
    November 22nd, 2010 at 20:40

    I have one of them :))

  4. Cida Diehl says via Facebook:
    November 22nd, 2010 at 22:34

    It is a beautiful day here in Carlsbad

  5. venere.com says via Facebook:
    November 23rd, 2010 at 16:45

    Never been to Carlsbad Cida! How is it?


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