Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands and this country is located in North-West Europe. It’s between Germany in the east, Belgium in the south, and the North Sea in the north and west. On the map, Amsterdam is located at 52°22' north latitude and 4°53' east longitude (meaning over 52 degrees north of the Equator, which is 0 degrees and 4 degrees east of London, which was once defined as 0 degrees). Amsterdam is famous for a lot of things: the beautiful historic buildings, the rijksmuseum, the canals, the Anne Frank house, the red light district and of course because of their free-spiritness and tons of coffee shops or just random shops that sell cannabis.
Data and facts
- While Amsterdam has a 2016 population of 813,562 in the city limits, the urban area has a population estimated at 1.1 million and a greater metropolitan area with a population close to 1.6 million. The city has a population density of 4,908 people per square kilometer (12,710/sq mi).
- Amsterdam counts over 800.000 inhabitants and more than 170 nationalities. 216 trams, 2500 boat houses, 75 museums, 207 paintings of Van Gogh, 14 five-star hotels, 15 cinemas and 16 clubs
- Amsterdam has officially only been the capital of The Netherlands since 1983. Before that everyone saw Amsterdam as the capital, but it wasn’t official.
- The motto under the sign of Amsterdam (three crosses) says heroic, determined and merciful.
- De Torensluis Bridge from 1648 is the oldest and widest bridge of Amsterdam.
- The biggest football club in Amsterdam, Ajax, has one of the most successful youth education programs in football in the world.
- Amsterdam has 165 canals, which is in total more than 100 kilometers. 25.000 bikes are thrown or disappearing in the Amsterdam canals every year. Only 8.000 – 10.000 get picked out by a special boat from the municipality.
- Amsterdam has more canals than Venice and more bridges than Paris.
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is located a few meters below sea level.
- Amsterdam gets visited by around 14 million tourists each year. Around 4.5 million of those are Dutch tourists and more than 9.5 million are foreign visitors.
- There are more than 300 coffee shops in Amsterdam. In coffee shops, you can buy up to 5 grams of soft drugs. Soft drugs are not legal in The Netherlands but tolerated. If you buy weed from a street dealer it’s illegal as you are only allowed to buy soft drugs at coffee shops. All hard drugs are illegal.
- The main shopping street of Amsterdam, the Kalverstraat, exists for more than 600 years. Until 1629 there was a market to sell cows, calves and oxes which refers to the name. Kalveren means calves, so it’s literally the calves street.
The city council, the College of Mayors and Alderpersons, and the district committees together form the Amsterdam city government. The city council is the highest governing body and consists of elected representatives of the people of Amsterdam. City council elections are held every four years. At that time, Amsterdam’s residents vote to elect the 45 members of the city council. They also vote for a district committee to manage their city district. The College of Mayor and Alderpersons is responsible for daily operations and policy implementation. The city council chooses the alderpersons (also known as deputy mayors). There are seven alderpersons, each with their own portfolio of topics. The mayor is the chairperson of both the College of Mayor and Alderpersons and the city council. The national government appoints the mayor. The meetings of the College of Mayor and Alderpersons are not open to the public.
Amsterdam has seven city districts: Centre, Nieuw-West, Noord, Oost, West, Zuid, Zuidoost. Each city district is managed by a district committee. The College of Mayor and Alderpersons appoints three managing directors in each city district. The managing directors are supported by an advisory committee. The number of committee members depends on number of inhabitants of the district. The committee is the link between the district and City Hall. They deal with important topics in the district, such as the design of streets and squares, public greenery and parks, household waste collection, and social work in the neighbourhood.
Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is ranked fifth best of European cities in which to locate an international business, surpassed by London, Paris, Frankfurt and Barcelona. Many large corporations and banks have their headquarters in Amsterdam, including AkzoNobel, Heineken International, ING Group, ABN AMRO, TomTom, Delta Lloyd Group, Booking.com and Philips. KPMG International's global headquarters is located in nearby Amstelveen, where many non-Dutch companies have settled as well, because surrounding communities allow full land ownership, contrary to Amsterdam's land-lease system.
Amsterdam has a world-class logistics infrastructure, with the Port of Amsterdam, the nearby Port of Rotterdam, and Schiphol Airport. In their need to look beyond their own borders, the Netherlands has historically been a hub for trade in Europe and beyond and continues this tradition today. The many conferences, tradeshows, and events hosted in Amsterdam are often an important first introduction to the city. These occasions can facilitate serendipitous encounters. Amsterdam hosts cultural offerings in the visual and performing arts and the creative industries. The city’s strong network of knowledge institutes, combined with a thriving creative industries sector, a vibrant startup community, and a high density of European and global headquarters, present the opportunity to bring people together in a cross-disciplinary, cross-ideology, and cross-cultural setting.
Amsterdam is a thriving tech and ICT hub. A prominent choice for international professionals, the city is home to an open and creative tech scene and numerous innovative companies. There is an impressive digital infrastructure – the Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is one of the world’s largest data transport hubs. Various tech conferences and many accelerators and incubator programs for start-ups cement Amsterdam’s position as vibrant startup hub and make it an ideal place to validate and tweak business models.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
Amsterdam has a strong, well-balanced education system. Day care is available for very young children, typically from 0 to 4 years old. Some may begin preschool from the age of 2, although this is optional. Children then attend primary school from the age of four, before transferring to secondary school after eight years.
Dutch healthcare is among the best in the world, with people having access to advanced treatments and preventative care during all stages of their lives. The health insurance system in the Netherlands is based on the principle of social solidarity. Together, we all pay the overall cost of health care.
Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. With its universities, academies, and research institutes, along with more than 40 museums, numerous theaters, and entertainment venues, Amsterdam is also the country's leading cultural center. In addition, the city is famous for its many well-preserved historic homes, laid out in a pattern of concentric segments in the shape of a fan and built on piles driven through an upper layer of mud into the firm, sandy bottom up to 18 meters below.