Amsterdam yearly attracts over 4 million visitors! But what they do not know are the secrets that only the Dutch locals know about. In this article you will find well hidden facts about the Dutch Capital. Be surprised by the different and sometimes strange facts and events in the Netherlands!

1. Celebrate Queens Day, Kings Day and Princess Day!

Queens Day descends from the celebrations of the Dutch royal family in the 19th century to emphasize the national unity. Besides Queens Day, they also celebrated a Kings Day and a Princess ‘Day. It is the Princess ‘day of princess and later Queen Wilhelmina which is the real precursor of the national Queens Day nowadays.

Note! If you want to visit the festival please note that by the arrival of the new king Willem Alexander, the date changed from the 30th of April to the 27th of April!

2. Have you ever thought of jumping into the canals of Amsterdam?

Normally, it is forbidden to swim in the canals of Amsterdam, besides that the water is dirty and there are old bicycles and other objects in the water to which you can hurt yourself. But once a year in September, the citizens of Amsterdam jump into the canals for a swim, to raise money for charity.

3. Why are those 3 crosses everywhere in Amsterdam?

Once, you are in Amsterdam you see the 3 crosses of the coat of arms of Amsterdam everywhere. But did you know that the three crosses stand for heroism, determination and compassion? And if you see the crosses it could be from another city too, many cities have the three crosses in their coat of arms?

4. Be surprised by unusual birds in the Vondelpark!

When you are walking on a sunny day in the Vondelpark, it may be true that you see colorful exotic birds. The park has a large population of parakeets and the larger Alexander Parakeets. If the parakeets were released or escaped is still a mystery. You will find these beautiful noisy birds only in Amsterdam.

5.  The History of Heineken: A real James Bond story!

Nowadays James Bond drinks a bottle of Dutch Heineken beer instead of a martini, but did you know that Heineken was part of a real criminal story in 1983? Back then, the director Freddy Heineken and his driver got kidnapped in front of his company in Amsterdam by 4 criminals. After the provision of 35 million guilders the two were rescued!

6. World´s first gay marriage!

On the first of April 2001 at Waterloopplein in the Stopera, the theater of national ballet and opera, world´s first gay marriage took place carried out by the mayor of Amsterdam. Nowadays this is still the place where the annual Gay Pride Parade starts in the beginning of August, the day when all of the canals of Amsterdam canals are colored pink by their pink dressed visitors.

7. Rare habits: Eating snacks out of the wall!

If you are walking through Amsterdam you will probably see the snack walls. These are walls with small windows, which have a snack behind it in the snack bars in Amsterdam. Try a typical Dutch “frikandel”, “kroket” or hamburger from the wall, it will save you time and the food is fresh and warm. Throw in the proper amount to open a window with your desired snack!

Ever heard any of these secrets? Is there something we should add? Leave us a comment with things you learned about Amsterdam and found ridiculously curious!

At GowithOh, we are an enthusiastic team of self-confessed Europhiles who are passionate about travel. We especially love the variety of city breaks possible in Europe, from the historic UNESCO heritage cities like Prague, to the more cosmopolitan beachside destinations like Barcelona. We love discovering the hidden gems in different cities and sharing them with our fans so everyone can benefit and enjoy the perfect city break in Europe.