“Heldhaftig, Vastberaden, Barmhartig” (Valiant, Steadfast, Compassionate—Amsterdam’s motto)
The city of Amsterdam has long served as one of the most important capital cities in Europe. With a long and rich history, the only way to truly explore and appreciate this Dutch metropolis is to go there yourself and see what it has to offer—but if you can’t manage that, the next best thing is to read these 44 facts about the iconic city!
Senior City-zen! Hah!
Amsterdam was settled in the 13th century AD. The name itself is first recorded as being used in 1275, though it wasn’t until 1306 when the Bishop of Utrecht, Gwijde van Henegouwen, granted Amsterdam city rights.
Small-Scale Sight, Large-Scale Success
Amsterdam was the site of one of the most important scientific discoveries in human history—the discovery of bacteria. Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek lived during the Dutch Golden Age and began noodling around with a microscope. Much to his surprise, when he peered into the microscopic world he found it to be chock full of tiny oddities, and he became the first person to document observations of not just bacteria, but also red blood cells and spermatozoa. Such was his influence that a 2004 Dutch poll seeking the greatest Dutchman resulted in van Leeuwenhoek coming in fourth. (Goldmember was completely snubbed from the list).
A Hundred Bridges Too Far
Amsterdam is sometimes known as the “Venice of the North.” Both maritime cities are famous for their labyrinthine layout of bridges and canals, but while Venice has about 12 more canals than Amsterdam, Amsterdam trumps Venice by having 872 more bridges.
A Collaboration They All Paid to See
In the late 1960s, a young Amsterdam-born film director named Paul Verhoeven met an actor named Rutger Hauer who also grew up in Amsterdam, and the two men worked together on an experimental television series called Floris. After that, the highly progressive and controversial films which they created (including Spetters and Soldaat van Oranje) sold millions of tickets in the Netherlands, despite the fact that Dutch films had to compete with foreign films from the rest of Europe and the United States. The pair’s biggest hit was the 1973 film Turkish Delight, which was seen by a total of 3.5 million Dutch people (26% of Dutch people alive at the time) that year. It is still the most successful Dutch film ever made. Both men would go on to Hollywood to further their careers, with Hauer playing the villain in Blade Runner and Verhoeven directing Starship Troopers, Basic Instinct, Robocop, and the hit Razzie-winning film Showgirls.
Read more: https://www.factinate.com/places/44-seductive-facts-amsterdam/