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Amsterdam - a country full of happenings...

Amsterdam is the capital and the most populated area of the country of the Netherlands. The name of the city is derived from the word Amstelredamme, because of the location near a dam in the river of Amstel. This area began as a fishing village back in the 12th century and it has grown immensely since that time.

The Amstel River flows to the center of the city and then continues through a number of canals. The rest of the city is flat and while it is urban, there are some parks and nature reserves. One of those parks includes the man-made forest called Amsterdamse Bos.

The weather in Amsterdam is mild year-round, but it can get quite cold during the winter months. While precipitation is normal, it usually falls as a light rain. Cloudy days are more common during the months of October through March.

Many people will travel to Amsterdam to learn more about the history of the city and to see the architecture that it is famous for. There are numerous old buildings with the oldest dating back to 1306. The number of visitors has increased dramatically over the years and now more than five million people visit every year. Of course, that does not include the more than fifteen million people that venture into this city for a day trip each year.

During a trip into the city, most people will see a performance, visit one of the numerous museums, and participate in the vibrant nightlife.

Here are some unique and interesting facts about the city of Amsterdam:

· There are 165 canals in the city

· There are over one thousand bars and cafes in the city

· There are 1,281 bridges in the city

· Every resident owns at least one bicycle

· There are approximately 2,500 houseboats in the city

· In 1850, approximately thirty percent of the residents in the city begged for a living

· The first gay bar in the city, Café t’Mandje on Zeedijk 63, opened in 1927

· The houses in Amsterdam are built on wooden poles

· There are more women than men living in the city

· Anne Frank’s Diary is the most translated Dutch book. It has been translated into seventy different languages and published in more than sixty countries

· Not all coffeeshops serve coffee and pastries. Some of them dabble in marijuana as well, and while it is not legal, it is allowed

· The city has the best and cleanest water in all of Europe

The city of Amsterdam is full of culture and history, which means that a person could spend weeks there and not see everything that they want to. Multiple trips to this fascinating city may be necessary, but a person can easily start with one. Yet, they will feel like they are being drawn back, probably sooner than they originally would plan.

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