Amsterdam

Amsterdam

Overview
Amsterdam (ˈ; Dutch ˌɑmstərˈdɑm) is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands
Capital of the Netherlands
The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, even though the States-General and the government have been both situated in The Hague since 1588. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of 24 August 1815 and its...

. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

 is governed by the constitution
Constitution of the Netherlands
The Constitution of the Netherlands is the fundamental law of the European territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The present constitution is generally seen as directly derived from the one issued in 1815, constituting a constitutional monarchy. A revision in 1848 instituted a system of...

 of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population of 1,209,419 and a metropolitan population of 2,158,592. The city is in the province
Provinces of the Netherlands
A Dutch province represents the administrative layer in between the national government and the local municipalities, having the responsibility for matters of subnational or regional importance. The government of each province consists of three major parts: the Provinciale Staten which is the...

 of North Holland
North Holland
North Holland |West Frisian]]: Noard-Holland) is a province situated on the North Sea in the northwest part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is Haarlem and its largest city is Amsterdam.-Geography:...

 in the west of the country. It comprises the northern part of the Randstad
Randstad
Image:Randstad_with_scale.png|400px|thumb|right|Clickable schematic map of the Randstadcircle 528 380 26 Schipholrect 426 356 498 436 Haarlemmermeerrect 399 166 479 245 Velsencircle 250 716 32 Delftcircle 220 642 60 The Hague...

, one of the larger conurbation
Conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

s in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.

Its name is derived from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel
Amstel
The Amstel is a river in the Netherlands which runs through the city of Amsterdam. The river's name is derived from Aeme stelle, old Dutch for "area abounding with water"....

.
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Timeline

1275   Traditional founding of the city of Amsterdam.

1614   Adriaen Block and 12 Amsterdam merchants petition the States General for exclusive trading rights in the New Netherland colony.

1687   The city council of Amsterdam votes to support William of Orange's invasion of England, which became the Glorious Revolution.

1810   The French occupy Amsterdam.

1883   The last quagga dies at the Artis Magistra zoo in Amsterdam.

1888   The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is inaugurated.

1910   In Amsterdam, 25,000 demonstrate for general suffrage.

1942   Anne Frank and her family go into hiding in the "Secret Annexe" above her father's office in an Amsterdam warehouse.

1944   The Holocaust: a tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse where they find Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family.

1945   The General Dutch Youth League (ANJV) is founded in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

 
Encyclopedia
Amsterdam (ˈ; Dutch ˌɑmstərˈdɑm) is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands
Capital of the Netherlands
The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, even though the States-General and the government have been both situated in The Hague since 1588. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of 24 August 1815 and its...

. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

 is governed by the constitution
Constitution of the Netherlands
The Constitution of the Netherlands is the fundamental law of the European territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The present constitution is generally seen as directly derived from the one issued in 1815, constituting a constitutional monarchy. A revision in 1848 instituted a system of...

 of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population of 1,209,419 and a metropolitan population of 2,158,592. The city is in the province
Provinces of the Netherlands
A Dutch province represents the administrative layer in between the national government and the local municipalities, having the responsibility for matters of subnational or regional importance. The government of each province consists of three major parts: the Provinciale Staten which is the...

 of North Holland
North Holland
North Holland |West Frisian]]: Noard-Holland) is a province situated on the North Sea in the northwest part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is Haarlem and its largest city is Amsterdam.-Geography:...

 in the west of the country. It comprises the northern part of the Randstad
Randstad
Image:Randstad_with_scale.png|400px|thumb|right|Clickable schematic map of the Randstadcircle 528 380 26 Schipholrect 426 356 498 436 Haarlemmermeerrect 399 166 479 245 Velsencircle 250 716 32 Delftcircle 220 642 60 The Hague...

, one of the larger conurbation
Conurbation
A conurbation is a region comprising a number of cities, large towns, and other urban areas that, through population growth and physical expansion, have merged to form one continuous urban and industrially developed area...

s in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.

Its name is derived from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel
Amstel
The Amstel is a river in the Netherlands which runs through the city of Amsterdam. The river's name is derived from Aeme stelle, old Dutch for "area abounding with water"....

. Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were formed.
The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam
Canals of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, has been called the "Venice of the North" for its more than one hundred kilometres of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form...

 (in Dutch: 'Grachtengordel'), located in the heart of Amsterdam, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2010.

The city is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and 7 of the world's top 500 companies, including Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

 and ING
ING Group
The ING Group is a global financial institution offering retail banking, direct banking, commercial banking, investment banking, asset management, and insurance services. ING is the Dutch member of the Inter-Alpha Group of Banks, a cooperative consortium of 11 prominent European banks...

, are based in the city. In 2010, Amsterdam was ranked 13th globally on quality of living by Mercer, and previously ranked 3rd in innovation by 2thinknow in the Innovation Cities Index 2009.

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange
Amsterdam Stock Exchange
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the former name for the stock exchange based in Amsterdam. It merged on 22 September 2000 with the Brussels Stock Exchange and the Paris Stock Exchange to form Euronext, and is now known as Euronext Amsterdam.-History:...

, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city center. Amsterdam's main attractions, including its historic canals
Canals of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, has been called the "Venice of the North" for its more than one hundred kilometres of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form...

, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum is an art museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, featuring the works of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries. It has the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings in the world.-Background:...

, Stedelijk Museum
Stedelijk Museum
Founded in 1874, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is a museum for classic modern and contemporary art in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It has been housed on the Paulus Potterstraat, next to Museum Square Museumplein and to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Concertgebouw, in Amsterdam Zuid...

, Hermitage Amsterdam
Hermitage Amsterdam
Hermitage Amsterdam is a dependency of the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg on the Amstel river in Amsterdam. The dependency is located at the former Amstelhof, a classical style building from 1681. The dependency has been displaying small exhibitions in a side building next to the Amstelhof...

, Anne Frank House
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is a museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, who hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the building...

, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district
Red-light district
A red-light district is a part of an urban area where there is a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, adult theaters, etc...

, and its many cannabis coffee shop
Cannabis coffee shop
Coffeeshops are establishments in the Netherlands where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption by the public is tolerated by the local authorities ....

s draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually.

History



The earliest recorded use of the name "Amsterdam" is from a certificate dated October 27, 1275, when the inhabitants, who had built a bridge with a dam across the Amstel
Amstel
The Amstel is a river in the Netherlands which runs through the city of Amsterdam. The river's name is derived from Aeme stelle, old Dutch for "area abounding with water"....

, were exempted from paying a bridge toll
Toll bridge
A toll bridge is a bridge over which traffic may pass upon payment of a toll, or fee.- History :The practice of collecting tolls on bridges probably harks back to the days of ferry crossings where people paid a fee to be ferried across stretches of water. As boats became impractical to carry large...

 by Count Floris V
Floris V, Count of Holland
Count Floris V of Holland and Zeeland , "der Keerlen God" , is one of the most important figures of the first, native dynasty of Holland . His life was documented in detail in the Rijmkroniek by Melis Stoke, his chronicler...

. The certificate describes the inhabitants as homines manentes apud Amestelledamme (people living near Amestelledamme). By 1327, the name had developed into Aemsterdam. Amsterdam's founding is relatively recent compared with much older Dutch cities such as Nijmegen, Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

, and Utrecht
Utrecht (city)
Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 on 1 Jan 2011.Utrecht's ancient city centre features...

. In October 2008, historical geographer
Historical geography
Historical geography is the study of the human, physical, fictional, theoretical, and "real" geographies of the past. Historical geography studies a wide variety of issues and topics. A common theme is the study of the geographies of the past and how a place or region changes through time...

 Chris de Bont suggested that the land around Amsterdam was being reclaimed as early as the late 10th century. This does not necessarily mean that there was already a settlement then since reclamation of land
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

 may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat
Peat
Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation matter or histosol. Peat forms in wetland bogs, moors, muskegs, pocosins, mires, and peat swamp forests. Peat is harvested as an important source of fuel in certain parts of the world...

, used as fuel.


Amsterdam was granted city rights in either 1300 or 1306. From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished, largely because of trade with the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

. In 1345, an alleged Eucharistic miracle
Blessed Sacrament
The Blessed Sacrament, or the Body and Blood of Christ, is a devotional name used in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic Churches, Old Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches, to refer to the Host after it has been consecrated in the sacrament of the Eucharist...

 in the Kalverstraat
Kalverstraat
The Kalverstraat is the busiest shopping street of Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. It is named after the kalvermarkt that was held here until the 17th Century....

 rendered the city an important place of pilgrimage until the adoption of the Protestant faith
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

. The Stille Omgang
Stille Omgang
A stille omgang is an informal ritual that served as substitute for the Roman Catholic processions that were prohibited after the Reformation in the Netherlands in the 16th century...

—a silent procession
Procession
A procession is an organized body of people advancing in a formal or ceremonial manner.-Procession elements:...

 in civil attire—is today a remnant of the rich pilgrimage history.

In the 16th century, the Dutch rebelled against Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 and his successors. The main reasons for the uprising were the imposition of new taxes, the tenth penny, and the religious persecution
Religious persecution
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

 of Protestants
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 by the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

. The revolt escalated into the Eighty Years' War, which ultimately led to Dutch independence. Strongly pushed by Dutch Revolt
Dutch Revolt
The Dutch Revolt or the Revolt of the Netherlands This article adopts 1568 as the starting date of the war, as this was the year of the first battles between armies. However, since there is a long period of Protestant vs...

 leader William the Silent
William the Silent
William I, Prince of Orange , also widely known as William the Silent , or simply William of Orange , was the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish that set off the Eighty Years' War and resulted in the formal independence of the United Provinces in 1648. He was born in the House of...

, the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 became known for its relative religious
History of religion in the Netherlands
The history of religion in the Netherlands has been characterized by considerable diversity of religious thought and practice.-Before the Reformation:...

 tolerance. Jews
History of the Jews in the Netherlands
Most history of the Jews in the Netherlands was generated between the end of the 16th century and World War II.The area now known as the Netherlands was once part of the Spanish Empire but in 1581, the northern Dutch provinces declared independence...

 from the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

, Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

s from France, prosperous merchants and printers from Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

, and economic and religious refugees from the Spanish-controlled parts of the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

 found safety in Amsterdam. The influx of Flemish printers and the city's intellectual tolerance made Amsterdam a centre for the European free press
Freedom of the press
Freedom of the press or freedom of the media is the freedom of communication and expression through vehicles including various electronic media and published materials...

.

The 17th century is considered Amsterdam's Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

, during which it became the wealthiest city in the world. Ships sailed from Amsterdam to the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

, North America, and Africa, as well as present-day Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, forming the basis of a worldwide trading network. Amsterdam's merchants had the largest share in both the Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company
The Dutch East India Company was a chartered company established in 1602, when the States-General of the Netherlands granted it a 21-year monopoly to carry out colonial activities in Asia...

 and the Dutch West India Company
Dutch West India Company
Dutch West India Company was a chartered company of Dutch merchants. Among its founding fathers was Willem Usselincx...

. These companies acquired overseas possessions that later became Dutch colonies
Dutch Empire
The Dutch Empire consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Dutch Republic and later, the modern Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, but based on military conquest of already-existing...

. Amsterdam was Europe's most important point for the shipment of goods and was the leading Financial Centre
Financial Centre
A financial centre is a global city that is a company and business hub, as well as being home to many world famous banks and/or stock exchanges....

 of the world. In 1602, the Amsterdam office of the Dutch East India Company became the world's first stock exchange
Stock exchange
A stock exchange is an entity that provides services for stock brokers and traders to trade stocks, bonds, and other securities. Stock exchanges also provide facilities for issue and redemption of securities and other financial instruments, and capital events including the payment of income and...

 by trading in its own shares.

Amsterdam lost over 10% of its population to plague in 1623–1625, and again in 1635–1636, 1655, and 1664. Nevertheless, the population of Amsterdam rose in the 17th century (largely through immigration) from 50,000 to 200,000.

Amsterdam's prosperity declined during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The wars
Anglo-Dutch Wars
The Anglo–Dutch Wars were a series of wars fought between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries for control over the seas and trade routes. The first war took place during the English Interregnum, and was fought between the Commonwealth of England and the Dutch Republic...

 of the Dutch Republic
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 with England
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 and France took their toll on Amsterdam. During the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, Amsterdam's significance reached its lowest point, with Holland being absorbed into the French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

. However, the later establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands
United Kingdom of the Netherlands
United Kingdom of the Netherlands is the unofficial name used to refer to Kingdom of the Netherlands during the period after it was first created from part of the First French Empire and before the new kingdom of Belgium split out in 1830...

 in 1815 marked a turning point.


The end of the 19th century is sometimes called Amsterdam's second Golden Age. New museums, a train station, and the Concertgebouw
Concertgebouw
The Concertgebouw is a concert hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Dutch term "concertgebouw" literally translates into English as "concert building"...

 were built; in this same time, the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 reached the city. The Amsterdam-Rhine Canal was dug to give Amsterdam a direct connection to the Rhine, and the North Sea Canal
North Sea Canal
The North Sea Canal is a Dutch ship canal from Amsterdam to the North Sea at IJmuiden, constructed between 1865 and 1876 to enable seafaring vessels to reach the port of Amsterdam...

 was dug to give the port a shorter connection to the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

. Both projects dramatically improved commerce with the rest of Europe and the world. In 1906, Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Conrad was a Polish-born English novelist.Conrad is regarded as one of the great novelists in English, although he did not speak the language fluently until he was in his twenties...

 gave a brief description of Amsterdam as seen from the seaside, in The Mirror of the Sea. Shortly before the First World War, the city began expanding, and new suburbs were built. Even though the Netherlands remained neutral in this war, Amsterdam suffered a food shortage, and heating fuel became scarce. The shortages sparked riots in which several people were killed. These riots are known as the Aardappeloproer (Potato rebellion). People started looting stores and warehouses in order to get supplies, mainly food.

Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 invaded the Netherlands
Battle of the Netherlands
The Battle of the Netherlands was part of Case Yellow , the German invasion of the Low Countries and France during World War II. The battle lasted from 10 May 1940 until 14 May 1940 when the main Dutch forces surrendered...

 on May 10, 1940 and took control of the country. Some Amsterdam citizens sheltered Jews, thereby exposing themselves and their families to the high risk of being imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. More than 100,000 Dutch Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi Germany maintained concentration camps throughout the territories it controlled. The first Nazi concentration camps set up in Germany were greatly expanded after the Reichstag fire of 1933, and were intended to hold political prisoners and opponents of the regime...

. Perhaps the most famous deportee was the young Jewish girl Anne Frank
Anne Frank
Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.Born in the city of Frankfurt...

, who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle...

. At the end of the Second World War, communication with the rest of the country broke down, and food and fuel became scarce. Many citizens traveled to the countryside to forage. Dogs, cats, raw sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 beets, and Tulip
Tulip
The tulip is a perennial, bulbous plant with showy flowers in the genus Tulipa, which comprises 109 species and belongs to the family Liliaceae. The genus's native range extends from as far west as Southern Europe, North Africa, Anatolia, and Iran to the Northwest of China. The tulip's centre of...

 bulbs—cooked to a pulp—were consumed to stay alive. Most of the trees in Amsterdam were cut down for fuel, and all the wood was taken from the apartments of deported Jews.


Many new suburbs, such as Osdorp
Osdorp
Osdorp is a borough of Amsterdam, The Netherlands in North Holland. Osdorp has 45,627 residents. There is also an original area which is now called Oud Osdorp which is in Sloten.Since 2001 there has been major modernisation in Osdorp.-Transport:...

, Slotervaart
Slotervaart
Slotervaart is a former stadsdeel of Amsterdam, it has 48.540 inhabitants and an area of 11.14 km². As of 2010, Slotervaart is part of the newly formed stadsdeel Nieuw-West....

, Slotermeer, and Geuzenveld, were built in the years after the Second World War. These suburbs contained many public parks and wide, open spaces, and the new buildings provided improved housing conditions with larger and brighter rooms, gardens, and balconies. Because of the war and other incidents of the 20th century, almost the entire city centre had fallen into disrepair. As society was changing, politicians and other influential figures made plans to redesign large parts of it. There was an increasing demand for office buildings and new roads as the automobile became available to most common people. A metro
Amsterdam Metro
The Amsterdam Metro is a mixed rapid transit and light rail system in Amsterdam, and its surrounding municipalities Amstelveen, Diemen, and Ouder-Amstel in the Netherlands. The network is owned by the city of Amsterdam and operated by the Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf, the company that also operates...

 started operating in 1977 between the new suburb of Bijlmer and the centre of Amsterdam. Further plans were to build a new highway above the metro to connect the Central Station and city centre with other parts of the city.

The incorporated large-scale demolitions began in Amsterdam's formerly Jewish neighbourhood. Smaller streets, such as the Jodenbreestraat, were widened and saw almost all of their houses demolished. During the destruction's peak, the Nieuwmarktrellen
Nieuwmarkt
Nieuwmarkt is a square in the centre of the Dutch capital Amsterdam. The surrounding area is known as the Nieuwmarktbuurt ....

 (Nieuwmarkt riots) broke out, where people expressed their fury about the demolition caused by the restructuring of the city. As a result, the demolition was stopped, and the highway was never built, with only the metro being finished. Only a few streets remained widened. The new city hall was built on the almost completely demolished Waterlooplein. Meanwhile, large private organisations, such as Stadsherstel Amsterdam, were founded with the aim of restoring the entire city centre. Although the success of this struggle is visible today, efforts for further restoration are still ongoing. The entire city centre has reattained its former splendor and, as a whole, is now a protected area
Protected area
Protected areas are locations which receive protection because of their recognised natural, ecological and/or cultural values. There are several kinds of protected areas, which vary by level of protection depending on the enabling laws of each country or the regulations of the international...

. Many of its buildings have become monuments, and in July 2010 the Grachtengordel (Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

.

Geography



Amsterdam is part of the province of North-Holland
North Holland
North Holland |West Frisian]]: Noard-Holland) is a province situated on the North Sea in the northwest part of the Netherlands. The provincial capital is Haarlem and its largest city is Amsterdam.-Geography:...

 and is located in the west of the Netherlands next to the provinces of Utrecht
Utrecht (province)
Utrecht is the smallest province of the Netherlands in terms of area, and is located in the centre of the country. It is bordered by the Eemmeer in the north, Gelderland in the east, the river Rhine in the south, South Holland in the west, and North Holland in the northwest...

 and Flevoland
Flevoland
Flevoland is a province of the Netherlands. Located in the centre of the country, at the location of the former Zuiderzee, the province was established on January 1, 1986; the twelfth province of the country, with Lelystad as its capital...

. The river Amstel
Amstel
The Amstel is a river in the Netherlands which runs through the city of Amsterdam. The river's name is derived from Aeme stelle, old Dutch for "area abounding with water"....

 terminates in the city centre and connects to a large number of canals that eventually terminate in the IJ
IJ (bay)
The IJ is a river, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is known for being Amsterdam's waterfront. The name derives from the generic Germanic term for "water" and is similar to other Aa/Ee names for bodies of water. In Dutch, the name consists of the digraph ij, which is...

. Amsterdam is situated 2 metres above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

. The surrounding land is flat as it is formed of large polder
Polder
A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments known as dikes, that forms an artificial hydrological entity, meaning it has no connection with outside water other than through manually-operated devices...

s. To the southwest of the city lies a man-made forest called het Amsterdamse Bos
Amsterdamse Bos
The Amsterdamse Bos is an English park or landscape park in the municipalities Amstelveen and Amsterdam. And although most of the park is located in Amstelveen, the owner of the park is the City of Amsterdam...

. Amsterdam is connected to the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 through the long North Sea Canal
North Sea Canal
The North Sea Canal is a Dutch ship canal from Amsterdam to the North Sea at IJmuiden, constructed between 1865 and 1876 to enable seafaring vessels to reach the port of Amsterdam...

.

Amsterdam is intensely urbanized, as is the Amsterdam metropolitan area
Amsterdam Metropolitan Area
The Amsterdam metropolitan area is a name given to the monocentric metropolitan area around the Dutch capital Amsterdam...

 surrounding the city. Comprising 219.4 square kilometres of land, the city proper
City limits
The terms city limits and city boundary refer to the defined boundary or border of a city. The area within the city limits is sometimes called the city proper. The terms town limits/boundary and village limits/boundary mean the same as city limits/boundary, but apply to towns and villages...

 has 4,457 inhabitants per km2 and 2,275 houses per km2. Parks and nature reserve
Nature reserve
A nature reserve is a protected area of importance for wildlife, flora, fauna or features of geological or other special interest, which is reserved and managed for conservation and to provide special opportunities for study or research...

s make up 12% of Amsterdam's land area.

Climate


Amsterdam has an oceanic climate
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

 (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 Cfb), strongly influenced by its proximity to the North Sea to the west, with prevailing westerly winds. Winters are mild. Amsterdam, as well as most of the North-Holland province, lies in USDA
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is the United States federal executive department responsible for developing and executing U.S. federal government policy on farming, agriculture, and food...

 Hardiness zone
Hardiness zone
A hardiness zone is a geographically defined area in which a specific category of plant life is capable of growing, as defined by climatic conditions, including its ability to withstand the minimum temperatures of the zone...

 8, the northernmost such occurrence in continental Europe. Frosts mainly occur during spells of easterly or northeasterly winds from the inner European continent. Even then, because Amsterdam is surrounded on three sides by large bodies of water, as well as enjoying a significant heat-island effect
Urban heat island
An urban heat island is a metropolitan area which is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas. The phenomenon was first investigated and described by Luke Howard in the 1810s, although he was not the one to name the phenomenon. The temperature difference usually is larger at night...

, nights rarely fall below -5 °C, while it could easily be −12 °C in Hilversum, 25 kilometres southeast. Summers are moderately warm but rarely hot. The average daily high in August is 21.8 °C (71.2 °F), and 30 °C (86 °F) or higher is only measured on average on 3 days, placing Amsterdam in AHS Heat Zone 2. Days with measurable precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 are common, on average 186 days per year. Amsterdam's average annual precipitation is 833 millimetres (32.8 in). A large part of this precipitation falls as light rain or brief showers. Cloudy and damp days are common during the cooler months of October through March.

Cityscape and architecture



Amsterdam fans out south from the Amsterdam Centraal railway station. The Damrak
Damrak
The Damrak is a partially filled in canal at the centre of Amsterdam, between Amsterdam Centraal railway station and Dam Square, running north-south. It is the main street where people arriving at the station enter the centre of Amsterdam. Also it is one of the two GVB tram routes from the station...

 is the main street
Main Street
Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name of the primary retail street of a village, town, or small city in many parts of the world...

 and leads into the street Rokin
Rokin
Rokin is a major street in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Originally it was part of the river Amstel, and was known then as Rak-in . When the quays along the Rokin were constructed in 1913, they were named after the water which they adjoined.The Rokin begins at Muntplein square and ends at Dam square...

. The oldest area of the town is known as de Wallen
De Wallen
De Wallen is the largest and best-known red-light district in Amsterdam and a major tourist attraction. It is located in the heart of the oldest part of Amsterdam, covering several blocks south of the church Oude Kerk and crossed by several canals....

(the quays). It lies to the east of Damrak and contains the city's famous red light district. To the south of de Wallen is the old Jewish quarter of Waterlooplein. The 17th century canals of Amsterdam
Canals of Amsterdam
Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, has been called the "Venice of the North" for its more than one hundred kilometres of canals, about 90 islands and 1,500 bridges. The three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form...

, known as the Grachtengordel, embraces the heart of the city where homes have interesting gables. Beyond the Grachtengordel are the former working class areas of Jordaan
Jordaan
The Jordaan is a district of the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The area is bordered by the Lijnbaansgracht canal to the west, the Prinsengracht to the east, the Brouwersgracht to the north and the Leidsegracht to the south...

 and de Pijp. The Museumplein
Museumplein
The Museumplein is a square in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The square is called "Museum Square" because four museums are located around the square: the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Diamond Museum...

 with the city's major museums, the Vondelpark
Vondelpark
The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is located in the stadsdeel Amsterdam Oud-Zuid, west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein. The park was opened in 1865 and originally named the "Nieuwe Park", but later renamed to "Vondelpark", after the 17th...

, a 19th century park named after the Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel
Joost van den Vondel
Joost van den Vondel was a Dutch writer and playwright. He is considered the most prominent Dutch poet and playwright of the 17th century. His plays are the ones from that period that are still most frequently performed, and his epic Joannes de Boetgezant , on the life of John the Baptist, has...

, and the Plantage neighbourhood, with the zoo
Artis
Artis, short for Natura Artis Magistra , is a zoo in the centre of Amsterdam. It is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands...

, are also located outside the Grachtengordel.

Several parts of the city and the surrounding urban area are polder
Polder
A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments known as dikes, that forms an artificial hydrological entity, meaning it has no connection with outside water other than through manually-operated devices...

s. This can be recognized by the suffix -meer which means lake, as in Aalsmeer
Aalsmeer
Aalsmeer is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Its name is derived from the Dutch for eel and lake . Aalsmeer is bordered by the Westeinderplassen lake, the largest open water of the Randstad, and the Ringvaart Canal...

, Bijlmermeer
Bijlmermeer
The Bijlmermeer or colloquially Bijlmer is one of the neighbourhoods that form the Amsterdam Zuidoost borough of Amsterdam, Netherlands. To many people, the Bijlmer designation is used to refer to Amsterdam Zuidoost and Diemen Zuid as a pars pro toto...

, Haarlemmermeer
Haarlemmermeer
Haarlemmermeer is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is a polder, consisting of land reclaimed from water, and the name Haarlemmermeer means Haarlem's Lake, still referring to the body of water from which the region was reclaimed in the 19th century.Its main...

, and Watergraafsmeer
Watergraafsmeer
The Watergraafsmeer is a polder in The Netherlands. It was reclaimed in 1629. In the 17th and 18th centuries, there were many buitenplaatsen in the Watergraafsmeer, though nowadays only one, Frankendael, remains....

.

Canals



The Amsterdam canal system is the result of conscious city planning
Urban planning
Urban planning incorporates areas such as economics, design, ecology, sociology, geography, law, political science, and statistics to guide and ensure the orderly development of settlements and communities....

. In the early 17th century, when immigration was at a peak, a comprehensive plan was developed that was based on four concentric half-circles of canals with their ends emerging at the IJ
IJ (bay)
The IJ is a river, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is known for being Amsterdam's waterfront. The name derives from the generic Germanic term for "water" and is similar to other Aa/Ee names for bodies of water. In Dutch, the name consists of the digraph ij, which is...

 bay. Known as the Grachtengordel, three of the canals were mostly for residential development: the Herengracht (where "Heren" refers to Heren Regeerders van de stad Amsterdam (ruling lords of Amsterdam), and gracht means canal, so the name can be roughly translated as "Canal of the lords"), Keizersgracht (Emperor's Canal), and Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal). The fourth and outermost canal is the Singelgracht, which is often not mentioned on maps, because it is a collective name for all canals in the outer ring. The Singelgracht should not be confused with the oldest and most inner canal Singel
Singel (Amsterdam)
The Singel is a canal in Amsterdam which encircled the city in the Middle Ages. It served as a moat around the city until 1585, when Amsterdam expanded beyond the Singel. The canal runs from the IJ bay, near Central Station, to the Muntplein square, where it meets the Amstel river...

. The canals served for defense, water management
Water management
Water management is the activity of planning, developing, distributing and managing the optimum use of water resources. In an ideal world. water management planning has regard to all the competing demands for water and seeks to allocate water on an equitable basis to satisfy all uses and demands...

 and transport. The defenses took the form of a moat and earthen dikes
Earthworks (engineering)
Earthworks are engineering works created through the moving or processing of quantities of soil or unformed rock.- Civil engineering use :Typical earthworks include roads, railway beds, causeways, dams, levees, canals, and berms...

, with gates at transit points, but otherwise no masonry superstructure
Superstructure
A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline. This term is applied to various kinds of physical structures such as buildings, bridges, or ships...

s. The original plans have been lost, so historians, such as Ed Taverne, need to speculate on the original intentions: it is thought that the considerations of the layout were purely practical and defensive rather than ornamental.

Construction started in 1613 and proceeded from west to east, across the breadth of the layout, like a gigantic windshield wiper
Windscreen wiper
A windscreen wiper or windshield wiper is a device used to remove rain and debris from a windscreen or windshield. Almost all motor vehicles, including trains, aircraft and watercraft, are equipped with such wipers, which are usually a legal requirement.A wiper generally consists of an arm,...

 as the historian Geert Mak
Geert Mak
Geert Mak is a Dutch journalist and a non-fiction writer in the field of history. His ten books about Amsterdam, Netherlands and Europe have earned him great popularity. His best-known work, In Europe, a combination of a travelogue through the continent of Europe and a history of the 20th century,...

 calls it – and not from the centre outwards, as a popular myth has it. The canal construction in the southern sector was completed by 1656. Subsequently, the construction of residential buildings proceeded slowly. The eastern part of the concentric canal plan, covering the area between the Amstel river and the IJ bay, has never been implemented. In the following centuries, the land was used for parks, senior citizens' homes, theaters, other public facilities, and waterways without much planning.

Over the years, several canals have been filled in, becoming streets or squares, such as the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and the Spui
Spui (Amsterdam)
The Spui is a square in the centre of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The Spui was originally a body of water that formed the southern limit of the city until the 1420s, when the Singel canal was dug as an outer moat around the city. In 1882 the Spui was filled in and became the square that we know...

.

Expansion


After the development of Amsterdam's canals in the 17th century, the city did not grow beyond its borders for two centuries. During the 19th century, Samuel Sarphati
Samuel Sarphati
Samuel Sarphati was a Dutch physician and Amsterdam city planner.- Biography :Sarphati's ancestors were Portuguese Sephardi Jews who arrived in the Netherlands in the 17th century. While only middle-class, his parents were able to let him attend a Latin school...

 devised a plan based on the grandeur of Paris and London at that time. The plan envisaged the construction of new houses, public buildings and streets just outside the grachtengordel. The main aim of the plan, however, was to improve public health
Public health
Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" . It is concerned with threats to health based on population health...

. Although the plan did not expand the city, it did produce some of the largest public buildings
Building
In architecture, construction, engineering, real estate development and technology the word building may refer to one of the following:...

 to date, like the Paleis voor Volksvlijt.

Following Sarphati, Van Niftrik and Kalff designed an entire ring of 19th century neighbourhoods surrounding the city’s centre, with the city preserving the ownership of all land outside the 17th century limit, thus firmly controlling development. Most of these neighbourhoods became home to the working class.

In response to overcrowding, two plans were designed at the beginning of the 20th century which were very different from anything Amsterdam had ever seen before: Plan Zuid, designed by the architect Berlage
Hendrik Petrus Berlage
thumb|120px|left|BerlageHendrik Petrus Berlage, Amsterdam, 21 February 1856 — The Hague 12 August 1934, was a prominent Dutch architect.-Overview:...

, and West. These plans involved the development of new neighbourhoods consisting of housing blocks for all social classes.

After the Second World War, large new neighbourhoods were built in the western, southeastern, and northern parts of the city. These new neighbourhoods were built to relieve the city's shortage of living space and give people affordable houses with modern conveniences. The neighbourhoods consisted mainly of large housing blocks situated among green spaces, connected to wide roads, making the neighbourhoods easily accessible by motor car
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

. The western suburbs which were built in that period are collectively called the Westelijke Tuinsteden. The area to the southeast of the city built during the same period is known as the Bijlmer.

Architecture




Amsterdam has a rich architectural history
History of architecture
The history of architecture traces the changes in architecture through various traditions, regions, overarching stylistic trends, and dates.-Neolithic architecture:Neolithic architecture is the architecture of the Neolithic period...

. The oldest building in Amsterdam is the Oude Kerk (Old Church), at the heart of the Wallen, consecrated in 1306. The oldest wooden building is het Houten Huys
Begijnhof, Amsterdam
The Begijnhof is one of the oldest inner courts in the city of Amsterdam. A group of historic buildings, mostly private dwellings, centre on it. As the name suggests, it was originally a Béguinage...

at the Begijnhof
Begijnhof, Amsterdam
The Begijnhof is one of the oldest inner courts in the city of Amsterdam. A group of historic buildings, mostly private dwellings, centre on it. As the name suggests, it was originally a Béguinage...

.
It was constructed around 1425 and is one of only two existing wooden buildings. It is also one of the few examples of Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 in Amsterdam.
In the 16th century, wooden buildings were razed and replaced with brick ones. During this period, many buildings were constructed in the architectural style
Architectural style
Architectural styles classify architecture in terms of the use of form, techniques, materials, time period, region and other stylistic influences. It overlaps with, and emerges from the study of the evolution and history of architecture...

 of the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

. Buildings of this period are very recognizable with their stepped gable façades, which is the common Dutch Renaissance style. Amsterdam quickly developed its own Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

. These buildings were built according to the principles of the architect Hendrick de Keyser
Hendrick de Keyser
Hendrick de Keyser was a Dutch sculptor and architect born in Utrecht, Netherlands, who was instrumental in establishing a late Renaissance form of Mannerism in Amsterdam...

. One of the most striking buildings designed by Hendrick de Keyer is the Westerkerk
Westerkerk
The Westerkerk is a church of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands denomination in Amsterdam, built in 1620-1631 after a design by Hendrick de Keyser. It is next to Amsterdam's Jordaan district, on the bank of the Prinsengracht canal....

. In the 17th century baroque architecture
Baroque architecture
Baroque architecture is a term used to describe the building style of the Baroque era, begun in late sixteenth century Italy, that took the Roman vocabulary of Renaissance architecture and used it in a new rhetorical and theatrical fashion, often to express the triumph of the Catholic Church and...

 became very popular, as it was elsewhere in Europe. This roughly coincided with Amsterdam’s Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

. The leading architects of this style in Amsterdam were Jacob van Campen
Jacob van Campen
Jacob van Campen , was a Dutch artist and architect of the Golden Age.-Life:He was born into a wealthy family at Haarlem, and spent his youth in his home town. Being of noble birth and with time on his hands, he took up painting mainly as a pastime...

, Philip Vingboons
Philips Vingboons
Philips Vingboons was a Dutch architect. He was part of the school of Jacob van Campen, that is, Dutch Classicism. Vingboons was especially highly regarded in his native city of Amsterdam....

 and Daniel Stalpaert
Daniël Stalpaert
Daniël Stalpaert or Daniel Stalpert , was a Dutch architect who worked on the new town hall of Amsterdam, now the Royal Palace.-Biography:...

.

Philip Vingboons designed splendid merchants' houses throughout the city. A famous building in baroque style
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 in Amsterdam is the Royal Palace on Dam Square
Dam Square
Dam Square, or simply the Dam is a town square in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Its notable buildings and frequent events make it one of the most well-known and important locations in the city.- Location and description :...

. Throughout the 18th century, Amsterdam was heavily influenced by French culture
Culture of France
The culture of France and of the French people has been shaped by geography, by profound historical events, and by foreign and internal forces and groups. France, and in particular Paris, has played an important role as a center of high culture and of decorative arts since the seventeenth...

. This is reflected in the architecture of that period. Around 1815, architects broke with the baroque style and started building in different neo-styles. Most Gothic style buildings date from that era and are therefore said to be built in a neo-gothic
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 style. At the end of the 19th century, the Jugendstil
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 or Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 style became popular and many new buildings were constructed in this architectural style. Since Amsterdam expanded rapidly during this period, new buildings adjacent to the city centre were also built in this style. The houses in the vicinity of the Museum Square
Museumplein
The Museumplein is a square in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The square is called "Museum Square" because four museums are located around the square: the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Diamond Museum...

 in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid are an example of Jugendstil. The last style that was popular in Amsterdam before the modern era
Modern history
Modern history, or the modern era, describes the historical timeline after the Middle Ages. Modern history can be further broken down into the early modern period and the late modern period after the French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution...

 was Art Deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

. Amsterdam had its own version of the style, which was called the Amsterdamse School
Amsterdam School
The Amsterdam School is a style of architecture that arose from 1910 through about 1930 in The Netherlands...

. Whole districts were built this style, such as the Rivierenbuurt. A notable feature of the façades of buildings designed in Amsterdamse School is that they are highly decorated and ornate, with oddly shaped windows and doors.

The old city centre is the focal point of all the architectural styles before the end of the 19th century.
Jugendstil and Art Deco are mostly found outside the city’s centre in the neighbourhoods built in the early
20th century, although there are also some striking examples of these styles in the city centre.
Most historic buildings in the city centre and nearby are houses, such as the famous merchants' houses lining the canals.

Government


The administration of the municipality of Amsterdam is divided into 15 boroughs or stadsdelen
Stadsdeel
A stadsdeel is the name used for city districts in some of the larger municipalities of the Netherlands.Amsterdam calls 7 of its 8 deelgemeenten stadsdeel...

; the central one, Centrum, being circled by Westerpark, Bos en Lommer, De Baarsjes, Oud-West
Amsterdam Oud-West
The Oud-West district of Amsterdam roughly covers the area between the Overtoom, a major thoroughfare to the West of the centre, and the parallel De Clercqstraat, a shopping street. The major shopping street Kinkerstraat runs through the district....

, Oud-Zuid
Amsterdam Oud-Zuid
Oud-Zuid is a neighborhood and a former borough of Amsterdam. It was formed in 1998 by merging the former boroughs of Zuid and De Pijp. In 2010 the borough was merged with Zuideramstel to form the borough Amsterdam-Zuid. On January 1st 2005 the borough had a population of 83,696...

, Oost/Watergraafsmeer, Zeeburg
Zeeburg
Zeeburg is one of the boroughs of Amsterdam. It has 52,701 residents and is 19.31 km². The construction of new islands to the east called IJburg makes it the most rapidly growing borough of Amsterdam.-History:...

 and Amsterdam-Noord
Amsterdam-Noord
Amsterdam-Noord is an autonomous stadsdeel of Amsterdam. The area is located north of the IJ, the body of water which separates it from central Amsterdam and the rest of the city.-Transport:...

, with the six outer boroughs (Westpoort
Westpoort
The Westpoort is the main harbour and industrial area of the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and is located in the north-western part of the city. It is divided in industrial areas Teleport, Sloterdijk areas I, II and II, De Heining and the harbour area...

, Geuzenveld-Slotermeer, Osdorp
Osdorp
Osdorp is a borough of Amsterdam, The Netherlands in North Holland. Osdorp has 45,627 residents. There is also an original area which is now called Oud Osdorp which is in Sloten.Since 2001 there has been major modernisation in Osdorp.-Transport:...

, Slotervaart
Slotervaart
Slotervaart is a former stadsdeel of Amsterdam, it has 48.540 inhabitants and an area of 11.14 km². As of 2010, Slotervaart is part of the newly formed stadsdeel Nieuw-West....

, Zuideramstel, and Zuidoost
Amsterdam Zuidoost
Amsterdam-Zuidoost is one of fifteen boroughs of the city of Amsterdam. It consists of four residential areas—Bijlmermeer, Venserpolder, Gaasperdam and Driemond—as well as the Amstel III/Bullewijk Business Park and the ArenA Boulevard area.Amsterdam-Zuidoost has approximately 86,000...

) creating a further encirclement. On 1 May 2010, the number of boroughs was reduced to eight (Centrum, Noord, Oost, Zuid, West, Nieuw-West, Zuidoost, and Westpoort).

Definitions


"Amsterdam" is usually understood to refer to the municipality of Amsterdam. Colloquially, some areas within the municipality, such as the village of Durgerdam
Durgerdam
Durgerdam is a village in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Amsterdam, and lies about 7 km east of the city centre, along the dyke of the IJsselmeer....

, may not be considered part of Amsterdam. Statistics Netherlands
Statistics Netherlands
Statistics Netherlands, founded in 1899, is a Dutch governmental institution that gathers statistical information about the Netherlands. In Dutch it is known as the Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek, often abbreviated to CBS. It is a department of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and is...

 uses three other definitions of Amsterdam: metropolitan agglomeration Amsterdam (Grootstedelijke Agglomeratie Amsterdam, not to be confused with Grootstedelijk Gebied Amsterdam, a synonym of Groot Amsterdam), Greater Amsterdam (Groot Amsterdam, a COROP
COROP
A COROP-region is a regional area within the Netherlands. These regions are used for analytical purposes by, among others, Statistics Netherlands. The Dutch abbreviation stands for Coördinatiecommissie Regionaal Onderzoeksprogramma, literally the Coordination Commission Regional Research...

 region) and the urban region Amsterdam (Stadsgewest Amsterdam). These definitions are not synonymous with the terms urban area and metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

, which are commonly used in English speaking countries for the purpose of defining large conurbations. The Amsterdam Department for Research and Statistics uses a fourth conurbation, namely the City region
City region
The term city region has been in use since about 1950 by urbanists, economists and urban planners to mean a metropolitan area and hinterland which has a shared and formal administrative government...

 Amsterdam. This region is similar to Greater Amsterdam but includes the municipalities Zaanstad
Zaanstad
Zaanstad is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Its main town is Zaandam. It is part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam.-Population centres:...

 and Wormerland
Wormerland
Wormerland is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.- Population centres :The municipality of Wormerland consists of the following cities, towns, villages and/or districts: Jisp, Neck, Oostknollendam, Spijkerboor, Wijdewormer, Wormer.It borders the municipalities...

. It excludes Graft-De Rijp
Graft-De Rijp
Graft-De Rijp is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.It is twinned with Chalfont St Giles in England.-Population centres :...

.

The smallest of these areas is the municipality, with a population of 742,981 in 2006. The metropolitan agglomeration had a population of 1,021,870 in 2006. It includes the municipalities of Zaanstad, Wormerland, Oostzaan, Diemen and Amstelveen only, as well as the municipality of Amsterdam. Greater Amsterdam includes 15 municipalities, and had a population of 1,211,503 in 2006. Though much larger in area, the population of this area is only slightly larger, because the definition excludes the relatively populous municipality of Zaanstad
Zaanstad
Zaanstad is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Its main town is Zaandam. It is part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam.-Population centres:...

. The largest area by population, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area
Amsterdam Metropolitan Area
The Amsterdam metropolitan area is a name given to the monocentric metropolitan area around the Dutch capital Amsterdam...

 (Dutch: Metropoolregio Amsterdam), has a population of 2,22 million. It includes for instance Zaanstad, Wormerveer, Muiden, Abcoude, Haarlem, Almere and Lelystad but excludes Graft De Rijp
De Rijp
De Rijp is a village in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Graft-De Rijp, and lies about 10 km northwest of Purmerend.De Rijp was a separate municipality until 1970, when it merged with Graft....

. Amsterdam is part of the conglomerate metropolitan area Randstad
Randstad
Image:Randstad_with_scale.png|400px|thumb|right|Clickable schematic map of the Randstadcircle 528 380 26 Schipholrect 426 356 498 436 Haarlemmermeerrect 399 166 479 245 Velsencircle 250 716 32 Delftcircle 220 642 60 The Hague...

, with a total population of 6,659,300 inhabitants.

City government



As with all Dutch municipalities, Amsterdam is governed by a mayor, aldermen
College van Burgemeester en Wethouders
The college van burgemeester en wethouders is the executive board of a municipality in the Netherlands. This local government body plays a central role in municipal politics in the Netherlands. It consists of the mayor and the members of the municipal executive...

, and the municipal council
City council
A city council or town council is the legislative body that governs a city, town, municipality or local government area.-Australia & NZ:Because of the differences in legislation between the States, the exact definition of a City Council varies...

. However, unlike most other Dutch municipalities, Amsterdam is subdivided into eight "stadsdelen
Stadsdeel
A stadsdeel is the name used for city districts in some of the larger municipalities of the Netherlands.Amsterdam calls 7 of its 8 deelgemeenten stadsdeel...

" (boroughs), a system that was implemented in the 1980s to improve local governance. The stadsdelen are responsible for many activities that had previously been run by the central city. The city had initially been divided into 15 stadsdelen. 14 of those had their own council, chosen by a popular election. The 15th, Westpoort
Westpoort
The Westpoort is the main harbour and industrial area of the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and is located in the north-western part of the city. It is divided in industrial areas Teleport, Sloterdijk areas I, II and II, De Heining and the harbour area...

, covers the harbour of Amsterdam, had very few residents, and was governed by the central municipal council. Local decisions are made at borough level, and only affairs pertaining to the whole city, such as major infrastructure projects, are handled by the central city council.

National government


Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands
Capital of the Netherlands
The capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam, even though the States-General and the government have been both situated in The Hague since 1588. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of 24 August 1815 and its...

 in a technical legal sense. The present version of the Dutch constitution
Constitution of the Netherlands
The Constitution of the Netherlands is the fundamental law of the European territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The present constitution is generally seen as directly derived from the one issued in 1815, constituting a constitutional monarchy. A revision in 1848 instituted a system of...

 mentions "Amsterdam" and "capital" only in one place, chapter 2, article 32: The king's confirmation by oath and his coronation take place in "the capital Amsterdam" ("de hoofdstad Amsterdam"). Previous versions of the constitution spoke of "the city of Amsterdam" ("de stad Amsterdam"), without mention of capital. In any case, the seat of the government
Politics of the Netherlands
The politics of the Netherlands take place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democracy, a constitutional monarchy and a decentralised unitary state. The Netherlands is described as a consociational state...

, parliament
States-General of the Netherlands
The States-General of the Netherlands is the bicameral legislature of the Netherlands, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The parliament meets in at the Binnenhof in The Hague. The archaic Dutch word "staten" originally related to the feudal classes in which medieval...

 and supreme court of the Netherlands is (and always has been, with the exception of a brief period between 1808 and 1810) located at The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

. Foreign embassies are also in The Hague. The capital of North Holland is Haarlem
Haarlem
Haarlem is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic...

.

Symbols




The coat of arms of Amsterdam is composed of several historical elements. First and centre are three St Andrew's crosses
Saltire
A saltire, or Saint Andrew's Cross, is a heraldic symbol in the form of a diagonal cross or letter ex . Saint Andrew is said to have been martyred on such a cross....

, aligned in a vertical band on the city's shield (although Amsterdam's patron saint
Patron saint
A patron saint is a saint who is regarded as the intercessor and advocate in heaven of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person...

 was Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas , also called Nikolaos of Myra, was a historic 4th-century saint and Greek Bishop of Myra . Because of the many miracles attributed to his intercession, he is also known as Nikolaos the Wonderworker...

). These St Andrew's crosses can also be found on the cityshields of neighbours Amstelveen
Amstelveen
' is a suburban municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam. The municipality of Amstelveen consists of the following villages and/or districts: Amstelveen, Bovenkerk, Westwijk, Bankras-Kostverloren, Groenelaan, Waardhuizen,...

 and Ouder-Amstel
Ouder-Amstel
Ouder-Amstel is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.-Population centres :The municipality of Ouder-Amstel consists of the following cities, towns, villages and/or districts: Duivendrecht, Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Waver....

. This part of the coat of arms is the basis of the flag of Amsterdam
Flag of Amsterdam
The flag of Amsterdam is the official flag for Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands. The current design of the flag depicts three Saint Andrew's Crosses and is based on the escutcheon in the coat of arms of Amsterdam...

, flown by the city government, but also as civil ensign
Civil ensign
The civil ensign is the national flag flown by civil ships to denote nationality...

 for ships registered in Amsterdam. Second is the Imperial Crown of Austria
Imperial Crown of Austria
The Crown of the Austrian Empire was originally the personal crown of emperor Rudolf II. It is therefore also known as the Crown of Rudolf II, or the Crown of the Austrian Empire.- History :...

. In 1489, out of gratitude for services and loans, Maximilian I
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

 awarded Amsterdam the right to adorn its coat of arms with the king's
King of the Romans
King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

 crown. Then, in 1508, this was replaced with Maximilian's imperial crown
Imperial crown
An Imperial Crown is a crown used for the coronation of emperors.- Imperial Crowns with Mitre :-Legal usage:Throughout the Commonwealth Realms, The Crown is an abstract concept which represents the legal authority for the existence of any government...

 when he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

. In the early years of the 17th century, Maximilian's crown in Amsterdam's coat of arms was again replaced, this time with the crown of Emperor Rudolph II
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
Rudolf II was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Hungary and Croatia , King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria...

, a crown that became the Imperial Crown of Austria
Austrian Crown Jewels
The collective term Austrian Crown Jewels or insignia denotes the regalia and vestments worn by the Holy Roman emperor, and later the Austrian emperor, during the coronation ceremony and at various other state functions...

. The lions date from the late 16th century, when city and province became part of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

. Last came the city's official motto: Heldhaftig, Vastberaden, Barmhartig ("Heroic, Determined, Merciful"), bestowed on the city in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina
Wilhelmina of the Netherlands
Wilhelmina was Queen regnant of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1890 to 1948. She ruled the Netherlands for fifty-eight years, longer than any other Dutch monarch. Her reign saw World War I and World War II, the economic crisis of 1933, and the decline of the Netherlands as a major colonial...

, in recognition of the city's bravery during the Second World War.

Economy



Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands.
Amsterdam is currently one of the best European cities in which to locate an International Business
International Business
International business is a term used to collectively describe all commercial transactions that take place between two or more regions, countries and nations beyond their political boundary...

. It is ranked fifth in this category and is only surpassed by London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, Frankfurt and Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

. Many large corporations and banks have their headquarters in Amsterdam, including Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is a British banking and insurance holding company in which the UK Government holds an 84% stake. This stake is held and managed through UK Financial Investments Limited, whose voting rights are limited to 75% in order for the bank to retain its listing on the...

, Akzo Nobel, Heineken International, ING Group
ING Group
The ING Group is a global financial institution offering retail banking, direct banking, commercial banking, investment banking, asset management, and insurance services. ING is the Dutch member of the Inter-Alpha Group of Banks, a cooperative consortium of 11 prominent European banks...

, Ahold
Ahold
Ahold is a major international supermarket operator based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Ahold is listed on Euronext Amsterdam and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.-History:...

, TomTom
TomTom
TomTom NV is a Dutch manufacturer of automotive navigation systems, including both stand-alone units and software for personal digital assistants and mobile telephones. It is the leading manufacturer of navigation systems in Europe. TomTom's customer service is located in Amsterdam, Netherlands...

, Delta Lloyd Group and Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

. KPMG
KPMG
KPMG is one of the largest professional services networks in the world and one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young and PwC. Its global headquarters is located in Amstelveen, Netherlands....

 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.

Though many small offices are still located on the old canals, companies are increasingly relocating outside the city centre. The Zuidas
Zuidas
The Zuidas is a large, rapidly developing business district in the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The Zuidas is also known as the 'Financial Mile'. It lies between the Amstel river and the turnaround of the ringway A10. The greatest influences for the development of the Zuidas are La...

 (English: South Axis) has become the new financial and legal hub. The five largest law firms of the Netherlands, a number of Dutch subsidiaries of large consulting firms like Boston Consulting Group
Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group is a global management consulting firm with offices in 42 countries. It is recognized as one of the most prestigious management consulting firms in the world. It is one of only three companies to appear in the top 15 of Fortunes "Best Companies to Work For" report for...

 and Accenture
Accenture
Accenture plc is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company headquartered in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. It is the largest consulting firm in the world and is a Fortune Global 500 company. As of September 2011, the company had more than 236,000 employees across...

, and the World Trade Center Amsterdam
World Trade Center (Amsterdam)
The World Trade Center Amsterdam is a commercial center located at the Zuidas in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It was officially opened in 1985, and renovated between 1998 and 2004. The center consists of nine buildings—labeled from A to I—with 120,000 m2 of offices and office facilities. Tower...

 are also located in Zuidas.

There are three other smaller financial districts in Amsterdam. The first is the area surrounding Amsterdam Sloterdijk railway station, where several newspapers like De Telegraaf
De Telegraaf
De Telegraaf is the largest Dutch daily morning newspaper, with a daily circulation of approximately . De Telegraaf is based in Amsterdam...

 have their offices. Also, the municipal public transport company (Gemeentelijk Vervoersbedrijf) and the Dutch tax offices (Belastingdienst) are located there. The second Financial District
Central business district
A central business district is the commercial and often geographic heart of a city. In North America this part of a city is commonly referred to as "downtown" or "city center"...

 is the area surrounding Amsterdam Arena
Amsterdam ArenA
Amsterdam Arena is a stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is the largest stadium in the nation and it was built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost of €140 million, and was officially opened on 14 August 1996. It has been used for association football, American football, concerts, and other events...

. The third is the area surrounding Amsterdam Amstel railway station
Amsterdam Amstel railway station
Amsterdam Amstel is a railway station in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The station was opened on 15 October 1939. It is located south west of the station Amsterdam Centraal...

. The tallest building in Amsterdam, the Rembrandt Tower
Rembrandt Tower
The Rembrandt Tower is an office skyscraper in Amsterdam. It has a height of 135 metres, 35 floors and it has a spire which extends its height to 149.85 metres. It was constructed from 1991 to 1994. The building's foundation required piles 56 metres long and two metres in diameter...

, is situated there, as is the headquarters of Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

.

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange
Amsterdam Stock Exchange
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange is the former name for the stock exchange based in Amsterdam. It merged on 22 September 2000 with the Brussels Stock Exchange and the Paris Stock Exchange to form Euronext, and is now known as Euronext Amsterdam.-History:...

 (AEX), nowadays part of Euronext
Euronext
Euronext N.V. is a pan-European stock exchange based in Amsterdam and with subsidiaries in Belgium, France, Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom. In addition to equities and derivatives markets, the Euronext group provides clearing and information services...

, is the world's oldest stock exchange and is one of Europe's largest bourses. It is situated near Dam Square
Dam Square
Dam Square, or simply the Dam is a town square in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Its notable buildings and frequent events make it one of the most well-known and important locations in the city.- Location and description :...

 in the city's centre.

Tourism




Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destination
Tourist destination
A tourist destination is a city, town, or other area that is dependent to a significant extent on the revenues accruing from tourism. It may contain one or more tourist attractions and possibly some "tourist traps."...

s in Europe, receiving more than 4.63 million international visitors annually. The number of visitors has been growing steadily over the past decade. This can be attributed to an increasing number of European visitors. Two thirds of the hotels are located in the city's centre. Hotels with 4 or 5 stars contribute 42% of the total beds available and 41% of the overnight stays in Amsterdam. The room occupation rate was 78% in 2006, up from 70% in 2005. The majority of tourists (74%) originate from Europe. The largest group of non-European visitors come from the United States, accounting for 14% of the total. Certain years have a theme in Amsterdam to attract extra tourists. For example, the year 2006 was designated "Rembrandt 400", to celebrate the 400th birthday of Rembrandt van Rijn. Some hotels offer special arrangements or activities during these years. The average number of guests per year staying at the four campsites around the city range from 12,000 to 65,000.

Red light district



De Wallen, also known as Walletjes or Rosse Buurt, is a designated area for legalised prostitution
Prostitution and the law
The laws of prostitution vary widely from country to country, and between jurisdictions within a country. Prostitution is legal in some parts of the world and regarded as a profession, while in other parts it is a crime punishable by death. In some jurisdictions prostitution is illegal...

 and is Amsterdam's largest and most well known red-light district
Red-light district
A red-light district is a part of an urban area where there is a concentration of prostitution and sex-oriented businesses, such as sex shops, strip clubs, adult theaters, etc...

. This neighborhood has become a famous tourist attraction. It consists of a network of roads and alleys containing several hundred small, one-room apartments rented by sex worker
Sex worker
A sex worker is a person who works in the sex industry. The term is usually used in reference to those in the sex industry that actually provide such sexual services, as opposed to management and staff of such industries...

s who offer their services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights.

Coffee shops


Contrary to wide spread rumours, Amsterdam's coffee shops will not be closing their doors to tourists any time soon. A controversial measure to introduce a "wietpas" (Dutch) or "weed-pass" membership system — pushed primarily by Christian political parties within the Dutch coalition government - is in the works; this pass would restrict coffee shop cannabis sales to residents of the Netherlands with a membership card only. The plan is widely unpopular and proponents face stiff opposition from figures such as Amsterdam's mayor, Eberhard van der Laan, and the Maastricht city council. Others have argued that the plan may indeed violate not only the constitution of the Netherlands but also that of the European Union. It is thus expected that the measure will fail before it is more closely considered.

There have also been reports of some coffee shops in the Red Light District serving small amounts of cocaine behind closed doors.

Retail


Shops in Amsterdam range from large department store
Department store
A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

s such as De Bijenkorf
De Bijenkorf
De Bijenkorf is a chain of upscale department stores in the Netherlands with its flagship store on Dam Square, Amsterdam. It was founded by Simon Philip Goudsmit in 1870 as a small store along the Nieuwendijk, one of Amsterdam's oldest streets, it offers many prestigious brands in clothing,...

 founded in 1870 and Maison de Bonneterie
Maison de Bonneterie
Maison de Bonneterie is a chain of upscale department stores in the Netherlands with flagship stores in Amsterdam and The Hague and a smaller branches in Laren and Heemstede. The Amsterdam store was founded in 1889 and is situated along the Kalverstraat in a Parisian style building set around a top...

 a Parisian style store founded in 1889, to small specialty shops
Specialty store
Specialty stores are small stores which specialize in a specific range of merchandise and related items. Most stores have an extensive depth of stock in the item that they specialize in and provide high levels of service and expertise...

. Amsterdam's high-end shops are found in the streets Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat and Cornelis Schuytstraat, which are located in the vicinity of the Vondelpark
Vondelpark
The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is located in the stadsdeel Amsterdam Oud-Zuid, west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein. The park was opened in 1865 and originally named the "Nieuwe Park", but later renamed to "Vondelpark", after the 17th...

. One of Amsterdam's busiest high streets is the narrow, medieval Kalverstraat in the heart of the city. Another shopping area is the Negen Straatjes: nine narrow streets within the Grachtengordel, the concentric canal system of Amsterdam. The Negen Straatjes differ from other shopping districts with the presence of a large diversity of privately owned shops.

The city also features a large number of open-air markets such as the Albert Cuypmarkt
Albert Cuyp Market
The Albert Cuyp Market is a street market in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on the Albert Cuypstraat between Ferdinand Bolstraat and Van Woustraat, in the De Pijp area of the Oud-Zuid district of the city. The street and market are named for Albert Cuyp, a 17th century painter.The market began as an...

, Westerstraat-markt, Ten Katemarkt, and Dappermarkt
Dappermarkt
The Dappermarkt is a market in the Dapperstraat in Amsterdam-east and is one of the busiest markets of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.In 1910, the Dapperstraat was officially designated by the municipality of Amsterdam as a market street. The Dappermarkt draws visitors from the all over the Netherlands...

. Some of these markets are held on a daily basis, like the Albert Cuypmarkt and the Dappermarkt. Others, like the Westerstraat-markt, are held on a weekly basis.

Fashion


Fashion brands like G-star, Gsus, BlueBlood, Iris van Herpen, 10 feet
10 feet
10Feet is a Dutch fashion label, based in Amsterdam and is a subsidiary of Herb Industries. The label was founded in the late 1990s, and has since grown to the point where its clothes are now offered in over 250 retail outlets in the Netherlands....

 and Warmenhoven & Venderbos
Warmenhoven & Venderbos
Warmenhoven & Venderbos is a Netherlands based clothing label founded in 1996 by Sascha Warmenhoven and Babette Venderbos.-Origins:The Netherlands based label is the brainchild of Sascha Warmenhoven and Babette Venderbos. The two met while studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam and...

, and fashion designers like Mart Visser
Mart Visser
Martin Visser is a Dutch fashion designer since 1993.Visser grew up in Sleeuwijk and studied at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, the Modeacademie Montaigne, and the Saga International Design Centre....

, Viktor & Rolf
Viktor & Rolf
Viktor & Rolf is an Amsterdam-based fashion house. The company was founded in 1993 by designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren .- History :...

, Sheila de Vries, Marlies Dekkers
Marlies Dekkers
Marlies Dekkers is a Dutch fashion designer known for her lingerie line Undressed.-Biography:Marlies Dekkers was born in Oosterhout, the Netherlands. She studied at the Art school in Breda, from which she graduated cum laude in 1991...

 and Frans Molenaar
Frans Molenaar
Frans Molenaar is a Dutch fashion designer.He studied to become a tailor in Amsterdam from 1955–1958. After his studies he did an internship with Charles Montaigne in Paris from 1959–1960 and worked for Gerard Pipart at Nina Ricci also in Paris from 1961–1964.In 1967 he started his own business...

 are based in Amsterdam. Modelling agencies
Modeling agency
A modeling agency is a company that represents fashion models, to work for the fashion industry. These agencies earn their income via commission, usually from the deal they make with the model and or the head agency....

 Elite Models
Elite Model Management
Elite Model Management is a large modeling agency based in New York and Paris. It is a subsidiary of Elite World S.A.-History:Founded in France in 1972 by John Casablancas and Alain Kittler, it was rebought in 1990 by Nicholas Farrae. Elite World S.A. is the parent company of Elite Model...

, Touche models and Tony Jones have opened branches in Amsterdam. Supermodels Yfke Sturm
Yfke Sturm
Yfke Sturm is a Dutch model.-Youth:Becoming a top international model was the last thing 15-year-old sports enthusiast Yfke Sturm expected until in 1997 the 5'11” teen was approached in her hometown of Almere, Netherlands, by a Elite Model Management scout. Shortly thereafter, she entered the...

, Doutzen Kroes and Kim Noorda
Kim Noorda
Kim Noorda is a Dutch fashion model.She started modeling in 2003 after being approached by talent scout Wilma Wakker, while walking down the street with friends...

 started their careers in Amsterdam. Amsterdam has its garment centre in the World Fashion Center. Buildings which formerly housed brothels in the red light district have been converted to ateliers for young fashion designers.

Demographics


Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 inhabitants. On January 1, 2011, the ethnic makeup of Amsterdam was 49.7% Dutch and 50.3% foreigners.
In the 16th and 17th century non-Dutch immigrants to
Amsterdam were mostly Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

s, Flemings
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

, Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 and Westphalia
Westphalia
Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Minden and Münster.Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia"...

ns. Huguenots came after the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685, while the Flemish Protestants came during the Eighty Years' War. The Westphalians came to Amsterdam mostly for economic reasons – their influx continued through the 18th and 19th centuries. Before the Second World War, 10% of the city population was Jewish.

The first mass immigration in the 20th century were by people from Indonesia, who came to Amsterdam after the independence of the Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

 in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s guest workers
Foreign worker
A foreign worker is a person who works in a country other than the one of which he or she is a citizen. The term migrant worker as discussed in the migrant worker page is used in a particular UN resolution as a synonym for "foreign worker"...

 from Turkey, Morocco, Italy and Spain emigrated to Amsterdam. After the independence of Suriname in 1975, a large wave of Surinamese
Surinamese people
Surinamese people are the inhabitants of Suriname or people of Surinamese descent. Suriname had formerly been the colony of Dutch Guiana which was founded during the early 17th century. Following Suriname's independence in 1975, many Surinamers migrated to the Netherlands...

 settled in Amsterdam, mostly in the Bijlmer
Bijlmermeer
The Bijlmermeer or colloquially Bijlmer is one of the neighbourhoods that form the Amsterdam Zuidoost borough of Amsterdam, Netherlands. To many people, the Bijlmer designation is used to refer to Amsterdam Zuidoost and Diemen Zuid as a pars pro toto...

 area. Other immigrants, including refugees asylum seekers
Right of asylum
Right of asylum is an ancient juridical notion, under which a person persecuted for political opinions or religious beliefs in his or her own country may be protected by another sovereign authority, a foreign country, or church sanctuaries...

 and illegal immigrants
Illegal immigration
Illegal immigration is the migration into a nation in violation of the immigration laws of that jurisdiction. Illegal immigration raises many political, economical and social issues and has become a source of major controversy in developed countries and the more successful developing countries.In...

, came from Europe, America
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

, Asia, and Africa. In the seventies and eighties, many 'old' Amsterdammers moved to 'new' cities like Almere
Almere
Almere is a planned city and municipality in the province of Flevoland, the Netherlands, bordering Lelystad and Zeewolde. The municipality of Almere comprises the districts Almere Stad, Almere Haven, Almere Buiten, Almere Hout, Almere Poort and Almere Pampus .Almere is the youngest city in the...

 and Purmerend
Purmerend
Purmerend is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.The city is surrounded by polders, such as the Purmer, Beemster and the Wormer. The city became the trade center of the region but the population grew relatively slow. Only after 1960 did the population...

, prompted by the third planological
Land use planning
Land-use planning is the term used for a branch of public policy encompassing various disciplines which seek to order and regulate land use in an efficient and ethical way, thus preventing land-use conflicts. Governments use land-use planning to manage the development of land within their...

 bill of the Dutch government. This bill promoted suburbanisation and arranged for new developments in so called "groeikernen", literally "cores of growth". Young professionals and artists moved into neighbourhoods de Pijp and the Jordaan
Jordaan
The Jordaan is a district of the city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The area is bordered by the Lijnbaansgracht canal to the west, the Prinsengracht to the east, the Brouwersgracht to the north and the Leidsegracht to the south...

 abandoned by these Amsterdammers. The non-Western immigrants settled mostly in the social housing
Public housing
Public housing is a form of housing tenure in which the property is owned by a government authority, which may be central or local. Social housing is an umbrella term referring to rental housing which may be owned and managed by the state, by non-profit organizations, or by a combination of the...

 projects in Amsterdam-West and the Bijlmer. Today, people of non-Western origin make up approximately one-third of the population of Amsterdam, and more than 50% of children.

The largest religious group
Religious denomination
A religious denomination is a subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity.The term describes various Christian denominations...

 are Christians, who are divided between Roman Catholics and Protestants. The next largest religion is Islam, most of whose followers are Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

.

In 1578 the previously Roman Catholic city of Amsterdam joined the revolt against Spanish rule, late in comparison to other major northern Dutch cities. In line with Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 procedure of that time, all churches were converted to Protestant worship. Calvinism
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 became the dominant religion, and although Catholicism was not forbidden and priests allowed to serve, the Catholic hierarchy
Catholic Church hierarchy
The term Hierarchy in the Catholic Church has a variety of related usages. Literally, "holy government", the term is employed in different instances. There is a Hierarchy of Truths, which refers to the levels of solemnity of the official teaching of the faith...

 was prohibited. This led to the establishment of schuilkerken, covert churches, behind seemingly ordinary canal side house fronts. One example is the current debate centre de Rode Hoed.

A large influx of foreigners of many religions came to 17th-century Amsterdam, in particular Sefardic Jews
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

 from Spain and Portugal, Huguenot
Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...

s from France, and Protestants from the Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

. This led to the establishment of many non-Dutch-speaking religious churches. In 1603, the first notification was made of Jewish religious service. In 1639, the first synagogue was consecrated. The Jews came to call the town Jerusalem of the West
Jerusalem of the West
Jerusalem of the West was a term sometimes used to describe a place where Jews had settled in Europe or Northern Africa.-Applications:In Europe, Amsterdam was commonly associated with the term and was called Jeruzalem van het Westen in Dutch. Jews settled there in the 17th-century and in 1672,...

, a reference to their sense of belonging there.
As they became established in the city, other Christian denomination
Christian denomination
A Christian denomination is an identifiable religious body under a common name, structure, and doctrine within Christianity. In the Orthodox tradition, Churches are divided often along ethnic and linguistic lines, into separate churches and traditions. Technically, divisions between one group and...

s used converted Catholic chapels to conduct their own services. The oldest English-language church congregation in the world outside the United Kingdom is found at the Begijnhof
Begijnhof, Amsterdam
The Begijnhof is one of the oldest inner courts in the city of Amsterdam. A group of historic buildings, mostly private dwellings, centre on it. As the name suggests, it was originally a Béguinage...

. Regular services there are still offered in English under the auspices of the Church of Scotland. The Huguenots accounted for nearly 20% of Amsterdam's inhabitants in 1700. Being Calvinists, they soon integrated into the Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church was a Reformed Christian denomination in the Netherlands. It existed from the 1570s to 2004, the year it merged with the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to form the Protestant Church in the...

, though often retaining their own congregations. Some, commonly referred by the moniker 'Walloon', are recognizable today as they offer occasional services in French.

In the second half of the 17th century, Amsterdam experienced an influx of Ashkenazim
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

, Jews from Central and Eastern Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

, which continued into the 19th century. Jews often fled the pogrom
Pogrom
A pogrom is a form of violent riot, a mob attack directed against a minority group, and characterized by killings and destruction of their homes and properties, businesses, and religious centres...

s in those areas. The first Ashkenazi who arrived in Amsterdam were refugee
Refugee
A refugee is a person who outside her country of origin or habitual residence because she has suffered persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because she is a member of a persecuted 'social group'. Such a person may be referred to as an 'asylum seeker' until...

s from the Chmielnicki Uprising
Khmelnytsky Uprising
The Khmelnytsky Uprising, was a Cossack rebellion in the Ukraine between the years 1648–1657 which turned into a Ukrainian war of liberation from Poland...

 in Poland and the Thirty Years War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

. They not only founded their own synagogues, but had a strong influence on the 'Amsterdam dialect' adding a large Yiddish
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

 local vocabulary.

Despite an absence of an official Jewish ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

, most Jews preferred to live in the eastern part of the old medieval heart of the city. The main street of this Jewish neighborhood was the Jodenbreestraat. The neighborhood comprised the Waterlooplein and the Nieuwmarkt
Nieuwmarkt
Nieuwmarkt is a square in the centre of the Dutch capital Amsterdam. The surrounding area is known as the Nieuwmarktbuurt ....

. Buildings in this neighborhood fell into disrepair after the Second World War, and a large section of the neighbourhood was demolished during the construction of the subway. This led to riots, and as a result the original plans for large-scale reconstruction were abandoned and the neighborhood was rebuilt with smaller-scale residence buildings on the basis of its original layout.

Catholic Churches in Amsterdam have been constructed since the restoration of the episcopal hierarchy in 1853. One of the principal architects behind the city's Catholic churches, Cuypers
Pierre Cuypers
Petrus Josephus Hubertus Cuypers was a Dutch architect. His name is most frequently associated with the Amsterdam Central Station and the Rijksmuseum , both in Amsterdam. More representative for his oeuvre, however, are numerous churches, of which he designed more than 100...

, was also responsible for the Amsterdam Central Station and the Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam or simply Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum in Amsterdam, located on the Museumplein. The museum is dedicated to arts, crafts, and history. It has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and a substantial collection of Asian art...

, which led to a refusal of Protestant King William III
William III of the Netherlands
William III was from 1849 King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg until his death and the Duke of Limburg until the abolition of the Duchy in 1866.-Early life:William was born in Brussels as son of William II of the Netherlands and...

 to open 'that monastery'.
In 1924, the Roman Catholic Church of the Netherlands hosted the International Eucharistic Congress in Amsterdam, and numerous Catholic prelate
Prelate
A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means "carry before", "be set above or over" or "prefer"; hence, a prelate is one set over others.-Related...

s visited the city, where festivities were held in churches and stadiums. Catholic processions on the public streets, however, were still forbidden under law at the time. Only in the 20th century was Amsterdam's relation to Catholicism normalized, but despite its far larger population size
Population size
In population genetics and population ecology, population size is the number of individual organisms in a population.The effective population size is defined as "the number of breeding individuals in an idealized population that would show the same amount of dispersion of allele frequencies under...

, the Catholic clergy
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

 chose to place its episcopal see of the city in the nearby provincial town of Haarlem
Haarlem
Haarlem is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic...

.

In recent times, religious demographics in Amsterdam have been changed by large-scale immigration from former colonies. Immigrants from Suriname have introduced Evangelical
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 Protestantism and Lutheranism
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

, from the Hernhutter variety; Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 has been introduced mainly from Suriname; and several distinct branches of Islam have been brought from various parts of the world. Islam is now the largest non-Christian religion in Amsterdam. The large community of Ghanaian and Nigerian immigrants have established African churches, often in parking garages in the Bijlmer
Bijlmermeer
The Bijlmermeer or colloquially Bijlmer is one of the neighbourhoods that form the Amsterdam Zuidoost borough of Amsterdam, Netherlands. To many people, the Bijlmer designation is used to refer to Amsterdam Zuidoost and Diemen Zuid as a pars pro toto...

 area, where many have settled. In addition, a broad array of other religious movements have established congregations, including Buddhism
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

, Confucianism
Confucianism
Confucianism is a Chinese ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius . Confucianism originated as an "ethical-sociopolitical teaching" during the Spring and Autumn Period, but later developed metaphysical and cosmological elements in the Han...

 and Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

.

Although the saying "Leef en laat leven" or "Live and let live" summarizes the Dutch and especially the Amsterdam open and tolerant society, the increased influx of many races, religions, and cultures after the Second World War, has on a number of occasions strained social relation
Social relation
In social science, a social relation or social interaction refers to a relationship between two , three or more individuals . Social relations, derived from individual agency, form the basis of the social structure. To this extent social relations are always the basic object of analysis for social...

s. With 176 different nationalities, Amsterdam is home to one of the widest varieties of nationalities of any city in the world. The immigrant share of the population in the city proper now counts about 50%.

Amsterdam has the common perception as an open and tolerant "anything-goes" society. However recently a shift in national politics has resulted in a stricter policies on dealing with minorities whereby a greater focus is placed on successful integration than on only celebrating and especially subsidising with taxpayer money their "unique" heritage. In recent years, politicians are actively discouraged against campaigning in minority languages. In the previous local elections politicians were criticized by current Amsterdam mayor Mr van der Laan (then minister of Integration) for distributing election leaflets in minority languages and in some cases leaflets were collected. Due to this anti-Multicultural stand in a multicultural city, van der Laan has been accused of hypocrisy by its own party's PvdA
PVDA
PVDA can stand for*Labour Party , a Dutch political party: Partij van de Arbeid, normally written PvdA.*Workers' Party of Belgium, a Belgian political party: Partij van de Arbeid van België...

 main candidate.

Inhabitants by origin


In 2010, 34.9% of the total population and 52.6% of young people under 18 were of non-European origin.
2010 Numbers %
Autochthons 385,009 50.1
European Allochtoons 114,553 14.9
Non European Allochtoons 268,211 34.9
Surinam 68,881 9.0
Morocco 69,439 9.0
Turkey 40,370 5.3
Netherlands Antilles and Aruba 11,689 1.5
Others 77,832 10.1

Transport


In the city centre, driving a car is discouraged. Parking fees are expensive, and many streets are closed to cars or are one-way
One-way traffic
One-way traffic is traffic that moves in a single direction. A one-way street is a street either facilitating only one-way traffic, or designed to direct vehicles to move in one direction.-General signs:...

. The local government sponsors carsharing
Carsharing
Car sharing or Carsharing is a model of car rental where people rent cars for short periods of time, often by the hour. They are attractive to customers who make only occasional use of a vehicle, as well as others who would like occasional access to a vehicle of a different type than they use...

 and carpool
Carpool
Carpooling , is the sharing of car journeys so that more than one person travels in a car....

ing initiatives such as Autodelen and Meerijden.nu.

Public transport in Amsterdam mainly consists of (night) bus and tram lines operated by Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf
Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf
The Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf is the municipal transport company of Amsterdam. As of 2007, the GVB is an independent corporation wholly owned by the city of Amsterdam.-History:...

. Regional buses, and some suburban buses, are operated by Connexxion
Connexxion
Connexxion is the largest public transport bus company in the Netherlands, operating in the west, middle, east and far northern part of the country. It was formed in 1999 as result of a fusion between the public transport companies NZH, ZWN, Midnet and Oostnet. Its name is a mutation of the French...

 and Arriva
Arriva
Arriva plc is a multinational public transport company owned by Deutsche Bahn and headquartered in Sunderland, United Kingdom. It has bus, coach, train, tram and waterbus operations in 12 countries across Europe, employs more than 47,500 people and services over 1.5 billion passenger journeys each...

. Currently, there are 16 different tram lines
Trams in Amsterdam
The Amsterdam tramway network forms part of the public transport system in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.Opened in 1875, the network currently has 16 lines. It has been operated since 1943 by Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf ....

, and four metro
Amsterdam Metro
The Amsterdam Metro is a mixed rapid transit and light rail system in Amsterdam, and its surrounding municipalities Amstelveen, Diemen, and Ouder-Amstel in the Netherlands. The network is owned by the city of Amsterdam and operated by the Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf, the company that also operates...

 lines, with a fifth line, the North/South line
Amsterdam Metro
The Amsterdam Metro is a mixed rapid transit and light rail system in Amsterdam, and its surrounding municipalities Amstelveen, Diemen, and Ouder-Amstel in the Netherlands. The network is owned by the city of Amsterdam and operated by the Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf, the company that also operates...

, under construction. Three free ferries carry pedestrians and cyclists across the IJ
IJ (bay)
The IJ is a river, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is known for being Amsterdam's waterfront. The name derives from the generic Germanic term for "water" and is similar to other Aa/Ee names for bodies of water. In Dutch, the name consists of the digraph ij, which is...

 to Amsterdam-Noord
Amsterdam-Noord
Amsterdam-Noord is an autonomous stadsdeel of Amsterdam. The area is located north of the IJ, the body of water which separates it from central Amsterdam and the rest of the city.-Transport:...

, and two fare-charging ferries run east and west along the harbour. There are also water taxis, a water bus, a boat sharing
Boat Sharing
Boat Sharing describes the ownership of boats, mainly sailing boats, by a non-profit organisation for its members, for pleasure use.A boat sharing organisation may be an association, club, cooperative or company...

 operation, electric rental boats (Boaty) and canal cruises, that transport people along Amsterdam's waterways.

The A10 ringroad
A10 motorway (Netherlands)
The A10 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. This motorway is the ring road around the city of Amsterdam.The motorway has a length of 32 km...

 surrounding the city connects Amsterdam with the Dutch national network of freeways. Interchanges
Interchange (road)
In the field of road transport, an interchange is a road junction that typically uses grade separation, and one or more ramps, to permit traffic on at least one highway to pass through the junction without directly crossing any other traffic stream. It differs from a standard intersection, at which...

 on the A10 allow cars to enter the city by transferring to one of the 18 city roads, numbered S101 through to S118. These city roads are regional roads without grade separation
Grade separation
Grade separation is the method of aligning a junction of two or more transport axes at different heights so that they will not disrupt the traffic flow on other transit routes when they cross each other. The composition of such transport axes does not have to be uniform; it can consist of a...

, and sometimes without a central reservation
Central reservation
On divided roads, such as divided highways or freeways/motorways, the central reservation , median, parkway , median strip or central nature strip is the area which separates opposing lanes of traffic...

. Most are accessible by cyclists. The S100 Centrumring is a smaller ringroad circumnavigating the city's center.

Amsterdam was intended in 1932 to be the hub, a kind of Kilometre Zero
Kilometre Zero
In many countries, Kilometre Zero or similar terms in other languages, is a particular location , from which distances are traditionally measured...

, of the highway system of the Netherlands, with freeways numbered one through eight planned to originate from the city. The outbreak of the Second World War and shifting priorities led to the current situation, where only roads A1
A1 motorway (Netherlands)
The A1 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. The road connects the city of Amsterdam, near the interchange Watergraafsmeer, with the German border, near Oldenzaal and Bad Bentheim , and the German Autobahn BAB 30...

, A2
A2 motorway (Netherlands)
The A2 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. It is one of the busiest highways in the Netherlands. The road connects the city of Amsterdam, near the interchange Amstel, with the Belgian border, near Maastricht and Liège , and the Belgian road A25....

, and A4
A4 motorway (Netherlands)
The A4 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands from Amsterdam to the Belgian border near Zandvliet. Some parts of the motorway are still not completed. The completed route as of 2006 is divided into three parts: from Amsterdam via The Hague to Delft, from Vlaardingen to Pernis, and finally from...

 originate from Amsterdam according to the original plan. The A3 road to Rotterdam
Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

 was cancelled in 1970 in order to conserve the Groene Hart
Groene Hart
The Groene Hart is a relatively thinly populated area in the Dutch Randstad. The major Dutch cities of Rotterdam, Den Haag, Leiden, Haarlem, Amsterdam and Utrecht lie around this area...

. Road A8
A8 motorway (Netherlands)
The A8 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. It starts at the intersection with the Ring Amsterdam at interchange Coenplein, and leads past Oostzaan, interchange Zaandam, and Zaandijk towards it terminus, not even 10 kilometers from its beginning at the Coenplein, near Assendelft.In the...

, leading north to Zaandam
Zaandam
Zaandam is a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is the main city of the municipality of Zaanstad, and received city rights in 1811...

 and the A10
A10 motorway (Netherlands)
The A10 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. This motorway is the ring road around the city of Amsterdam.The motorway has a length of 32 km...

 Ringroad were opened between 1968 and 1974. Besides the A1, A2, A4 and A8, several freeways, such as the A7
A7 motorway (Netherlands)
The A7 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands connecting Zaandam, via the Afsluitdijk, Sneek and Groningen to the German border near Bad Nieuweschans. The entire road is part of the European route E22, with exception of the first kilometre, between the terminus in Zaandam and the interchange...

 and A6
A6 motorway (Netherlands)
The A6 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. It is just over 100 kilometers in length and it connects the A1 motorway at interchange Muiderberg with the A7 motorway at interchange Joure....

, carry traffic mainly bound for Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is served by ten stations of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Nederlandse Spoorwegen , or NS, is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands.Its trains operate over the tracks of the Dutch national railinfrastructure, operated by ProRail, which was split off from NS in 2003...

 (Dutch Railways). Five are intercity stops: Sloterdijk
Sloterdijk (Amsterdam)
Sloterdijk is a village in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Amsterdam, and lies about 3 km northwest of the city centre...

, Zuid, Amstel
Amsterdam Amstel railway station
Amsterdam Amstel is a railway station in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The station was opened on 15 October 1939. It is located south west of the station Amsterdam Centraal...

, Bijlmer ArenA
Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA railway station
Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA is a railway station in the Bijlmermeer neighbourhood of the Amsterdam Zuidoost stadsdeel of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The station has five platforms and eight tracks; two for the Amsterdam Metro and six train tracks, along with a bus station.-History:Originally opened...

 and Amsterdam Centraal. The stations for local services are: Lelylaan
Amsterdam Lelylaan railway station
Amsterdam Lelylaan is a railway station in west Amsterdam. It is served by trains of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen and metros of the GVB. The station opened on 1 June 1986. It is located on the Amsterdam-Schiphol railway, a few km south of Amsterdam Sloterdijk railway station...

, RAI
Amsterdam RAI railway station
The railway station Amsterdam RAI is situated in southern Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It lies between the two directions of the A10 Amsterdam ring road. It is also a metro station at which GVB operates two routes...

, Holendrecht
Amsterdam Holendrecht railway station
Amsterdam Holendrecht is a railway station, in Amsterdam Zuidoost , the Netherlands.The station opened on 14 December 2008. Before that date Holendrecht was just a Metro station on the Amsterdam Metro network. The station was opened on 16 October 1977 as a metro station and is now served by two...

, Muiderpoort
Amsterdam Muiderpoort railway station
Amsterdam Muiderpoort is a railway station in the east of Amsterdam. It was re-opened on 15 October 1939 after being first opened in 1896. It is located 4 km southeast of Amsterdam Centraal. At this station the Amsterdam–Arnhem railway and the Amsterdam–Zutphen railway split, with the two...

 and Science Park
Amsterdam Science Park railway station
Amsterdam Science Park is a railway station, in east Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The station lies on the Amsterdam–Zutphen railway between Amsterdam Muiderpoort and Diemen. The station is to serve the Science Park Amsterdam and the Watergraafsmeer area of Amsterdam...

. Amsterdam Centraal is also an international train station. From the station there are regular services to destinations such as Austria, Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia and Switzerland. Among these trains are international trains of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Nederlandse Spoorwegen
Nederlandse Spoorwegen , or NS, is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands.Its trains operate over the tracks of the Dutch national railinfrastructure, operated by ProRail, which was split off from NS in 2003...

 and the Thalys
Thalys
Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches...

(Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris-Cologne), CityNightLine
CityNightLine
CityNightLine AG was a Swiss night train service. CNL had right of passage grants in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and Denmark. It served stations in Belgium, France, Italy and the Czech Republic...

, and InterCityExpress.
Eurolines
Eurolines
Eurolines is a coach organisation, operating international bus routes within Europe and Morocco to over 500 destinations in over 25 countries. Rather than being a single company, Eurolines is a network of co-operating bus companies from all over Europe, offering integrated ticketing and extensive...

 has coaches
Coach (vehicle)
A coach is a large motor vehicle, a type of bus, used for conveying passengers on excursions and on longer distance express coach scheduled transport between cities - or even between countries...

 from Amsterdam Amstel railway station
Amsterdam Amstel railway station
Amsterdam Amstel is a railway station in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The station was opened on 15 October 1939. It is located south west of the station Amsterdam Centraal...

 to destinations all over Europe.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is less than 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Central Station. It is the biggest airport in the Netherlands, the fifth largest in Europe, and the twelfth largest in the world in terms of passengers. It handles about 46 million passengers per year and is the home base of four airlines, KLM, transavia.com
Transavia.com
Transavia.com is a Dutch based low-cost airline operating as an independent part of the Air France-KLM group. Its main base is at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol while Rotterdam The Hague Airport , and Eindhoven Airport are its secondary hubs...

, Martinair
Martinair
For the American cargo airline, see Martinaire.Martinair Holland N.V., operating as Martinair, is an airline headquartered in the TransPort Building on the grounds of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands. It operates cargo services to over 50 destinations worldwide. Services...

 and Arkefly
Arkefly
ArkeFly is a Dutch charter airline headquartered in Schiphol-Rijk on the grounds of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands. It is the charter carrier of the Dutch arm of the German travel conglomerate TUI and its main base is Schiphol Airport...

. Schiphol was, in 2006, the third busiest airport in the world
World's busiest airports by international passenger traffic
The following is a list of the world's busiest airports by international passenger traffic.London Heathrow has been the busiest since 2000-2010 year-to-date statistics:Airports Council International's year-to-date figures are as follows....

 measured by international passengers.

Cycling


Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly
Bicycle-friendly
The term bicycle-friendly describes policies and practices which may help some people feel more comfortable about traveling by bicycle with other traffic...

 large cities in the world and is a centre of bicycle culture
Bicycle culture
Bicycle culture can refer to a mainstream culture that supports the use of bicycles or to a subculture. Although "bike culture" is often used to refer to various forms of associated fashion, it is erroneous to call fashion in and of itself a culture....

 with good facilities for cyclists such as bike paths and bike racks
Bicycle stand
A bicycle stand,also called a bike rack, is a device to which bicycles may be securely attached. It may be free standing or securely attached to the ground or some stationary object such as a building. Indoor bike racks are commonly used for private bicycle parking, while outdoor bike racks are...

, and several guarded bike storage garages (Fietsenstalling) which can be used for a nominal fee. In 2006, there were about 465,000 bicycles in Amsterdam. Theft is widespread – in 2005, about 54,000 bicycles were stolen in Amsterdam. Bicycles are used by all socio-economic groups because of their convenience, Amsterdam's small size, the 400 km of bike paths, the flat terrain, and the arguable inconvenience of driving an automobile.

Education



Amsterdam has two universities: the University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam), and the VU University Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit
Vrije Universiteit
The Vrije Universiteit is a university in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Dutch name is often abbreviated as VU and in English the university uses the name "VU University". The university is located on a compact urban campus in the southern part of Amsterdam in the Buitenveldert district...

 or "VU" – often referred to, in English, as "The Free"). Other institutions for higher education include an art school
Art school
Art school is a general term for any educational institution with a primary focus on the visual arts, especially illustration, painting, photography, sculpture, and graphic design. The term applies to institutions with elementary, secondary, post-secondary or undergraduate, or graduate or...

 – Gerrit Rietveld Academie
Gerrit Rietveld Academie
-Profile:More than 45% of the student population comes from abroad, originating from over 60 different countries around the world. Most of the classes are in English...

, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, and the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten
Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten
The Amsterdam School of the Arts is a Dutch vocational university of arts located in Amsterdam.The university consists of:* Academy of Fine Art in Education* Academy of Architecture* Conservatorium van Amsterdam - a music academy...

. Amsterdam's International Institute of Social History
International Institute of Social History
The International Institute of Social History is a historical research institute in Amsterdam. It was founded in 1935 by Nicolaas Posthumus. The IISG is part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences....

 is one of the world's largest documentary and research institutions concerning social history
Social history
Social history, often called the new social history, is a branch of History that includes history of ordinary people and their strategies of coping with life. In its "golden age" it was a major growth field in the 1960s and 1970s among scholars, and still is well represented in history departments...

, and especially the history of the labour movement
Labor history (discipline)
Labor history is a broad field of study concerned with the development of the labor movement and the working class. The central concerns of labor historians include the development of labor unions, strikes, lockouts and protest movements, industrial relations, and the progress of working class and...

. Amsterdam's Hortus Botanicus
Hortus Botanicus (Amsterdam)
Hortus Botanicus is a botanical garden in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. One of the oldest in the world, it is one of Amsterdam's major tourist attractions.- History:...

, founded in the early 17th century, is one of the oldest botanical garden
Botanical garden
A botanical garden The terms botanic and botanical, and garden or gardens are used more-or-less interchangeably, although the word botanic is generally reserved for the earlier, more traditional gardens. is a well-tended area displaying a wide range of plants labelled with their botanical names...

s in the world, with many old and rare specimens, among them the coffee plant
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 that served as the parent for the entire coffee culture in Central and South America.

Some of Amsterdam's primary schools base their teachings on particular pedagogic theories like the various Montessori
Maria Montessori
Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, a noted humanitarian and devout Catholic best known for the philosophy of education which bears her name...

 schools. The biggest Montessori High School in Amsterdam is the Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam
Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam
The Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam is a school in Amsterdam-Zuid. It was the first Montessori secondary school in the Netherlands.The school is part of the Montessori Scholengemeenschap Amsterdam, or MSA, which encompasses five schools: Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam, Montessori College Oost, IVKO...

. Many schools, however, are based on religion. This used to be primarily Roman Catholicism and various Protestant denominations, but with the influx of Muslim immigrants there has been a rise in the number of Islamic schools. Jewish schools can be found in the southern suburbs of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is noted for having five independent grammar schools (Dutch: gymnasia), the Vossius Gymnasium
Vossius Gymnasium
Vossius Gymnasium is one of the five categorial gymnasia in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, the other being Barlaeus Gymnasium, Ignatius Gymnasium, Cygnus Gymnasium and Het 4e Gymnasium. It is named after Gerardus Joannes Ernie Vossius, and was established in 1926....

, Barlaeus Gymnasium
Barlaeus Gymnasium
The Barlaeus Gymnasium is a well-known secondary school in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It is one of the five categorial gymnasia in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, the other four being Vossius Gymnasium, Ignatius Gymnasium, Het 4e gymnasium and Cygnus Gymnasium...

, St. Ignatius Gymnasium
Ignatius Gymnasium
Saint Ignatius Gymnasium is one of the five categorial gymnasia in Amsterdam, Netherlands. With the Vossius Gymnasium and the Barlaeus Gymnasium, it is among the most prestigious schools in Amsterdam...

, Het 4e Gymnasium
Het 4e Gymnasium
Het 4e Gymnasium is a Public Gymnasium in the Netherlands founded in 2005. Syne oktober 2008 the school is located in the "Houthaven" area in Amsterdam...

 and the Cygnus Gymnasium where a classical curriculum including Latin and classical Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 is taught. Though believed until recently by many to be an anachronistic and elitist concept that would soon die out, the gymnasia have recently experienced a revival, leading to the formation of a fourth and fifth grammar school in which the three aforementioned schools participate. Most secondary schools in Amsterdam offer a variety of different levels of education in the same school. The city also has various colleges ranging from art and design to politics and economics which are mostly also available for students coming from other countries.

Housing


The housing market is heavily regulated. In Amsterdam, 55% of existing housing and 80% of new housing is owned by Housing Associations, which are Government sponsored entities.

Squat
Squatting
Squatting consists of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building, usually residential, that the squatter does not own, rent or otherwise have permission to use....

 properties are common throughout Amsterdam, due to property law strongly favouring tenants. A number of these squats have become well known, such as OT301
OT301
OT301 used to be a squat in the Dutch city of Amsterdam which is located on Overtoom 301. EHBK has now bought the building which is used as a multi-media alternative cultural centre. The building is an old film academy and was squatted in 1999 by a group of artists...

, Vrankrijk (closed down by city government), and the Binnenpret, and several are now businesses, such as health clubs and licensed restaurants.

Culture and entertainment



During the later part of the 16th century Amsterdam's Rederijkerskamer (Chamber of Rhetoric
Chamber of rhetoric
Chambers of rhetoric were dramatic societies in the Low Countries. Their members are called Rederijkers , from the french word 'rhétoricien', and during the 15th and 16th centuries were mainly interested in dramas and lyrics...

) organized contests between different Chambers in the reading of poetry and drama. In 1638, Amsterdam opened its first theatre. Ballet performances were given in this theatre as early as 1642. In the 18th century, French theatre became popular. While Amsterdam was under the influence of German music in the 19th century there were few national opera productions; the Hollandse Opera of Amsterdam was built in 1888 for the specific purpose of promoting Dutch opera. In the 19th century, popular culture
Popular culture
Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

 was centred around the Nes area in Amsterdam (mainly vaudeville
Vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 and music-hall
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

). The metronome
Metronome
A metronome is any device that produces regular, metrical ticks — settable in beats per minute. These ticks represent a fixed, regular aural pulse; some metronomes also include synchronized visual motion...

, one of the most important advances in European classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

, was invented here in 1812 by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel
Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel
Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel was the inventor of the first successful metronome. He also invented the componium, an automatic instrument that could make endless variations on a musical theme....

. At the end of this century, the Rijksmuseum
Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam or simply Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum in Amsterdam, located on the Museumplein. The museum is dedicated to arts, crafts, and history. It has a large collection of paintings from the Dutch Golden Age and a substantial collection of Asian art...

 and Stedelijk Museum were built. In 1888, the Concertgebouworkest
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a symphony orchestra of the Netherlands, based at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 1988, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands conferred the "Royal" title upon the orchestra...

 was established. With the 20th century came cinema, radio and television. Though most studios are located in Hilversum
Hilversum
is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Located in the region called "'t Gooi", it is the largest town in that area. It is surrounded by heathland, woods, meadows, lakes, and smaller villages...

 and Aalsmeer
Aalsmeer
Aalsmeer is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Its name is derived from the Dutch for eel and lake . Aalsmeer is bordered by the Westeinderplassen lake, the largest open water of the Randstad, and the Ringvaart Canal...

, Amsterdam's influence on programming is very strong. Many people who work in the television industry live in Amsterdam. Also, the headquarters of SBS 6 is located in Amsterdam.

Museums



The most important museums of Amsterdam are located on the Museumplein
Museumplein
The Museumplein is a square in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The square is called "Museum Square" because four museums are located around the square: the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Diamond Museum...

 (Museum Square), located at the southwestern side of the Rijksmuseum. It was created in the last quarter of the 19th century on the grounds of the former World's fair
Internationale Koloniale en Uitvoerhandel Tentoonstelling
The Internationale Koloniale en Uitvoerhandel Tentoonstelling or Exposition Universelle Coloniale et d'Exportation Générale was a colonial exhibition that was held in Amsterdam from May 1st to October 1st, 1883...

. The northeastern part of the square is bordered by the very large Rijksmuseum. In front of the Rijksmuseum on the square itself is a long, rectangular pond. This is transformed into an ice rink in winter. The northwestern part of the square is bordered by the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience and Coster Diamonds. The southwestern border of the Museum Square is the Van Baerlestraat, which is a major thoroughfare in this part of Amsterdam. The Concertgebouw is situated across this street from the square. To the southeast of the square are situated a number of large houses, one of which contains the American consulate. A parking garage
Multi-storey car park
A multi-storey car-park is a building designed specifically to be for car parking and where there are a number of floors or levels on which parking takes place...

 can be found underneath the square, as well as a supermarket. Het Museumplein is covered almost entirely with a lawn, except for the northeastern part of the square which is covered with gravel. The current appearance of the square was realized in 1999, when the square was remodeled. The square itself is the most prominent site in Amsterdam for festivals and outdoor concerts, especially in the summer. Plans were made in 2008 to remodel the square again, because many inhabitants of Amsterdam are not happy with its current appearance.

The Rijksmuseum possesses the largest and most important collection of classical Dutch art
Dutch art
Dutch art describes the history of visual arts in the Netherlands, after the United Provinces separated from Flanders. Earlier painting in the area is covered in Early Netherlandish painting and Renaissance art.-Golden Age:...

.
It opened in 1885. Its collection consists of nearly one million objects. The artist most associated with Amsterdam is Rembrandt, whose work, and the work of his pupils, is displayed in the Rijksmuseum. Rembrandt's masterpiece De Nachtwacht
Night Watch (painting)
Night Watch or The Night Watch or The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq is the common name of one of the most famous works by Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn....

 (The Night Watch) is one of top pieces of art of the museum. It also houses paintings from artists like Van der Helst
Bartholomeus van der Helst
Bartholomeus van der Helst was a Dutch portrait painter.-Biography:Born in Haarlem, the son of a Haarlem innkeeper, Van der Helst moved to Amsterdam some time before 1636, for he was married there in that year...

, Vermeer
Johannes Vermeer
Johannes, Jan or Johan Vermeer was a Dutch painter who specialized in exquisite, domestic interior scenes of middle class life. Vermeer was a moderately successful provincial genre painter in his lifetime...

, Frans Hals
Frans Hals
Frans Hals was a Dutch Golden Age painter. He is notable for his loose painterly brushwork, and helped introduce this lively style of painting into Dutch art. Hals was also instrumental in the evolution of 17th century group portraiture.-Biography:Hals was born in 1580 or 1581, in Antwerp...

, Ferdinand Bol
Ferdinand Bol
Ferdinand Bol was a Dutch artist, etcher, and draftsman. Although his surviving work is rare, it displays Rembrandt's influence; like his master, Bol favored historical subjects, portraits, numerous self-portraits, and single figures in exotic finery.The street Ferdinand Bolstraat in Amsterdam was...

, Albert Cuyp
Aelbert Cuyp
Aelbert Jacobsz Cuyp was one of the leading Dutch landscape painters of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century. The most famous of a family of painters, the pupil of his father Jacob Gerritsz...

, Jacob van Ruisdael and Paulus Potter
Paulus Potter
Paulus Potter was a Dutch painter, specialized in animals in landscapes, usually with a low point of view. Before Potter died of tuberculosis, 28-years old, he succeeded in producing about a hundred paintings, working continuously.-Life:Few details are known of Potter's life...

. Aside from paintings, the collection consists of a large variety of decorative art. This ranges from Delftware
Delftware
Delftware, or Delft pottery, denotes blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the 16th century....

 to giant dollhouse
Dollhouse
A dollhouse is a toy home, made in miniature. For the last century, dollhouses have primarily been the domain of children but their collection and crafting is also a hobby for many adults. The term dollhouse is common in the United States and Canada...

s from the 17th century. The architect of the gothic revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 building was P.J.H. Cuypers. At present, the museum is being expanded, renovated, and a new main entrance for the museum created. Only one wing of the Rijksmuseum is currently open to the public, with a selection of master pieces on display. The full museum will re-open in 2012 or 2013.

Van Gogh
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh , and used Brabant dialect in his writing; it is therefore likely that he himself pronounced his name with a Brabant accent: , with a voiced V and palatalized G and gh. In France, where much of his work was produced, it is...

 lived in Amsterdam for a short while and there is a museum dedicated to his work
Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum is an art museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, featuring the works of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries. It has the largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings and drawings in the world.-Background:...

. The museum is housed in one of the few modern buildings in this area of Amsterdam. The building was designed by Gerrit Rietveld
Gerrit Rietveld
Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was a Dutch furniture designer and architect. One of the principal members of the Dutch artistic movement called De Stijl, Rietveld is famous for his Red and Blue Chair and for the Rietveld Schröder House, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.-Biography:Rietveld was born in...

. This building is where the permanent collection is displayed. A new building was added to the museum in 1999. This building, known as the performance wing, was designed by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. Its purpose is to house temporary exhibitions of the museum. Some of Van Gogh's most famous paintings, like the Aardappeleters
The Potato Eaters
The Potato Eaters is a painting by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh which he painted in April 1885 while in Nuenen, Netherlands. It is housed in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam...

 (The Potato Eaters) and Zonnebloemen
Sunflowers (series of paintings)
Sunflowers are the subject of two series of still life paintings by the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh. The earlier series executed in Paris in 1887 gives the flowers lying on the ground, while the second set executed a year later in Arles shows bouquets of sunflowers in a vase...

 (Sunflowers), are present in the collection. The Van Gogh museum is the most visited museum in Amsterdam.

Next to the Van Gogh museum stands the Stedelijk Museum
Stedelijk Museum
Founded in 1874, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is a museum for classic modern and contemporary art in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It has been housed on the Paulus Potterstraat, next to Museum Square Museumplein and to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Concertgebouw, in Amsterdam Zuid...

. This is Amsterdam's largest museum concerning modern art
Modern art
Modern art includes artistic works produced during the period extending roughly from the 1860s to the 1970s, and denotes the style and philosophy of the art produced during that era. The term is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of...

. The museum opened its doors at around the same time the Museum Square was created. The permanent collection consists of works of art from artists like Piet Mondriaan
Piet Mondrian
Pieter Cornelis "Piet" Mondriaan, after 1906 Mondrian , was a Dutch painter.He was an important contributor to the De Stijl art movement and group, which was founded by Theo van Doesburg. He evolved a non-representational form which he termed Neo-Plasticism...

, Karel Appel
Karel Appel
Christiaan Karel Appel was a Dutch painter, sculptor, and poet. He started painting at the age of fourteen and studied at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam in the 1940s...

, and Kazimir Malevich
Kazimir Malevich
Kazimir Severinovich Malevich was a Russian painter and art theoretician, born of ethnic Polish parents. He was a pioneer of geometric abstract art and the originator of the Avant-garde Suprematist movement.-Early life:...

. This museum is also currently being renovated and expanded. The main entrance will be relocated from the Paulus Potterstraat to the Museum Square itself. It will be open again to public in the end of 2011.

Amsterdam contains many other museums throughout the city. They range from small museums such as the Verzetsmuseum
Verzetsmuseum
The Dutch Resistance Museum is located in Amsterdam.The Dutch Resistance Museum, chosen as the best historical museum of the Netherlands, tells the story of the Dutch people in World War II...

 (Resistance Museum), the Anne Frank Huis
Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House on Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, is a museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank, who hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the building...

 (Anne Frank House), and the Rembrandthuis
Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt House Museum is a house in Jodenbreestraat in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where Rembrandt lived and painted for a number of years. It is now a museum...

 (Rembrandt House), to the very large, like the Tropenmuseum
Tropenmuseum
The Tropenmuseum is an anthropological museum located in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and established in 1864.One of the largest museums in Amsterdam, the museum accommodates eight permanent exhibitions and an ongoing series of temporary exhibitions, including both modern and traditional visual...

 (Museum of the Tropics), Amsterdam Museum (formerly known as "Amsterdams Historisch Museum", Amsterdam Historical Museum), Hermitage Amsterdam
Hermitage Amsterdam
Hermitage Amsterdam is a dependency of the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg on the Amstel river in Amsterdam. The dependency is located at the former Amstelhof, a classical style building from 1681. The dependency has been displaying small exhibitions in a side building next to the Amstelhof...

 (a dependency of the Hermitage Museum
Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

 of Saint Petersburg) and the Joods Historisch Museum
Joods Historisch Museum
The Joods Historisch Museum is a museum in Amsterdam dedicated to Jewish history, culture and religion, in the Netherlands and worldwide. It is the only museum in the Netherlands dedicated to Jewish history...

 (Jewish Historical Museum). The modern-styled NEMO (museum)
NEMO (museum)
NEMO is the largest science center in the Netherlands. It is located in Amsterdam. The architecture is by Renzo Piano. NEMO is located right next to the Amsterdam central station and the Maritime museum.-History:...

 is dedicated to child-friendly science exhibitions.

Pop, rock, and jazz


The Heineken Music Hall
Heineken Music Hall
Heineken Music Hall is a concert hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands, near the Amsterdam ArenA .The big hall is used for concerts, has a capacity of 5500 and is 3000 m²...

 is a concert hall located near the Amsterdam ArenA
Amsterdam ArenA
Amsterdam Arena is a stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is the largest stadium in the nation and it was built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost of €140 million, and was officially opened on 14 August 1996. It has been used for association football, American football, concerts, and other events...

. Its main purpose is to serve as a podium for pop concerts for big audiences. Many famous international artists have performed there. Two other notable venues, Paradiso
Paradiso (Amsterdam)
Paradiso is an iconic rock music venue and cultural center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.-History:It is housed in a converted former church building that dates from the nineteenth century and that was used until 1965 as the meeting hall for a liberal Dutch religious group known as the "Vrije...

 and the Melkweg
Melkweg
The Melkweg is a popular music venue and cultural center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is located on the Lijnbaansgracht, near the Leidseplein, a prime nightlife center of Amsterdam. It is housed in a former warehouse and is divided into a number of spaces of varying sizes...

 are located near the Leidseplein
Leidseplein
The Leidseplein is a square in central Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Lying in the southwest of the Grachtengordel district of Amsterdam, the Leidseplein is immediately northeast of the Singelgracht canal. It is situated on the crossroads of the Weteringschans, the Marnixstraat, and the Leidsestraat...

. Both focus on broad programming, ranging from indie rock
Indie rock
Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

 to hip hop
Hip hop music
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop, rap music or hip-hop music, is a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted...

, R&B
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

, and other popular genres. Other more subculturally
Subculture
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

 focused music venue
Music venue
A music venue is any location used for a concert or musical performance. Music venues range in size and location, from an outdoor bandshell or bandstand or a concert hall to an indoor sports stadium. Typically, different types of venues host different genres of music...

s are OCCII
OCCII
The OCCII is a venue for alternative and independent music in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The organization is mostly run by volunteers and has its roots in the squatting movement; the building was squatted in 1984 and "legalized" in 1989...

, OT301
OT301
OT301 used to be a squat in the Dutch city of Amsterdam which is located on Overtoom 301. EHBK has now bought the building which is used as a multi-media alternative cultural centre. The building is an old film academy and was squatted in 1999 by a group of artists...

, De Nieuwe Anita, Winston Kingdom and Zaal 100. Jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 has a strong following in Amsterdam, with the Bimhuis
Bimhuis
The Bimhuis is a concert hall for jazz and improvised music in Amsterdam.With an average of 150 performances a year the Bimhuis is the main stage for these musical genres in the Netherlands....

 being the premier venue.

Electronic Dance Music


The Heineken Music Hall
Heineken Music Hall
Heineken Music Hall is a concert hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands, near the Amsterdam ArenA .The big hall is used for concerts, has a capacity of 5500 and is 3000 m²...

 is also host to many Electronic Dance Music
Electronic dance music
Electronic dance music is electronic music produced primarily for the purposes of use within a nightclub setting, or in an environment that is centered upon dance-based entertainment...

 festivals, alongside many other venues. Amsterdam is home to Scantraxx
Scantraxx
Scantraxx is a Dutch record label founded by Dov Elkabas. Scantraxx specializes in Hardstyle music, and is involved in hosting events such as Qlimax, and Defqon 1 in cooperation with Q-Dance. Famous Scantraxx artists include the founder of the label, The Prophet, Headhunterz and many more....

, which is one of the largest record labels that produces Hardstyle
Hardstyle
Hardstyle is an electronic dance genre mixing influences from hardtechno, hard house, hard trance, hardcore and rave music. It is between 148 and 157 bpm in speed and is written in 4/4 time....

 music, which is very popular in the Netherlands. Armin van Buuren and Tiesto
Tiësto
Tijs Michiel Verwest, , known as Tiësto , is a Dutch musician, DJ and record producer of electronic dance music. Although he has used many aliases in the past, he is best known for his work as DJ Tiësto...

, some of the worlds leading Trance
Trance music
Trance is a genre of electronic dance music that developed in the 1990s.:251 It is generally characterized by a tempo of between 125 and 150 bpm,:252 repeating melodic synthesizer phrases, and a musical form that builds up and breaks down throughout a track...

 DJ's hail from The Netherlands and perform frequently in Amsterdam. Each year in October, the city hosts the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) which is one of the leading electronic music conferences and one of the biggest club festivals for electronic music in the world. Another popular dance festival is 5daysoff, which takes place in the venues Paradiso
Paradiso (Amsterdam)
Paradiso is an iconic rock music venue and cultural center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.-History:It is housed in a converted former church building that dates from the nineteenth century and that was used until 1965 as the meeting hall for a liberal Dutch religious group known as the "Vrije...

 and Melkweg
Melkweg
The Melkweg is a popular music venue and cultural center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is located on the Lijnbaansgracht, near the Leidseplein, a prime nightlife center of Amsterdam. It is housed in a former warehouse and is divided into a number of spaces of varying sizes...

. In summer time there are several big outdoor dance parties in or nearby Amsterdam, such as Awakenings, Dance Valley
Dance Valley
Dance Valley is an annual dance music festival held in the summer in Spaarnwoude, Netherlands. The first edition was in 1995 when 8.000 people attended . Dance Valley grew rapidly, both in duration and number of visitors...

, Mystery Land, Loveland, A Day at the Park, Welcome to the Future, and Valtifest.

Classical music



Amsterdam has a world-class symphony orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is a symphony orchestra of the Netherlands, based at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 1988, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands conferred the "Royal" title upon the orchestra...

. Their home is the Concertgebouw
Concertgebouw
The Concertgebouw is a concert hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The Dutch term "concertgebouw" literally translates into English as "concert building"...

, which is across the Van Baerlestraat from the Museum Square. It is considered by critics to be a concert hall with some of the best acoustics
Acoustics
Acoustics is the interdisciplinary science that deals with the study of all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids including vibration, sound, ultrasound and infrasound. A scientist who works in the field of acoustics is an acoustician while someone working in the field of acoustics...

 in the world. The building contains three hall
Hall
In architecture, a hall is fundamentally a relatively large space enclosed by a roof and walls. In the Iron Age, a mead hall was such a simple building and was the residence of a lord and his retainers...

s, Grote Zaal, Kleine Zaal, and Spiegelzaal. Eight hundred concerts per year are performed there for approximately 850,000 patrons.

The opera house of Amsterdam is situated adjacent to the city hall. Therefore, the two buildings combined are often called the Stopera
Stopera
The Stopera is a building complex in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, housing both the city hall of Amsterdam and the Muziektheater, the principal opera house in Amsterdam and the home of De Nederlandse Opera, Het Nationale Ballet, and the Holland Symfonia....

. This word is derived from the Dutch words stadhuis (city hall) and opera. This huge modern complex, opened in 1986, lies in the former Jewish neighbourhood at Waterlooplein next to the river Amstel
Amstel
The Amstel is a river in the Netherlands which runs through the city of Amsterdam. The river's name is derived from Aeme stelle, old Dutch for "area abounding with water"....

. The Stopera is the homebase of De Nederlandse Opera
De Nederlandse Opera
De Nederlandse Opera , in Amsterdam, is a Dutch opera company based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its present home base is the Het Muziektheater, a modern building designed by Cees Dam which opened in 1986....

, Het Nationale Ballet
Dutch National Ballet
Dutch National Ballet was formed in 1961 when the Amsterdams Ballet and the Nederlands Ballet merged. The company has been directed by Sonia Gaskell , Rudi van Dantzig , Wayne Eagling and is currently directed by Ted Brandsen. It is the largest dance company in the Netherlands and attracts many...

 and the Holland Symfonia
Holland Symfonia
The Holland Symfonia is a Dutch symphony orchestra, based in Haarlem, The Netherlands. The term "Symfonia" derives from an amalgam of the Dutch word symfonie and the Italian word sinfonia...

.

Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ
Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ is a concert hall for contemporary classical music on the IJ in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The building opened in 2005 and is located above the IJtunnel, a ten-minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal station.The building was designed by Danish architects 3XN...

 is a concert hall, which is situated in the IJ
IJ (bay)
The IJ is a river, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is known for being Amsterdam's waterfront. The name derives from the generic Germanic term for "water" and is similar to other Aa/Ee names for bodies of water. In Dutch, the name consists of the digraph ij, which is...

 near the central station. Its concerts perform mostly modern classical music. Located adjacent to it, is the Bimhuis
Bimhuis
The Bimhuis is a concert hall for jazz and improvised music in Amsterdam.With an average of 150 performances a year the Bimhuis is the main stage for these musical genres in the Netherlands....

, a concert hall for improvised and Jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 music.

Theater


The main theater building of Amsterdam is the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam
Stadsschouwburg (Amsterdam)
The Stadsschouwburg of Amsterdam is the name of a theatre building at the Leidseplein in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The building is in the neo-Renaissance style dating back to 1894, and is the former home of the National Ballet and Opera.-The Rederijkerskamers:The first rederijkers appeared at...

 at the Leidseplein
Leidseplein
The Leidseplein is a square in central Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Lying in the southwest of the Grachtengordel district of Amsterdam, the Leidseplein is immediately northeast of the Singelgracht canal. It is situated on the crossroads of the Weteringschans, the Marnixstraat, and the Leidsestraat...

. It is the home base of the Toneelgroep Amsterdam. The current building dates from 1894. Most plays are performed in the Grote Zaal (Great Hall). The normal program of events encompasses all sorts of theatrical forms. The Stadsschouwburg is currently being renovated and expanded. The third theater space, to be operated jointly with next door Melkweg
Melkweg
The Melkweg is a popular music venue and cultural center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is located on the Lijnbaansgracht, near the Leidseplein, a prime nightlife center of Amsterdam. It is housed in a former warehouse and is divided into a number of spaces of varying sizes...

, will open in late 2009 or early 2010.
Other theaters are: Royal Theatre Carré, Bellevue theatres, the Stopera de kleine komedie and the re-opened DeLaMar.

Comedy and cabaret


The Netherlands has a tradition of cabaret or kleinkunst, which combines music, storytelling, commentary, theatre and comedy. Cabaret dates back to the 1930s and artists like Wim Kan
Wim Kan
Willem Cornelis "Wim" Kan was a Dutch cabaret artist. Together with Toon Hermans and Wim Sonneveld, he is considered to be one of the Great Three of Dutch cabaret....

, Wim Sonneveld
Wim Sonneveld
Willem 'Wim' Sonneveld was a Dutch cabaret artist and singer. Together with Toon Hermans and Wim Kan, he is considered to be one of the 'Great Three' of Dutch cabaret. Sonneveld is generally viewed as a Dutch cultural icon for his work and legacy in theatre, musicals and music...

 and Toon Hermans
Toon Hermans
Antoine G. T. "Toon" Hermans was a noted Dutch comedian, singer and writer. He was born in Sittard, now part of the municipality of Sittard-Geleen....

 were pioneers of this form of art in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam is the Kleinkunstacademie (English: Cabaret Academy).

Contemporary popular artists are Youp van 't Hek
Youp van 't Hek
Joseph Jacobus Maria "Youp" van 't Hek is a Dutch comedian and a columnist for NRC Handelsblad.- Biography :Youp was born and raised in the Gooi, a wealthy region to the southeast of Amsterdam. His youth there served as an inspiration for his ironic attitude toward the rich, the successful and all...

, Freek de Jonge
Freek de Jonge
Frederik "Freek" Jan Georg de Jonge is a Dutch cabaret performer, singer, comedian and blogger.-Early life and career:...

, Herman Finkers
Herman Finkers
Hermenegildus "Herman" Felix Victor Maria Finkers is a comedian from the Dutch region of Twente, who is well-known in the Netherlands for his friendly, dry-witted humour and his ambiguous style of storytelling. In his way of telling a story the moral should never be in the way of a good joke or pun...

, Hans Teeuwen
Hans Teeuwen
Hans Eduard Marie Teeuwen is a Dutch comedian, actor and an occasional singer and director. His work can be described as absurdist, apolitical and confrontational.- Theatre :...

, Theo Maassen
Theo Maassen
Theodorus Wilhelmus Maassen is a Dutch comedian and actor who grew up in Zijtaart in the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant. He currently lives in Eindhoven...

, Herman van Veen
Herman van Veen
Hermannus Jantinus "Herman" van Veen is a Dutch stage performer, actor, musician and singer/songwriter and author. He is most famous as the creator of the Dutch-Japanese cartoon Alfred J...

, Najib Amhali
Najib Amhali
Najib Amhali is a Moroccan-born Dutch stand-up comedian and actor.Najib Amhali was born in Nador. He has gained popularity partly because of his flawless command of Dutch and ability to show the Dutch how the life of immigrants and ethnic minorities in the Netherlands can be. 'Als Marokkaan kom...

, Raoul Heertje
Raoul Heertje
Raoul Louis Heertje is a Dutch comedian. Being Jewish himself, his comedy performances also includes Jewish humour....

, Jörgen Raymann, De Vliegende Panters and Comedytrain
Comedytrain
Comedytrain was the first stand-up comedy collective in the Netherlands. It was founded in 1990 by Raoul Heertje. Comedy club Toomler in Amsterdam is its home theatre.The word Comedytrain is a combination of comedy and training...

. The English spoken comedy scene was established with the founding of Boom Chicago
Boom Chicago
Boom Chicago is a creative group, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, that writes and performs sketch and improvisational comedy at the Leidseplein Theater...

 in 1993. They have their own theatre at Leidseplein.

Nightlife


Amsterdam is famous for its vibrant and diverse nightlife. The two main nightlife areas are the Leidseplein
Leidseplein
The Leidseplein is a square in central Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Lying in the southwest of the Grachtengordel district of Amsterdam, the Leidseplein is immediately northeast of the Singelgracht canal. It is situated on the crossroads of the Weteringschans, the Marnixstraat, and the Leidsestraat...

 and the Rembrandtplein
Rembrandtplein
Rembrandtplein is a major square in central Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is named after the famous painter Rembrandt van Rijn....

.

Amsterdam has many cafés
Bar (establishment)
A bar is a business establishment that serves alcoholic drinks — beer, wine, liquor, and cocktails — for consumption on the premises.Bars provide stools or chairs that are placed at tables or counters for their patrons. Some bars have entertainment on a stage, such as a live band, comedians, go-go...

(bars). They range from large and modern to small and cozy. The typical Bruine Kroeg (brown café) breathe a more old fashioned atmosphere with dimmed lights, candles, and somewhat older clientele. Most cafés have terraces in summertime. A common sight on the Leidseplein during summer is a square full of terraces packed with people drinking beer or wine.

Many restaurants can be found in Amsterdam as well. Since Amsterdam is a multicultural city, a lot of different ethnic restaurants can be found. Restaurants range from being rather luxurious and expensive to being ordinary and affordable.

Amsterdam also possesses many discothèques. Most of these 'clubs' are situated near the Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. The Paradiso
Paradiso (Amsterdam)
Paradiso is an iconic rock music venue and cultural center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.-History:It is housed in a converted former church building that dates from the nineteenth century and that was used until 1965 as the meeting hall for a liberal Dutch religious group known as the "Vrije...

, Melkweg
Melkweg
The Melkweg is a popular music venue and cultural center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It is located on the Lijnbaansgracht, near the Leidseplein, a prime nightlife center of Amsterdam. It is housed in a former warehouse and is divided into a number of spaces of varying sizes...

 and Sugar Factory are cultural centres, which turn into discothèques on some nights. Examples of discothèques near the Rembrandtplein are the Escape and Club Home. Also noteworthy are Panama, Hotel Arena (East), The Sand and The Powerzone.

Bimhuis
Bimhuis
The Bimhuis is a concert hall for jazz and improvised music in Amsterdam.With an average of 150 performances a year the Bimhuis is the main stage for these musical genres in the Netherlands....

 located near the Central Station, with its rich programming hosting the best in the field is considered one of the best jazz clubs in the world.

The Reguliersdwarsstraat is the main street for the LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 community and nightlife.

Movie theaters


Hollywood films are primarily featured at cinemas owned by Pathe
Pathé
Pathé or Pathé Frères is the name of various French businesses founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France.-History:...

. Tuschinski
Tuschinski
Pathé Tuschinski is a movie theater in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam, originally exploited by Abraham Icek Tuschinski, who had it built in 1921 at a cost of 4 million guilders, in a spectacular mix of styles, as designed by Hijman Louis de Jong; Amsterdam School, Jugendstil, Art Nouveau and Art Deco...

 is a heritage art deco
Art Deco
Art deco , or deco, is an eclectic artistic and design style that began in Paris in the 1920s and flourished internationally throughout the 1930s, into the World War II era. The style influenced all areas of design, including architecture and interior design, industrial design, fashion and...

 building with a beautiful lobby and six screens. Theater One is an architectural treasure with comfortable seats, two balconies and recently restored ceilings. Pathe De Munt is modern and is located at the Muntplein
Muntplein (Amsterdam)
The Muntplein is a square in the centre of Amsterdam. The square is in fact a bridge — the widest bridge in Amsterdam — which crosses the Singel canal at the point where it flows into the Amstel river...

. Pathe Arena is located a metro ride from the centre and includes an IMAX
IMAX
IMAX is a motion picture film format and a set of proprietary cinema projection standards created by the Canadian company IMAX Corporation. IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems...

 auditorium. Pathe City is scheduled to reopen in 2010. Art film
Art film
An art film is the result of filmmaking which is typically a serious, independent film aimed at a niche market rather than a mass market audience...

s can be found at Tuschinski, and the independent The Movies, Cinecenter, Kriterion, Ketelhuis, Uitkijk, and the Filmmuseum
Netherlands Filmmuseum
EYE Film Institute Netherlands is located in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It includes a cinematography museum formerly called Filmmuseum, founded in 1952. Its predecessor was the Dutch Historic Film Archive, founded in 1946...

.

Festivals



In 2008, there were 140 festivals and events in Amsterdam.
Famous festivals and events in Amsterdam include: Koninginnedag
Koninginnedag
Koninginnedag or Queen's Day is a national holiday in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Celebrated on 30 April , Koninginnedag is Queen Beatrix's official birthday. Though Queen Beatrix was born on 31 January, the holiday is observed on 30 April as it was the birthday of her mother and...

 (Queen's Day); the Holland Festival
Holland Festival
The Holland Festival is The Netherlands' oldest and largest performing arts festival, and takes place every June in Amsterdam. It comprises theater, music, opera and modern dance. In recent years, multimedia, visual arts, film and architecture were added to the festival roster...

 for the performing arts; the yearly Prinsengrachtconcert (classical concerto on the Prinsen canal) in August; the 'Stille Omgang
Stille Omgang
A stille omgang is an informal ritual that served as substitute for the Roman Catholic processions that were prohibited after the Reformation in the Netherlands in the 16th century...

' (a silent Roman Catholic evening procession held every March); Amsterdam Gay Pride
Gay pride
LGBT pride or gay pride is the concept that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity...

; The Cannabis Cup
Cannabis Cup
The High Times Cannabis Cup is the world’s preeminent Cannabis festival. Founded in 1987 by Steven Hager, the High Times Cannabis Cup takes place each November in Amsterdam. The event allows judges from around the world to sample and vote for their favorite marijuana strains...

; and the Uitmarkt
Uitmarkt
The Uitmarkt is the opening of the cultural season in Amsterdam, held every year over a weekend at the end of August, usually on and around the Leidseplein, Museumplein and Nieuwmarkt. Many theatres open their doors for free to shows that range from classical music and ballet to hiphop, cabaret,...

. On Koninginnedag—held each year on April 30—hundreds of thousands of people travel to Amsterdam to celebrate with the city's residents. The entire city becomes overcrowded with people buying products from the freemarket, or visiting one of the many music concerts.

The yearly Holland Festival attracts international artists and visitors from all over Europe. Amsterdam Gay Pride is a yearly local LGBT
LGBT
LGBT is an initialism that collectively refers to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the...

 parade of boats in Amsterdam's canals, held on the first Saturday in August. The Gay Pride event is a frequent source of both criticism and praise. The annual Uitmarkt is a three-day cultural event at the start of the cultural season in late August. It offers previews of many different artists, such as musicians and poets, who perform on podia
Podium
A podium is a platform that is used to raise something to a short distance above its surroundings. It derives from the Greek πόδι In architecture a building can rest on a large podium. Podia can also be used to raise people, for instance the conductor of an orchestra stands on a podium as do many...

.

Sports



Amsterdam is home of the Eredivisie
Eredivisie
The Eredivisie is the highest football league in the Netherlands. The league was founded in 1956 two years after the start of professional football in the Netherlands. It is currently ranked the ninth best league in Europe by UEFA....

football club Ajax Amsterdam. The stadium Amsterdam ArenA
Amsterdam ArenA
Amsterdam Arena is a stadium in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is the largest stadium in the nation and it was built from 1993 to 1996 at a cost of €140 million, and was officially opened on 14 August 1996. It has been used for association football, American football, concerts, and other events...

 is the home of Ajax. It is located in the south-east
Amsterdam Zuidoost
Amsterdam-Zuidoost is one of fifteen boroughs of the city of Amsterdam. It consists of four residential areas—Bijlmermeer, Venserpolder, Gaasperdam and Driemond—as well as the Amstel III/Bullewijk Business Park and the ArenA Boulevard area.Amsterdam-Zuidoost has approximately 86,000...

 of the city next to the new Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA railway station
Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA railway station
Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA is a railway station in the Bijlmermeer neighbourhood of the Amsterdam Zuidoost stadsdeel of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The station has five platforms and eight tracks; two for the Amsterdam Metro and six train tracks, along with a bus station.-History:Originally opened...

. Before it moved to its current location in 1996, Ajax played their regular matches in De Meer Stadion
De Meer Stadion
De Meer is the name of the former stadium of AFC Ajax. It was opened in 1934 as a result of the club's former stadium being too small. Upon completion, it could hold 22,000 spectators, but accommodating up to 29,500 at its maximum...

.
In 1928, Amsterdam hosted the Summer Olympics
1928 Summer Olympics
The 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam had bid for the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but had to give way to war-victim Antwerp, Belgium, and Pierre de...

. The Olympic Stadium built for the occasion has been completely restored and is now used for cultural and sporting events, such as the Amsterdam Marathon
Amsterdam Marathon
The Amsterdam Marathon is an annual marathon race over the classic distance of 42.195km held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands since 1975. It is one of the top ten marathons in the world.-History:...

. The city itself played host to the road cycling events
Cycling at the 1928 Summer Olympics
The cycling competition at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam consisted of two road cycling events and four track cycling events, all for men only...

 for those games. Eight years earlier, Amsterdam assisted in hosting some of the sailing
Sailing at the 1920 Summer Olympics
The sailing at the 1920 Summer Olympics consisted of a total of 16 sailing classes . Two of these classes finally did not have entries. For each class three races were scheduled from 7 July 1920 to 9 July 1920 of the coast of Ostend North Sea. On 10 July 1920 sail-off races could be held.Two...

 events for the Summer Olympics
1920 Summer Olympics
The 1920 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the VII Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium....

 held in neighboring Antwerp, Belgium by hosting events at Buiten Y
IJ (bay)
The IJ is a river, formerly a bay, in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is known for being Amsterdam's waterfront. The name derives from the generic Germanic term for "water" and is similar to other Aa/Ee names for bodies of water. In Dutch, the name consists of the digraph ij, which is...

.

The ice hockey team Amstel Tijgers
Amstel Tijgers
IJshockeyvereniging Amstel Tijgers is an amateur ice hockey team in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, playing in the Dutch Eerste Divisie . It once consisted of an amateur and a pro-section, which were separate legal entities. The amateur team currently plays at the Jaap Eden baan...

 play in the Jaap Eden
Jaap Eden
Jacobus Johannes "Jaap" Eden was a Dutch athlete. He is the only male athlete to has won world championships in both speed skating and bicycle racing .- Early life :Jaap Eden was born in Groningen to Johannes Eden and Maria Baale...

 ice rink. The team competes in the Dutch ice hockey premier league. Speed skating
Long track speed skating
Speed skating is an Olympic sport where competitors are timed while crossing a set distance. It is also a sport for leisure. Sports such as short track speedskating, inline speedskating, and quad speed skating are also called speed skating...

 championships have been held on the 400 metres (1,312.3 ft) lane of this ice rink.

Amsterdam holds two American Football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 franchises, the Amsterdam Crusaders
Amsterdam Crusaders
The Amsterdam Crusaders are an American Football club from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Together with the Rotterdam Trojans and Alphen Eagles, Amsterdam Crusaders are the oldest surviving Dutch American Football club.-Beginnings:...

, playing at Amsterdam Sloten, and the Amsterdam Panthers.
The Amsterdam Pirates
Amsterdam Pirates
Amsterdam Pirates is a baseball and softball team in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was founded as an expansion of the soccer club S.V. RAP. In the first years it was known as the RAP Pirates, but after a few years the club changed its name according to American tradition and became the Amsterdam...

 baseball team competes in the Dutch Major League
Honkbal Hoofdklasse
The Honkbal Hoofdklasse is the highest level of professional baseball in the Netherlands. It is an eight-team league that plays a 42-game schedule and is overseen by the Royal Netherlands Baseball and Softball Federation . Games are played principally on weekends...

. There are three field hockey
Field hockey
Field Hockey, or Hockey, is a team sport in which a team of players attempts to score goals by hitting, pushing or flicking a ball into an opposing team's goal using sticks...

 teams, Amsterdam, Pinoké and Hurley, who play their matches around the Wagener Stadium
Wagener Stadium
Wagener Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium in Amstelveen, Netherlands. It is currently used mostly for field hockey matches and hosted matches for the 1973 World Hockey Cup. The stadium holds 9,000 people....

 in the nearby city of Amstelveen
Amstelveen
' is a suburban municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. It is part of the metropolitan area of Amsterdam. The municipality of Amstelveen consists of the following villages and/or districts: Amstelveen, Bovenkerk, Westwijk, Bankras-Kostverloren, Groenelaan, Waardhuizen,...

. The basketball team MyGuide Amsterdam
MyGuide Amsterdam
ABC Amsterdam is a Dutch professional basketball club based in Amsterdam.ABC Amsterdam has won the Dutch Basketball League 7 times, in 1999-2002,2005, 2008 and 2009. They won the play-offs 4-3 against Eiffel Towers, Den Bosch to win the Dutch Professional basketball league title for the season...

 competes in the Dutch premier division and play their games in the Sporthallen Zuid, near the Olympic Stadium.

Since 1999 the city of Amsterdam honours the best sportsmen and women at the Amsterdam Sports Awards
Amsterdam Sportsman of the year
The Amsterdam Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year is an annual award given to sportspeople associated with Amsterdam , organised since 1999 by the city's division for elite sport named Topsport Amsterdam in cooperation with the city council...

. Boxer Raymond Joval
Raymond Joval
Raymond Joval is a professional boxer from The Netherlands, who was formerly the International Boxing Organization World Middleweight Champion....

 and field hockey midfielder Carole Thate
Carole Thate
Carole Helene Antoinette Thate is a Dutch former field hockey player, who played 168 international matches for the Netherlands, in which she scored forty goals...

 were the first to receive the awards in 1999.
Kick boxing, Muay Thai and other martial arts are very popular in the country and especially in the city of Amsterdam.

Twin towns – Sister cities


Amsterdam is twinned with the following cities:
City unicipality / District / Canton / Province / State / Region ountry ince
Algiers
Algiers
' is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000...

Algiers Province  Algeria Algeria
Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

 Greece Greece
Bogotá
Bogotá
Bogotá, Distrito Capital , from 1991 to 2000 called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, even though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent Capital district...

Capital District of Bogotá  Colombia Colombia
Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

Beijing Municipality  Mainland China China
Brasilia
Brasília
Brasília is the capital city of Brazil. The name is commonly spelled Brasilia in English. The city and its District are located in the Central-West region of the country, along a plateau known as Planalto Central. It has a population of about 2,557,000 as of the 2008 IBGE estimate, making it the...

Brazilian Federal District
Brazilian Federal District
The Federal District is set apart for Brasília, the capital of Brazil. Located in a region called Planalto Central, or Central Plateau, the Federal District is divided in 29 administrative regions. Brasilia - place where the three branches of the Federal Government are located - is the main...

 Brazil Brazil
Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

Marmara
Marmara Region
The Marmara Region , with a surface area of 67.000 km², is the smallest but most densely populated of the seven geographical regions of Turkey...

 Turkey Turkey
Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

Kiev City Municipality  Ukraine Ukraine
Manchester
Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester
Greater Manchester is a metropolitan county in North West England, with a population of 2.6 million. It encompasses one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United Kingdom and comprises ten metropolitan boroughs: Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, and the...

United Kingdom
Managua
Managua
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in...

Managua Municipality  Nicaragua Nicaragua 1984
Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 Canada Canada
Moscow Federal City of Moscow  Russia Russia
Nicosia
Nicosia
Nicosia from , known locally as Lefkosia , is the capital and largest city in Cyprus, as well as its main business center. Nicosia is the only divided capital in the world, with the southern and the northern portions divided by a Green Line...

Nicosia District
Nicosia District
For the district of Northern Cyprus, see Lefkoşa District.Nicosia District is one of the six districts of Cyprus. Its main town is the island country's capital city, Nicosia...

 Cyprus Cyprus
Recife
Recife
Recife is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Brazil with 4,136,506 inhabitants, the largest metropolitan area of the North/Northeast Regions, the 5th-largest metropolitan influence area in Brazil, and the capital and largest city of the state of Pernambuco. The population of the city proper...

Pernambuco
Pernambuco
Pernambuco is a state of Brazil, located in the Northeast region of the country. To the north are the states of Paraíba and Ceará, to the west is Piauí, to the south are Alagoas and Bahia, and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean. There are about of beaches, some of the most beautiful in the...

 Brazil Brazil 2009
Riga
Riga
Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. With 702,891 inhabitants Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states, one of the largest cities in Northern Europe and home to more than one third of Latvia's population. The city is an important seaport and a major industrial, commercial,...

Riga Municipality  Latvia Latvia
Sarajevo
Sarajevo
Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

Sarajevo Canton
Sarajevo Canton
The Sarajevo Canton is a canton of the Federation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The capital is Sarajevo.The Canton is basically the metro area of the city it is named after that is inside the Federation...

 Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
Willemstad
Willemstad
Willemstad can refer to:*Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao*Willemstad , a town in Moerdijk, the Netherlands*Willemstad , a hamlet near Marum, the Netherlands*Willemstad , a hamlet in the Netherlands...

Willemstad District  Curaçao Curaçao 2009

External links