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Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. 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 successors. Amsterdam has a population of 780,152 within city limits, an urban population of 1,209,419 and a metropolitan population of 2,158,592.HP 586006-321 Battery

The city is in the province of North Hollandin the west of the country. It comprises the northern part of the Randstad, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Europe, with a population of approximately 8.1 million according to larger estimates.

Its name is derived from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. HP 586006-361 Battery

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, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds.HP 586028-341 Battery

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were formed. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam (in Dutch: 'Grachtengordel'), located in the heart of Amsterdam, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2010.HP h588178-141 Battery

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 and ING, 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. HP 593553-001 Battery

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city centre. Amsterdam's main attractions, including itshistoric canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House,HP 593554-001 Battery

Amsterdam Museum, itsred-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually.

History

The earliest recorded use of the name "Amsterdam" is from a certificate dated 27 October 1275, when the inhabitants, who had built a bridge with a dam across the Amstel, were exempted from paying a bridge toll by Count Floris V.HP HSTNN-CB0W Battery

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, and Utrecht. HP HSTNN-CB0X Battery

In October 2008, historical geographer 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 may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat, used as fuel.HP HSTNN-I79C Battery

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. In 1345, an alleged Eucharistic miracle in the Kalverstraat rendered the city an important place of pilgrimage until the adoption of the Protestant faith. HP HSTNN-I81C Battery

The Stille Omgang—a silent procession in civil attire—is today a remnant of the rich pilgrimage history.

In the 16th century, the Dutch rebelled against Philip II of Spain and his successors. The main reasons for the uprising were the imposition of new taxes, the tenth penny, and the religious persecution of Protestants by the Spanish Inquisition.HP HSTNN-IB0N Battery

The revolt escalated into the Eighty Years' War, which ultimately led to Dutch independence. Strongly pushed by Dutch Revolt leader William the Silent, the Dutch Republic became known for its relative religious tolerance.Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Huguenots from France, HP HSTNN-IB0X Battery

prosperous merchants and printers from Flanders, and economic and religious refugees from the Spanish-controlled parts of the Low Countries found safety in Amsterdam. The influx of Flemish printers and the city's intellectual tolerance made Amsterdam a centre for the European free press.HP HSTNN-LB0W Battery

The 17th century is considered Amsterdam's Golden Age, during which it became the wealthiest city in the world.[22] Ships sailed from Amsterdam to theBaltic Sea, North America, and Africa, as well as present-day Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, forming the basis of a worldwide trading network. HP HSTNN-OB0X Battery

Amsterdam's merchants had the largest share in both the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company. These companies acquired overseas possessions that later became Dutch colonies. Amsterdam was Europe's most important point for the shipment of goods and was the leadingFinancial Centre of the world.HP HSTNN-OB0X Battery

In 1602, the Amsterdam office of the Dutch East India Company became the world's first stock exchange 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. HP HSTNN-OB0Y Battery

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 of the Dutch Republic with England and France took their toll on Amsterdam. HP HSTNN-Q61C Battery

During the Napoleonic Wars, Amsterdam's significance reached its lowest point, with Holland being absorbed into the French Empire. However, the later establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815 marked a turning point.

The end of the 19th century is sometimes called Amsterdam's second Golden Age.HP HSTNN-Q62C Battery

New museums, a train station, and the Concertgebouw were built; in this same time, the Industrial Revolution reached the city. The Amsterdam-Rhine Canal was dug to give Amsterdam a direct connection to the Rhine, and theNorth Sea Canal was dug to give the port a shorter connection to the North Sea. HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

Both projects dramatically improved commerce with the rest of Europe and the world. In 1906, Joseph Conrad 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.HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

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.HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

Germany invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 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. HP NBP6A174 Battery

Perhaps the most-famous deportee was the young Jewish girl Anne Frank, who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. 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. HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

Dogs, cats, raw sugar beets, and Tulip 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, Slotervaart, Slotermeer, and Geuzenveld, were built in the years after the Second World War.HP NBP6A175 Battery

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. HP NBP6A175B1 Battery

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 started operating in 1977 between the new suburb of Bijlmer and the centre of Amsterdam. HP WD548AA Battery

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.HP WD549AA Battery

During the destruction's peak, the Nieuwmarktrellen (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. HP Envy 17 Notebook PC Battery

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.HP Envy 17T Battery

The entire city centre has reattained its former splendor and, as a whole, is now a protected area. Many of its buildings have become monuments, and in July 2010 the Grachtengordel (Herengracht, Keizersgracht, andPrinsengracht) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.HP HSTNN-Q61C Battery

Geography

Amsterdam is part of the province of North-Holland and is located in the west of the Netherlands next to the provinces of Utrecht and Flevoland. The riverAmstel terminates in the city centre and connects to a large number of canals that eventually terminate in the IJ. Amsterdam is situated 2 metres above sea level.HP GSTNN-Q62C Battery

The surrounding land is flat as it is formed of large polders. To the southwest of the city lies a man-made forest called het Amsterdamse Bos. Amsterdam is connected to the North Sea through the long North Sea Canal.HP HSTNN-IB1E Battery

Amsterdam is intensely urbanized, as is the Amsterdam metropolitan area surrounding the city. Comprising 219.4 square kilometres of land, the city properhas 4,457 inhabitants per km2 and 2,275 houses per km2.[34] Parks and nature reserves make up 12% of Amsterdam's land area.HP HSTNN-IB0X Battery

Climate

Amsterdam has an oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), strongly influenced by its proximity to the North Sea to the west, with prevailing north-western winds and gales. Winter temperatures are cool to mild.HP HSTNN-OB0X Battery

Amsterdam, as well as most of the North-Holland province, lies in USDA Hardiness zone 9, the northernmost such occurrence in continental Europe. Frosts mainly occur during spells of easterly or northeasterly winds from the inner European continent, from Scandinavia, Russia, or even Siberia. HP HSTNN-YB0X Battery

Even then, because Amsterdam is surrounded on three sides by large bodies of water, as well as enjoying a significant heat-island effect, nights rarely fall below ?5 °C (23 °F), while it could easily be ?12 °C (10 °F) in Hilversum, 25 kilometres southeast. Summers are moderately warm but rarely hot. HP 586006-361 Battery

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 measurableprecipitation are common, on average 186 days per year. Amsterdam's average annual precipitation is 833 millimetres (32.8 in).HP NBP6A174 Battery

Most of this precipitation is in the form of protracted drizzle or light rain, making cloudy and damp days common during the cooler months of October through March. Only the occasional European windstorm brings significant rain in a short period of time, requiring it to be pumped out to higher ground or to the seas around the city.HP NBP6A174B1 Battery

Cityscape and architecture

Amsterdam fans out south from the Amsterdam Centraal railway station. The Damrak is the main street and leads into the street Rokin. The oldest area of the town is known as de Wallen (the quays). HP 588178-141 Battery

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, known as the Grachtengordel, embraces the heart of the city where homes have interesting gables. HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

Beyond the Grachtengordel are the former working class areas of Jordaan and de Pijp. The Museumplein with the city's major museums, the Vondelpark, a 19th century park named after the Dutch writer Joost van den Vondel, and the Plantage neighbourhood, with the zoo, are also located outside the Grachtengordel.Sony NP-F330 Battery

Several parts of the city and the surrounding urban area are polders. This can be recognized by the suffix -meer which means lake, as in Aalsmeer,Bijlmermeer, Haarlemmermeer, and Watergraafsmeer.

Canals

The Amsterdam canal system is the result of conscious city planning.Asus Eee PC 904HA Adapter

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 bay. Known as the Grachtengordel, three of the canals were mostly for residential development: Nikon D80  Battery

the Herengracht (Gentlemen's or more accurately Patricians' Canal), Keizersgracht (Emperor's Canal), andPrinsengracht (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. Sony PCGA-AC19V9 Adapter

The Singelgracht should not be confused with the oldest and most inner canal Singel. The canals served the purposes of defense and water management. The defenses took the form of a moat and earthen dikes, with gates at transit points, but otherwise no masonry superstructures.Dell T555C Battery

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. HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL Battery

Construction started in 1613 and proceeded from west to east, across the breadth of the layout, like a gigantic windshield wiper as the historian Geert Makcalls it – and not from the centre outwards, as a popular myth has it. The canal construction in the southern sector was completed by 1656. HP Pavilion DV7-2085EL Battery

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.HP Pavilion DV9700 Battery

Over the years, several canals have been filled in, becoming streets or squares, such as the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and the Spui.

Expansion

After the development of Amsterdam's canals in the 17th century, the city did not grow beyond its borders for two centuries.HP Mini 702EA Battery

During the 19th century, Samuel Sarphati 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. HP Pavilion DV7-1120EO Battery

Although the plan did not expand the city, it did produce some of the largest public buildings 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, HP Compaq 491278-001 Battery

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: HP Pavilion DV6-1030US Battery

Plan Zuid, designed by the architectBerlage, 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. HP Compaq 490306-001 Battery

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. HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM Battery

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.HP EliteBook 2530P Battery

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 at the Begijnhof. 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 in Amsterdam.HP Pavilion DV4385EA Battery

In the 16th century, wooden buildings were razed and replaced with brick ones. During this period, many buildings were constructed in the architectural style of the Renaissance. Buildings of this period are very recognizable with their stepped gable façades, which is the common Dutch Renaissance style.Compaq PP2100 Battery

Amsterdam quickly developed its own Renaissance architecture. These buildings were built according to the principles of the architect Hendrick de Keyser. One of the most striking buildings designed by Hendrick de Keyer is the Westerkerk. In the 17th century baroque architecture became very popular, as it was elsewhere in Europe. HP Compaq KU532AA Battery

This roughly coincided with Amsterdam’s Golden Age. The leading architects of this style in Amsterdam were Jacob van Campen, Philip Vingboons and Daniel Stalpaert.

Philip Vingboons designed splendid merchants' houses throughout the city. HP Pavilion DV6-1270EQ Battery

A famous building in baroque style in Amsterdam is the Royal Palace on Dam Square. Throughout the 18th century, Amsterdam was heavily influenced byFrench culture. This is reflected in the architecture of that period. Around 1815, architects broke with the baroque style and started building in different neo-styles.HP Pavilion DV4385EA Battery

Most Gothic style buildings date from that era and are therefore said to be built in a neo-gothic style. At the end of the 19th century, the Jugendstil or Art Nouveau style became popular and many new buildings were constructed in this architectural style.HP Compaq Business  NC4400 Battery

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 in Amsterdam Oud-Zuid are an example of Jugendstil. The last style that was popular in Amsterdam before the modern era was Art Deco.HP Pavilion ZD8227 Battery

Amsterdam had its own version of the style, which was called the Amsterdamse School. 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.HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM Battery

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.Nikon D200 Battery

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; the central one, Centrum, being circled by Westerpark,Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

Bos en Lommer, De Baarsjes, Oud-West, Oud-Zuid, Oost/Watergraafsmeer, Zeeburg and Amsterdam-Noord, with the six outer boroughs (Westpoort, Geuzenveld-Slotermeer,Osdorp, Slotervaart, Zuideramstel, and Zuidoost) creating a further encirclement.Sony CYBER-SHOT DSC-T10  Battery

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. HP Compaq Business 6715b Battery

Colloquially, some areas within the municipality, such as the village of Durgerdam, may not be considered part of Amsterdam. Statistics Netherlands uses three other definitions of Amsterdam: metropolitan agglomeration AmsterdamKodak KLIC-7004 Battery

(Grootstedelijke Agglomeratie Amsterdam, not to be confused with Grootstedelijk Gebied Amsterdam, a synonym ofGroot Amsterdam), Greater Amsterdam (Groot Amsterdam, a COROP region) and the urban region Amsterdam (Stadsgewest Amsterdam).Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

These definitions are not synonymous with the terms urban area and metropolitan area, 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 Amsterdam. Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS Battery

This region is similar to Greater Amsterdam but includes the municipalities Zaanstad and Wormerland. It excludes Graft-De Rijp.

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.HP 2133 Mini-Note PC Adapter

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, Toshiba PA3536U-1BRS Battery

because the definition excludes the relatively populous municipality of Zaanstad. The largest area by population, the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area (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.HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

Amsterdam is part of the conglomerate metropolitan area Randstad, with a total population of 6,659,300 inhabitants.

City government

As with all Dutch municipalities, Amsterdam is governed by a mayor, aldermen, and the municipal council. HP Pavilion DV9000 Adapter

However, unlike most other Dutch municipalities, Amsterdam is subdivided into eight "stadsdelen" (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. Dell Studio 1537 Battery

14 of those had their own council, chosen by a popular election. The 15th, Westpoort, 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.HP PPP009H Adapter

National government

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands in a technical legal sense. The present version of the Dutch constitution 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"). Sony VGP-BPS8 Battery

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, parliament 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. Dell PA-12 Adapter

Foreign embassies are also in The Hague. The capital of North Holland is Haarlem.

Symbols

The coat of arms of Amsterdam is composed of several historical elements. First and centre are three St Andrew's crosses, aligned in a vertical band on the city's shield (although Amsterdam's patron saint was Saint Nicholas). Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7/B  Battery

These St Andrew's crosses can also be found on the cityshields of neighboursAmstelveen and Ouder-Amstel. This part of the coat of arms is the basis of the flag of Amsterdam, flown by the city government, but also as civil ensign for ships registered in Amsterdam. Second is the Imperial Crown of Austria.Dell LATITUDE M65 Battery

In 1489, out of gratitude for services and loans, Maximilian I awarded Amsterdam the right to adorn its coat of arms with the king's crown. Then, in 1508, this was replaced with Maximilian's imperial crown when he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

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, a crown that became the Imperial Crown of Austria. The lions date from the late 16th century, when city and province became part of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.Acer AS07B41 Battery

Last came the city's official motto: Heldhaftig, Vastberaden, Barmhartig ("Heroic, Determined, Merciful"), bestowed on the city in 1947 by Queen Wilhelmina, in recognition of the city's bravery during the Second World War.

Economy

Amsterdam is the financial and business capital of the Netherlands.Dell Vostro 1310 Battery

Amsterdam is currently one of the best European cities in which to locate an International Business. It is ranked fifth in this category and is only surpassed by London, Paris, Frankfurt andBarcelona. Many large corporations and banks have their headquarters in Amsterdam, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

Akzo Nobel, Heineken International, ING Group, Ahold, TomTom, Delta Lloyd Group and Philips. KPMG International's global headquarters is located in nearby Amstelveen, where many non-Dutch companies have settled as well due to the fact that surrounding communities allow full land ownership, contrary to Amsterdam's land-lease system.HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

Though many small offices are still located on the old canals, companies are increasingly relocating outside the city centre. The Zuidas(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 and Accenture,Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S Battery

and the World Trade Center Amsterdam 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 have their offices. Sony NP-FH100 Battery

Also, the municipal public transport company (Gemeentelijk Vervoersbedrijf) and the Dutch tax offices (Belastingdienst) are located there. The second Financial District is the area surroundingAmsterdam Arena. The third is the area surrounding Amsterdam Amstel railway station.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

The tallest building in Amsterdam, the Rembrandt Tower, is situated there, as is the headquarters ofPhilips.

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange (AEX), nowadays part of Euronext, is the world's oldest stock exchange and is one of Europe's largest bourses. It is situated near Dam Square in the city's centre.Apple MacBook Pro Battery

Tourism

Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, receiving more than 4.63 million international visitors annually. The number of visitors has been growing steadily over the past decade.Apple PowerBook G4 Battery

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.Acer BATBL50L6 Battery

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.Canon EOS 450D Battery

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 legalized prostitution and is Amsterdam's largest and most well known red-light district.Acer Travelmate 2400 Battery

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 workers who offer their services from behind a window or glass door, typically illuminated with red lights.Dell Inspiron 1525 Adapter

Retail

Shops in Amsterdam range from large department stores such as De Bijenkorf founded in 1870 and Maison de Bonneterie a Parisian style store founded in 1889, to small specialty shops. 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. Compaq Presario 2100 Adapter

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 theGrachtengordel, 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.Acer Aspire 1362 Battery

The city also features a large number of open-air markets such as the Albert Cuypmarkt, Westerstraat-markt, Ten Katemarkt, and Dappermarkt. 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.Toshiba Equium M50-192 Battery

Fashion

Fashion brands like G-star, Gsus, BlueBlood, Iris van Herpen, 10 feet and Warmenhoven & Venderbos, and fashion designers like Mart Visser, Viktor & Rolf, Sheila de Vries, Marlies Dekkers andFrans Molenaar are based in Amsterdam. Modelling agencies Elite Models, Touche models and Tony Jones have opened branches in Amsterdam. Dell XPS M1330 Battery

Supermodels Yfke Sturm, Doutzen Kroes and Kim Noorda 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.Acer Travelmate 2200 Adapter

Demographics

In the 16th and 17th century non-Dutch immigrants to Amsterdam were mostly Huguenots, Flemings, Sephardi Jews and Westphalians. Huguenots came after the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685, while the Flemish Protestants came during the Eighty Years' War. HP Compaq 6735b Adapter

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 in the 1940s and 1950s. Dell Vostro 1000 Battery

In the 1960s guest workers from Turkey, Morocco, Italy and Spain emigrated to Amsterdam. After the independence of Suriname in 1975, a large wave of Surinamese settled in Amsterdam, mostly in the Bijlmer area. Other immigrants, including refugees asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, came from Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

In the seventies and eighties, many 'old' Amsterdammers moved to 'new' cities like Almere and Purmerend, prompted by the third planological bill of the Dutch government. This bill promoted suburbanisation and arranged for new developments in so called "groeikernen", literally "cores of growth". Asus f82 Battery

Young professionals and artists moved into neighbourhoods de Pijp and the Jordaan abandoned by these Amsterdammers. The non-Western immigrants settled mostly in thesocial housing 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.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

The largest religious group are Christians, who are divided between Roman Catholics and Protestants. The next largest religion is Islam, most of whose followers are Sunni.

In 1578 the previously Roman Catholic city of Amsterdam joined the revolt against Spanish rule, late in comparison to other major northern Dutch cities. HP Compaq Business 6910p Battery

In line with Protestant procedure of that time, all churches were converted to Protestant worship. Calvinism became the dominant religion, and although Catholicism was not forbidden and priests allowed to serve, the Catholic hierarchy was prohibited. Compaq PRESARIO R3000 Battery

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 from Spain and Portugal, Huguenots from France, and Protestants from the Southern Netherlands. HP Compaq Business NX6110 Battery

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, a reference to their sense of belonging there.Dell Latitude D610 Adapter

As they became established in the city, other Christian denominations 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 theBegijnhof. Regular services there are still offered in English under the auspices of the Church of Scotland.Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

The Huguenots accounted for nearly 20% of Amsterdam's inhabitants in 1700. Being Calvinists, they soon integrated into theDutch Reformed Church, though often retaining their own congregations. Some, commonly referred by the moniker 'Walloon', are recognizable today as they offer occasional services in French.HP Compaq Business NX6325 Battery

In the second half of the 17th century, Amsterdam experienced an influx of Ashkenazim, Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, which continued into the 19th century. Jews often fled the pogroms in those areas. The first Ashkenazi who arrived in Amsterdam were refugees from the Chmielnicki Uprising in Poland and the Thirty Years War. Dell Studio XPS 16 Battery

They not only founded their own synagogues, but had a strong influence on the 'Amsterdam dialect' adding a large Yiddish local vocabulary.

Despite an absence of an official Jewish ghetto, most Jews preferred to live in the eastern part of the old medieval heart of the city.Acer Aspire 5520 Battery

The main street of this Jewish neighborhood was the Jodenbreestraat. The neighborhood comprised the Waterlooplein and the Nieuwmarkt. 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. Acer TravelMate 5720 Adapter

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. HP Compaq 6735s Adapter

One of the principal architects behind the city's Catholic churches, Cuypers, was also responsible for the Amsterdam Central Station and the Rijksmuseum, which led to a refusal of Protestant King William III to open 'that monastery'. In 1924, the Roman Catholic Church of the Netherlands hosted the International Eucharistic Congress in Amsterdam,Dell XPS M1330 Battery

and numerous Catholicprelates 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, HP Compaq nc6230 Adapter

but despite its far larger population size, the Catholic clergy chose to place its episcopal see of the city in the nearby provincial town of Haarlem.

In recent times, religious demographics in Amsterdam have been changed by large-scale immigration from former colonies.Dell T117C Battery

Immigrants from Suriname have introducedEvangelical Protestantism and Lutheranism, from the Hernhutter variety; Hinduism 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. Asus x5dij-sx039c Battery

The large community of Ghanaian and Nigerian immigrants have established African churches, often in parking garages in the Bijlmer area, where many have settled. In addition, a broad array of other religious movements have established congregations, including Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism.Dell Inspiron 1464 Battery

Although the saying "Leef en laat leven" or "Live and let live" summarises 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 relations.HP Compaq 6720s Adapter

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%.

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.Dell Latitude D630 Adapter

p://www.battery-pack.co.uk/charger/dell-latitude-d630-ac-adapter.html">The local government sponsors carsharing and carpooling initiatives such as Autodelen and Meerijden.nu.

Public transport in Amsterdam mainly consists of (night)bus and tram lines operated by Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf. Regional buses, and some suburban buses, are operated by Connexxion and Arriva.HP Pavilion dm4 Battery

Currently, there are 16 different tramlines. There are currently four metro lines, with a fifth line, the North/South line, under construction. Three free ferries carry pedestrians and cyclists across the IJ toAmsterdam-Noord, and two fare-charging ferries run east and west along the harbour. Sony NP-FS11 Battery

There are also water taxis, a water bus, a boat sharing operation, electric rental boats (Boaty) and canal cruises, that transport people along Amsterdam's waterways.

The A10 ringroad surrounding the city connects Amsterdam with the Dutch national network of freeways. Dell Inspiron 1520 Adapter

Interchanges 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, and sometimes without a central reservation. Most are accessible by cyclists. Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

The S100 Centrumring is a smaller ringroad circumnavigating the city's centre.

Amsterdam was intended in 1932 to be the hub, a kind of Kilometre Zero, of the highway system of the Netherlands,with freeways numbered one through eight planned to originate from the city.Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

The outbreak of the Second World War and shifting priorities led to the current situation, where only roads A1, A2, and A4 originate from Amsterdam according to the original plan. The A3 road to Rotterdam was cancelled in 1970 in order to conserve the Groene Hart. Acer Aspire 5920 Battery

RoadA8, leading north to Zaandam and the A10 Ringroad were opened between 1968 and 1974.  Besides the A1, A2, A4 and A8, several freeways, such as theA7 and A6, carry traffic mainly bound for Amsterdam.

Amsterdam is served by ten stations of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways).IBM Thinkpad T40 Adapter

Five are intercity stops: Sloterdijk, Zuid, Amstel, Bijlmer ArenAand Amsterdam Centraal. The stations for local services are: Lelylaan, RAI, Holendrecht, Muiderpoort and Science Park. Amsterdam Centraal is also an international train station.Nikon COOLPIX 4300 Battery

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 and theThalys(Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris-Cologne), CityNightLine, and InterCityExpress. Apple MB771 Battery

Eurolines has coaches from Amsterdam Amstel railway station 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. Sony DSC-P5 Battery

It handles about 46 million passengers per year and is the home base of four airlines, KLM, transavia.com, Martinair and Arkefly. Schiphol was, in 2006, the third busiest airport in the world measured by international passengers. Dell Inspiron 6400 Adapter

Cycling

Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly large cities in the world and is a centre of bicycle culture with good facilities for cyclists such as bike paths and bike racks, 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.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

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.Sony NP-FP50 Battery

Education

Amsterdam has two universities: the University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam), and the VU University Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit or "VU" – often referred to, in English, as "The Free"). HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Other institutions for higher education include an art school – Gerrit Rietveld Academie, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, and the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. Amsterdam's International Institute of Social History is one of the world's largest documentary and research institutions concerning social history, and especially the history of the labour movement.Dell Latitude D820 Adapter

Amsterdam's Hortus Botanicus, founded in the early 17th century, is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, with many old and rare specimens, among them the coffee plant that served as the parent for the entire coffee culture in Central and South America.Toshiba PA3399U-1BRS Battery

Some of Amsterdam's primary schools base their teachings on particular pedagogic theories like the various Montessori schools. The biggest Montessori High School in Amsterdam is the Montessori Lyceum Amsterdam. Many schools, however, are based on religion.Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

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.Dell Latitude D830 Battery

Amsterdam is noted for having five independent grammar schools (Dutch: gymnasia), the Vossius Gymnasium, Barlaeus Gymnasium, St. Ignatius Gymnasium, Het 4e Gymnasium and the Cygnus Gymnasium where a classical curriculum including Latin and classical Greek is taught. Dell Inspiron E1505 Adapter

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. Asus Eee PC 1201PN Battery

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.Asus Eee PC 701 Adapter

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.Dell XPS M1330 Battery

Squat properties are common throughout Amsterdam, due to property law strongly favouring tenants. A number of these squats have become well known, such as OT301, Vrankrijk (closed down by city government), and the Binnenpret, and several are now businesses, such as health clubs and licensed restaurants.fujifilm np95 Battery

Culture and entertainment

During the later part of the 16th century Amsterdam's Rederijkerskamer (Chamber of Rhetoric) 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. Asus Eee PC 900 Adapter

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.Sony VAIO PCG-713 Battery

In the 19th century, popular culture was centred around the Nes area in Amsterdam (mainly vaudeville and music-hall). The metronome, one of the most important advances in European classical music, was invented here in 1812 by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel. Dell Latitude D830 Adapter

At the end of this century, the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum were built.In 1888, the Concertgebouworkest was established. With the 20th century came cinema, radio and television. Though most studios are located in Hilversum and Aalsmeer, Amsterdam's influence on programming is very strong. Dell Studio XPS 1640 Battery

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 het Museumplein (Museum Square), located at the southern side of the Rijksmuseum. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-TZ4S  Battery

It was created in the last quarter of the 19th century on the grounds of the former World Exposition. The northern 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.HP Compaq Business NX6320 Battery

The western part of the square is bordered by the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience and Coster Diamonds. The southern border of the Museum Square is the Van Baerlestraat, which is a major thoroughfare in this part of Amsterdam. Canon POWERSHOT G2 Battery

The Concertgebouw is situated across this street from the square. To the east of the square are situated a number of large houses, one of which contains the American consulate. A parking garage can be found underneath the square, as well as a supermarket. Dell Latitude E6500 Battery

Het Museumplein is covered almost entirely with a lawn, except for the northern 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.Dell LATITUDE D630 Battery

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.Asus R33030 Adapter

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 the Nightwatch is one of top pieces of art of the museum. Dell Mini 1011 Battery

It also houses paintings from artists like Van der Helst, Vermeer, Frans Hals, Ferdinand Bol, Albert Cuijp, Van Ruysdael and Paulus Potter. Aside from paintings, the collection consists of a large variety of decorative art. This ranges from Delftware to giant dollhouses from the 17th century. toshiba pa3332u-1brs Battery

The architect of the gothic revival 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. HP Compaq 6710b Adapter

Van Gogh lived in Amsterdam for a short while and there is a museum dedicated to his work. The museum is housed in one of the few modern buildings in this area of Amsterdam. The building was designed by Gerrit Rietveld. This building is where the permanent collection is displayed. A new building was added to the museum in 1999. HP Compaq nx6325 Adapter

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) and Zonnenbloemen, are present in the collection.Acer Aspire 5720 Adapter

The Van Gogh museum is the most visited museum in Amsterdam.

Next to the Van Gogh museum stands the Stedelijk Museum. This is Amsterdam's largest museum concerning modern art. The museum opened its doors at around the same time the Museum Square was created. Toshiba Equium A110-252 Battery

The permanent collection consists of works of art from artists like Piet Mondriaan, Karel Appel, andKazimir Malevich. 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.Acer Aspire 5052ANWXMi Battery

Amsterdam contains many other museums throughout the city. They range from small museums such as the Verzetsmuseum, the Anne Frank House, and the Rembrandthuis, to the very large, like the Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam and Joods Historisch Museum.Dell Mini 1011v Battery

Pop, rock, and jazz

The Heineken Music Hall is a concert hall located near the Amsterdam ArenA. 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 and the Melkweg are located near the Leidseplein. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Both focus on broad programming, ranging from indie rock to hip hop, R&B, and other popular genres. Other more subculturally focused music venues are OCCII, OT301, De Nieuwe Anita, Winston Kingdom and Zaal 100. Jazz has a strong following in Amsterdam, with the Bimhuis being the premier venue.Dell Vostro 1510 Battery

Electronic Dance Music

The Heineken Music Hall is also host to many Electronic Dance Music festivals, alongside many other venues. Amsterdam is home to Scantraxx, which is one of the largest record labels that producesHardstyle music, which is very popular in the Netherlands.Toshiba PA3534U-1BRS Battery

Armin van Buuren and Tiesto, some of the worlds leading Trance 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. Asus M50 Battery

Another popular dance festival is 5daysoff, which takes place in the venues Paradiso and Melkweg. In summer time there are several big outdoor dance parties in or nearby Amsterdam, such as Awakenings, Dance Valley, Mystery Land, Loveland, A Day at the Park, Welcome to the Future, and Valtifest.Asus Eee PC 901 Battery

Classical music

Amsterdam has a world-class symphony orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Their home is the Concertgebouw, 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 in the world. Dell Inspiron 6400 Battery

The building contains threehalls, 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. HP Compaq Business NC6220 Battery

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 Waterloopleinnext to the river Amstel. The Stopera is the homebase of De Nederlandse Opera, Het Nationale Ballet and the Holland Symfonia.Sony VGP-BPS9 Battery

Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ is a concert hall, which is situated in the IJ near the central station. Its concerts perform mostly modern classical music. Located adjacent to it, is the Bimhuis, a concert hall for improvised and Jazz music.Sony VGP-BPS13 Battery

Theatre

The main theatre building of Amsterdam is the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam at the Leidseplein. It is the home base of the Toneelgroep Amsterdam. The current building dates from 1894. HP Compaq nx7300 Adapter

Most plays are performed in the Grote Zaal (Great Hall). The normal programme 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, will open in late 2009 or early 2010.HP Compaq 2510p Adapter

Other theatres 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.Dell Studio PP39L Battery

Cabaret dates back to the 1930s and artists like Wim Kan, Wim Sonneveld and Toon Hermans 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, Freek de Jonge, Herman Finkers,Nikon COOLPIX 5700  Battery

Hans Teeuwen, Theo Maassen, Herman van Veen, Najib Amhali, Raoul Heertje, Jörgen Raymann, De Vliegende Panters and Comedytrain. The English spoken comedy scene was established with the founding of Boom Chicago in 1993. They have their own theatre at Leidseplein.Dell Studio XPS 16 Battery

Nightlife

Amsterdam is famous for its vibrant and diverse nightlife. The two main nightlife areas are the Leidseplein and the Rembrandtplein.

Amsterdam has many cafes. They range from large and modern to small and cozy. HP Compaq nx7400 Adapter

The typical Bruine Kroeg (brown cafe) breathe a more old fashioned atmosphere with dimmed lights, candles, and somewhat older clientele. Most cafes 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.HP Pavilion DV6500 Adapter

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.Dell T117C Battery

The Paradiso, Melkweg 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.Acer PA-1650-02 Adapter

The Reguliersdwarsstraat is the main street for the LGBT community and nightlife.

Movie theaters

Hollywood films are primarily featured at cinemas owned by Pathe. Tuschinski is a heritage art deco building with a beautiful lobby and six screens. Acer Aspire 5920G Adapter

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. Pathe Arena is located a metro ride from the centre and includes an IMAXauditorium. Pathe City is scheduled to reopen in 2010. Asus S1 Adapter

Art films can be found at Tuschinski, and the independent The Movies, Cinecenter, Kriterion, Ketelhuis, Uitkijk, and the Filmmuseum.

Festivals

In 2008, there were 140 festivals and events in Amsterdam.Famous festivals and events in Amsterdam include: Koninginnedag (Queen's Day); HP Pavilion dv6000 Battery

theHolland Festival for the performing arts; the yearly Prinsengrachtconcert (classical concerto on the Prinsen canal) in August; the 'Stille Omgang' (a silent Roman Catholic evening procession held every March); Amsterdam Gay Pride; The Cannabis Cup; and the Uitmarkt. Ibm Thinkpad T30 Battery

On Koninginnedag—held each year on 30 April—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.Dell Studio PP39L Battery

The yearly Holland Festival attracts international artists and visitors from all over Europe. Amsterdam Gay Pride is a yearly local LGBT 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.HP Pavilion dv5 Adapter

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.

Sports

Amsterdam is home of the Eredivisie football club Ajax Amsterdam. The stadium Amsterdam ArenA is the home of Ajax. HP Compaq Business NC6400 Battery

It is located in the south-east of the city next to the new Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA railway station. Before it moved to its current location in 1996, Ajax played their regular matches in De Meer Stadion. In 1928, Amsterdam hosted theSummer Olympics.HP Compaq 490306-001 Battery

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. The city itself played host to the road cycling events for those games.Eight years earlier, Amsterdam assisted in hosting some of the sailing events for the Summer Olympics held in neighboring Antwerp, Compaq Presario CQ35-100 Battery

Belgium by hosting events at Buiten Y.

The ice hockey team Amstel Tijgers play in the Jaap Eden ice rink. The team competes in the Dutch ice hockey premier league. Speed skating championships have been held on the 400-metre (1,310 ft) lane of this ice rink.HP Compaq HSTNN-LB51 Battery

Amsterdam holds two American Football franchises, the Amsterdam Crusaders, playing at Amsterdam Sloten, and theAmsterdam Panthers. The Amsterdam Pirates baseball team competes in the Dutch Major League. There are three field hockey teams,HP Pavilion ZE4500 Battery

Amsterdam, Pinoké and Hurley, who play their matches around the Wagener Stadium in the nearby city of Amstelveen. The basketball team MyGuide Amsterdam competes in the Dutch premier division and play their games in the Sporthallen Zuid, near the Olympic Stadium.HP G62-100EB Battery

Since 1999 the city of Amsterdam honours the best sportsmen and women at the Amsterdam Sports Awards. Boxer Raymond Joval and field hockey midfielder Carole Thate 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.HP Pavilion DV6-1211AX Battery

An Amsterdammertje is the typical red-brown steel bollard that is used to separate the sidewalk from the street in Amsterdam. Amsterdammertjemeans literally 'little one from Amsterdam' in Dutch. The bollards have the three Saint Andrew's Crosses from the coat of arms of Amsterdam.HP Pavilion DV6-1220SO Battery

History

Around 1800, more and more individual people in Amsterdam started to use bollards to protect the sidewalk in front of their houses. These bollards were made of metal (originally old cannons, see also Bollards), stone, or wood. In the late 19th century the first cast iron bollards were made. HP EliteBook 6930P Battery

From 1915 onwards there was a standard bollard of 70 kg cast iron with three Saint Andrew's Crosses from the coat of arms of Amsterdam. This bollard already looked like the modern Amsterdammertje, although, amongst other differences, it was thinner and heavier.HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA Battery

From 1972 the Amsterdammertjes were no longer made from the expensive and heavy cast iron, but from plates of steel, approximately 1.35 m high and only weighing 20 kg. This type is currently used in the city of Amsterdam; all 1915 type bollards have been replaced or removed. In 1984, there were approximately 100,000 Amsterdammertjes. Compaq Presario CQ71 Battery

Current policy

Because of trucks pushing over the bollards and smaller cars passing between the bollards, the use of Amsterdammertjes was no longer a sufficient method to prevent cars from parking on the sidewalks.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO Battery

During the 2000s, the sidewalks in Amsterdam are being slightly elevated from the streets, meaning that the Amsterdammertjes are no longer needed to separate the sidewalk from the street. Yearly, around 2,000 Amsterdammertjes will be removed until they are all gone. In 2003, there were 37,616 Amsterdammertjes left.HP G6000 Battery

New and used Amsterdammertjes are sold online by the city government of Amsterdam.

The Government of Amsterdam is the government of the municipality and city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. HP HDX X18-1005EA Battery

Most of the inhabitants live in the city of Amsterdam, but the municipality also covers a number of small villages, and other parts of the local government, such as the Waterschap or the bridge management, cover an even larger area.HP Pavilion DV6-3013SL Battery

The administrative district borders Diemen, Weesp, Abcoude, Ouder-Amstel and Amstelveen in the south, Haarlemmermeer and Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude in the west, and Zaanstad,Oostzaan, Landsmeer and Waterland in the north.HP Compaq HSTNN-IB62 Battery

City council 2006-2010

As all Dutch municipalities, the municipality of Amsterdam is governed by a mayor, burgemeester, his aldermen, wethouders, and the municipal council, gemeenteraad.

After the 2006 municipal elections a coalition was formed between PvdA and GroenLinks, with a majority of 27 out of 45. HP Pavilion DV6100 Battery

These elections saw a political landslide throughout the country, with a strong shift to the left, of which Amsterdam was a prime example. The much talked about all-left-wing coalition of PvdA, GroenLinks and SP that polls indicate would become possible after the national elections of 2006 and that was such a political success in HP EliteBook 2730P Battery

Nijmegen had its largest majority in Amsterdam, apart from some small towns. PvdA even needed only 3 more seats to form a coalition and could thus take its pick, which forced potential coalition partners to give in on a lot of issues. In the case of GroenLinks, this was mostly the policy of preventive searching by the police, which they were opposed to but had to allow.HP Pavilion DV9000 Battery

In total, 24 parties took part in the elections, including 11 new ones, but only 7 got seats. Amsterdam Anders/De groenen got assigned one seat at first, but lost it after redistibution, which in the Netherlands is done through a system that favours big parties. In 2002 they only just missed out on a second seat in a similar manner.HP Pavilion DV7 Battery

Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly large cities in the world and is a centre of bicycle culture with good facilities for cyclists such as bike paths and bike racks, 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.HP Pavilion DV7-1290EO Battery

Bicycles are used by all socio-economic groups because of their convenience, Amsterdam's small size, the 400 km of bike paths,[2]the flat terrain, and the arguable inconvenience of driving an automobile. Each bike path (Fietspad) is coloured brown, in order to differentiate it from a footpath.HP Compaq Business 6735S Battery

Amsterdammers ride a wide variety of bicycles including the traditional Omafiets - the ubiquitous Dutch roadster with a step-through frame - to anything from moderncity bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, and even recumbent bikes.HP 540 Battery

Many tourists discover Amsterdam by bike, which is the typical Dutch way. Bike Tour Amsterdam offers a guided bike tour through the city. Bicycle traffic, in fact traffic in general, is relatively safe: in 2007, Amsterdam had 18 traffic deaths, of all types, in total.HP Compaq Business NW9440 Battery

Of benefit to bicycle riding is that in the city centre, driving a car is discouraged, parking fees are expensive, and many streets are closed to cars or are one-way.

Bicycle theft in Amsterdam is widespread; in 2005, about 54,000 bicycles were stolen.HP Compaq Business  TC4400 Battery

Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, has been called the "Venice of the North" for its more than one hundred kilometres of canals, about 90 islandsand 1,500 bridges. The three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht, dug in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age, form concentric belts around the city, known as the grachtengordel.HP Compaq 491278-001 Battery

Alongside the main canals are 1550 monumental buildings. The 17th-century canal ring area, including the Prinsengracht, Keizersgracht, Herengracht and Jordaan, are put on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

History

Much of the Amsterdam canal system is the successful outcome of city planning.HP HSTNN-LB31 Battery

In the early part of the 17th century, with immigration at a height, a comprehensive plan was put together, calling for four main, concentric half-circles of canals with their ends resting on the IJ bay. Known as the "grachtengordel", hree of the canals are mostly for residential development (Herengracht or ‘’Patricians' Canal’’; Keizersgracht or ‘’Emperor's Canal’’; HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  Battery

and Prinsengracht or ‘’Prince's Canal’’), and a fourth, outer canal, Singelgracht, for purposes of defense and water management. The plan also envisaged interconnecting canals along radii; a set of parallel canals in the Jordaan quarter (primarily for the transportation of goods, for example, beer); HP Pavilion DV3-4000  Battery

the conversion of an existing, inner perimeter canal (Singel) from a defensive purpose to residential and commercial development; and more than one hundred bridges. The defensive purpose of the Nassau/Stadhouderskade was served by moat andearthen dikes, with gates at transit points but otherwise no masonry superstructures.HP Pavilion TX1000 Battery

Construction proceeded from west to east, across the breadth of the layout, like a gigantic windshield wiper as the historian Geert Mak calls it – not from the center outwards as a popular myth has it. Construction of the north-western sector was started in 1613 and was finished around 1625. HP Pavilion DV6-1210SA  Battery

After 1664, building in the southern sector was started, although slowly because of an economic depression. The eastern part of the concentric canal plan, covering the area between the Amstel river and the IJ bay, was not implemented for a long time.HP 448007-001 Battery

In the following centuries, the land went mostly for park, the Botanical garden, old age homes, theaters and other public facilities – and for waterways without much plan. Several parts of the city and of the urban area are polders, recognisable by their postfix -meermeaning 'lake', such as Aalsmeer, Bijlmermeer, Haarlemmermeer, and Watergraafsmeer.HP Compaq Business  6530B  Battery

Singel encircled the medieval city of Amsterdam. It served as a moat around the city from 1480 until 1585, when Amsterdam expanded beyond Singel. The canal runs from the IJ bay, near Central Station, to the Muntplein square, where it meets the Amstel river. HP Pavilion DV5-1211EM  Battery

It is now the inner-most canal in Amsterdam's semicircular ring of canals. The canal should not be confused with Singelgracht canal, which became the outer limit of the city during theDutch Golden Age in the 17th Century.HP Pavilion DV5-1015EA  Battery

Herengracht

Herengracht (Patricians' Canal or Lord's Canal) is the first of the three major canals in the city centre of Amsterdam. The canal is named after the heren regeerders who governed the city in the 16th and 17th century. The most fashionable part is called the Golden Bend, with many double wide mansions, inner gardens and coach houses on Keizersgracht.HP Pavilion DV6-1230SB Battery

Keizersgracht

Keizersgracht (literal English translation: Emperor's Canal) is the second and widest of the three major canals in the city centre of Amsterdam, in between Herengracht and Prinsengracht. It is named afterMaximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor.HP Pavilion ZD8181EA  Battery

Prinsengracht

Prinsengracht (Prince's Canal) is the fourth and the longest of the main canals in Amsterdam. It is named after the Prince of Orange. Most of the canal houses along it were built during the Dutch Golden Age of the United Provinces. The bridges over this canal don't connect with the streets in the Jordaan.HP Pavilion DV9500  Battery

Interesting sights along Prinsengracht include the Noorderkerk (Northern Church), the Noordermarkt(Northern Market), Anne Frank House, the Westerkerk (Western Church, Amsterdam's tallest church) with the Homomonument (Gay Monument), which actually faces Keizersgracht.HP Pavilion DV4-1125BR  Battery

Zwanenburgwal is a canal and street in the center of Amsterdam. The painter Rembrandt and philosopher Spinoza lived here. In 2006 it was voted one of the most beautiful streets in Amsterdam by readers of Het Parool, a local daily newspaper.HP Pavilion DV5-1111EA Battery

Zwanenburgwal flows from Sint Antoniessluis sluice gate (between the streets Sint Antoniesbreestraat and Jodenbreestraat) to the Amstel river. The canal was originally named Verversgracht ("dyers' canal"), after the textile industry that once dominated this part of town. Dyed textiles were hung to dry along the canal.HP Pavilion DV6-1234TX Battery

Brouwersgracht

Brouwersgracht is a canal in the city centre of Amsterdam and is part of the canal belt connecting the Singel, Herengracht, Keizergracht and Prinsengracht and marks the northern border of the canal belt. Brouwersgracht was voted the most beautiful street in Amsterdam by readers of Het Parool, a local daily newspaper.HP Pavilion DV3-2008TX  Battery

Kloveniersburgwal

Kloveniersburgwal is a canal running south from Nieuwmarkt to the Amstel River on the edge of the medieval city. The east side became populated in the 17th century and has a few grand mansions, like the Trippenhuis, now housing the KNAW.HP Pavilion DV8  Battery

Kloveniersburgwal was popular with administrators at theDutch East India Company, being close to its nerve center on Oude Hoogstraat and its warehouse.

Brantasgracht, Lamonggracht, Majanggracht and Seranggracht

These four canals are the newest in Amsterdam, constructed on Java Island in 1995, a manmade island in the IJ Harbor, north-east of the City Center. HP Pavilion DV6-1215SA  Battery

The canals are lined with modern interpretations of classic Amsterdam canal houses, which were designed by 19 young Dutch architects. Each house is 4.5 meters wide and 4 or 5 stories tall, but the designs are totally unique and are often featured in Amsterdam travel guides despite being off the beaten path of most tourists. HP Compaq 490306-001  Battery

Nine ornate metal bridges, designed by artist couple Guy Rombouts and Monika Droste, cross the canals for pedestrians and cyclists.

Trivia

  • In Dutch political debates, the Amsterdam grachtengordel (concentric ring of canals) is often raised as a symbol of pretentious intellectualism.Compaq Presario CQ50  Battery
  • Since the construction of the canals, there have been plans to connect the north of Amsterdam (Amsterdam-Noord) to the city center. In 1999, a plan was made to complete the existing canal circle in the North. Plans to gentrify this area are still under development, but the plan to complete the canals in the north has not yet been incorporated.  HP Pavilion DV6-1223EO  Battery

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