Amsterdam


Amsterdam
   Capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since 1814. The town came into being around an artificial dam in the river Amstel about 1275. Via the IJ River, the harbor kept an open connection to the Zuiderzee (now the IJsselmeer). Amsterdam rose to riches and power in the 17th century, when its population was estimated at 220,000. The merchants of the town, where the board of the East IndiaCompanyhad its seat, became an important political factor. Despite some economic stagnation during the 18th century, Amsterdam once more became a powerful center of enterprise, industry, banking, and harbor activities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Although only approximately 745,000 people now live in the city itself, many others earn their living there or are otherwise dependent on it. Amsterdam has several famous museums (e.g., the Rijksmuseum, Van GoghMuseum, Stedelijk Museum, Anne Frank House, and the Rembrandt House), the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and two universities.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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