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Amsterdam, the capital city of Holland (the Netherlands), stands on the estuary of the river IJ and about 20 km from the North Sea coast. Throughout its 800-year history, Amsterdam has combined a hard-headed approach to commerce and business with a remarkable willingness to experiment with new ideas, from the Rationalism of Erasmus to the revolutionary Protestantism's of Luther, through the republicanism of the 17th century to.

A very large number of buildings and structures are protected of the Bureau of Monuments, but also by World Heritage listing since 2010.


Photo left: Amsterdam is still well-known as a city with four-hunderd years of
diamant industry and tradition. There are many jeweller's stores in the centre.
Photo on the right: Chinatown in Amsterdam.

Modern Amsterdam benefits from the legacy of its prosperous past. They built gracious homes that still line the canal, and they were the patrons of a generation of Europe's greatest painters, giving impetus to an artistic tradition that makes Amsterdam one of Europe's great centres of visual Arts today. It's a pity we can't say the same thing about the cuisine....But, don't worry: it's a capital with hundreds of restaurants representing nearly all cultures in the world! 
 

                          

Three houses in Amsterdam, built in the begin of 1600 and still in good shape. They
are examples of the Barokke Amsterdamse Renaissance. This drawing is from the
Keizersgracht 123.

Left above, the flowermarket on the "Singel". On your right: Amsterdam has become
a multicultural city sinds the seventies. Still you can  find shops with clogs and
tulips,  but it is easier to find a pizzeria nowadays! 

Holland is a member of the European Union. This membership is a very controversial topic by the Dutch themselves. Especial because Holland is the smallest country in Europe and they payed more then any other country in the European Union to the Union (and received the least of all countries). Except that fact, the Dutch are really afraid that the pressure of other countries who aren't as liberal as Holland, becomes to high.

A few remarks on the Dutch: they are punctual,  rates are no subject to a system of negotiation, they say most of the time what's on their mind and most women wear jeans! Most Dutch are friendly and open-minded. They speak and understand English very well.

There are nearly 16,2 million inhabitants in Holland of which 734.000 lives in Amsterdam.

For more information try iamsterdam.

Bibliography

Holland, by Adam Hopkins (Faber and Faber, 1988), Penguin Guide to
Amsterdam (ed. Vincent Westzaan, Penguin 1990) Guide du Routard 1988
(ed. Hachette), de Nederlandse Realiteit, by J. Oostkamp (own folders). Die
Niederlande in Europa Geschichte (Dieter Verlag-München 1986), Dwalen
door Amsterdam, Reizen door de Benelux, ed. Lekturama 1984.

From Wikipedia
(where you find all information about history, economy etc. you ever want to know about Amsterdam and Holland):

Amsterdam, the official capital of the Netherlands, lies on the banks of two bodies of water, the IJ bay
and the Amstel river. Founded in the late 12th century as a small fishing village  on the banks of the Amstel, it is now the largest city in the country and is a financial and cultural centre. As of April 1, 2006, the population of the city proper is 743,905; the population of the greater Amsterdam area is approximately 1.5 million.

Amsterdam has one of the largest historic city centres in Europe, dating largely from the 17th century. At this time, a series of concentric, semi-circular canals ("grachten") were dug around the old city centre. Along the canals houses and warehouses were built. The canals still define Amsterdam's layout and appearance today. Many fine houses and mansions are situated along the canals. Some of the narrow brick houses are gradually sinking because they are built on wooden piles to cope with the marshy subsoil.

Although Amsterdam is officially designated as the capital of the Netherlands, it has never been (save a brief period between 1808 and 1810), the seat of the court, government, or parliament of the Netherlands, which are all located at The Hague. Amsterdam is also not  the capital of the province in which it is located, North Holland, whose capital is located at Haarlem. See capital of the Netherlands for more information.

Amsterdam is world-famous for its free-spirited liberalism and is a world leader in diversity and tolerance.

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