|Bourgmestre Mandate||Femke Halsema (GL) |
|Population||851,573 hab. (2017)|
|Urban population||1,351,587 hab. (2017)|
|Coordinates||52° 23′ north, 4° 54′ east|
|Area||21,933ha = 219.33 km2|
Geolocation on the map: Northern Holland
Geolocation on the map: Netherlands
Geolocation on the map: Netherlands
Amsterdam () is the capital of the Netherlands, although the government and most national institutions are located in The Hague. On the basis of 2017 figures, the municipality of Amsterdam has more than 850,000 inhabitants, called Amstellodamois, making it the most populous Dutch municipality. It is located in the heart of the Amsterdam region, with approximately 1 350 000 inhabitants. The urban area, which has more than 2,400,000 residents, is itself part of a conurbation called Randstad, which has 7,100,000 inhabitants. The city is the largest in North Holland, but it is not the capital of the province, the latter being Haarlem, located 12 miles west of Amsterdam.
The name of the municipality comes from the former Dutch name Amstelredamme, which recalls the origins of the city: the dike (Dam) on the Amstel. A small fishing village in the 12th century, the town grew very rapidly in the Middle Ages to the point of becoming one of the world's main ports during the Dutch gold century. The De Wallen district is the oldest part of the city, which is developed around a concentric network of semi-circular canals connected by perpendicular canals, forming a "spider web". In the center of the old town, on Dam Square, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, built in the 17th century, symbolizes the importance of the city. William I made it his residence in 1815. Since , the Grachtengordel district, bordered by the Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht, has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this area is the renowned beguinage of Amsterdam, a courtyard planted with trees and lined with ancient houses — the oldest dating back to around 1528 — housing an Anglican chapel.
Amsterdam is one of the major economic centers of the Netherlands and one of the main financial centers of Europe. The headquarters of several multinational companies (Philips, AkzoNobel, ING and TomTom in particular) are located in the city and others have their European offices based in Amsterdam (mainly Netflix, Uber and Tesla). The city is also the first tourist and cultural destination in the Netherlands, especially because of the fame of its main museums centered around the Museum: the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum are among the most visited in the world. Other important cultural sites include the NEMO Scientific Museum, the Royal Tropical Institute, the Hermitage Art Museum, the EYE Film Institute, the Dutch Maritime Museum and the Anne Frank House.
Various rankings place Amsterdam among the world's most comfortable cities, with the US magazine Forbes placing it first in 2016; it also designated in 2016 as the european capital of innovation. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, it is also the safest city in Europe and the fourth safest city in the world in 2019. The majority of the city's trips are made by the 14 tram lines, the five metro lines, on foot or by bicycle. The city is renowned for its festive events (Amsterdam Music Festival, Sensation, In Qontrol and Uitmarkt), its discotheques (Paradiso and Melkweg) and its concert halls (including the Ziggo Dome, Concertgebouw, Heineken Music Hall and Stadsschouwburg). Amsterdam is also known for its red light district, as well as its many licensed coffee shops that allow them to market cannabis, reflecting the political progressiveness of the Netherlands.
In 2016, Amsterdam joined the Fab City movement, following the call made by the mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, for all the world's cities to become self-sufficient by 2054.
The toponym of the term "Amsterdam" is only attested with its present graph in the 15th century. The name of the city, which has grown steadily since the 12th century, has been written in different ways in the past: Aemstelredam, Aemstelredamme, Amestelledamme (1275), Amestelredamme (1285), Amstelredam, and Amstelredamme. There is a graphic variant of Amsteldam attested in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The original name would mean the dyke (dam in Dutch) of earth ("erd" or "ered" its intermediate persistent of the word) on a river formerly called Amstel. According to Deroy and Mullon, there is another seemingly accurate hypothesis about the port facility from this dyke located southwest of the former Gulf of Zuidersee. It arbitrarily segmented the toponym into three parts Ame/stelle/dam, interpreting the first Ame in "river or local river with living water", the second Stelle is "a port square, formed by a progressive lifting of land forming a pier or a cluster of land of embankment, partly dug and built, allowing the first port site", the third Dam, which always signals the dike back, protecting the houses. In this hypothetical setting, the city would preserve a name that approximates the "seawall of the river port".
The first coat of arms is composed of "hangers with sand sewn loaded with three flags of silver". So they're investigative weapons. The origins of the coat of arms are unclear, but historians consider it to be the coat of arms of the Persijn family, which owned a large stretch of land on the town's site. A certain Jan Persijn was thus "Lord of Amstelledamme" from 1280 to 1282 (the same colors and figures can be found on the blasons of the towns of Ouder-Amstel and Amstelveen, which were also the property of the Persijn family). These same historians believe that the black strip at the center of the coat of arms represents the Amstel River (as is the case in several other Dutch cities, such as Delft or Dordrecht, where the central strip stylizes the city's main stream). The three crosses of St Andrew could represent the three words of the city's motto. However, a popular tradition sees the threats to the city in these three crosses: water, fire and plague.
In 1489, the small commercial town acquired the right to add the crown of the Holy Roman Empire to its coat of arms. This is a favor given by Emperor Maximilian I to thank the inhabitants of the city for the support they give him. This same crown is also visible (in a stylized form closer to Rodolph II) above the Westerkerk, one of the city's most emblematic churches. Under the First Empire, Amsterdam was one of the good cities and was allowed, as such, to request arms from the new government: they are modified by the addition of a "chef de gueules loaded with three golden bees", which is the brand present on the coats of arms of the good cities of the Empire.
Foundation and development in the Middle Ages
The first mention of the name "Amsterdam" in the historical documents dates back to an act by Florent V, Count of Holland from 1256 to 1296. The document, entitled "Amsterdam Tax Exemption" (Tolprivilege van Amsterdam) and dated exempted the few hundred inhabitants of the "Amstel Dam" from paying taxes on the trade of their products within the county of Holland and on their dam bridge over the Amstel, built around 100 270. These inhabitants are referred to in Latin as "manentes apud Amestelledamme (literally, people living near the Amstel dam). Within a few years, the word evolved in its almost final form of Amsterdam, as evidenced by the writings of 1327. At that time, Amsterdam was nothing more than a fishing village attached to the bishop of Utrecht. This toll exemption then gives the Americans a competitive advantage for foreign trade and enables Amsterdam to become Holland's leading trading venue, laying the foundations for its future wealth and power.
The market town of Amsterdam was given city status in 1300 or 1306, probably by the bishop of Utrecht, Gui d'Avesnes, and became an important trading place in the 14th century, thanks to its port which developed on the Damrak, downstream of the original dam. Trade, particularly with India, however, remains dominated, initially, by the port of Antwerp, confining Amsterdam to trade mainly with the cities of the Hanseatic League.
In 1345, an alleged miracle on the Kalverstraat made Amsterdam an important pilgrimage center to the Reformation. Before 1385, the Amstel separates the city of Amsterdam into two parts of roughly the same size: the "old town" (Oudezijde) where the "old church" (Oude Kerk), whose construction began around 1300, is located, and the "New city" (Nieuwezijde) where the "new church" (Nieuwe Kerk) is located, built at the beginning of the 15th century. In order to guarantee its protection, the city has canals, completed by a fence (burgwal) composed of a wall of land overlooked by a wooden fence. When, after 1385, new walls were built, the existing wall took the name of Voorburgwal (forerunner), while the new wall was called Achterburgwal (backpalisade), both in the old and new cities. In the historic center, four canals/streets bearing the names of Oudezijds Voorburgwal, Oudezijds Achterburgwal, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and Nieuwezijds Achterburgwal (now Ssumtraat) are still visible today.
In 1421 and 1452, the city was ravaged by two major fires. The second destroyed more than three-quarters of the city, and the emperor Charles V decreed in 1521 that the new houses should be built of stone rather than wood. Although theoretical, the ban became final from 1669. Almost all the wooden houses of the time have now disappeared, with the notable exception of the Houten Huis ("Wood House") of the Beguinage. Paradoxically, the reconstruction of brick and stone buildings, which are heavier, requires even more wood: Amsterdam is rebuilt on piles, the length of which must be ideally of at least 15 meters to reach the first sandbank, underneath the peat of which the city is built; the Black Forest, floating on the Rhine, is the source of the thousands of "masts", because it is an industry that is concomitant with that of the mast wood, the thousands of piles on which the city will now be built.
Conflict with Spain
In the sixteenth century, the population rose up against the successor of Charles V, King Philip II of Spain. Indeed, unlike Charles V, whose firm politics remained highly sensitive to social and religious developments in his provinces in the Spanish Netherlands, Philippe II has displayed intransigence in religious and political matters, which has generated strong tensions. Nobility and Protestants are the first victims. A centralizing and absolutist policy was implemented by the king's governor in Brussels, Ferdinand Alvare de Toledo, including the establishment of the Troubles Council in 1568 or the creation of a new tax the following year, taking 10% of all sales of movable property, known as the "tenth last". In religious matters, the government decided to use the Inquisition to try to stop the rapid spread of Calvinism, thus causing significant religious persecution. The revolt quickly escalated into a full-fledged war - to which Amsterdam joined in 1578 - and led to the independence of the seven northern provinces of the Spanish Netherlands, known as the United Provinces. The year 1578 was also marked by the overthrow of the Catholic government of the city during the Alteracy, when the Protestants took power without bloodshed.
Under the leadership of Stathouder William the Taciturn, the United Provinces became a symbol of religious tolerance. In the context of religious wars that ravage other European countries, many seek refuge there to live their faith without risking condemnation. This situation has led to the immigration of Jewish families from the Iberian Peninsula, Protestant merchants from Flanders, the Walloon provinces of the Netherlands or even French Huguenots. In particular, many prosperous families from other provinces still under Spanish control join Amsterdam to find safety. In 1685, per capita income was thus four times higher than in Paris, a gap that widened further with the second wave of exile of Huguenots fleeing France, following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. The Protestant refugees set up the Walloon Church in Amsterdam, whose cult in French remains to this day. Among the refugees are scientists such as Comenius and philosophers such as René Descartes. Moreover, the influx of Flemish printers, particularly from Antwerp, and the intellectual tolerance that prevails in Amsterdam, contribute to the city's status as a European center for press freedom.
Capital of the Golden Century (1584-1702)
The 17th century is considered the golden age of Amsterdam, as it became the richest city in the world at that time. The recovery of Antwerp by the Spaniards in 1585, when the Escaut's mouths were blocked by the United Provinces, resulted in a massive influx of Protestant bourgeois bringing know-how and capital. Amsterdam was then at the heart of a global maritime trade network with the countries of the Baltic Sea, Africa, North America, Brazil or even the East Indies. Thus, the Amsterdam merchants own the majority of the shares of the first large multinational company in history, the Dutch East India Company, founded in 1602, but also of its rival, the Dutch Company of the West Indies (1621). These two companies acquired several overseas territories, which later became Dutch colonies. Boats returning from Indonesia loaded with precious spices make the city rich. At that time, Amsterdam spread across Europe, both in artistic terms with Rembrandt and Vermeer, and in financial terms with the creation of a "foreign exchange bank" that was initially meant to facilitate the exchange of money, but quickly became a purveyor for individuals and businesses, as well as the first stock exchange in the world in 1611. This is also the case in civil engineering, with the construction of the famous canals or town hall, completed in 1655 under the supervision of architect Jacob van Campen, considered by the Amstellodamese as the eighth wonder of the world.
This great period resulted in a significant increase in the population in the first half of the seventeenth century, accompanied by a significant expansion of the city. The number of inhabitants thus increased from 50,000 to 210,000 during the century, despite several plague epidemics (from 1623 to 1625, 1635 to 1636, 1655 and especially 1664). The city's first two major expansions took place at the end of the sixteenth century, with the "First Plan" (Eerste Uitleg, from 1566 to 1585) marked by a development towards the east of the city towards the Lastage, beyond the Oudeschans, then the "Second Plan" (Tweede Uu) itleg) (1585-1593) in the aftermath. However, these two expansions do not absorb the growing population and meet the new needs created by the city's thriving economic activity. A significant new enlargement was thus approved by the states of Holland and West Friesland in 1609. However, given the significant costs involved in the project, and the need to rebuild and enhance the new neighborhoods, it is finally decided to achieve enlargement in two stages. The "Third Plan" (Derde Uitleg) was set up between 1613 and 1625 and marked the development of several neighborhoods to the west of the old town, such as the Haarlemmerbuurt, the Westelijke Eilanden or even the Jordaan. But the main project of the plan is the establishment of the first part of the Grachtengordel, between the banks of the IJ and the current Leidsegracht, and a new wall of enclosure at the level of the Singelgracht. Construction work on a new port and bastion began in 1611. Once it was completed in 1613, the destruction of the old wall allows you to start digging the canals: the Herengracht (1613), the Prinsengracht (1614) and the Keizersgracht (1615).
Outside the old city limits, new neighborhoods emerge more or less legally. While part of this new "fortress" is within the walls of the new fortifications, the other part (corresponding to the future Jordaan) is voluntarily left outside, in order to reduce costs and limit the risk of insurrection. Between 1613 and 1620, most ditches were transformed into canals, and roads. Street organization is becoming more regular and many buildings are being built. While the floor is raised in the belt of canals, the Jordaan floor remains unchanged; difference never reduced.
The "Fourth Plan" (Vierde Uitleg), made necessary by demographic pressure and the development of illegal areas around the wall of the enclosure, is marked by the completion of the grachtengordel and the expansion of the port. The development of the Oostelijke Eilanden, between 1652 and 1660, allowed the city to build shipyards and a major port. The project to expand the boundaries of the city was approved in 1660 and the work lasted for ten years between 1662 and 1672. The wealthiest merchants and bourgeois then settled on the banks of the parallel canals of the Herengracht, the Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht. The architect Daniël Stalpaert played an important role in this expansion of the city in 1658. To achieve this, Amsterdam naturally needs reinforcements in the workforce. Workers, both from the country and from abroad, flock to the city and settle in slums on the outskirts of the canals, especially in the marshy Jordaan neighborhood. Their presence contrasts with the financial strength of the shareholders of the Compagnie des Indes.
From decline to modernization (18th and 19th centuries)
End of Hegemony
After the hegemony of the golden century, the eighteenth century saw the decline of the city's prosperity. The wars against France (between 1672 and 1713) and the war of the Austrian Succession led to the development of a very large debt, reaching 767 million florins in 1795, of which 450 were for Holland alone. The Dutch, who were the main carriers of European goods, see their customers and suppliers create their own fleets of commerce and move less and less through them. The Acts of Navigation, voted in England from 1651, forbid access to British ports and colonies for the pavilions of other nations. These provisions are particularly directed at the United Provinces.
Another cause of the decline in Dutch market power is the gradual obsolescence of its techniques. The development of a large market in Western Europe makes it necessary to build ships of a larger tonnage, in order to transport more goods. Although Dutch shipyards launched larger ships in the 18th century than in the 17th century, they were outnumbered by those of their competitors, both in terms of size and technical level. Delays by the Dutch also lead to the seeding of channels in the ports of commerce, starting with the Pampus and Marsdiep channels that provide access to Amsterdam. In the 1770s, it took 40 days for the East India Company of Vrijheid to dock in Amsterdam. The square was affected by the terrible Bengal Famine of 1770 in the area conquered by the British in India, triggering a severe financial crisis in 1772 and leading to a series of bankruptcies in Europe, including that of the Clifford Bank of Amsterdam and its allies.
The Fourth Anglo-Dutch War, which pitted the United Provinces against their ally, the Kingdom of France, against Britain, from 1780 to 1784, allowed the British power to regain many colonial concessions in the Dutch Indies. This defeat, coupled with the difficulties of the Franco-Batavian period, marks the end of the hegemony of Amsterdam in Europe. Eleven years after taking power in France in 1799, Napoleon I managed to extend his empire to the Netherlands, which was annexed during the First Empire in 1810. Amsterdam thus acquired the status of the empire's third-largest city, alongside Paris and Rome. This new annexation comes only fifteen years after the birth of the Batavian Republic, which came from the United Provinces in 1795, and then after the establishment of the Kingdom of Holland by Napoleon in 1806. This unstable environment is hurting the city of Amsterdam, which has been hit hard by the decline in trade and shipping, as a result of the seaports being sequestered in the city, and the reduction of trade with the colonies. Moreover, the conflict between France and England destroyed most of the trade with the United Kingdom, following the establishment of the continental blockade. The brother of Napoleon I, Louis, imposed as ruler of the Kingdom of Holland from 1806 to 1810, decided to make Amsterdam its capital when he arrived in The Hague on . On , he moved to the capital and settled in the town hall of which he made a royal palace. The government is accompanying him. Apart from the trip of the Rijksmuseum from The Hague, the mandate of Louis Bonaparte is not marked by other major events for the city of Amsterdam.
After the ousting of the French troops by the Russian and Prussian armies in 1813, the new monarch of the House of Orange-Nassau chose The Hague as his place of residence and as the seat of the general states of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Amsterdam, however, remained the capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1815 to 1830, alongside Brussels. Benefiting from William I's desire to make it a leading economic center, Amsterdam was given a monopoly on trade with the colonies, after the Belgian Revolution of 1830. With a view to strengthening the power of its port, the first major canals projects, such as the Canal de la Hollande-Nord, inaugurated in 1825, were launched.
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With the boom in births over several decades, linked to renewed trade, the emergence of new industries and the emergence of new activities such as financial services, the population is growing strongly, from 202,000 inhabitants in 1830 to 520,000 in 1900. The city is unprepared for such an increase, and finds itself overcrowded. As the living conditions of the most disadvantaged classes of the population become increasingly difficult, the first philanthropic initiatives are emerging, in particular to improve housing and hygiene conditions for workers. The doctor Samuel Sarphati becomes one of the main figures; he played an important role in the creation of a waste management system and in 1847 was granted permission to collect waste through a new company, called Maatschappij ter bevordering van Landbouw en Landontginning. The aim of the latter is to collect waste but not to clean the streets, which their unsanitary conditions sometimes make impracticable. In 1852, he founded the Vereeniging voor Volksvlijt with the aim of promoting trade, industry and agriculture, leading notably to the construction of the Paleis voor Volksvlijt (translated into French as "Palais pour la diligence populaire"). In 1855, he founded the "Society of the Making of Flour and Bread" (Maatschappij voor Meel- en Broodfabrieken) which offers bread at a price 30% lower than that of bakeries. All of these initiatives contribute to the improvement of living conditions in the city, notable since 1870. Despite deteriorating living conditions, the city is thriving again economically, and more and more people are moving to the capital to try their luck.
The very strong industrialization from the 1860s marked a new period of expansion with the creation of many buildings and infrastructure. At that time two museums were built, first an entirely new building for the Rijksmuseum (1885), then the Stedelijk Museum (1895), but also the concert hall of the Concertgebouw (1888) and the central station of Amsterdam (1889). At the same time, a defense line was built around Amsterdam, in the form of a single network of forty-two forts and floodland, to defend the city from attacks. In response to the massive influx of workers, hundreds of working-class dwellings are being built in new outlying neighborhoods forming the 19th-Eeuwse-gordel ("19th century belt"), during the popular Grachtengordel. These neighborhoods, including De Pijp, Kinkerbuurt and Dapperbuurt, are mainly financed by bankers and speculators and constitute the first major expansion of the city outside the borders adopted in the seventeenth century. While they are mainly concentrated in the lower middle classes, the poorest classes settle in Jordan and the Oostelijke Eilanden. The emergence of these popular neighborhoods contributed to the strong development of socialism in the 1880s and 1890s, when tensions with the authorities emerged at an almost weekly rate, especially during the Palingoproer protest, during which 25 protesters were killed by the army. The 1890s were marked by the creation of trade unions by the employees of the city's port, who wanted to improve their working conditions.
After several difficult decades, the second half of the nineteenth century marked a new life for the city, often considered a second golden age. The construction of the North Sea Canal in 1876, which replaced the North Holland Canal, helped to facilitate links with the major ports and metropolises of Europe, opening new commercial horizons to the city. With the development of the city, the old ports of Damrak and Westelijke Eilanden are no longer suitable for the growth of trade. A new harbor complex, built on new artificial islands, is created and is named Oostelijk Havengebied; the historic warehouses are now converted into houses. This allows, in particular, to welcome merchandise ships serving the Dutch East Indies, as well as migrant population flows. At the end of the century, the north shore of the IJ was also built to accommodate factories and port areas. Located at the forefront of the profound economic and social developments of the second half of the nineteenth century, Amsterdam acquired the undisputed status of capital of the country. Around 1900, nearly half of the city's labor force worked in industry.
Permanences, Reconstruction and Renewal (20th Century)
The End of the Belle Epoque and the Great War
Shortly before the First World War, the city continued to expand and new rural areas were urbanized, notably through the Zuid Plan proposed by H. P. Berlage in 1915 and approved by the municipality in 1917. Although the Netherlands remains neutral in the conflict, Amsterdam suffers a severe shortage of food and fuel for heating. In 1917, shortages triggered riots, known as Aardappeloproer (literally, the "potato rebellion"), in which nine people were killed and more than a hundred injured. As a result of the revolt, shops and warehouses are being looted to find food and supplies.
Between the Wars
The interwar period was marked by the desire to implement a new plan for the expansion of the city, the General Plan for Enlargement (Algemeen Uitbreidingsplan, AUP), approved by the municipality in 1935. The latter, developed by architect Cornelis van Eesteren, is centered around four main axes: housing, work and leisure, with the common denominator of the transportation system. Architects and planners thus highlight spaces that favor "light, air and space", which contrasts sharply with previous projects, the buildings of which were the structural element. Because of the economic difficulties, the plan was only finally realized in the aftermath of the war.
Amsterdam still deserves its nickname of "Dutch Venice", with the Singel's barges once observed by philosopher and lunetier Baruch Spinoza, its central and regular urban planning along the canals, its habitat characterized by a water corridor and narrow doors, to the point that it is necessary to carry out any significant move through the windows, with its late meeting places, where beer and wine "island nostalgia" allows you to stop the drift from wave to soul.
The neighborhoods of Amsterdam develop distinct identities, notably that of the Jews (Jodenbuurt), in which diamond tailors are active for the orders of their bosses, going to Zeedijk, as well as the business districts near the bank Amstel or the stock exchange, where coffee, cinema, coconut, tea, rubber are still traded under financialized securities pepper, cigars and pineapples. There are also straight lines of the bourgeois neighborhoods, whose habitats are marked by the Puritan ideal, displaying from the outset the hierarchy by the birth of good families and the marks of the quasi-seigneurial designation of their personalities or individualities, demanding sharpness and cleanliness, security and tranquility, while keeping the money and revenues of trade. The municipal government participates in this rigor, banning dance on Sundays and imposing religious silence at the time of blessing.
Second World War
During the Second World War, Germany invaded and took control of the Netherlands on . Faced with the policy of persecution and extermination of the Jewish people led by the German regime, some citizens of Amsterdam try to resist by hiding some of them, despite the risks involved. During the conflict, however, more than 100,000 Jews from Amsterdam were deported, virtually destroying the city's Jewish community. Among the most famous ones is the young Anne Frank who was cloistered for 25 months with her family and friends over a shop in the center of Amsterdam, before being deported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. By the end of World War II, all communications with the rest of the country were cut off and food and fuel were running dangerously out. Many citizens then go to the countryside in search of food. To stay alive, some locals are forced to eat dogs, cats, sugar beets, as well as tulip bulbs. Most of the city's trees are also cut off for fuel, as are most of the furniture and woodwork from the apartments of the Jewish people who died in deportation.
In the aftermath of the war, many new neighborhoods, such as Osdorp, Slotervaart, and Geuzenveld-Slotermeer, were built according to the AUP. These districts are designed with numerous public gardens and large open spaces, which is why they are called "garden cities" (tuinsteden). The new buildings also offer increased comfort with larger, lighter rooms, balconies and gardens. As a result of the war and the other incidents of the 20th century, much of the city needs to be restored or renovated. As society evolves significantly, politicians and other influential figures are designing plans to energize important parts of the city, including commercial buildings and new highways that are accessible to as many people as possible.
Emergence of a contemporary city
The 1960's and 1970's brought Amsterdam back to the forefront, not only for its economic or commercial influence as a metropolis of a country that benefited fully from the rise of the Thirty Glorious, but also because of the city's tolerance for the use of soft drugs, which makes it a city of choice for the hippie generation. Amsterdam thus played a central role in the emergence of the Provo protest movement, initiated in the happenings of the artist Robert Jasper Grootveld, on the Spui, from 1964. However, riots and clashes with the police are escalating. On , smoke bombs were thrown at the wedding procession, just before Princess Beatrix's Westerkerk wedding with the German diplomat Claus von Amsberg. On and for several days, following a demonstration of construction workers who were quickly joined by other disaffected people, including young people, a surge of violence ravaged the historic center. According to a report that could have been even more serious, there are dozens of injured, but only one dead, Jan Weggelaar, a 50-year-old worker who died of a heart attack at the beginning of the unrest. For years, many squatters have been forcibly evicted. In 1980, while Béatrix took his oath on his accession to the throne, protesters, mostly members of the "squatter movement", clashed with police outside the Nieuwe Kerk, during the "coronation riots".
A project to develop an expressway over the subway is also planned to facilitate traffic between Amsterdam Central Station and the rest of the city. Renovation work begins in the old Jewish neighborhoods. The smallest streets, such as the Jodenbreestraat, are widened, and almost all the buildings there are demolished. Tensions over demolitions peaked during the Nieuwmarkt riots (the "Nieuwmarkt rellen") in which residents expressed anger over the city's reconstruction policy.
As a result, the demolition works are stopped, and the planned motorway is not finally built, unlike the metro, which is developed according to plans. It opened in 1977, between the new district of Bijlmer (located in the current district of Zuidoost) and the center of Amsterdam. In short, only a few streets in the neighborhood are being refurbished and expanded. The city's new town hall is inaugurated on the Waterlooplein, which is almost completely demolished. At the same time, large private companies, such as the Stadsherstel Amsterdam ("Redevelopment of Amsterdam"), are set up with the aim of rehabilitating and restoring the whole center. While the positive results of the policy are visible today, initiatives to continue the development of the center are still being pursued. The whole city benefits from politics to the point of acquiring the status of protected area. Numerous buildings are raised to the rank of state monument (Rijksmonument) and the Grachtengordel district (including the Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010.
At the beginning of the new millennium, social problems such as security, ethnic discrimination and segregation between religious and social groups began to develop. Forty-five per cent of the population of Amsterdam are non-native people, mainly from Europe and countries such as Suriname, Morocco, Turkey or the Netherlands Antilles. Amsterdam is, however, characterized by its apparent social tolerance and diversity. From to , the incumbent mayor, Job Cohen, and his integration assistant, Ahmed Aboutaleb, are pursuing a policy based on social dialog and tolerance, accompanied by new and harsh measures against those who break the law.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the city is a must-see cultural capital in Europe, with a long list of sites. Many museums have undergone major renovations. For example, the Marine Museum was reopened with a new set design in 2011, the Stedelijk was added to a new contemporary building called "the bathtub" in 2012, the Rijksmuseum underwent major renovations and was reopened by Queen Beatrix in 2013 and visited by Barack Obama the year next; the Van Gogh museum, built in 1973, expanded in 1999 and acquired a new entrance in 2014.
The residential area of the IJburg, built to the east of the city on artificially created islands, is a model of a sustainable neighborhood that the city experiences in the face of rising water levels and the need for space near the city center. The Amsterdam Science Park is another example of a new developed neighborhood: built in place of former railway waste, the buildings house research laboratories and part of the university's student campus. At the same time, there are several voices that call for a complete pedestrianization of the city center and neighborhoods built in the 19th century, which could be achieved in the 2020s.
Located in the west of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is part of the province of North Holland and is located in the immediate vicinity of those of Utrecht and Flevoland. The Amstel River comes to the IJ and is integrated into a network of canals that scatter the city. The latter is located two meters above sea level. The land around the city is flat and composed of large polders. Southwest of the city is the wood of Amsterdam, located for the most part in the municipality of Amstelveen. Finally, the city is connected to the North Sea by the long canal of the North Sea that serves its port.
The city of Amsterdam has a total area of 219.33 square kilometers, including 164.89 km2 of land. The absolute population density is thus 3,653 inhabitants per km2, but is actually 4,848 inhabitants/km2 on the basis of habitable land, with a housing supply of 2,408 homes per square kilometer. Parks and natural reserves make up about 14% of the city's surface area. Green and recreational areas (parks, gardens, sports grounds) alone account for 11.3% of the total area, while woods and forests account for 2.3%.
Amsterdam has an oceanic climate (Cfb in the Köppen classification) strongly influenced by the proximity of the North Sea to the west and with prevailing westerly winds. Amsterdam, as well as most of the province of North Holland, is located in a type 8b hardiness zone, corresponding to an average temperature of -9.4 to -6.7°C for the lowest annual temperature reached in the last twenty years. Frost occurs mainly when wind comes from the east or northeast from continental Europe. However, due to its proximity to large stretches of water and a significant effect of urban heat islands, night temperatures rarely fall below -5°C, -12°C at Hilversum, 25 km south-east of Amsterdam.
Summer temperatures are moderately hot, with an average of 22.1°C in August, and a few peaks at 30°C that rarely last more than 3 days in a row. The record for the annual temperature gap ranges from -24°C to 36.8°C. Rains in Amsterdam are frequent with an average of 187 days of rain per year, with most rainy events manifesting themselves as drizzle or brief showers. The average annual rainfall is 915 millimeters. The bad weather (cloud and rain) is mostly frequent in the cold period, from October to March.
|Average minimum temperature (°C)||0.8||0.5||2.6||4.6||8.2||10.8||13||12.8||10.6||7.5||4.2||1.5||6.4|
|Average Temperature (°C)||3.4||3.5||6.1||9.1||12.9||15.4||17.6||17.5||14.7||11||7.1||4||10.2|
|Average Maximum Temperature (°C)||5.8||6.3||9.6||13.5||17.4||19.7||22||22.1||18.8||14.5||9.7||6.4||13.8|
|Average: ・ Time. max and mini°C・ Precipitation mm|
According to figures published by the city in 2013, Amsterdam has a population of 799 442, an increase of 1.2% compared to 2012 and 7% compared to 2008. On the basis of the same figures, indigenous peoples accounted for only 49.4 per cent of the population, which means that 50.6 per cent of the population is of foreign origin. The Central Bureau of Statistics, for its part, estimates that 801,200 inhabitants in 2013.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, immigrants were mainly Huguenots, Flemish, Sephardic Jews and Westphalians. Huguenots flocked in droves following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, while Flemish Protestants emigrated following the Eighty Years' War. The Westphalians emigrated for economic reasons in flows that continued in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Before World War II, 10% of the population of Amsterdam was Jewish.
In the twentieth century, the first massive wave of immigration came from Indonesia following the independence of the Dutch East Indies in the 1940s and 1950s. During the 1960s, many workers migrated from Turkey, Morocco, Italy, and Spain. The proclamation of Suriname's independence in 1975 also attracts many immigrants, most of whom settle in the Bijlmer neighborhood. Other immigrants, including asylum-seeking refugees, but also illegal immigrants, flock from the Americas to Asia and Africa. During the 1970s and 1980s, many "native Amstellodamois" moved to cities such as Almere and Purmerend or Gooi, particularly as a result of the government's third land use plan. The latter promotes the development of suburban areas and proposes new projects called "growth centers" (groeikernen). As a result of this policy, many young workers are moving to De Pijp and Jordaan, left behind by the city's oldest inhabitants.
Origins of the inhabitants and religious diversity
Like other major Dutch cities, Amsterdam is a multicultural city, half of which is of foreign origin. On the basis of 2013 figures, indigenous peoples accounted for 49.4 per cent of the population. In addition, 34.9 per cent of the total population and 52.6 per cent of young people under the age of 18 are from countries outside the OECD. In 2009, the city had 176 different nationalities, making it the most diverse city in the world.
|Country of birth||Population|
In recent decades, the nature of the city's religious demography has been greatly altered by massive influx of immigrants from the former colonies. Immigrants from Suriname thus introduced the Moravian brothers' movement, a variant of Lutheranism and Protestantism, as well as Hinduism. Moreover, various Islamic movements from various parts of the world are also growing. Islam is now the main minority religion in Amsterdam, with Christianity dominating. The large Ghanaian and Nigerian communities are also building several new religious movements (sometimes called "African Churches"), mostly organized in garages in the Bijlmer neighborhood, where most of the people from these countries live. A significant number of religious movements set up congregations, such as Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism. One of the most visible places of immigration in the Netherlands is the Dappermarkt, a market located in the Indonesian neighborhood (Indische buurt) and renowned for the variety and exoticism of its products.
In spite of the reputation of tolerance among Dutch and Amstellodamese in particular, the increase in immigration flows, and the associated increase in the number of religions and cultures following the Second World War, raise social and ethnic tensions on several occasions. The assassination of the director Theo van Gogh by a Muslim extremist in 2004 is one of the most striking examples. The removal of several channels in Arabic or Turkish from the basic packages offered for cable subscriptions is another example of the change in Dutch policy towards certain minorities.
In recent years, critics have criticized politicians who have made the decision to run part of their campaign in "minority" languages. In particular, the former mayor of the city Eberhard van der Laan strongly criticizes, while he is Minister of Habitat, Neighborhoods and Integration, the candidates who distributed flyers in languages other than Dutch. Some leaflets are seized at this time. This stance has stirred support for multiculturalism, and it has been criticized by Van der Laan, including his own Labor Party. At the same time, however, the city of Amsterdam also launched a free and comprehensive program of Dutch courses for immigrants, in line with its integration through assimilation policy.
|Non-Western Indigenous Peoples||279,077||34.9|
|Netherlands Antilles and Aruba||11,993||1.5|
Administration and Governance
Until , the municipality of Amsterdam, spread over almost 220 km2, is divided into fifteen districts (stadsdelen, also transcribed in French as boroughs) divided into two crowns around Centrum. These fifteen boroughs had a very unevenly distributed population (2007 figures):
- Centrum (80,819)
- Westport (370)
- Westerpark (34,059)
- Oud-West (31,529)
- Zeeburg (46,700)
- Bos in Lommer (30 294)
- De Baarsjes (33 847)
- Amsterdam North (87,623)
- Geuzenveld-Slotermeer (41 335)
- Osdorp (45,483)
- Slotervaart (42,913)
- Zuidoost (77,917)
- Oost-Watergraafsmeer (58 798)
- Oud-Zuid (83,633)
- Zuideramstel (46,784)
As of , a local council governs each district whose number is reduced to eight. However, the industrial and port area of Westport is an exception, as this very sparsely populated district retains its integrity following the territorial reform of 2010 and is directly under the control of the municipality of Amsterdam. Following the reform, the new districts (with the respective populations as of ) are:
- Centrum (86,099)
- Nieuw-West (144,002)
- North (89,906)
- Oost (126 157)
- West (141,004)
- Zuid (139,523)
- Zuidoost (84,071)
- Westport (423)
Expansion of the municipality
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the city of Amsterdam is integrated into various statistical sets with variable geometry: the municipality of Amsterdam, the metropolitan agglomeration of Amsterdam, the Grand Amsterdam and the metropolitan area of Amsterdam. The smallest entity, the municipality, spans 219 km2 for a population of 801,200 in 2013. The municipality thus extends over time through the absorption of the neighboring villages of Bijlmermeer, Buiksloot, Driemond, Durgerdam, Holysloot, Nieuwendam, 't Nopeind, Oud Osdorp, Ransdorp, Ruigoord, Schellingwoude, Het Schouw, Sloten, Sloterdijk and Zunderdorp p.
The metropolitan area (Grootstedelijke Agglomeratie Amsterdam) includes, in addition to Amsterdam, the municipalities of Zaanstad, Wormerland, Oostzaan, Diemen and Amstelveen, for a population of 1,096,042 in 2013. The Greater Amsterdam area (Grootstedelijk Gebied Amsterdam) is a region called "COROP" which includes 15 municipalities for a population of 1,293,208 in 2013. Although it has a much larger area, the Greater Amsterdam population is only moderately larger than the larger area due to the fact that the municipality of Zaanstad (147,141 inhabitants in 2011) is not taken into account. Finally, the metropolitan area of Amsterdam (Metropoolregio Amsterdam) is the most populated with 2.33 million inhabitants. Compared to Greater Amsterdam, this area includes the cities of Zaandam, Worwonderer, Muiden, Abcoude, Haarlem, Almere and Lelystad but excludes the city of Graft-De Rijp. It should also be noted that Amsterdam is also part of the conurbation of Randstad, which includes the cities of Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam, populated by nearly 7.8 million inhabitants.
While local decisions are made at the district level, the municipality has jurisdiction over major projects, including infrastructure projects, which are of interest to the whole city (Gemeente Amsterdam).
The municipality of Amsterdam is currently led by a coalition established in the city council between the Green Left (GL), Democrats 66 (D66), the Labor Party (PvdA) and the Socialist Party (SP). A city with strong left roots since 1945, it was led by a full-fledged Labor mayor from 1946 to 2017; several interim mayors also serve. Amsterdam is often presented as a model for good management; officials traveling in the city as part of their duties are given a "business bike". In addition to the role of mayor, there is a position of vice-mayor, traditionally assigned to a figure of the second most represented party in the city council. The executive branch of the municipality's government is made up of alevins, each with a portfolio of alevins.
Amsterdam is generally a safe city, like the Netherlands. It is ranked 17th in terms of safety in the 2011 Mercer consulting firm's global ranking of quality of life in cities. The city also has a much lower crime rate than most European cities. However, according to the AD Misdaadmeter, a national ranking by the Algemeen Dagblad based on data collected from the police, it is the least secure city in the Netherlands, ahead of Rotterdam and Eindhoven. In 2012, the number of complaints registered by the city's police was 84,218, up 1.5% from 2011. Flights represent the majority of offenses committed in the city, with about 60% of complaints. Bicycle/scooter and moped theft (12.2% of the total), as well as motor vehicle theft (11.9%) are the most frequently reported offenses. In addition, the number of pickpocketing complaints (10.3 per cent of the total) increased sharply between 2011 and 2012, from 6,320 to 8,652.
Improving security in the city and reducing crime are two important goals for the municipality. As part of the "Making Choices for the City" program, approved by the coalition between the PvdA, the VVD and GroenLinks in , a security component, the Veiligheidsplan was developed for the period 2012-2014. The aim of the program is to reduce crime by targeting several neighborhoods and types of crime, including prostitution and human trafficking, discrimination and racist crimes, and domestic violence. In 2007, the city council also launched a rehabilitation program for the hypercenter called "Project 1012", two of the main targets of which are prostitution and the free sale of soft drugs.
Since 2012, a bloody series of murders linked to the Moroccan mafia has been launched in the various neighborhoods of Amsterdam to control the trafficking of cocaine regularly coming from the ports of Rotterdam and Antwerp. Dozens of deaths are reported, mostly by young Moroccans. According to the Guardian, Amsterdam is the city with the highest target murder rate in Western Europe.
Status of capital of the country
Like Benin, Bolivia and Côte d'Ivoire, the capital of the Netherlands is not the seat of government. Indeed, the seat of government, the Parliament (Binnenhof), the Supreme Court, and the King's Palace have always been located in the city of The Hague, in the province of South Holland, with the exception of a brief period between 1808 and 1810 under Louis Bonaparte. Therefore, foreign embassies are also located there. Amsterdam owes its status as the capital of the country to a single mention in the Dutch Constitution, juxtaposing the term "capital" and "Amsterdam". Thus, in Article 32 of Chapter 2 of the Constitution, it is mentioned that the King (or Queen) takes an oath and is crowned in the "capital of Amsterdam" (of hoofdstad Amsterdam). Previous versions of the constitution mentioned only "the city of Amsterdam" (stad Amsterdam), with no mention of any capital. Moreover, Amsterdam is not the capital of the province of North Holland, the role of the city of Haarlem. Amsterdam remains the largest city in the Netherlands, as well as the economic and tourist center of the country.
The city of Amsterdam has developed a set of partnerships and cooperation programs with several cities and countries worldwide. The primary objective of these partnerships is to strengthen the cultural and economic positioning of the city through the transfer of skills and expertise. Cooperation between the municipality and the partner cities is primarily aimed at three major groups of countries:
- the countries of origin of significant minorities in the city (Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, Ghana, Turkey, Morocco);
- the countries of the European Union;
- the emerging countries (Brazil, China, India, Vietnam and South Korea).
Key partnerships are listed below:
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Economy and outreach
Leading Economic and Financial Center
Amsterdam is the financial and commercial capital of the Netherlands, and is Europe's fifth largest business city after Paris, London, Frankfurt and Brussels. The city also ranks fifth in the Bloomberg Businessweek rankings of the best European cities where to set up for business, always behind the same trio, and just behind Barcelona. The main qualities of the city that stand out in the ranking are the diversity of languages spoken, as well as access to markets and the quality of transport infrastructure, both national and international. Many large Dutch companies and banks have their headquarters, including AkzoNobel, Heineken, ING, Ahold, TomTom, Delta Lloyd or Philips. The global headquarters of the American company KPMG, as well as that of the KLM, are located in the nearby town of Amstelveen, where many non-Dutch companies have also set up, to benefit from lower rents and to own their land, which is made difficult by the prohibitive rates applied in Amsterdam.
Although many small businesses are still located around the old canals, they are increasingly relocating outside the city center. The new business district Zuidas ("South Axis") has become the new nerve center of the financial and legal sector. Five of the largest law firms and consulting firms in the Netherlands are located there, like Boston Consulting Group or Accenture. There are three other secondary financial centers. The first, located to the north-west around Sloterdijk station, houses the newspaper De Telegraaf, Deloitte, the municipal public transport company (Gemeentelijk Vervoersbedrijf) and the Dutch tax services (Belastingdienst). The second is located around the Johan Cruyff Arena, in the south-east, while the third is centered around the Amsterdam-Amstel train station, with the headquarters of Philips in particular. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange (AEX) is also a hub of Amsterdam's business, located right in the center of the city between the main station and the Dam. The oldest stock exchange in the world, now part of Euronext, has remained one of the largest stock exchanges in Europe.
Amsterdam is also a popular destination for international congresses and business meetings. In 2009, the city's hotels and congress centers hosted, according to the Amsterdam Congress Office, 515 international meetings of more than forty participants and of a minimum duration of two days. Opened in 1961, the RAI Amsterdam, located in the district of Zuid, hosts about fifty international conventions and about seventy trade fairs and exhibitions every year. A dozen festivals complete the program. In total, this represents an annual attendance of around 1.5 million entries.
Quality of life
Amsterdam is regularly cited as one of the world's leading economic centers and as one of the most dynamic and pleasant cities to live in.
According to the classification of world cities established by the Globalization and World Cities Working Group (GaWC) of Jon Beaverstock, Richard G. Smith and Peter J. Taylor in 1998, Amsterdam ranks among the "alpha cities". She is still in this category in the updated version of the 2010 study, alongside Milan, Beijing, Los Angeles, Frankfurt and Moscow, among others. In the Global Power City Index produced by the Tokyo Mori Memorial Foundation in 2012, Amsterdam is 7th in the world in a ranking based on six families of distinct criteria (Economics, Research and Development, Cultural Outreach, Livability, Environment and Accessibility). In 2012, too, Amsterdam ranked 17th in the world of the Economist Intelligence Unit's Global City Competitiveness Index on the basis of its ability to attract capital, business, talent, and visitors. The strategic consulting firm A.T. Kearney ranks Amsterdam 26th in its Global Cities Index on five criteria (economic activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural outreach, and political engagement).
In terms of quality of life, Amsterdam is 2th in the Best cities ranking and report of the Economist Intelligence Unit behind Hong Kong and 11th rank in the City Rankings Survey by Mercer consulting firm. The two studies were carried out in 2012 and 2014 respectively. What the various sociological works highlight is, beyond the city's cultural richness and its natural aquatic assets, the commitment of its inhabitants to improve the community's living environment. For example, the citizens' association Bankjescollectief, proposes, every first Sunday of the month in summer, to install mobile benches at the bottom of buildings to create a neighborhood area. However, some of the inhabitants themselves are taking some initiatives, the most famous of which is the watering of plants on the street in front of their house in Amsterdam.
The port of Amsterdam is the second largest in the Netherlands, behind the port of Rotterdam. On the basis of the 2010 figures, it ranks 4th in Europe on the basis of tonnage of goods, behind those of Antwerp and Hamburg. It is located on the Canal de la Mer du Nord and on the banks of the IJ. Through the North Sea canal it is connected to the North Sea, while the Helder is accessible via the North Holland canal; by the IJ it is connected to the Markermeer and the IJmeer and the Rhineland by the Amsterdam canal to the Rhine. One of the advantages of the port's location is that the port area is not subject to the tides, being only accessible via the locks of IJmuiden which are located east of the port of IJmuiden (which is subject to the tides). It is located at a level less than two meters at high tides.
Once a large seaport for expeditions to the East or West Indies, Amsterdam saw its warehouses bursting with colonial goods turn into historical monuments at the Entrepotdok. The paintings hung in the houses of wealthy merchants join the museums over time. Threatened by the neighborhood of the giant port of Rotterdam, Amsterdam reacts by modernizing its old colonial port facilities.
Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, with nearly 5.3 million visitors having stayed in a hotel or hostel in 2012, compared to 4.6 million in 2009. It should be noted that this figure does not include the approximately 16 million people who visit the city for one day without staying there. In total, the tourism sector employs some 51,300 people (9% of the total). The number of annual visitors has been steadily increasing over the past decade, which is mainly due to the influx of European visitors, which alone make up 76% of the tourists. Among these, the Dutch (19%), the British (13%) and the Germans (11%) constitute the main contingents. Based on the origin of the hotel clientele, Americans make up the largest group of non-European tourists with 11% of the visitors.
As of , the city has 398 hotels offering more than 24,200 rooms and more than 52,000 beds. Two-thirds of the hotels are located in the city center, with a room occupancy rate of 75% in 2011, compared to 72% in 2010. This represents a sharp increase over 2009 (69%), but still less than the record for 2006 (78%). However, these figures should be compared with the sharp increase in the supply of hotels, the number of rooms having increased by 8% between 2011 and 2012. The main hotels in Amsterdam are the American Hotel on the Leidseplein, the Amstel Hotel on the right bank of the Amstel, the Hotel de l'Europe near the Muntplein, and the Radisson Blu, close to the Kloveniersburgwal. Four campsites also located within the city's enclosure, out of a total of 22 in the area, attract between 12,000 and 65,000 campers each year.
Soft drugs and prostitution
Prostitution, symbolized by Amsterdam's "red light" district, as well as the free sale of soft drugs and mainly cannabis in coffee shops, are two images traditionally associated with the city of Amsterdam. Legal prostitution is geographically limited to "red neighborhoods", which consist of a network of alleyways containing several hundred cabins rented by sex workers. They offer their services behind a glass door usually lit in red. Amsterdam's most famous red light district is De Wallen, which has over the years become an important tourist attraction. However, it is also possible to find cabins in the district of Spui and south of Singelgracht. In addition, Amsterdam is not the only city in the Netherlands where there are red neighborhoods; other cities such as Rotterdam or The Hague also have their own red light districts. The first coffee shop in the city, the Bulldog opened in 1975. The name "coffee shop" is then used to designate a place where it was possible to buy hot drinks like coffee while smoking cannabis. Many other brands opened their doors later, with exponential growth bringing their number to nearly 550 addresses in the early 1990s. As of , Amsterdam had some 220 coffee shops, more than one-third of the total number in the Netherlands, which is about 650.
In the summer of 2007, the City Council of Amsterdam launched a program to rehabilitate the hyper-center (part of the Singel), with the twin objectives of reducing crime there and of enhancing its resources. This program, dubbed "Project 1012", refers to the old city postal code (binnenstad), encompasses a multitude of initiatives and updates of legislation. The reduction of prostitution, both in the red-light district of Singel, and in De Wallen, around Oudezijds Achterburgwal and the surrounding streets, as well as the number of coffee shops, is one of the main focus of the program. The aim is to reduce the number of window displays by 40%, from 482 in 2007. With regard to drug flows, the municipality has set itself the goal of closing 26 coffee shops, targeting key addresses for the rehabilitation of the neighborhood, as well as the main traffic routes. To do so, the city has the option of not renewing the licenses of the owners, which are granted for a period of three years. As the last licenses were issued on , the closure of the coffee shops will therefore only be possible between and Across the city, the municipality hopes to close 70 of them, bringing the number to about 150. The government's policy of restricting access to coffee shops, which was launched in 2012, to check whether consumers are residents of the country, is not implemented in Amsterdam as of . Therefore, foreign tourists can freely buy soft drugs there. In , the city's mayor, Eberhard van der Laan, also opposed the introduction of a coffee shop access card (the wietpas) explaining that such a system would only promote trafficking and illegal sale on the city's streets.
Shops and retail
Amsterdam's shops range from department stores such as De Bijenkorf founded in 1870 or the Maison de Bonneterie, a Parisian-style store founded in 1889, to small specialty shops. High-end shops are located mainly in Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat (often shortened to "PC Hooftstraat" or "PC") and Cornelis Schuytstraat, located near the Vondelpark. Two of Amsterdam's busiest streets are the narrow medieval street of Kalverstraat, located in the heart of the city, close to Dam Square and Nieuwendijk, which is the extension to the north of the square. Among the main shopping areas, the Negen Straatjes (literally "nine small streets") are made up of nine narrow alleys within the Grachtengordel, the system of concentric canals. Warmoesstraat, one of the city's oldest streets, is known for its many coffee shops, sex shops and being the hub of the city's leather community. The streets of Haarlemmerdijk and Haarlemmerstraat are the best shopping streets in the Netherlands in 2011. While the Negen Straatjes are mostly dominated by fashion boutiques, Haarlemmerstraat and Haarlemmerdijk offer a wide variety of shops: sweets, lingerie, sports shoes, wedding clothes, interior decoration, books, bicycles, skatewear, Italian cold cuts, etc.
Bloemenmarkt is a permanent flower market. Located on the Singel and stretching between the Muntplein and the Koningsplein, it is the only floating flower market in the world. The shops are located on boats docked along the canal, which is a legacy of the time when all trees and plants were to be transported daily from outside the city via canals. The city also has a number of outdoor markets such as the Albert Cuyp, Westerstraat, Ten Kate and Dappermarkt. Some of these markets operate on a daily basis, such as the Albert Cuyp and Dapper markets, which are very popular with tourists and are well known for the variety and exoticism of the products on offer. Others, such as the Westerstraat market, are organized on a weekly basis.
Breweries: craftsmen and multinationals
The city of Amsterdam is characterized by the presence of many breweries ranging from small independent craft establishments to the largest multinational groups. The Heineken International Group, the world's third largest brewer (in 2011, a global market share of 8.8%) behind InBev (18.3%) and SABMiller (9.8%), which markets more than 250 brands of beer and cider, is based in the Dutch capital, close to its historic brewery which closed in 1988 to make way for the Heineken Experience. The historic brasserie of the Amstel brand was located on the Mauritskade before moving to Zoeterwoude.
Among the most popular artisanal breweries, the Brouwerij 't IJ, located near the De Gooyer mill, offers a wide range of organic beers. It brews a volume of more than 200,000 liters each year. On the same model, the smaller Brouwerij De Prael is best suited to those who like special beers. Organized every April, the Meibock Festival allows fans to taste the best spring beers in the Netherlands and the surrounding regions.
Fashion brands such as G-Star, Gsus, BlueBlood, Iris van Herpen, 10Feet or Warmenhoven & Venderbos, as well as fashion designers such as Mart Visser, Viktor & Rolf, Sheila de Vries, Marlies Dekkers and Frans Molenaar are based in Amsterdam. Model agencies like Elite, Touche and Tony Jones have opened branches in Amsterdam. It is important to note that the top models Yfke Sturm, Doutzen Kroes and Kim Noorda have started their careers there.
The buzz spot in Amsterdam is at the World Fashion Center. In addition, red-quarter buildings that previously housed brothels have been converted into workshops for young fashion designers such as Eagle Fuel.
Heritage and urbanism
The city of Amsterdam has one of the largest cultural and architectural heritage in Europe. As most of the city, including the canals, is below sea level, the old and modern buildings are built on stilts that rest on layers of sand that are more or less deep. Much of the city was built during the Dutch gold century, along the new concentric canals that are built largely thanks to the wealth accumulated by the triangular trade. Until the 19th century, the city opened onto its port and the Zuiderzee, from which it is separated by the construction of the large central station on 8,687 stilts.
The city of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, almost entirely preserved, bears witness to an urban expansion plan that is the largest and most homogenous of its time. It is a model of large-scale urban development, which was used as a reference throughout the world until the nineteenth century.
Amsterdam is now regarded as a reference point in town planning. This is due to the fact that the city's growth has been carried out in a continuously planned manner since the seventeenth century, which remains an exception in Europe. In particular, the city has escaped the anarchic urban development that accompanied the Industrial Revolution in many countries of the Old Continent, in part because of the delay in the process by the Netherlands. The demand for housing in the city grew sharply in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, at a time when town planning became a major concern. Moreover, nearly two centuries passed between the ambitious expansion plans of the seventeenth century and the post-industrial revolution demographic recovery, which favored a harmonious development of the city. Amsterdam also has 8 traditional mills on its territory, the best known but not visited being De Gooyer.
Amsterdam has a rich architectural history, one of the best illustrations of which is the oldest building in the city, the Oude Kerk ("old church"), located in the heart of the De Wallen district and which was consecrated in 1306. The oldest wooden building dates back to 1425; it is the Houten Huys ("wooden house" in old Dutch) located in the Begijnhof. It is one of the only two wooden buildings still present in Amsterdam and one of the few still visible examples of Gothic architecture. Indeed, the wooden buildings, too vulnerable to flames, were razed in the 16th century to make way for non-flammable materials. At the same time, many buildings were built in the Renaissance architectural style. The buildings of this period are very recognizable by their façades with gables, characteristic of the Dutch Renaissance. Amsterdam even quickly developed its own Renaissance architecture, which is based on the principles of architect Hendrick de Keyser, like the Westerkerk, designed according to his plans. In the seventeenth century, Baroque architecture became very popular, as throughout Europe, thanks in particular to architects Jacob van Campen, Philips Vingboons and Daniel Stalpaert. Philips Vingboons designs splendid houses of traders throughout the city.
Largely influenced by French culture, Baroque architecture developed strongly throughout the 18th century, as evidenced by the Royal Palace on the Dam. Around 1815, the architects broke with the baroque style and began to build neogothic-style buildings. At the end of the 19th century, the Art Nouveau style became fashionable and many architects chose this new style, which was very popular. Due to the very strong expansion of the city of Amsterdam at that time, many buildings display this style close to the city center or around Museumplein. The Art Deco style, and its local variant of the Amsterdam School, developed during the first half of the 20th century, especially in the Rivierenbuurt district. One of the notable features of the style of the Amsterdam School is the use of very decorated and flowery facades, with irregular windows and doors.
The old town center is therefore a vast melting pot that gathers all the architectural styles of the pre-19th century. The Art Deco and Georgian styles are mainly found outside the city center in the districts built at the beginning of the 20th century. The majority of the historic buildings in the city center are gabled buildings, the best example of which is the large merchant houses that line the canals.
The gabled façades of different shapes sign the architecture of each era:
- 1200-1550: wooden house with pinnacle: there are two left, the others are burning over time.
- 1570-1600: grotesque gable. These are the oldest brick façades.
- 1620-1720: flattened tip gear used especially for warehouses.
- 1600-1665: redent pignon. Until 1665, the city was full of them, mixed with wooden houses.
- 1660-1790: curved pignon. Segment-shaped boundary, stoneware sides of stoneware.
- 1640-1670: raised volute pignon. Mixture of simple volutes and redans.
- 1670-1800: decorated corniche gear. A small door can give access to the attic.
- 1880-1900: single-ledged gear. After 1790, no more reteeth pignon constructions were recorded.
The canal system in Amsterdam is the result of a thoughtful urban planning policy. In the early seventeenth century, at the peak of immigration, a complete plan was drawn up based on four concentric half-circles of canals whose ends emerged in the bay of the IJ. The work is part of an ambitious development program involving the drying of marshy land. Three channels are reserved for residential development: the Herengracht ("Lords' canal" in reference to the Heren Regerders van de stad Amsterdam, the lords ruling over Amsterdam), the Keizersgracht ("Emperor's canal") and the Prinsengracht ("Prince's canal"). Built during the Dutch gold century, they form what is called the "golden curvature" (Gouden bocht). The fourth and most peripheral of the channels is the Singelgracht, which is rarely mentioned on the maps as it is a generic term for all small peripheral channels. The Singel, an ancient canal surrounding the medieval city, is located more in the center of the city, in what constitutes the hyper-center (Binnenstad).
The canals are long used for military defense, water management and transportation. The city's defenses, it seems, never took the form of masonry superstructures, such as a wall, but instead were made up of moats and dirt dykes pierced from a few doors to transit points. If the original plans of the canals are lost, historians argue that the arrangement in concentric semi-circles is more about practical and defensive considerations than a purely decorative purpose.
The construction of the canal system, initially until the Leidsegracht, began in 1613. This is done from west to east, like a spider web, and not concentrically from the center to the outside. Work on the last portion of the canal between the Leidsegracht and the Amstel began between 1658 and 1662, but was still not completed in 1679. The eastern part of the channel network, corresponding to the current Plantage, however, never sees the light, and the belt of channels does not directly reach the bay of the IJ to the east. From the end of the construction, residential areas are slowly being built. Over the next few centuries, parks, homes for the elderly, theaters, and other public institutions settled there in an almost anarchic way. Over time, several canals have been filled and thus transformed into streets or places, such as Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal or Spui.
The canals of Amsterdam give the Dutch capital its nickname "Venice of the North". They extend over 100 kilometers, with about 1,700 bridges crossing them, connecting about ninety islands. The first four canals are separated by strips of land between 80 and 150 meters wide, while the distance between the fourth and fifth canals can be up to about 550 meters (northern edge of Jordaan neighborhood). These canals are also connected by others that are perpendicular to them, such as the Brouwersgracht, the Leidsegracht or the Reguliersgracht. On , the canals of Amsterdam are awarded the World Heritage label under the title "Area of concentric canals of the seventeenth century within the Singelgracht".
After the development of canals in two phases in the seventeenth century, the city hardly grew beyond its borders in the space of two centuries. During the nineteenth century, Samuel Sarphati conceived the idea of development modeled on the Paris and London of the time. He is planning to build new houses, public buildings and a set of streets immediately outside the Grachtengordel. The main goal, however, is to improve public health. Although it did not expand significantly at that time, Amsterdam saw the erection of several of the large public buildings still existing to date, such as the Paleis voor Volksvlijt ("Palace of Industry"). Following Sarphati, in the nineteenth century Van Niftrik and Kalff conceived a ring that encompasses all the neighborhoods around the center of the city, while retaining ownership of all the land that separates this new ring from the edge of the seventeenth century city, to better control its development. Subsequently, most of these new built neighborhoods saw the establishment of the working class of the time.
The lack of space and the crowding of the inhabitants constitute two major impediments to the development of the city. While the models developed in Europe aim to combine the renovation of the old neighborhoods with the peripheral expansion, the priority is given to the second, partly because of the extent of the old center, and the fragmentation of space by the canals. The diversity and age of the buildings make it almost impossible to "increase" the historic center, modeled on Brussels. It is decided, however, to gain space on the canals by launching major projects of filling, such as on the Spui, where it is also envisaged to develop public transport. This process was maintained until the 1950s, when the Rokin was completed as the last major construction site. The end of the 19th century was marked by the destruction of many houses in favor of department stores such as De Bijenkorf, or the construction of corporate headquarters such as that of the Dutch Company.
In response to the city's overpopulation, two plans were designed at the beginning of the twentieth century, a complete break from what Amsterdam had experienced before: the "Zuid Plan" designed by architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage, and the "Plan Ouest". These plans provide for the development of new neighborhoods made up of large housing units by ensuring a certain social diversity. After World War II, large neighborhoods were built to the west, south and north of the city, to alleviate the housing shortage and provide affordable housing with all modern conveniences. These new neighborhoods are made up of large blocks of housing interspersed with green spaces and connected to wide roads to promote traffic. The western suburbs of the city built at that time are nicknamed the Westelijke Tuinsteden (literally, the "Western Flower Cities"), while the area to the southeast of the city is known as Bijlmer. Witnessing the revival of housing construction, more than half of the existing housing in the city today was built after 1945.
The city of Amsterdam is full of parks, large open spaces and squares. Green spaces account for about 12% of the city's surface area, which includes some 360,000 to 400,000 trees. The Vondelpark, the city's most famous park, is located in the Oud-Zuid district ("Old South") and takes its name from the famous 17th century Amstellodamese author, Joost van den Vondel. Each year, it attracts about 10 million visitors. These include an outdoor theater, a playground, several dining establishments and coffee terraces. The Beatrixpark, named after Queen Beatrix, is located in the Zuid district, south of the city. Between Amsterdam and the municipality of Amstelveen is the Amsterdam wood, the largest leisure area in the city. Every year, nearly 4.5 million people visit the park, whose 1,000 hectares are about three times the size of Central Park in New York. To the south of the city, close to the Rieker windmill, is the Amstelpark, which contains an art gallery, a rose garden, a maze and animals. The Plantage district is home not only to the Artis, a zoological park with over 8,000 animals, an aquarium and a planetarium, but also to the Botanical Garden of Amsterdam, a botanical garden with several tropical greenhouses, including one with butterflies in the wild. Other major parks include the Sarphatipark in De Pijp, the Oosterpark and the Flevopark in Oost district, the Westerpark in the district of the same name and the Rembrandtpark in the Oud-West district.
The city has four beaches, Nemo Beach, Citybeach "Het stenen hoofd" (Silodam), Blijburg and Amsterdam-Noord.
Many large open spaces are also found in the center of Amsterdam, at the forefront of which are the Dam, a large square on which the Royal Palace and the National Monument, or even Museumplein, a large area covered with lawn where the Rijksmuseum museums, the Van Gogh museum and the Stedelijk Museum are located. Other major squares in Amsterdam include the Rembrandtplein, the Muntplein, the Nieuwmarkt, the Leidseplein, the Spui, the Frederiksplein and the Waterlooplein, all located in the city center.
The city of Amsterdam is characterized by a multitude of churches, both Catholic and Protestant, which bear witness to the religious history of the city and the country. Symbol of the struggle between the two cults following the Reformation, the Krijtberg (1642), a former underground Catholic church of the time of the United Provinces, is one of the many such churches (the Schuilkerken), which developed at a time when cults other than Calvinism were tolerated provided that no outside signs is not apparent. Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder is also in this situation: built between 1661 and 1663 in an attic by a rich catholic merchant, it is underground. The authorities have heard of the hidden religious building, but have a policy of tolerance, since it is housed in a house and the faithful enter discreetly through the streets to pray.
The Oude Kerk ("old church"), built in 1306 and having for Saint-Patron Nicolas de Myre, is the oldest church in the city and is also one of the oldest monuments in Amsterdam. Originally built as a Roman Catholic church, it became a Calvinist church following the Reformation in 1578. It was built on a former cemetery, and continued to house the citizens' bodies of the city until 1865. In total, there are 2,500 tombs buried in 10,000 Amstellodams, including Jacob van Heemskerk, Frans Banning Cocq and Saskia van Uylenburgh, Rembrandt's wife. It is now located on the Oudekerksplein, in the heart of the red quarter.
Contrary to what its name might suggest as opposed to the Oude Kerk, the Nieuwe Kerk ("new church"), located on the Dam, was built only a century later, and completed in 1408. Built in a Gothic style, it is the national church of the Netherlands but also a major exhibition place. In particular, it is the place for the Dutch sovereigns to be invested. The queens Wilhelmine, Juliana, Beatrix and King William Alexander are sworn in. On , the marriage of William Alexander, Prince of Orange, with Maxima Zorreguieta is celebrated.
Located close to Amsterdam Central Station, the Basilica of San Nicolas is the largest Catholic church in the city. It was built between 1884 and 1887 by architect Adrianus Bleijs and is the third church in the city to be named Saint Nicholas. In addition, four 17th-century churches designated by a cardinal point are located in the center of the city. The Noorderkerk ("Northern Church"), built especially for the inhabitants of Jordaan, is of modest size. The Westerkerk ("Western Church"), located on the Prinsengracht, is the largest church in the Netherlands and has become one of the symbols of the city, in particular because of its particular architecture, the crown of Emperor Maximilien I of Austria who covers it and its carillon adorning its bell tower. The Zuiderkerk ("Southern Church"), located towards the Nieuwmarkt, is the first church in the city to be built especially for the Protestant cult between 1603 and 1611. Finally, the Oosterkerk ("Eastern Church"), also of modest size, has not been used for religious services since 1962.
During the last part of the sixteenth century, the Rederijkerskamers ("chambers of rhetoric") of Amsterdam, like De Egelantier, organized competitions between the different chambers of poetry reading and theater. The creation of the Academy in 1617 allowed Amsterdam to count the most famous literary circles of the United Provinces in the sixteenth century. In 1637, Amsterdam built its first theater, designed by Jacob van Campen, where ballet shows were performed as early as 1642. In the 18th century, French theater became popular. There were few national opera productions in the nineteenth century, while Amsterdam was influenced by German music. The Holland Opera was built in 1888 to remedy and promote Dutch opera. At that time, popular culture centered around the vaudeville and music hall around the Nes area in Amsterdam. The metronome, one of the most important advances of European classical music, was invented in 1812 in Amsterdam by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel. At the end of this century, the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk and Concertgebouw were built. With the twentieth century came cinema, radio and television. Although most of the studios are located in Hilversum and Aalsmeer, the programming is largely influenced by Amsterdam, where many people work in the television industry.
The Amsterdam Zoo, Artis, takes its name from the Royal Society of Zoology Natura Artis Magistra ("Nature is master of art"). It is one of the oldest in the world (the main building dates back to 1838), along with that of London (1828). Located right in the center of the city, its atmosphere contrasts sharply with the surrounding urban hustle and bustle. It includes an aquarium (built in 1882), zoological and geological museums, a planetarium and a university library.
The Central Library of Amsterdam has recent central premises: they are earned on the water, near the station, in the district of Oostelijk Havengebied. It is open to the public and free of charge. The city's flower market, with its various flowers from the Dutch fields, Visited en masse by foreign tourists, who usually buy take-away bulbs, the market also has its regulars, who come here to buy flowers at low cost.
The most important museums in Amsterdam are located on the Museum Square (Museumplein), in the Museumkwartier. The space was created at the end of the 19th century on the grounds of the previous International and Colonial Exhibition of 1883. The square is almost entirely covered with lawn, with the exception of the northern part, covered with gravel and at the center of which is a long rectangular basin that turns into an ice rink in winter. The current organization of the square dates back to 1999, when it was completely remodeled when a large underground parking lot was built.
The north of the square is bordered by the Rijksmuseum with neogothic architecture created by Pierre Cuypers. The museum opened in 1885 and underwent a major renovation between 2003 and 2013, for an amount of 375 million euros. The Rijksmuseum has the largest and largest collection of Dutch classical art. Its collection consists of nearly one million works by Dutch painters and sculptors, mainly from the 17th century. The museum is frequently associated with the name of Rembrandt, whose work and that of his students, is widely represented in the various galleries. The museum's centerpiece is probably Rembrandt's masterpiece, La Ronde de nuit. It also houses paintings by artists such as Johannes Vermeer (La Laitière, La Ruelle), Bartholomeus van der Helst, Frans Hals, Ferdinand Bol, Albert Cuyp, Jacob van Ruisdael and Paulus Potter. Apart from the paintings, the collection also consists of a wide variety of decorative arts: from the Delft earthenware to the giant dollhouses of the 17th century.
The northwest of the museum is home to the Van Gogh Museum, which commemorates Van Gogh's short stay in Amsterdam. The museum is housed in one of the few modern buildings in this area, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, and houses a large permanent collection. A new building was added to the museum in 1999, the "performance wing", to accommodate temporary exhibitions. This wing of the museum was designed by Japanese architect Kishō Kurokawa. The Van Gogh museum exhibits some of the most famous paintings by the Dutch master, such as The Van Gogh House in Arles, The Potato Eaters or The Sunflowers, making this the most visited museum in Amsterdam.
Next to the Van Gogh Museum is the city's largest museum of modern art, the Stedelijk Museum. Built at the same time as the square, the building opened in 1895. The museum’s permanent collection consists of works by Piet Mondrian, Karel Appeal and Kasimir Malevich. The museum reopens in , after major renovation work, with a new composite extension called "the bathtub" because of its shape.
A rich and varied annex offer
The city of Amsterdam is home to many other museums of all sizes and types. In the register of historical museums, the Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum ("Dutch Maritime Museum") houses the richest collection dedicated to the navy in the world. You can find paintings, models, weapons or even maps of maritime geography. The Amsterdam Museum (formerly the Amsterdam Historisch Museum) is entirely devoted to the history of the Dutch capital through various works of art and documents. The Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis before her deportation in , also attracts tens of thousands of tourists, next to the Westerkerk. The Jewish historic museum, inaugurated in 1987, occupies four Ashkenazi synagogues, while the Bijbels Museum, located on the Herengracht, contains the first Bible printed in Holland (1477). The museum also has models of the temple of Solomon, Herod and the tabernacle, and a large number of objects and trees mentioned in the Bible. Another museum, the Verzetsmuseum ("Museum of Resistance") recounts the life of the Dutch population under the Nazi occupation. The Portuguese synagogue in Amsterdam, the main place of Jewish worship for several hundred years in the city, is now open to visitors.
Other notable painting museums include Rembrandt's house, which recreates the artist's life through his works, as well as the Hermitage, which is the largest foreign dependency of the St. Petersburg Hermitage museum. The Tropenmuseum ("Museum of Tropics"), which is part of a larger entity, the Royal Tropical Institute is dedicated to ethnography and the study of tropical cultures around the world. The Cat's Office presents drawings, paintings, engravings and other works dedicated to this animal.
In the field of visual arts and entertainment, FOAM, a museum of photography, works mainly on the basis of temporary exhibitions. The Nederlands Filmmuseum is dedicated to the seventh art. The EYE Film Institute Nederland moved in 2012 from the Vondelpark to Amsterdam-Noord after an opening by Queen Beatrix.
Several museums with a more touristic vocation are also very popular. For example, Madame Tussauds's museum is home to wax statues by many celebrities such as Lenin, Michael Jackson, Pelé or James Bond, the Hendrikje bag museum, the world's largest bag museum, and the Heineken Experience, dedicated to the eponymous beer brand located in the former brewery. The NEMO, a scientific museum for children and adults similar to the Cité des Sciences française, was designed by architect Renzo Piano and opened in 1997.
Finally, although it is not a museum, the Dutch Institute for Military Studies opens its collections on the Second World War to the public. The Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, of which it is a member, also has its headquarters in Amsterdam, Trippenhuis.
Amsterdam has a world-renowned symphony orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which operates within the Concertgebouw on the Museumplein. The acoustics of this concert hall are considered by critics as one of the best in the world. The building has three rooms: the large room, the small room and the ice gallery. Nearly eight hundred concerts are produced each year, with a attendance of about 850,000 spectators. The Amsterdam Opera, the Muziektheater, is located next to the Town Hall in the same architectural complex nicknamed "Stopera" (a luggage from Stadhuis, "Town Hall", and opera). This huge modern complex, opened in 1986, is located in the ancient Jewish quarter of Waterlooplein near the Amstel River. It hosts the troops of the Nederlandse Opera, the National Ballet and the Holland Symfonia. Opened in 2005, the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ is a concert hall located on the IJ, north of the central station that hosts mainly contemporary music performances. Located in the immediate vicinity, the Bimhuis is rather devoted to jazz and improvisation.
The Heineken Music Hall is a concert hall located near the Johan Cruyff ArenA, which hosts major concerts by internationally renowned artists. It also hosts numerous electronic music festivals such as the Amsterdam Music Festival, including Dutch disk jockeys Armin van Buuren, Hardwell, Martin Garrix and Tiësto. Still close to the Amsterdam ArenA, the Ziggo Dome opened its doors in 2012 and hosts international artists such as Pearl Jam, Madonna, Beyoncé or Lady Gaga. The Paradiso is a theater and cultural center located in an old church in Amsterdam, built between 1879 and 1880 near the Leidseplein, one of the city's tourist and cultural centers. Also located near the Leidseplein, the Melkweg is another multi-disciplinary alternative venue, born of an independent organization in 1970. Both offer eclectic programming ranging from independent rock to hip-hop, R'n'B or other popular genres. Other music venues with a more subculture-oriented focus include OCCII, OT301, De Nieuwe Anita, Winston-Uni and Zaal 100. Every spring, the 5 Days Off festival is held for five nights at the Paradiso and Melkweg. During the summer, several large concerts are performed outdoors, such as A Day at the Park.
Theater and cabaret
The city of Amsterdam is home to several theatrical venues. A neo-Renaissance building built in 1894 on the Leidseplein, the Stadsschouwburg houses the company of the Toneelgroep Amsterdam. While most of the rooms were previously played in the grand hall, the building underwent a major renovation and expansion phase to create an additional performance room that is operated in conjunction with the Melkweg. The Royal Theater Carré, built on the banks of the Amstel in 1887 in the same neo-Renaissance style that was in vogue at the time, was originally intended to house a permanent circus. He now hosts cabaret shows, musicals and a few concerts. The Tuschinski Theater and the recent re-opening of the DeLaMar Room allow to complete the offer with respect to theater plays and musicals.
The Netherlands has a strong tradition of cabaret, combining music, tales, commentary, theater and comedy. The cabaret genre dates back to the 1930s when artists such as Wim Kan, Wim Sonneveld and Toon Hermans pioneered this form of art in the Netherlands. In Amsterdam, there is a stage arts academy dedicated to the cabaret, the Kleinkunstacademie. Contemporary popular artists include Freek de Jonge, Herman Finkers, Hans Teeuwen, Herman van Veen, Youp van 't Hek, Theo Maassen, Najib Amhali, Raoul Heertje, Jörgen Raymann, Brigitte Kaandorp and Comedytrain.
Het Parool, created as a Resistance newspaper during the Second World War, became a national newspaper over time, but remained very centered on Amsterdam. The daily circulation is now around 85,000 units. The weekly newspaper De Groene Amsterdammer ("Green Amstellodamois") is also very popular. The Algemeen Handelsblad newspaper, from which the NRC Handelsblad (in Rotterdam) is founded in Amsterdam — where it has been established again since December 2012 — and a large number of national newspapers are also headquartered in the city, such as De Telegraaf, Volkskrant, Trouw and others. Het Financieele Dagblad. The free Metro en Sp!ts newspapers as well as the publishing house Elsevier, which publishes the weekly newspaper of the same name, are also located there.
AT5 (Amstel Televisie 5) is the local TV channel. It was founded in 1992 and reveals numerous national television personalities such as Sacha de Boer, Matthijs van Nieuwkerk and Fons van Westerloo. RTV North-Holland, SBS6, Endemol, MTV and several other production houses have also chosen Amsterdam to set up their headquarters. Many national television and radio programs are recorded in Desmet Studio's studios (as well as Studio Plantage until 2012), both located in Plantage. The Westergasfabriek is also home to recordings of numerous television programs, notably music-related.
The Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) is one of the largest internet interconnection relays in the Netherlands, and even one of the largest in the world.
Ajax Amsterdam is the city's main football club. She is a team of the first Dutch football league, several times winner of the League of Football Champions (1971, 1972, 1973 and 1995), and twice winner of the Intercontinental Cup (1972 and 1995). The club has the best Dutch track record with 30 national championships in addition to its European titles. In 1996, they abandoned the old Stadion De Meer to move into the new Johan Cruyff ArenA, southeast of the city, near the Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena station. The Olympic Stadium, built to host the 1928 Summer Olympics, underwent major renovations in the late 1990s to host cultural and sporting events, such as the Amsterdam Marathon or the 2016 European Athletics Championships. In 1920, Amsterdam hosted the sailing events on the IJ at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp.
The city's main American football franchise is the Amsterdam Crusaders. From the time when the NFL Europa still existed (major league dissolved in 2007), the Dutch capital is represented on the European stage by the Amsterdam Admirals. The basketball team of MyGuide Amsterdam, based at the Sporthallen Zuid, is working in the Dutch Championship. Baseball is represented by the Amsterdam Pirates team in the Dutch Major League. As far as ice hockey is concerned, the Amstel Tijgers Amsterdam team plays on the Jaap Eden ice rink, while the very popular field hockey team is represented by three teams: Amsterdam, Pinoké and Hurley, who compete at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen.
In addition to the Amsterdam marathon, the Dam to Dam race takes place every year, 10 miles long (about 16.1 km), between Amsterdam and Zaandam. Since 1999, the city of Amsterdam has honored its best athletes with the Amsterdam Sports Awards. The first time the award is awarded to boxer Raymond Joval and field hockey player Carole Thate.
Rugby league is also growing in the city, with the creation of a club, the cobras of Amsterdam, which contests the Netherlands rugby league championship and wins it in 2018.
Amsterdam's nightlife is one of the liveliest in Europe. The dozens of trendy night clubs (clubs) attract many young people from all over the Netherlands, as well as foreign tourists. Melkweg, Paradiso, Radion, Jimmy Woo, Club More, Trouw, Marktkantine, De School, Sugar Factory, Powerzone and Escape are among the most famous. These clubs are located in all the districts of the city, but the two main points of concentration are Rembrandtplein and Leyde square and its surroundings. The Thuishaven Festivals Ground, with its varied weekend programming, is also renowned.
Amsterdam is also best known for its main red light district, De Wallen, which is home to a number of well-priced places (Oudezijds Achterburgwal) and hashish hars or coffee shops spread throughout the city, attracting many foreigners looking for cannabis in a decriminalized setting.
The city of Amsterdam is very dynamic in the field of festivals, with nearly 140 festivals and events held there in 2008. At the forefront of the events in Amsterdam are the Dutch national holiday Koningsdag ("King's Day"), previously Koninginedag (the "Queen's Day"), due to the crowning of William Alexander on . The national holiday traditionally corresponds to the birthday of the sovereign unless it falls on a Sunday, in which case the Koningsdag takes place the day before. Thus, the first Koningsdag of William Alexander's reign takes place on , not , the day of his birthday. Under Beatrix's previous reign, the national holiday does not coincide with the Queen's birthday. On her accession to the throne on , Queen Beatrix decided to retain her mother's birthday, Queen Juliana, on instead of her own birthday on , both to pay tribute to her mother and for practical reasons. Celebrations in the heart of winter and therefore in the cold and even in the snow would have been less conducive to festivities and popular delight. Every year, several hundred thousand people travel to Amsterdam to pay tribute to the king (or queen) with the city's inhabitants. Tens of thousands of people flock to the city, whether to party with music along the canals or on street concerts, or to wander around the big braderies (the freemarkets) all over the city, especially at the Vondelpark.
Among other major events is the Stille Omgang, a silent Catholic procession that takes place at nightfall, one evening in March. The Holland Festival, dedicated to performing arts, attracts artists from all over the world every June, while the pride march (Gay Pride) and its famous boat parade on the capital's canals take place in August. The Prinsengrachtconcert, dedicated to classical music, is also held in August on Prinsengracht, as well as the Uitmarkt, which opens the new cultural season every year with concerts, recitals, plays. In another register, the Cannabis cup rewards the best varieties of cannabis in November. Sail Amsterdam is an event that takes place every five years and brings together the most beautiful sailing boats in the world; the last edition takes place in 2015.
Amsterdam is also a very dynamic city on the electronic music scene. Each year, the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), organized in October, attracts more than 200,000 visitors, including 40,000 tourists. It is one of the largest club festivals in the world, and all kinds of electronic music are represented. The city also hosts the majority of Awakenings techno festivals that attract tens of thousands of visitors each year, both in outdoor events (in Spaarnwoude) or in the indoor event (in the Gashouder of Westerpark). Other major festivals in the city include Dance Valley (Prime Minister Mark Rutte will dance there in 2011), Mystery Land, Lowlands (generalists), Latin Village (house) and Dekmantel and Welcome To The Future (deep house and techno). The city is also one of the first Dutch cities to host gabber music, derived from the house scene, in the early 1990s; the first internationally recognized genre festival, the Thunderdome, takes place there in 1992.
Amsterdam has two general universities: the University of Amsterdam (Universiteit van Amsterdam, a secular institution founded in 1632) and the Free University of Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit, a Protestant institution founded in 1880). The University of Amsterdam is the one with the greatest international reach, which is why it is ranked 71th in the world ranking of universities published by the British daily The Times in 2012 and 81th in 2013. The city also includes other higher education institutions dedicated to art, such as the Amsterdam Conservatory and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. The University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam (Hogeschool van Amsterdam) is a technical university institution, while the International Institute of Social History is one of the largest centers of documentation and research in social history, particularly on the history of the labor movement. Founded in the early seventeenth century, the Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, with many rare and ancient specimens, including the coffee plant that is responsible for the entire coffee culture in Central Europe and South America. Finally, the city also hosts several faculties of politics and economics that are mainly directed at foreign students.
Amsterdam has five private secondary schools (called gymnasium), the Vossiusgymnasium, the Barlaeusgymnasium, the St. Ignatius Gymnasium, Het 4th Gymnasium and the Cygnus Gymnasium, where a classical program includes Latin courses and ancient Greek. Although considered by many to be an anachronistic and elitist concept until very recently, gymnasiums have recently experienced a renewed interest leading to the creation of a fourth, and then a fifth, high school. Most high schools in Amsterdam offer different levels of education in the same school.
Some primary schools in Amsterdam rely on particular pedagogical methods such as the Montessori method. The most important high school based on this pedagogy is the Montessori Lyceum. The other high schools are mainly based on religious denominations, mainly Catholic or Protestant, but also Islamic and Hebrew schools, particularly in the south and west of Amsterdam.
Driving in the city center is strongly discouraged through municipal initiatives, such as high parking fees or many streets closed to traffic or one-way. In order to encourage motorists to leave their vehicles at the entrance to the city, the municipality is setting up an incentive parking system consisting of seven relay parks grouped under the name Parkeren + Reizen (P+R). The latter allow motorists to benefit from a very comfortable parking fee, provided that you take the public transport (tram, underground) to get to the city center. The municipality also supports car sharing and carpooling initiatives. Public transport and alternative transport are thus largely favored in Amsterdam.
Road and motorway network
The city of Amsterdam has two peripheral boulevards that allow you to bypass the city or to quickly cross the city. The city's outer ring road is the A10 motorway. With a length of 32 km, it connects the 18 main urban routes — numbered from S101 to S118 — to the country's main motorway routes, and in particular to the A1 (which serves the east of the Netherlands), the A2 (which joins Utrecht, Bois-le-Duc, Eindhoven and Maastricht) and the A4 which serves the route drawn between Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Belgium. The city's second ring road is known as the "Inner Device" (Amsterdamse binnenring) or S100, and is made up of a set of three docks that delimit the district of Centrum along the Singelgracht, Nassaukade, Stadhouderskade and Mauritskade.
Initially, when the motorways were conceived in 1932, the aim was to make Amsterdam the central node of the Dutch road network, from which the A1 to A8 motorways would depart. However, the outbreak of the Second World War and the change of priorities made only the A1, A2 and A4 motorways to begin in the city. The A3 motorway to Rotterdam was canceled in 1970 to preserve the Groene Hart in the heart of the Randstad. The A8 motorway, heading north towards Zaandam, and the Amsterdam ring road (A10), were inaugurated respectively in 1968 and 1974. In addition to the A1, A2, A4 and A8, two motorways allow traffic to be de-engulfed in the northeast direction of the country, via the province of Flevoland (via the A6) or the northern Netherlands (via the A7).
The city's public transport network, managed by the GVB (Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf), is very developed, combining several modes of transport, including railway (tram and metro), road (bus), maritime and river (ferries). In the center, trams and buses concentrate most of the passenger traffic, while subways serve the peripheral areas and the towns to the south (Amstelveen and Diemen). Free ferry links allow you to cross the IJ and connect Noord and the surrounding towns to the rest of the city. Regional and some suburban buses are operated by Connections and Arriva; they serve Amsterdam-Schiphol airport, among other things. In 2013, the GVB organized the transport of approximately 211 million passengers. Every day, 740,000 take its 56 bus lines, 14 tram lines, 5 metro lines and 5 free sea links.
The construction of the metro network, the first line of which was put into service in 1977, was marred by several incidents and protests on the part of the inhabitants. In the 1970s, many buildings built on and around the Nieuwmarkt were destroyed to make way for the construction of the subway (as well as an expressway), which had to cross the neighborhood. The project caused major disturbances (known as Nieuwmarktrellen) in 1975, leading to the abandonment of the fast-track project. However, the underground is built and Nieuwmarkt is one of the stations today. More recently, the construction of the Noord/Zuidlijn ("North/South Line"), aimed at significantly improving traffic conditions in the city center and towards the north, is marked by major incidents (the collapse of buildings on the Vijzelstraat, more expensive stations than expected, floods) which push its inauguration date back by six years, by 200 11 to 2017. Similarly, the total cost of the project to the city more than tripled, from €300 million in the initial plan to more than €900. The total cost of the line, inaugurated in 2018, initially estimated at EUR 1.46 billion, finally exceeds 3.1 billion.
The OV-chipkaart smart card, launched in 2005 and valid on both the Nederlandse Sporwegen rail network and the public transport networks of several Dutch cities, can be used in all public transport in the city. The GVB office, located opposite the central station, distributes a free public transportation network map.
Cycles and two wheels
Bicycle is the most popular and popular means of transport in Amsterdam. The city thus offers numerous facilities to facilitate bicycle trips, such as special corridors on most streets, but also specific signage, allowing bicycles (and more generally on two-wheels) to use one-way lanes in many parts of the city. The city also has important garage facilities, including huge guarded parking lots in some stations (fietsenstallingen), but also boats specially set up to accommodate bicycles. According to Amsterdam, in total, Amsterdam has more than 250 miles of bike paths. The absence of relief also favors the use of the bicycle. All social strata use this means of transport, which accounts for nearly 38% of daily travel.
According to a 2012 municipal estimate, there are 881,000 bicycles in the city. According to the same study, about 70% of residents find cycling a pleasant way to travel. Of the remaining 30%, only 11% do not enjoy it, while 19% are neutral. Among the main reasons given by enthusiasts for using their bicycles are ease of use and speed (50%), followed by the fact that it makes it possible to enjoy the urban environment (19%) and that it is a healthy and healthy means of transport (17%). The quality of the facilities and the free access to them are only fourth and fifth (9% and 6% respectively). Among the main negative points, the study cites the unsocial behavior of some users, the safety, as well as the discomfort caused by scooters, also allowed to travel on bicycle lanes. In addition, city residents also mention the difficulty they sometimes encounter in parking their bicycles, especially around Amsterdam Central Station. In 2012, 65,000 two-wheeled vehicles were removed by the municipality and taken to the Westelijk Havengebied depot. For comparison, this figure is 54,000 in 2011 and 34,000 in 2010. This increase reflects the lack of parking spaces in the city, which is increasing the incentive for people to park their bicycles in unauthorized places.
The overabundance of bicycles in the city also has a negative impact. The theft and traffic of bicycles remain endemic problems, even if the trend is downward. In 2008, approximately 50,000 bicycle flights were registered, compared with 80,000 in 2001. According to the 2012 figures, just over 10,000 complaints of theft of bicycles, scooters or mopeds have been filed.
Amsterdam and its surroundings are criss-crossed by over 150 canals, creating nearly 90 mini-islands connected by a network of over a thousand bridges. For many centuries, these canals and waterways are used as the main transport routes in Amsterdam, especially for the transport of water, coal, food or spices. Today, these canals are only suitable for small barges, pleasure boats and fly boats. However, they are still used by the DHL courier company, whose ship delivers parcels through the city.
Three ferries transport pedestrians and cyclists on the IJ, free of charge, between Amsterdam Central Station and Amsterdam-North. Two other paying ferries allow you to travel the IJ from east to west, along the port. It is also possible to use taxi boats and river shuttles, rent electric boats or even to take a river cruise on the city's canals. On top of that, the Floating Dutchman, a bus also capable of navigating the water, makes a tourist tour in the city center.
The city's main railway station, with its number of trains and traffic, is Amsterdam's main railway station, which serves the rest of the country (Intercity and Sprinter) as well as international connections (Fyra, Thalys, Deutsche Bahn). The main station is the second busiest in the country after Utrecht, with 165,000 passengers passing through it every day. Schiphol Airport is also an important railway hub for local and international lines (Amsterdam-Central to Amsterdam Zuid, Fyra, Thalys). The Amsterdam-Central to Schiphol line is thus the busiest train line in the country with 5.6 million passengers per year. In addition, Amsterdam-Central is located on the other two most frequented lines in the country (Utrecht-Central in Amsterdam-Central and Haarlem in Amsterdam-Central).
The Amsterdam-Sloterdijk (north-west, 40,000 passengers per day), Amsterdam-south, and Amsterdam-Amstel (east) stations serve mainly domestic services, notably to The Hague, Leyde and Utrecht. The train stations of Lelylaan, Muiderpoort, Bijlmer ArenA and RAI complete the city's ring road service.
Schiphol Airport, located in the town's southwest Haarlemmermeer, is connected by rail to the rest of the city, reachable in 15 minutes from the central station.
In 2019, more than 71 million passengers pass through the airport (up 0.9% from 2018), ranking it fourteenth in the world and third in Europe, after London-Heathrow ( 80.8 million passengers ), Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle ( 76.1 million passengers )
In 2019, the airport received 71,707,144 passengers, making it the third largest in Europe and the fourteenth largest in the world.
The KLM fleet, whose planes fly to nearly 131 destinations in 65 different countries, is based at Schiphol airport.
In terms of the volume of goods, in 2012 Schiphol was 18th worldwide with a volume of goods of 1,511,824 tons, and 4th European, behind Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle (2,150,950 tons), Frankfurt-sur Main (2,066,432 tons) and London-Heathrow (1,556,203).
The action of many renowned literary works takes place entirely or partially in Amsterdam. One of the most universally recognized is Anne Frank's Journal, a book made up of the diary kept by Anne Frank, a young German Jewish woman exiled in the Netherlands, when she hides over a store near Westerkerk for twenty-five months, along with her family and four friends, during the occupation of the Netherlands by Nazi Germany. In the novel La Chute d'Albert Camus (1956), the story of the main protagonist, Jean-Baptiste Clamence, takes place in Amsterdam, where it is learned that he has exiled himself.
The Dutch writer Cees Nooteboom also chose Amsterdam as the backdrop for his novel Rituels, published in 1983, which tells the story of two friends, one of whom has the unfortunate tendency to break the law, while the other obeys with discipline. The city is also the theater of the novel De hoogste tijd by Harry Mulisch, published in 1985, which provides a detailed portrait of the modern city by telling the story of the classical Dutch actor Pierre de Vries. In Sur l'eau, published in 1998, H. Mr. van den Brink tells the story of two rowers from an Amstel sailing club, Anton and David, who is Jewish; the latter saw their fate change at the time of the german invasion.
In the Ministry of Pain, released in 2005, Dubravka Ugrešić depicts the harsh living conditions of immigrants from Eastern Europe in one of Amsterdam's poor neighborhoods, as the city has always been a refugee shelter.
Amsterdam serves as the setting for many films and TV series, both Dutch and international. Among the Dutch films that feature the city is notably known abroad The Choice of Fate (Soldaat van Oranje in Dutch), directed by Paul Verhoeven and released in 1977. The film, in which Rutger Hauer plays among others, tells the story of six students from Leiden University, in the run-up to the Second World War. Careless at the beginning of the film, war will change their lives; while some will choose rebellion and resist the occupier, others will opt for collaboration. Ciske le Filou, released in 1984, tells the story of Ciske, an 11-year-old child living in a poor neighborhood in Amsterdam in the 1930s. The film is inspired by a children's novel; actor Danny de Munk performs a song, "I feel so lonely", which has become a classic song for the city of Amsterdam. Also in the 1980s, the film L'Assaut, a film adaptation of the novel De Aanslag by Harry Mulisch, tells the story of Anton Steenwijk, who tries to understand the circumstances of his family's death in a German attack during the Second World War. Although the action takes place mainly in Haarlem, the film, oscarised in 1987, is a reference in Dutch cinema. In Amsterdam, directed by Dick Maas and released in 1988, a dangerous diver raged in the city, killing his victims with a scary knife. The killer uses the city's channels to commit his crimes.
Amsterdam has also appeared in several major Hollywood and international productions. In Les Diamonds Eternal, released in 1971, James Bond, performed by Sean Connery, travels to the Dutch capital to meet Tiffany Case; the film mainly features the city's canals, especially the Magere Brug. Two years later, in Turkish Délices, the city is the main theater of the passionate and tumultuous relationship between Bohemian sculptor Eric and Olga, from a conservative family. The film features many parts of the city, including Dam Square and Damrak, Rokin, Oudezijds Voorburgwal and Vondelpark. In the film Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino, Vincent Vega (played by John Travolta) returns to Los Angeles after spending three years in Amsterdam. The opening scene of the film Ocean's Twelve, directed by Steven Soderbergh, shows the team of Daniel Ocean organizing a breakout in Amsterdam. To do so, the bandits go so far as to bring down a house several centimeters long by lowering the stilts on which it is built. The 2005 American comedy Gigolo, despite him, takes place in Amsterdam and shows the harms of cannabis use and prostitution, but also addresses the topic of racism.
More recently, some scenes from Our Opposing Stars (2014), a film telling the story of two teenagers suffering from cancer, are taking place in Amsterdam. In Hitman and Bodyguard (2017), a race is taking place in Amsterdam, notably in front of the Rijksmuseum; other scenes of the film are shot in The Hague, featuring the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Music and songs
The song Amsterdam, performed by Jacques Brel, is one of the most illustrious French songs devoted to the city. The title was often picked up, as by the Oi group! Orléans Komintern Sect, notably in English by Scott Walker, David Bowie and John Cale. It was also taken over and edited by the group Parabellum, which made it a song against drug use. Other French-speaking artists have also sung the "Venice of the North" (nickname also given to the city of Bruges in Belgium), such as Guy Béart (In Amsterdam), Maxime Le Forestier (Little Cloud on Amsterdam), Les Innocents (Between Amos and Amsterdam), Graziella de Michele (Vision d Amsterdam), Billy Ze Kick (Good Amsterdam Kisses) or Oxmo Puccino (On the Amsterdam Road). More recently, the rap group of October Rouge also paid tribute to the city and more specifically to its famous red light district in the title Week end a Meda.
In an international register, several songs named Amsterdam were performed by artists such as Dutch singer Maggie MacNeal, Coldplay, Van Halen, Peter Bjorn and John, Mando Diao. The songs "Aan de Amsterdam grachten" by Pieter Goemans or "Tulips from Amsterdam" by British singer Max Bygraves have also become popular classics.
Notes and References
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