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Amsterdam & Access

"Amsterdam may not be a fashion city, but it is renowned for its art and design.
It’s also a real global village with a strong international orientation." - Rem Koolhaas, United Nude

Amsterdam is the capital and most populous municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague.


A drop of history
From its humble beginnings as a 13th-century fishing village on a riverbed to its current role as a major hub for business, tourism and culture, Amsterdam has had a strong tradition as a centre of culture and commerce. The city of Amsterdam began as a village on the River Amstel. However in the Middle Ages it grew rapidly as a centre of trade. In 1275 Floris V, Count of Holland gave the people of 'Amstelledamme' to transport their goods by water through his territory. In 1323 Amsterdam was made a port for Hamburg beer. Herring curing was invented in 1385. It meant the fish lasted longer and so the herring trade from Amsterdam boomed.

However Amsterdam suffered a severe fire in 1421. Another disastrous fire took place in 1452. Fire was a constant hazard when buildings were made of wood but after the second fire wood was banned as a building material. In the 16th century Amsterdam continued its growth. In the 17th century Amsterdam boomed and three great canals were built around the city. Many immigrants came to Amsterdam and its population rose to 200,000. The rise in the population of Amsterdam happened despite outbreaks of plague, which killed many people. The last outbreak was in 1663.

In the 18th century Amsterdam continued to be wealthy and it was also known for its tolerance. However in the early 19th century Amsterdam stagnated although a railway was built to Haarlem in 1839. In the late 19th century Amsterdam began to revive. The Industrial Revolution began to transform the city.

Modern Amsterdam
The Netherlands stayed neutral during the First World War but there were food shortages. As a result there were riots in Amsterdam in 1917. In 1928 the Olympics were held in Amsterdam. In 1939 the Dutch remained neutral but Germany invaded anyway in 1940. During the Second World War most of the Jews in Amsterdam were deported. (Anne Frank House opened to the public in 1960). After the war Amsterdam flourished again. Then in the 1960s Amsterdam was a haven for hippies. Museums: The Van Gogh Museum opened in 1973. The Joods Historisch Museum opened in 1987. Foam Photography Museum opened in 2001 and Diamond Museum opened in 2007. Hermitage Amsterdam opened in 2009. Today Amsterdam has a population of 820,000.
Some Figures:
Inhabitants: 834,713
Nationalities: 180
Bicycles: 881,000 (estimated)
Parks: 40
Trams: 213
Canals: 165
Electric vehicle charging points: 650
Markets: 32
Houseboats: 2,500
Cafés and bars: 1,515
Restaurants: 1,325
Hotels in the Amsterdam area: 634
Hotel beds: 37,627
Museums: 44
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