Amsterdam history

Amsterdam is the capital and the main city in the Netherlands. In terms of population, the city is also the largest in the Netherlands. While Amsterdam is the capital, the Government and Parliament are based in The Hague (the seat of the Government). Amsterdam is based in the province of Noord-Holland. Amsterdam is not the capital of this province, it is Haarlem. Along with The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht and several cities and towns in between, Amsterdam is what the Dutch call Randstad.

Discover the history of Amsterdam with a walking tour!

Amsterdam is a very ancient town that used to be called Amstelerdam. Also now, the people still call it Mokkum. The town is named after the 13th-century dam in the Amstel River, and after it was given city rights in the 1300s, the city quickly grew into a prosperous trade city. Amsterdam was one of the largest and most important cities in the world during the Dutch Golden Age.

These days of glory can be seen in, for example, the Grachtengordel, the many mansions of wealthy 17th-century residents, the Old Church and the Current Church, and some of the precious objects in museums such as the Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum.

Tourists from all over the world are now coming to Amsterdam to tour these museums and marvel at the wonders of a city that has been the pillar of diversity and transformation for many decades. Amsterdam is also recognised globally as a welcoming and liberal area, not least because of the Pride Amsterdam and the coffee shops.

Amsterdam was the location where the river Amstel flows into the Zuiderzee. The Zuiderzee is now renamed the Ijsselmeer. The Amstel branched out and ran towards the Zuiderzee. At these divisions, or delta, a region was developed where fish was plentiful and other people decided to go further into the land through the Amstel. There are the reasons why people began staying in the hamlets of the delta. It began out as a fishing village.

Today, Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities in Europe and draws millions of visitors every year. Tourists come to sites such as coffee shops, the Red Light Districts, museums such as the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank Building, Maritime Museum, and much more.