Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands found within the province of North Holland. Amsterdam is colloquially referred to as the "Venice of the North", attributed by the large number of canals which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Dutch capital has always been a well-known name in world history and played a central role in the history of the Netherlands. Even though it has all the advantages of a big city: rich culture, lively Amsterdam nightlife, international restaurants and good transport - it is also informal and quiet.
The Dutch capital is considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with at least 177 nationalities represented. A few of Amsterdam's notable residents throughout history include: painters Rembrandt and Van Gogh, the diarist Anne Frank, and philosopher Baruch Spinoza.
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange is considered the oldest "modern" securities market stock exchange in the world. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters in the city. Also many of the world's largest companies are based in Amsterdam or have established their European headquarters in the city, such as leading technology companies
The Port of Amsterdam is the fifth largest in Europe. The KLM hub and Amsterdam's main airport: Schiphol, is the Netherlands' busiest airport as well as the third busiest in Europe.
Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin around a dam in the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century, and became the leading centre for finance and trade.
The rings of canals in the old city center date from this period with residents of the wealthy citizens. Because of lack of space, these houses were mostly narrow with big narrow windows, decorative gable tops, very narrow stairs inside and a pulley outside to transport larger objects to upper floors.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were planned and built.
Since it is not a very big city, all sites of interest are easy to reach. From Amsterdam canals to world-famous Amsterdam museums and historical Amsterdam sights, it is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe. Canal cruises are a popular way to see the city from the perspective of its canals. For an authentic local experience, rent a bike and cycle your way around.
Amsterdam's main attractions include the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, the Concertgebouw, the Anne Frank House, the Scheepvaartmuseum, the Amsterdam Museum, the Heineken Experience, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Natura Artis Magistra, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, NEMO, the red-light district and many cannabis coffee shops.