What is the Capital of Netherlands? Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the constitutional capital of the Netherlands, North Holland. The city is located on the southwest corner of the IJsselmeer and has 854,047 residents (2018). Including suburbs, the city has about 1 million residents.
Amsterdam is an important cultural city. It has two universities: Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU). Furthermore, the city has a science academy and an art academy. Far famous is the Rijksmuseum, with a number of masterpieces in Dutch painting, and the Rembrandthuset. The Van Gogh Museum is dedicated to 19th-century painters: van Gogh, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. The Stedelijk Museum is an international center for modern art, with painters such as Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Rauschenberg and Dutchman Karel Appel.
Amsterdam has for centuries been a well-known music city. The Concertgebouw Orchestra has a reputation as one of the best in the world. Only in our time has the city got its opera house, which is located in the same building as the new town hall (Stopera), opened in 1986. Anne Frank Huis, where the Frank family stayed hidden in 1942-1944, is a museum. Otherwise, there is a zoo with a large aquarium (Artis), planetarium, tram museum, wax museum, film museum, archaeological museum, maritime museum, center of science and technology (NEMO) and a number of other museums.
The inner old town (city center) is characterized by the many crescent-shaped channels (grachten), which in turn are crossed by transverse channels. In this way, the city consists of about 90 islands and has about 400 bridges. Along the canals lie the characteristic picturesque gable houses. Of late medieval buildings it is worth mentioning the Gothic churches Oude Kerk and Nieuwe Kerk, and from the flourishing period of the 17th century there is the royal castle in the city. The castle was originally built as the town hall, but King Lodewijk (Louis Bonaparte) gave it the status of a castle in 1808. Only in our time has the city again got a new town hall building. In addition, from the 17th century the Calvinist churches are Westerkerk and Zuiderkerk, and the Lutheran churches Oude Lutherse Kerk and Ronde Lutherse Kerk.
Something for themselves is the Church of Our Lieve Heer op Zolder (Our Savior in the Attic) near Oude Kerk. This is a so-called schuilkerk, ‘hidden church’ from the 17th century. During that period, the Catholics, who made up about a fifth of the population, had to resort to churches whose exterior was not church-shaped. However, the interior of this one remaining church is in magnificent Baroque and today is a unique cultural history museum.
To address a growing need for housing, a new district, IJburg, is under construction east of the city center. The district is scheduled to be completed by 2012 and will accommodate about 45,000 people. However, as of 2017, it is still under development, and holds about half as many people.
Amsterdam had early canal connections westward with the North Sea and eastward with the Rhine, and was already an important port and trading town as early as the 1600s. Although the city was not a member of the Hansa Federation, it was linked to Hansa’s trade. It got its stock exchange as early as 1561 on the model of the Antwerp Stock Exchange, and when Schelde was closed in 1585 during the War of Independence, the city was in earnest a prosperous period. In a few years, the population increased to double, while the population of Antwerp fell by half. Many people from Antwerp immigrated to Amsterdam.
In the 1600s, the large trading companies arose with their own ships trading on both the East and West Indies, and thus Amsterdam became both Europe’s most important maritime city and most important marketplace for valuable overseas goods. In the mid-17th century, Amsterdam had 10,000 vessels and about 150,000 sailors and a total capacity of 600,000 tonnes. During this century, Amsterdam received large numbers of immigrants, primarily from Germany, but also from the southern Netherlands and from the Nordic countries. It is estimated that around 1650 Amsterdam had more Norwegian residents than any Norwegian city at the same time.
In the 18th century, shipping was outstripped by England, and the city’s economic life took on a different character. Now the commission trade was developed, and the merchandise trade was replaced with money manipulation. Amsterdam financed most of the world trade, and Amsterdam is still a leading banking and financial center.
As a European gateway for goods from the overseas colonies, Amsterdam played an important role all the time, but after Indonesia became independent after World War II, that role was reduced. Until the Second World War, the city was also a major center for diamond grinding and trading, but after the war it has not been able to compete with Antwerp. The Jews, who were in charge of this profession, made up a tenth of the population before World War II.
Amsterdam was European cultural city in 1987.