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Amsterdam Travel Guide > The Historic City of Amsterdam

The Historic City of Amsterdam


The Historic City of Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands and dates back to around the late 12th century, when it developed as a rather small fishing village on the banks of the river Amstel and the IJ Bay. It is a very popular tourist location and is well-known for its entertainment and cultural features.

The city of Amsterdam did not particularly become well known until around the 1600s, a period that is often referred to as the "Golden Age" in the Netherlands. During the 17th century period, from approximately 1584-1702, Amsterdam achieved a high status in the development of the arts, sciences and trade and was home to some outstanding scientists and artists of the period. From then on, Amsterdam developed into one of the largest known historic cities in Europe and also became one of the most popular places to visit in Northern Europe for its arts, culture and entertainment. There are a variety of interesting features in Amsterdam, which have existed since the Golden Age and especially the period following the Golden Age era. Many large houses and mansions are situated along the canals that were built during this period. The city developments and expansions that occurred during the 17th and 18th century continue to provide Amsterdam with many of its traditional historic characteristics and features such as important buildings, the layout of the streets and its decorated parks.

Typical historic buildings in Amsterdam Amsterdam historic city center

Following the Golden Age period, Amsterdam experienced some setbacks as a result of French and English attacks on the Dutch Republic. Nonetheless, the City still continued to be recognized as an important financial centre of Northern Europe and in the 18th century experienced another period of prosperity which was reflected largely in the large number of quality dwelling houses that were being built along the canals for the rich and less wealthier inhabitants. A number of houses and other features of that period still survive today, which add to the overall 18th century atmosphere of historic Amsterdam.

Anyone that is interested in visiting Amsterdam will be impressed with the "gezelligheid" or friendliness of the Dutch people, who have a tendency to act informally with the tourists wherever or whenever they come across them, be it when they are eating out in restaurants or going to visit the shops.

There are many places of historic importance well worth visiting in Amsterdam, such as the various museums such as the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Rembrandt Museum and Stedelijk, the modern art museum, Anne Frank's House and musical venues where various concerts are held.

In fact, there are so many places to visit that tourists will always have somewhere or something interesting to go and see, whether that is visiting the historic museums, going to listen to the different concerts, walking through the parks, eating at restaurants or visiting some of the popular cafes of Amsterdam. For someone who is interested in nightlife, there are popular locations such as the Leidseplein, which is a night life centre consisting of clubs, cinemas and restaurants that provides all types of cultural entertainment.

This is why Amsterdam continues to be one of the most popular destinations for visitors from all over the world.

Article written by Michael Russell, Amsterdam Guides.

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