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Amsterdam photos 1978

Netherlands, Europe

Netherlands facts and history in brief

Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia.

Amsterdam is the capital and the largest city of the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland.
It has approx. 810,000 inhabitants.

Because the government is situated there, it is commonly assumed that The Hague (Den Haag) is the capital, but the formal capital is Amsterdam.
The Netherlands is one of the few countries where the seat of government is not also the capital.

Amsterdam has one of the largest medieval city centres in Europe.
Countless buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries, now considered historical monuments, are to be found around a series of semicircular canals.
These face the old harbour which once opened onto the Zuyderzee (now cut off from the sea and known as the IJsselmeer).

The city is well known for the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, the Concertgebouw, Rembrandt House Museum, the Anne Frank house, and huge numbers of bicycles.

Amsterdam is also famous for its lively red-light district, de Wallen and its numerous coffee shops selling cannabis.
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands.
Prostitutes are considered bona fide entrepreneurs; they pay taxes and are otherwise treated like any other self-employed tradesperson.
Cannabis, on the other hand, is not, strictly speaking, legal; rather it is tolerated, meaning the sale (6 grams maximum per client) and possession of small quantities (30 grams) is not prosecuted.

Amsterdam was founded as a fishing village around the thirteenth century.
A dam was built on the river Amstel, hence its original name Amsterdam, dam on the river Amstel.

The early "Amsterdammers" acquired a talent for trade and from the fourteenth century onwards trade with the Hanseatic cities flourished.

In the 16th century, the Dutch war of independence began against the Spanish.
Although originally on the Spanish side, Amsterdam switched sides in 1578.
As a result, freedom of religion was reinstated, a very positive move at the time.
Religious wars were raging throughout Europe and many people were looking for a place of refuge where they would not be condemned for their religion and all sought refuge in Amsterdam.

The Seventeenth century was Amsterdam's Golden Age.
Amsterdam's ships sailed to North America, Indonesia, Brazil and Africa, building an impressive empire in the process.

Rembrandt also worked in this century, and the city expanded around its canals during this time.
Amsterdam became the most important port of the world and an international centre for banking.

The 18th and 19th century saw a decline in the prosperity of Amsterdam.
Wars against England and France took
their toll on the city and trade was lost to London.
At the end of the 19th century, the Industrial Revolution reached Amsterdam.
Waterways to the sea and to the river Rhine improved communication with the rest of Europe and the world.
Amsterdam got a new lease on life, but never reached the same supremacy as before.

World War I did not affect Amsterdam as the Netherlands remained neutral, although trade and industry suffered.
During World War II German troops occupied the city starting on May 15, 1940.
Before the war, Amsterdam was the world's centre for the diamond trade.
Amsterdam is still important, but the city of Antwerp in Belgium is the main centre for diamonds today.

The sixties and seventies put Amsterdam back on the map, for reasons other than trade.
The tolerance of soft drugs made the city a popular destination for hippies, and the squatting of unoccupied buildings became widespread.
Riots and clashes with the police were frequent.
In 1980, while Queen Beatrix was crowned the new Queen of The Netherlands in the New Church on Dam square.

Cultural life
Amsterdam is the cultural centre of the Netherlands, with much activity in the arts, dance, theatre, and music.

The world-famous concert hall, the Concertgebouw, is the home of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
The Muziektheater, a new (1986) opera house, in one building called Stopera with the city hall, facing the Amstel river, is the home of De Nederlandse Opera and the Dutch National Ballet.
Also on the Amstel is the famous theatre, the Carré.

Amsterdam's other attractions are the home of the Stedelijk Museum (20th century art), the Amsterdam Historical Musum, the Jewish Museum, the Nautical Museum, Madame Tussaud's, the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music, the Theatre Group Amsterdam, and the National Dance Theatre.

Founded in the early 1600s, Amsterdam's Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, with many old and rare specimens.

There are numerous private art galleries in the centre of the city.

Amsterdam's zoo is called Artis, a contraction of the Latin motto of the Zoo, "Natura Artis Magistra", meaning "Nature is the mother (or teacher) of art".

The RAI conference centre hosts many large commercial exhibitions and congresses each year.

Located near the Leidseplein is the nightclub Paradiso (previously a church) and the Melkweg, which both offer pop music and dancing almost every night of the week.

Amsterdam is the home town of Ajax, a team in the Dutch Football League.
It has won the European Cup several times, and the World Club Cup twice, their new home is the new Arena stadium, located in the south-east of the city.

The Amsterdam Admirals is the American Football team of the capital.
It also has a top field hockey team, Hockey Club Amsterdam.

External links

For more information about the Netherlands facts and history in brief

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

This information is correct December 2003. E. & O.E.

I visited Amsterdam in 1978 and I thoroughly enjoyed the city's ambience.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.

Amsterdam Amsterdam Amsterdam Amsterdam Amsterdam

Amsterdam Amsterdam Amsterdam Amsterdam Amsterdam

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