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Amsterdam municipality
Flag of the Amsterdam municipality
Coat of arms of the municipality of Amsterdam
coat of arms
province North Holland North Holland
mayor Femke Halsema ( GroenLinks )
Seat of the municipality Amsterdam
 - land
 - water
219.32  km 2
165.31 km 2
54.01 km 2
CBS code 0363
Residents 864.217 (Jan 31, 2019)
Population density 3940 inhabitants / km 2
Coordinates 52 ° 22 ′  N , 4 ° 53 ′  E Coordinates: 52 ° 22 ′  N , 4 ° 53 ′  E
Important traffic route A2 A4 A5 A8 A9 A10 E19 E22 E35
prefix 020
Postcodes 1011-1109
Website Homepage of Amsterdam
Amsterdam Noord-Holland location map.png
Template: Infobox location in the Netherlands / maintenance / map
The Amsterdam city center (around 2006) with the characteristic Amsterdam canal belt
The Amsterdam city center (around 2006) with the characteristic Amsterdam canal beltTemplate: Infobox location in the Netherlands / maintenance / picture 1

Amsterdam ( Dutch Amsterdam ? / I ) is the capital and most populous city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the 19th  largest city in the European Union . The municipality of Amsterdam has 864,217 inhabitants (as of January 31, 2019) and the Groot-Amsterdam agglomeration has 1,362,270 inhabitants (as of February 28, 2018). Around 2.4 million people (2012) live in the greater Amsterdam area, which makes up the northern part of the Dutch Randstad agglomeration. Even though the country’s seat of government and the royal residence are in The Hague , 60 kilometers away , Amsterdam has been the capital of the Netherlands since 1983 according to the Dutch constitution . Audio file / audio sample

Amsterdam is located in the Dutch province of North Holland , where the Amstel and IJ flow into the IJsselmeer directly one behind the other . The city's port is connected to the North Sea by the North Sea Canal. Amsterdam is world famous for the many canals .


City structure

City districts of Amsterdam, since May 1, 2010

Since the reorganization on May 1st, 2010, Amsterdam has been divided into seven boroughs . Before that there were 14 districts, three of which remained unchanged and the others merged into four new districts. Each city district has its own district administration and an elected district committee. The boroughs are in turn divided into the districts of Amsterdam .

Amsterdam center

In Amsterdam-West :

In Amsterdam Nieuw-West :

In Amsterdam-Zuid :

In Amsterdam-Oost

In Amsterdam-Noord

In Amsterdam-Zuidoost

Water level

The Amsterdam level was established in 1683/1684 as the zero point for height measurements. The water level of the mean flood (MHW) was chosen. This water level was about 17 cm above mean water . The water level of the Amsterdam canals is now about 40 cm below the sea ​​level of the North Sea.


The Dutch weather usually varies from a light frost in winter with some snow to sunny days of 20 to 30 ° C in summer. Spring and autumn are mild, but can also be very wet and rainy (over 100 mm of precipitation per month).

Climate diagram
J F. M. A. M. J J A. S. O N D.
Temperature in ° Cprecipitation in mm
Source: Koninklijk Nederlands Meteorologische Instituut (PDF; 52 kB)
Average monthly temperatures and rainfall for Amsterdam / Schiphol (1971-2000)
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. Temperature ( ° C ) 5.4 6.0 9.2 12.4 17.1 19.2 21.4 21.8 18.4 14.1 9.2 6.5 O 13.4
Min. Temperature (° C) 0.5 0.2 2.4 4.0 7.8 10.4 12.5 12.2 10.2 7.0 3.9 1.9 O 6.1
Temperature (° C) 3.0 3.1 5.7 8.2 12.5 15.0 17.1 17.1 14.3 10.6 6.6 4.3 O 9.8
Precipitation ( mm ) 62.1 43.4 58.9 41.0 48.3 67.5 65.8 61.4 82.1 85.1 89.0 74.9 Σ 779.5
Hours of sunshine ( h / d ) 1.7 2.9 3.8 5.5 7.0 6.7 6.7 6.5 4.4 3.3 1.9 1.4 O 4.3
Rainy days ( d ) 21st 16 20th 18th 18th 19th 18th 18th 19th 21st 23 23 Σ 234
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Time zone

Amsterdam and the entire European Netherlands are in the Central European Time Zone . Since the city is far to the west in this time zone, the sun will not be due south until 12:40 p.m. (1:40 p.m. during summer time). This, together with the northern location of the city, results in a late sunset in summer; in midsummer it can still be light until 11 p.m.


Name story

The name of the city is derived from a 13th century dam with lock in the Amstel river ; there was a fishing village called Amstelredam. The Latin name was Amstelodamum, later Amstelaedam ( Amstelædam ). The dike at the mouth of the river was necessary to protect the development on both banks of the river from storm surges, because the former Zuiderzee was an open bay to the North Sea , and the land sank due to drainage measures. The dam, which was laid in the Amstel, connected the settlement centers that had previously developed on both sides, which are now known as Oude Zijde and Nieuwe Zijde (old and new side).

In the course of the Middle Ages, an urban square was built on the site of the Amstel dam, which is still called Dam today and represents the center of the city.

Amsterdam from the Middle Ages

Until the 13th century, today's province of Holland was for the most part difficult to settle. It was a very humid area, consisting mainly of bog and marshland, and was cut by several rivers. One of these rivers was the Amstel , which in the IJ -called estuary resulted. Storm surges caused the IJ to widen the mouth of the Amstel into a narrow, elongated bay. Around 500 fishermen had settled in huts by 1230.

Foundation walls of the Kasteel van Amstel

Lords of the Amstelland around the river of the same name were the aristocratic van Amstel family , who sat as ministerials of the bishopric of Utrecht at the castle in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel until it was destroyed in 1204 by rebellious farmers from Kennemerland . They then built a new castle, the Kasteel van Amstel , whose presumed foundations were found during excavations in 1994–1999 under today's street Nieuwezijds Kolk . Around 1270 they let the river, at the point where it widened to the bay, separated by the dam that gave it its name . From this time there is a contract between Gijsbrecht IV. Van A (e) mstel, who inherited the property in 1265, and his brother Willem, Provost in Mijdrecht , about the drainage of his property in the Amstel. The settlement is first mentioned in 1275 as "Amstelledamme". From this dam, the dyke curved north on both sides of the bay, where today's streets Nieuwendijk and Warmoesstraat (and further south-east of the Zeedijk ) still run higher than their surroundings. Such dykes were also built elsewhere along the Zuiderzee. After archaeological excavations, the old nursery rhyme Amsterdam, the beautiful city, is built on stilts proves to be absolutely correct: in fact, houses and streets could only be built with the help of innumerable stakes as subsoil - up to 18 meters deep through the boggy ground into the solid sand be built in the marshland. The Oude Kerk was the first church to be built in the second half of the 13th century instead of a wooden chapel. From 1408 the larger Nieuwe Kerk followed .

Florens V , Count of Holland, tried to seize the new trading port and granted its traders duty-free. Gijsbrecht van Amstel, who had rebelled against the bishop of Utrecht, had to submit to the count as a vassal in 1285, but was involved in his murder in 1296. His son Jan van Amstel used a Flemish invasion of Holland in 1303 to break away from it, but after the Flemish had withdrawn, he was subjected to the city walls and had to demolish the bridges; the place lost all trading privileges. These were only renewed after Amsterdam was finally incorporated into the county of Holland in 1317. Amsterdam was then also granted city rights, as had previously been given to Dordrecht , Haarlem , Delft and Leiden . Under the Counts of Avesnes and their successors, the Wittelsbachers of the Bayern-Straubing line , Holland experienced a period of prosperity that ended with the invasion of Burgundian power - in 1433, Holland fell to Philip the Good , who ruled it from Brussels . The hook and cod war between 1350 and 1490 was a long smoldering power struggle of the bourgeoisie in the Dutch cities, in alliance with the Burgundian dukes, against the interests of the local feudal nobility .

Oldest known general view of Amsterdam by Cornelis Anthonisz. (1538)

Fishing, initially the most important source of income, gradually gave way to trade, especially with dried or cured herring from the Swedish south coast and with beer from Hamburg , for which Amsterdam received an import monopoly in 1323. In 1347 locks are mentioned for the first time, which made the laborious transport of goods over the dam unnecessary by allowing ships to pass through with their masts down. Later locks were added at the inlet of the Amstel into the city and at its confluence with the IJ, and canals ran through and surrounded the city, as in the illustration by Cornelis Anthonisz. from 1538 can be seen. At that time the city had about 30,000 inhabitants and consisted of the core of today's old town. Amsterdam was never a member of the Hanseatic League , with which there were trade conflicts and disputes over the passage through the Oresund , which was settled in 1441. New techniques (immediately gutting the fish while on board) also made fishing in the North Sea more efficient. Salt and tropical fruits were imported from the Mediterranean. Amsterdam became a stacking and transshipment market and the goods were processed, which gave rise to production techniques , science , banking and insurance transactions and printing works .

Originally, all male citizens who had city rights could sit in the city government of Amsterdam; they were called " poorters ". In the Middle Ages, the Schouts ( Schultheißen ) and the councilors ( Schepen ) were hired by the Count of Holland or his representative, the Baljuw ( Vogt ) van Amstelland . In the course of the late Middle Ages , however, the patricians succeeded in excluding the craftsmen from the city government and in fact establishing an oligarchy . As in other Dutch cities, the 36-person Vroedschap appointed the magistrate, which from the late 14th century had consisted of four mayors and a number of Schepen. The four mayors in office at the same time, the regents of Amsterdam , each remained in office for one year. If the longest serving resigned, the other three elected a successor from the magistrate. This ensured that the powerful reign was reserved for a few families. This system of government did not end until 1795 with the French Revolutionary Laws in the Batavian Republic .

Religious conflicts and war of independence

In 1477 the Burgundian inheritance - Holland with the neighboring countries - fell to the Habsburgs . Maximilian I , in gratitude for a loan of 10,000 pounds of silver in 1489, gave Amsterdam the right to place the imperial crown over the city's coat of arms - a lasting gain in prestige. Under his grandson, Emperor Charles V , the county of Holland was incorporated into the Seventeen Provinces . The most important ports there remained, however, initially Antwerp and Rotterdam , especially for goods from the new colonies in South America .

Jews from Spain came to Amsterdam from 1492, and Ashkenazi Jews from Poland from the middle of the 16th century. They became part of the city. There were numerous synagogues and several Jewish printing works. An Anabaptist uprising was brutally suppressed in 1535. The Reformation led to the spread of Calvinism from around 1550 .

Burning of the witches in Amsterdam (1571)

In 1566 the iconoclasm sparked the conflict with Emperor Charles 'son and heir, Philip II of Spain , and became the external cause for the beginning of the Eighty Years' War with Spain . Philip II sent an army to the Netherlands in 1567 to put down the rebellion and was led by the Duke of Alba , who established a regiment of terror and relentlessly persecuted the Protestants with the help of the Inquisition .

In contrast, the Geuzen began an uprising in 1568 , at the head of which Philip's former governor William I of Orange-Nassau sat. Most cities in the north joined the rebels, only Amsterdam and Middelburg supported the Spaniards, who besieged and finally conquered Haarlem from here in the winter of 1572/1573. In 1576 all the Dutch provinces united against Spain in the Ghent pacification . On February 8, 1578, Amsterdam concluded a peace treaty with the Prince of Orange and the other Dutch provinces. A few months later there was an overthrow in the city council, the Alteratie of Amsterdam , and the supporters of Spain and the higher Catholic clergy were put on two boats and thrown out into the IJ. The Oude and the Nieuwe Kerk were reformed.

In 1579 the union split into a northern, Protestant, called the Utrecht Union , to which Amsterdam belonged, and a southern, mainly Catholic, Union of Arras . In 1581 the Northern Seven Provinces declared their formal independence from Spain. Here Calvinism dominated , but was not a state church, while the south remained Catholic as the Spanish Netherlands . Amsterdam was comparatively religiously tolerant, the Catholic monasteries in the city were tolerated as well as prayer houses of Mennonites and Lutherans . Amsterdam is still predominantly Calvinist today, but at the same time the center of the rather small Dutch Lutheranism. In 1609, under the direction of John Smyth and Thomas Helwys , congregational religious refugees from England founded the first Baptist congregation in a bakery on Amsterdam's Bakkerstraat as the nucleus of one of today's largest Protestant church communities. However, the Calvinist reform sect of the Remonstrants came under political pressure.

The Amsterdam resistance prevented William of Orange from becoming monarch and receiving the historic title of Count of Holland ; instead he became governor of the Republic of the United Netherlands , whose center of power was the parliament, which is still known today as the States General . This constellation led to a generation-long rivalry between the oligarchic city rulers and the popular governor dynasty of the Orange . In 1584 a Catholic fanatic murdered Wilhelm in Delft . His son Moritz followed him and the struggle for the southern and northeastern provinces continued to waver until the Spaniards were defeated in the naval battle of Gibraltar in 1607 , whereupon they were forced to agree to an armistice in Antwerp in 1609, the twelve years long held. In 1621 the conflict with Spain broke out again as part of the Thirty Years' War and was not formally ended until 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia , which brought international recognition of the Republic of the United Netherlands and at the same time its departure from the Holy Roman Empire .

Golden Age and Following Era

The East Indian House in Amsterdam (mid 17th century)
The Stadhuis ( Paleis op de Dam ) , built between 1648 and 1665
City map around 1688
Drawing of Amsterdam's main square Dam (1779)

The annexation of Portugal by Spain in 1580 forced the northern Netherlands to let ships go to India themselves. The first trips were made from Amsterdam and immediately led to a great success. Inspired by this result, plans were soon made all over the country to send more ships to India. The Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) emerged from these individual initiatives in 1602 . Residents of Amsterdam subscribed more than half of the total capital invested in the new company, two fifths of which were small investors (craftsmen) and 84 large investors. In 1621 the Dutch West India Company was established , which in 1626 founded the city of Nieuw Amsterdam , which has been called New York since 1667 . The Amsterdam currency exchange bank enjoyed a worldwide reputation. These trading companies made the republic a world-wide maritime and trading power, which led to the golden age of the Netherlands after the armistice with Spain in 1609 . This small, poorly populated state association, which had no raw materials and whose agricultural production was insignificant, became a major economic power in the middle of the 17th century and Amsterdam became the most important European trading center, the most important staple market and the most prosperous city on the continent, dealing with that of Stadhuis (today Paleis op de Dam ) was built between 1648 and 1665 and built a magnificent town hall. The population grew from around 40,000 to 210,000 between 1600 and 1662, the city was expanded with new canals and received numerous new churches and social facilities. Spices , silk and other treasures from India and the Pacific were piled in the warehouses ; Science and literature, architecture, sculpture and painting ( Rembrandt and his school) reached climaxes.

The success also led to a rivalry with the great powers England and France. Between 1652 and 1674 three Anglo-Dutch naval wars took place and during the Second Northern War the Netherlands had to defend their trading interests in the Baltic Sea at the same time . The politician Johan de Witt and the fleet commander Michiel de Ruyter shaped this time. In Rampjaar , the disaster year of 1672, the Netherlands got into a war with France and England at the same time . The Dutch War ended in 1679 with benefits for the French crown. The chaos of war made the port of Amsterdam inaccessible for the merchant fleet with goods from India. In addition, there were falling prices, the English competition overseas, the damage to ships and wooden piles of the dykes by the shipworm and subsequent floods as well as the rinderpest, which brought the export of cheese and butter to a standstill.

This initiated the decline of Amsterdam as a transshipment port for world trade and led to a change in economic structures towards the end of the century; Amsterdam lost its position as a major port city, but increasingly gained influence on the European money market . Amsterdam managed to become the financial center of the world - as a banker for European princes who waged their costly wars with borrowed money. So the rich citizens of the city now invested their money in the neighboring countries. 1688 was the governor Wilhelm III. of Orange to the English King. When he died in 1702, the governorship was suspended and there was a return to the anti-centralist tradition of the city rulers. It was not until 1747 that Wilhelm IV became governor of all provinces again. The Age of Enlightenment , which began in France, brought unrest, denunciation of the grievances and criticism of the system of the unlimited rule of the rulers who were estranged from the people. In 1795 the Batavian Republic was proclaimed as a satellite state of Napoleonic France.

When he was appointed King of Holland on June 23, 1806, Louis Bonaparte declared Amsterdam his capital. However, this could not prevent Amsterdam from gradually becoming a “dead” and impoverished city in the first decades of the 19th century. The city only experienced a new boom when the Noordzeekanaal was opened in 1876 , which gave Amsterdam a connection to the North Sea and thus to the United Kingdom and the United States (USA) . Once again Amsterdam became the center of cultural and scientific life, although it was gradually overtaken economically by Rotterdam , especially after the Second World War .

Numerous centuries-old monuments adorn the city center. Almost 7,000 merchant houses and warehouses as well as almost 1,300 bridges from the 16th to 18th centuries bear witness to this golden age . The trading houses were built along the 165 canals, which were used as transport routes to facilitate the rapid distribution of imported goods in the city and to the trading offices. The canal belt was also in the 2010 UNESCO list of World Heritage added. The river bed of the Amstel itself, the origin of the settlement, was filled in and built over in the 19th and 20th centuries, except for Damrak and Rokin .

Demographic development

Number of inhabitants
year 1600 1650 1796 1830 1849 1879 1899 1925 2002 2006 2010 2014 2018
Residents 60,000 140,000 190,000 202,400 224,000 317,000 510,900 714,400 735.628 743.193 768.146 812.053 856.928

Since 2011, immigrants have made up the majority of the population in Amsterdam. For those under 15, their share is two thirds. The largest minority group after the Dutch are Moroccans.


Amsterdam is a center of drug tourism in Europe. This is due to the liberal policies of the Netherlands. In 2005 there were around 750  coffee shops across the Netherlands; in 2009 there were 228 coffee shops in Amsterdam.

Many foreign dissidents chose Amsterdam as their new home. A common motivation for this was the city's earlier liberal policies, often in combination with repressive policies in the country of origin.

Since 1998 the police have been allowed to carry out checks on people; this is done under the name Amsterdam Wapenvrij ("Amsterdam Gun Free "). The reason was the large number and frequent use of illegal weapons. Among other things, there are increased identity checks. Since 1 January 2005 applies throughout the Netherlands an identification requirement or requirement to carry , must carry an identity card to persons over 14 years. However, it is not only about gun possession , large quantities of drugs and people who have been wanted by the police for various offenses for a long time are also found. In principle, any person who is in the designated areas at the time of the controls can be checked. The police are authorized to inspect the packaging and contents of goods, means of transport and the clothing of the people. Controls can only be carried out in the areas designated by the mayor ("Article 151B van de Gemeentewet"). The designated areas are: De Ruyterkade, IJtunnel , Prins Hendrikkade, Schippersgracht, Rapenburgerplein, Nieuwe Herengracht, Herengracht , Reguliersgracht, Lijnbaansgracht, Nieuwe Vijzelstraat, Weteringlaan, Stadhouderskade, Nassaukijde, Leidsegracht, Huidenstraat. In Amsterdam-Zuidoost : Daalwijkdreef, Elsrijkdreef, Provinciale weg, metro line to Bijlmerdreef (Ganzenhoef), 's Gravendijkdreef, Gaasperparkpad, Kanterhofspad, Nellesteinpad, Karspeldreef, Gooisogoeweg, Gulden Karspeldreef, Hoosspeldreef-Flierbreef.

Municipal council

Local election on March 21, 2018
Turnout: 52.15%
Otherwise. j
Gains and losses
compared to 2014
 % p
Otherwise. j
Template: election chart / maintenance / notes
j Partij van de Ouderen 2.2% (+ 0.1%), ChristenUnie 2.0% (+ 0.2%), Amsterdam BIJ1 1.9% (+1.9%), Pirate Party 1.3% ( -0.5%), 50PLUS 1.2% (+1.2%), other parties 2.3% (-8.0%)

The municipal council has been formed as follows since 1982

Political party Seats a
1982 1986 1990 1994 1998 2002 2006 2010 2014 2018
GroenLinks - - 7th 6th 7th 6th 7th 7th 6th 10
D66 2 3 9 8th 4th 3 2 7th 14th 8th
VVD 10 7th 7th 8th 9 9 8th 8th 6th 6th
PvdA 16 21st 12 14th 15th 15th 20th 15th 10 5
SP 0 0 0 1 3 4th 6th 3 6th 3
PvdD - - - - - - - 1 1 3
Think - - - - - - - - - 3
Forum voor Democratie - - - - - - - - - 3
CDA 7th 6th 5 3 3 4th 2 2 1 1
Partij van de Ouderen - - - - - - - - 1 1
ChristenUnie - - - - - 0 0 0 0 1
Amsterdam BIJ1 - - - - - - - - - 1
Red Amsterdam - - - - - - - 1 0 -
Leefbaar Amsterdam - - - 0 0 2 0 0 0 -
De Groenen - - 2 1 3 1 0 0 0 -
Amsterdam different - - - - - - -
Trots op Nederland - - - - - - - 1 0 -
Mokum Mobiel '99 - - - 0 1 1 0 - - -
Center Democrats - 0 2 4th 0 - - - - -
Centrumpartij '86 - - 1 0 - - - - - -
Left accord b - 6th - - - - - - - -
Centrumpartij 0 1 - - - - - - - -
Great Amsterdam - 1 - - - - - - - -
CPN 6th - - - - - - - - -
PSP 3 - - - - - - - - -
PPR 1 - - - - - - - - -
total 45 45 45 45 45 45 45 45 45 45
a Parties that took part in the election but were unable to obtain a seat on the council will not be considered.
bThe Links Akkoord was an amalgamation of the parties CPN , EPP , PSP and PPR .

College van B&W

In the legislative period from 2018 to 2022, the municipality will be governed by a coalition of D66 , GroenLinks , PvdA and SP . The College van burgemeester en wethouders is made up of the following people who are responsible for the following areas:

function Surname Political party Department annotation
Mayoress Femke Halsema GroenLinks General Affairs, Public Order and Security, Integral Security Policy, Regulation and Enforcement, Communication, Legal, Administrative Service in office since July 12, 2018
Alderman Victor Everhardt D66 Finance, business, airport and seaport, investments, Zuidas and Marineterrein -
Rutger Groot Wassink GroenLinks Social affairs, diversity, democratization -
Marjolein Moorman PvdA Education, poverty, naturalization -
Laurens Ivens SP Living, building, public space, greenery, cleaning, animal welfare -
Marieke van Doorninck GroenLinks spatial development, sustainability -
Simone Kukenheim D66 Care, youth (help), vocational classes, sport -
Sharon Dijksma PvdA Transport and traffic, water and air quality -
Touria Meliani GroenLinks Art and culture, digital city, human resources and organization, services, real estate, archeology, monuments, Nieuw-West district -
Community Secretary Peter Teesink - - in office since January 1, 2019


Femke Halsema 2018

From July 7, 2010 until his death on October 5, 2017, the former Minister for Construction and Integration, Eberhard van der Laan , was Mayor of Amsterdam. Jozias van Aartsen temporarily took over his office from December 4, 2017 to July 5, 2018. Femke Halsema , former parliamentary group and party leader of GroenLinks , became the first woman to be incumbent mayor on July 12, 2018 .

Twin cities

coat of arms

Great coat of arms of Amsterdam

"In red, a black pile, with three silver Flanchis ( Andrews crosses busy)." On the crest two golden rotgezungte serve lions as plate holder that appears in the silver ribbon currency in black capital letters "HELDHAFTIG VASTBERADEN BARMHARTIG" rests on the sign the golden imperial crown . - The city ​​flag of Amsterdam corresponds to the heraldic shield (hanging), in a horizontal form all the contents of the heraldic shield are also arranged horizontally.

The flag of Amsterdam

The exact meaning of the coat of arms is unknown. There are, however, various theories that historians consider plausible, but which have not yet been substantiated. The two prevailing theories are:

  • The three crosses symbolize the three plagues of flood , fire and plague that threatened Amsterdam.
  • The crosses were used to identify fords on old trade routes. The coats of arms of surrounding cities also show a similar arrangement of crosses: the coat of arms of Amstelveen has four, that of Ouder-Amstel five St. Andrew's crosses.
  • Another theory is that the three crosses are meant to remember the apostle Andrew .

Maximilian of Austria awarded the city the imperial crown on the great coat of arms in 1489. After the liberation from National Socialism , the queen awarded the city the motto “Heroic, steadfast (also: resolute), merciful” in 1947 as an appreciation of the citizens' attitude during the occupation in the years 1940 to 1945.

The little coat of arms of Amsterdam

Amsterdam was a fishing village under the rule of the Lords of Amstel in the 13th century. After developing into a thriving trading port, the village received town charter in the early 14th century. The city ​​took its current coat of arms in the 15th century. In 1489, the Roman-German king and later Emperor Maximilian I granted the city the right to add his crown to the city's coat of arms. This was in gratitude for the financial support that the city had given him, as heir of the Burgundian Netherlands , during his dispute with Dutch nobles.

However, legend has it that Maximilian recovered from a serious illness after praying in one of the churches during a stay in the city and therefore had the city coat of arms adorned with his crown. Maximilian's crown was replaced by the imperial crown after his coronation as Roman-German emperor . At the time of Emperor Rudolf II , who had a new crown made, which later became the Austrian imperial crown , the shape of the crown was adapted. The lions as shield holders were added in the 16th century.

Queen Wilhelmina took the attitude of citizenship during the occupation by the German Reich in World War II and especially the February strike after the deportation of the first Jews from Amsterdam in February 1941 as an opportunity to call the city “Heldhaftig, Vastberaden, Barmhartig” (heroic, Steadfast, Merciful). This motto was included in the coat of arms in 1947.

The coat of arms is omnipresent in the city, as it not only adorns the typical Amsterdam bollards ( Amsterdammertjes ), but also manhole covers, public buildings and many logos.


Architectural features

Row of houses with the relatively tall buildings typical of Amsterdam Crossing at the corner of Keizersgracht / Reguliersgracht
Row of houses with the relatively tall buildings typical of Amsterdam
Crossing at the corner of Keizersgracht / Reguliersgracht

Since the canals were one of the main routes of transport for goods and people in the history of Amsterdam, it was customary to measure taxes on a building according to its width on the canal. As a result, mainly houses were built in Amsterdam that have very narrow fronts along the canals, but are relatively long and high in order to provide enough living space or storage space for goods. However, this construction was not suitable for building wide staircases; rather, the stairwells were mostly too narrow for bulky goods or furniture. Items that were difficult to move up the stairwell were instead brought into the house through the windows. To make this process easier, there are protruding beams on the gables of many historical buildings to which pulley blocks can be attached. Furthermore, many facades are inclined slightly forward, which is architecturally wanted and is called op vlucht built . The forward slope is 0.2 to 2.5 cm per meter of height. The gables could not be built in width because of the narrowness, but they were built in a rich design. Gable variations from four centuries characterize the old town. Stepped gables, beaked gables, bell gables and groin gables are particularly common.

On the other hand, houses in Amsterdam used to be built on wooden stakes, and these have slowly rotten over the centuries. Therefore, the historic districts of Amsterdam make a slightly “crooked” or “distorted” impression. Amsterdam stands on around five million wooden stakes, which are necessary because of the damp, sandy subsoil. Today, concrete piles are used because of their longer durability, simpler construction methods and greater depth. The main station stands on around 8,600 piles, the Royal Palace on 13,659 piles. A large part of these wooden posts were brought from the Black Forest and the Franconian Forest on rafts . All piles of the main train station come from the Franconian Forest. The timber for houses and ships, as well as the firewood, were also brought in from these forests on rafts.

Sacred buildings

The Catholic Basilica of St. Nicholas The Protestant Westerkerk
The Protestant Westerkerk
  • Amstelkerk (1668–1670, remodeled 1840)
  • De Duif (1858)
  • Sint-Ignatiuskerk (De Zaaier), built in 1929 in the style of traditionalism , used by the Roman Catholic Church until 1971, rededicated as an Islamic mosque in 1981
  • De Krijtberg RK Kerk van de Heilige Franciscus Xaverius (1881)
  • Ronde Lutherse Kerk (1668–1671) secularized in 1935
  • Mozes en Aäronkerk (1837–1841)
  • New Kerk (1408)
  • Sint-Nicolaasbasiliek (1884–1887)
  • Noorderkerk (1620–1623)
  • Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder - Amstelkring Museum (Hidden Church) (1661)
  • Oosterkerk (1669–1671), not used sacred since 1985
  • Oude Kerk (first stone church built on this site in 1325, completed in 1560 in the shape known today) The Oude Kerk is probably the only church in the world whose church square is almost exclusively lined with brothels.
  • Paradiso (1879–1880) originally church of the Free Congregation (ndl. Vrije Gemeente), in 1968 rededicated as Cosmic Relaxation Center Paradiso to a youth center, today a concert hall (rock, folk, soul, country, reggae, blues), club and cultural center
  • Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam (inaugurated 1675)
  • Uilenburg synagogue
  • Gerard Dou Synagogue
  • Posthoornkerk (1860–1889), not used sacred since 1963
  • Singelkerk (1639-1640)
  • Westerkerk (1620-1631)
  • Zuiderkerk (1603–1611), not used sacred since 1970

Amsterdam School Building

Het Schip

There are many buildings in Amsterdam in the style of the Amsterdam School , a style of expressionist architecture , including:

  • Bronckhorststraat 11–37 , residential building
  • Brug 283 (1913), bridge, Waalseilandsgracht / Buiten Bantammerstraat
  • Eigen Haard (1914–1918) apartment block , residential building, Spaarndammerplantsoen
  • Gebouw Batavia (1918–1920), office building, Prins Hendrikkade 84-85
  • Harm Smeengeschool (1924–1925), former school building, Droogbak
  • Huize Lydia (1924–1927), former dormitory, Roelof Hartplein
  • Lyceumbrug (1926–1928), bridge, Olympiaplein
  • Het Nieuwe Huis (1927–1928), residential building, Roelof Hartplein
  • Olympic Stadium (1928), main venue for the 1928 Summer Olympics , Stadionplein
  • Olympic House (1928), porter's apartment of the Olympic Stadium, Stadionplein 18
  • Scheepvaarthuis (1913–1916), office building, Prins Hendrikkade
  • Het Schip (1917–1921), house block, Spaarndammerplantsoen 140

Post war architecture


There are nine objects in Amsterdam that have been included in the Top 100 Dutch Monuments 1940–1958 , which has existed since 2007 :

Parks and Gardens (selection)






Concert halls and theaters




The soccer club Ajax , record champions of the Netherlands and multiple European Cup winners , is internationally known . The club plays its games in the Johan Cruyff Arena , which has more than 50,000 seats.

Amsterdam hosted the 1928 Summer Olympics . The Olympic Stadium is now used, among other things, for athletics competitions, for example as the destination of the annual Amsterdam Marathon .

American football has a certain tradition in the city. In the 1990s and 2000s, the Amsterdam Admirals were among the most famous football teams in Europe. The Amsterdam Crusaders are multiple Dutch champions.


Amsterdam is one of the most important graffiti metropolises. Although the New York writing movement , which is connected to the hip-hop scene , also influenced the Amsterdam sprayers, the punk movement played the more important role here in the beginning. Amsterdam sprayers have influenced many sprayers around the world stylistically since the early 1980s.

Gay Pride in Amsterdam

With the opening of two large dance halls for homosexuals, De Schakel am Leidseplein in 1955 and De Odeon Kring (DOK) in 1958, as well as the liberal attitudes and policies that followed in the wake of the sexual revolution in the mid-1960s, Amsterdam became the “gay capital” of Europe. The two now closed dance floors were preferred by the population to cruising and clapper sex . They were also an attraction for tourists.

Since 1996 there has been the " Amsterdam Gay Pride ", a canal parade that takes place annually on the first Saturday in August in the Prinsengracht and Amstel . In 2008 the Amsterdam Gay Pride was proclaimed the best Gay Pride in Europe.


The Zuidas district, the new business district of Amsterdam: many large Dutch companies are based here.


Many Dutch companies, such as the Heineken brewery and the electronics group Philips , have their headquarters in Amsterdam. The major Dutch banks ABN AMRO , Rabobank and the ING Groep own office complexes at Sloterdijk station in the north-west of the city and at the World Trade Center in the south. Computer companies such as Cisco Systems have their European headquarters in the south-eastern industrial park in Bullewijk. The port of Amsterdam is the second largest in the Netherlands after the port in Rotterdam .

Amsterdam Science Park and Startup Village

Amsterdam Science Park Campus

Amsterdam Science Park is located in the eastern part of the city, not far from the 17th century historic center. With the Faculty of Science at the University of Amsterdam, the Amsterdam University College, dozen of renowned research institutes and around 130 companies - from start-ups to multinational corporations - they work in the fields of information technology , life sciences , chemistry , cutting-edge technology , instrumentation and physics as well Sustainability .

The Amsterdam Startup Village is located in the Amsterdam Science Park and is part of ACE Incubator .


In addition to the council tax, a tax on houses and apartments, tourism is an important source of income for the city. Millions of holidaymakers from all over the world visit the city every year, and numerous hotels can be found throughout the city. The main attractions are the many canals , coffee shops and museums as well as the red light district De Wallen in the city center of Amsterdam. With over seven million tourists from abroad every year, the city ranks fifth among the most visited cities in Europe.

The Rembrandtplein is one of the most famous nightlife areas in Amsterdam thanks to its theaters, cinemas and many restaurants and pubs. Close to the Leidseplein are nightclubs and the Holland Casino for gamblers.


The cruise is also an important area for Amsterdam. In 2015 there were 184 calls by cruise ships , 142 in the Amsterdam port and 42 in nearby IJmuiden. There were also around 1,700 calls by river cruise ships . The Amsterdam Cruise Port (ACP) expects around 775,000 passengers for 2015. In 2018, around 407,000 passengers were counted on over 2000 river cruise ship calls. In addition, there were almost 190 calls by sea passenger ships.


A building of the Universiteit van Amsterdam

Amsterdam has two universities. The Vrije Universiteit (VU) is the only Protestant university in the Netherlands. In contrast, the city's Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA), which is the largest university in the city, has no religious affiliation. Both universities have their own university hospitals.


The world's largest non-commercial Internet hub, AMS-IX, is located in Amsterdam . Amsterdam is hosting Europe's largest media production fair, the International Broadcast Conference (IBC).


Bicycle traffic

The bicycle parking garage near the main train station

The most common means of transport in the city, like everywhere in the Netherlands, is the bicycle ( fiets ). A network of bicycle paths ( fietspaden ) runs right through Amsterdam, next to all streets and canals, through all parks and connects all neighboring communities.

Public transport: Metro, tram, omnibus and ferry

In the city of Amsterdam, public transport is carried out by GVB . In the Metro Amsterdam there are five different lines. In addition to the metro, there is a dense network of trams and buses. All means of transport can be used with the OV chip card of the national tariff system .

The north-south metro from Amsterdam North , under the IJ, the central station and further through the city ​​center to Amsterdam Zuid station, has been in operation since 2018 . Due to renovations at Amsterdam-Zuid station, the previously direct connection to the neighboring municipality of Amstelveen has been interrupted since 2019 .

In addition to the IJ , which flows into the North Sea via the North Sea Canal and also has a connection to the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal , a system of canals that runs through the city in a semicircle connects the city with the national canal system. Amsterdam ferries operate on the IJ .


The main station Amsterdam Central Station (CS) is on the northern edge of the center of the city on an artificial island. From here and nine other train stations in the city, the trains of the Dutch Railway Company (NS) connect the capital with all the provinces of the Netherlands.

International connections exist several times a day with the ICE International to Oberhausen, Cologne and Frankfurt, with the InterCity to Hanover and Berlin and with the Thalys to Antwerp, Brussels and Paris.

Road traffic

Amsterdam is surrounded by the A 10 motorway ring, with a connection to the A 8 in the north-west at Zaandam towards Alkmaar , in the south-west to the A 4 , south-east the A 2 towards Utrecht and east the A 1 towards Almere / Hilversum .

The city is the starting and ending point of the German-Dutch holiday route Oranier Route .

Tunnel traffic

The Zeeburgertunnel with a length of 946 meters connects the Zeeburgereiland in Amsterdam East with Amsterdam North .

The inner city of Amsterdam is connected to Amsterdam North with the IJtunnel . It was completed in 1968 and has a length of 1682 meters.

The Coentunnel represents a traffic connection between Amsterdam West and Zaanstreek . It has a length of 1283 meters and was opened in 1966.

air traffic

Arrivals area of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

The Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (. IATA: AMS, ICAO: EHAM, NDL Luchthaven Schiphol international Amsterdam Airport Schiphol ) is the international airport of the city of Amsterdam, the largest in the Netherlands and - in terms of number of passengers and the Flight movements in 2008 - the fourth largest airport in Europe. It is the hub of the largest Dutch airline KLM and is located southwest of Amsterdam between Amstelveen and Hoofddorp .


The port group of Amsterdam is considered to be the second largest port in the Netherlands and the sixth largest cargo port in Europe. The port is tide-free and can be reached from the sea via the North Sea Canal . Most of the port basins are between IJmuiden and Amsterdam. Other ports that belong to the port group are IJmuiden , Beverwijk and Zaanstad . Amsterdam is connected to the European hinterland via the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal .

Sons and Daughters of Amsterdam

Mars crater

A Mars crater is named after Amsterdam .


  • Bettina Baltschev: One year in Amsterdam . Journey into everyday life. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau / Basel / Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-451-06002-1 (=  Herder Spectrum Volume 6002).
  • Christoph Driessen : A short history of Amsterdam . Pustet, Regensburg 2010, ISBN 978-3-7917-2272-6 .
  • Herman Janse: Amsterdam gebouwd op palen. 6th edition, Ploegsma, Amsterdam 2010 (first edition: De Brink, Amsterdam 1993), ISBN 978-90-216-7031-7 (Dutch).
  • Marco HD van Leeuwen: The logic of charity: Amsterdam, 1800-1850. Palgrave, Basingstoke / New York, NY 2000, ISBN 0-333-69603-4 (English).
  • Ingo Schiweck: PastFinder Amsterdam. From the Golden Age to Anne Frank . PastFinder, Düsseldorf 2010, ISBN 978-988-99787-8-5 .
  • Siggi Weidemann: Instructions for use for Amsterdam . 3rd edition, Piper, Munich / Zurich 2010 (first edition 2005), ISBN 978-3-492-27539-2 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Amsterdam  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Amsterdam  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Amsterdam  - in the news
Wikivoyage: Amsterdam  travel guide
Wikisource: Amsterdam  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

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  2. Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand . In: StatLine . Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (Dutch)
  3. Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek , accessed on April 20, 2018 (Dutch)
  4. Metropoolregio Amsterdam in cijfers 2010 ( Memento of December 8, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (p.148), Dienst Onderzoek en Statistiek Amsterdam, January 2011 (in Dutch)
  5. Grondwetpad - 1. Hofplaats. Huis voor democratie en Rechtsstaat, accessed on April 5, 2011 (Dutch): "Other belangrijke wijzigingen in 1983 were onder other: ... Amsterdam wordt officieel de hoofdstad van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden"
  6. Judge Roegholt, A Short History of Amsterdam, Amersfoort 2006, p 9 ff.
  7. Siggi Weidemann in: DuMont Art Travel Guide: Amsterdam North and South Holland , 1st edition 1994, p. 10.
  8. Grachtengordel Amsterdam Werelderfgoed., accessed January 7, 2015 (Dutch).
  9. Timo Steppat: “There is no more integration”. In: FAZ. May 31, 2018, accessed August 13, 2018 .
  10. ^ In NCR-Handelsblad ( Memento of June 8, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) of April 27, 2009. Dutch. Retrieved April 27, 2009
  11. ^ Website of the Amsterdam / Amstelland police ( memento of July 1, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). Preventive controls in Amsterdam. Dutch, accessed April 24, 2010
  12. ^ Author: Sjors van Beek, May 8, 2009 . Inland tax. Dutch, accessed April 24, 2010
  13. a b Results of the local elections: 1982–2002 2006 2010 2014 2018 , accessed on December 29, 2018 (Dutch)
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  15. ^ New mayor of Amsterdam . Dutch, accessed July 7, 2010
  16. Jozias van Aartsen waarnemend burgemeester Amsterdam. In: Het Parool . Onverveerd, November 2, 2017, accessed June 28, 2018 (Dutch).
  17. Beëdiging nieuwe burgemeester. (No longer available online.) In: Gemeente Amsterdam. July 6, 2018, archived from the original on July 6, 2018 ; Retrieved July 11, 2018 (Dutch).
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  19. Inclination of the houses in Amsterdam, Vraag 7.4 ; Dutch, accessed May 9, 2011
  20. Merian: Amsterdam , ISBN 3-455-27807-8 , p. 117
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  22. Vloeibaar mengsel houdt Amsterdam rechtop ( Memento of February 12, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) (Dutch), accessed on May 17, 2009
  23. The main train station ( memento of January 5, 2010 in the Internet Archive ) stands on around 8,600 piles
  24. ^ Polyglot: on tour Amsterdam
  25. Website of the rafting museum & rafting association Unterrodach, accessed on 23 November 2009
  26. Oudste huis van Amsterdam ontdekt accessed on June 5, 2020
  27. ^ Gert Hekma: The gay movement in the Netherlands, 1912-1970 ( Memento of October 22, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), in: Goodbye to Berlin. One hundred years of gay movement , Verlag Rosa Winkel, Berlin 1997
  28. Offizial Amsterdam Gaypride platform ( Memento of 5 March 2012 at the Internet Archive ). History. With video. Dutch.
  29. Amsterdam Science Park , accessed July 23, 2019.
  30. Start-up village . Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  31. Most visited cities in the world: London in first place , according to MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index; Article dated June 15, 2015, accessed August 26, 2015
  32. ^ Eckhard-Herbert Arndt: Amsterdam positions itself as a cruise port . In: Daily port report of September 11, 2015, p. 4
  33. ^ Eckhard-Herbert Arndt: Cruise ban in Amsterdam . In: Daily port report of March 20, 2020, p. 1
  34. Ranking list at , accessed on August 22, 2014