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Part of the 'Metropolis' series - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. Its principal language is Dutch. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. Amsterdam's name is derived from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Settled 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, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were formed.
As Netherlands' commercial capital and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalisation and World Cities study group. The city is also cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and 7 of the world's top 500 companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city.
Amsterdam's main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually.
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January 3rd, 2012
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