Utrecht is the fourth-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands and most populous city of the province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, in the centre of mainland Netherlands, had a population of 345,080 in 2017. Utrecht's ancient city centre features many buildings and structures several dating as far back as the High Middle Ages, it has been the religious centre of the Netherlands since the 8th century. It remains the main religious centre in the country. Utrecht was the most important city in the Netherlands until the Dutch Golden Age, when it was surpassed by Amsterdam as the country's cultural centre and most populous city. Utrecht is host to Utrecht University, the largest university in the Netherlands, as well as several other institutions of higher education. Due to its central position within the country, it is an important transport hub for both rail and road transport, it has the second highest number of cultural events after Amsterdam.
In 2012, Lonely Planet included Utrecht in the top 10 of the world's unsung places. Although there is some evidence of earlier inhabitation in the region of Utrecht, dating back to the Stone Age and settling in the Bronze Age, the founding date of the city is related to the construction of a Roman fortification built in around 50 CE. A series of such fortresses was built after the Roman emperor Claudius decided the empire should not expand north. To consolidate the border, the Limes Germanicus defense line was constructed along the main branch of the river Rhine, which at that time flowed through a more northern bed compared to today; these fortresses were designed to house a cohort of about 500 Roman soldiers. Near the fort, settlements would grow housing artisans and soldiers' wives and children. In Roman times, the name of the Utrecht fortress was Traiectum, denoting its location at a possible Rhine crossing. Traiectum became Dutch Trecht. In 11th-century official documents, it was Latinized as Ultra Traiectum.
Around the year 200, the wooden walls of the fortification were replaced by sturdier tuff stone walls, remnants of which are still to be found below the buildings around Dom Square. From the middle of the 3rd century, Germanic tribes invaded the Roman territories. Around 275 the Romans could no longer maintain the northern border and Utrecht was abandoned. Little is known about the next period 270–650. Utrecht is first spoken of again several centuries. Under the influence of the growing realms of the Franks, during Dagobert I's reign in the 7th century, a church was built within the walls of the Roman fortress. In ongoing border conflicts with the Frisians, this first church was destroyed. By the mid-7th century and Irish missionaries set out to convert the Frisians. Pope Sergius I appointed Saint Willibrordus, as bishop of the Frisians; the tenure of Willibrordus is considered to be the beginning of the Bishopric of Utrecht. In 723, the Frankish leader Charles Martel bestowed the fortress in Utrecht and the surrounding lands as the base of the bishops.
From on Utrecht became one of the most influential seats of power for the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands. The archbishops of Utrecht were based at the uneasy northern border of the Carolingian Empire. In addition, the city of Utrecht had competition from the nearby trading centre Dorestad. After the fall of Dorestad around 850, Utrecht became one of the most important cities in the Netherlands; the importance of Utrecht as a centre of Christianity is illustrated by the election of the Utrecht-born Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens as pope in 1522. When the Frankish rulers established the system of feudalism, the Bishops of Utrecht came to exercise worldly power as prince-bishops; the territory of the bishopric not only included the modern province of Utrecht, but extended to the northeast. The feudal conflict of the Middle Ages affected Utrecht; the prince-bishopric was involved in continuous conflicts with the Counts of Holland and the Dukes of Guelders. The Veluwe region was seized by Guelders, but large areas in the modern province of Overijssel remained as the Oversticht.
Several churches and monasteries were built inside, or close to, the city of Utrecht. The most dominant of these was the Cathedral of Saint Martin, inside the old Roman fortress; the construction of the present Gothic building was begun in 1254 after an earlier romanesque construction had been badly damaged by fire. The choir and transept were finished from 1320 and were followed by the ambitious Dom tower; the last part to be constructed was the central nave, from 1420. By that time, the age of the great cathedrals had come to an end and declining finances prevented the ambitious project from being finished, the construction of the central nave being suspended before the planned flying buttresses could be finished. Besides the cathedral there were four collegiate churches in Utrecht: St. Salvator's Church, on the Dom square, dating back to the early 8th century. Saint John, originating in 1040. Besides these churches, the city housed St. Paul's Abbey, the 15th-century beguinage of St. Nicholas, a 14th-century chapter house of the Teutonic Knights.
History of the Netherlands
The History of the Netherlands is the history of seafaring people thriving on a lowland river delta on the North Sea in northwestern Europe. Records begin with the four centuries during which the region formed a militarised border zone of the Roman Empire; this came under increasing pressure from Germanic peoples moving westwards. As Roman power collapsed and the Middle Ages began, three dominant Germanic peoples coalesced in the area, Frisians in the north and coastal areas, Low Saxons in the northeast, the Franks in the south. During the Middle Ages, the descendants of the Carolingian dynasty came to dominate the area and extended their rule to a large part of Western Europe; the region of the Netherlands therefore became part of Lower Lotharingia within the Frankish Holy Roman Empire. For several centuries, lordships such as Brabant, Zeeland, Friesland and others held a changing patchwork of territories. There was no unified equivalent of the modern Netherlands. By 1433, the Duke of Burgundy had assumed control over most of the lowlands territories in Lower Lotharingia.
The Catholic kings of Spain took strong measures against Protestantism, which polarised the peoples of present-day Belgium and the Netherlands. The subsequent Dutch revolt led to splitting the Burgundian Netherlands into a Catholic French and Dutch-speaking "Spanish Netherlands", a northern "United Provinces", which spoke Dutch and were predominantly Protestant with a Catholic minority, it became the modern Netherlands. In the Dutch Golden Age, which had its zenith around 1667, there was a flowering of trade, the arts and the sciences. A rich worldwide Dutch empire developed and the Dutch East India Company became one of the earliest and most important of national mercantile companies based on entrepreneurship and trade. During the eighteenth century, the power and influence of the Netherlands declined. A series of wars with the more powerful British and French neighbours weakened it; the UK seized the North American colony of New Amsterdam, renamed it "New York". There was growing conflict between the Orangists and the Patriots.
The French Revolution spilled over after 1789, a pro-French Batavian Republic was established in 1795–1806. Napoleon made it a satellite state, the Kingdom of Holland, simply a French imperial province. After the collapse of Napoleon in 1813–15, an expanded "United Kingdom of the Netherlands" was created with the House of Orange as monarchs ruling Belgium and Luxembourg; the King imposed unpopular Protestant reforms on Belgium, which revolted in 1830 and became independent in 1839. After an conservative period, following the introduction of the 1848 constitution. Modern -day Luxembourg became independent from the Netherlands in 1839, but a personal union remained until 1890. Since 1890, it is ruled by another branch of the House of Nassau; the Netherlands was neutral during the First World War, but during the Second World War, it was invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany. The Nazis, including many collaborators, rounded up and killed all of the country's Jewish population; when the Dutch resistance increased, the Nazis cut off food supplies to much of the country, causing severe starvation in 1944–45.
In 1942, the Dutch East Indies were conquered by Japan, but prior to this. Indonesia proclaimed its independence from the Netherlands in 1945, followed by Suriname in 1975; the post-war years saw rapid economic recovery, followed by the introduction of a welfare state during an era of peace and prosperity. The Netherlands formed a new economic alliance with Belgium and Luxembourg, the Benelux, all three became founding members of the European Union and NATO. In recent decades, the Dutch economy has been linked to that of Germany, is prosperous; the four countries adopted the Euro on 1 January 2002, along with eight other EU member states. The prehistory of the area, now the Netherlands was shaped by its shifting, low-lying geography; the area, now the Netherlands was inhabited by early humans at least 37,000 years ago, as attested by flint tools discovered in Woerden in 2010. In 2009 a fragment of a 40,000-year-old Neanderthal skull was found in sand dredged from the North Sea floor off the coast of Zeeland.
During the last ice age, the Netherlands had a tundra climate with scarce vegetation and the inhabitants survived as hunter-gatherers. After the end of the ice age, various Paleolithic groups inhabited the area, it is known. Another group residing elsewhere is known to have made canoes; the oldest recovered. According to C14 dating analysis it was constructed somewhere between 8200 BC and 7600 BC; this canoe is exhibited in the Drents Museum in Assen. Autochthonous hunter-gatherers from the Swifterbant culture are attested from around 5600 BC onwards, they are linked to rivers and open water and were related to the southern Scandinavian Ertebølle culture. To the west, the same tribes might have built hunting camps including seals. Agriculture arrived in the Netherlands somewhere around 5000 BC with the Linear Pottery culture, who were central European farmers. Agriculture was practised only on the loess plateau in the south, but there it was not established permanently. Farms did no
Haarlem is a city and municipality in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland and is situated at the northern edge of the Randstad, one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. Haarlem had a population of 159,556 in 2017, it is a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam, many residents commute to the country's capital for work. Haarlem was granted city status or stadsrechten in 1245, although the first city walls were not built until 1270; the modern city encompasses the former municipality of Schoten as well as parts that belonged to Bloemendaal and Heemstede. Apart from the city, the municipality of Haarlem includes the western part of the village of Spaarndam. Newer sections of Spaarndam lie within the neighbouring municipality of Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude; the city is located on the river Spaarne, giving it its nickname'Spaarnestad'. It is situated about 20 km west near the coastal dunes. Haarlem has been the historical centre of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears its other nickname'Bloemenstad' for this reason.
Haarlem has a rich history dating back to pre-medieval times, as it lies on a thin strip of land above sea level known as the strandwal, which connects Leiden to Alkmaar. The people on this narrow strip of land struggled against the waters of the North Sea from the west, the waters of the IJ and the Haarlem Lake from the east. Haarlem became wealthy with toll revenues that it collected from ships and travellers moving on this busy North-South route. However, as shipping became important economically, the city of Amsterdam became the main Dutch city of North Holland during the Dutch Golden Age; the town of Halfweg became a suburb, Haarlem became a quiet bedroom community, for this reason Haarlem still has many of its central medieval buildings intact. Nowadays many of them are on the Dutch Heritage register known as Rijksmonuments; the list of Rijksmonuments in Haarlem gives an overview of these per neighbourhood, with the majority in the old city centre. The oldest mentioning of Haarlem dates from the 10th century.
The name comes from "Haarlo-heim". This name is composed of three elements: lo and heim. There is not much dispute about the meaning of heim. Haar, has several meanings, one of them corresponding with the location of Haarlem on a sand dune:'elevated place'; the name Haarlem or Haarloheim would therefore mean'home on a forested dune'. There was a stream called "De Beek", dug from the peat grounds west of the river Spaarne as a drainage canal. Over the centuries the Beek was turned into an underground canal, as the city grew larger and the space was needed for construction. Over time it began to silt up and in the 19th century it was filled in; the location of the village was a good one: by the river Spaarne, by a major road going south to north. By the 12th century it was a fortified town, Haarlem became the residence of the Counts of Holland. In 1219 the knights of Haarlem were laurelled by Count Willem I, because they had conquered the Egyptian port of Damietta in the fifth crusade. Haarlem received the right to cross in its coat of arms.
On 23 November 1245 Count Willem II granted Haarlem city rights. This implied a number of privileges, among which the right for the sheriff and magistrates to administer justice, instead of the Count; this allowed for a quicker and more efficient judiciary system, more suited to the needs of the growing city. After a siege from the surrounding area of Kennemerland in 1270 a defensive wall was built around the city. Most this was an earthen wall, with wooden gates; the city started out between Spaarne, Ridderstraat and Naussaustraat. In the 14th century the city expanded, the Burgwalbuurt and the area around the Oudegracht became part of the city; the old defenses proved not to be sufficiently strong for the expanded city, at the end of the 14th century a 16½-metre high wall was built, complete with a 15-metre wide canal circling the city. In 1304 the Flemish threatened the city. All the city's buildings were made of wood, fire was a great risk. In 1328 nearly the whole city burnt down; the Sint-Bavokerk was damaged, rebuilding it would take more than 150 years.
Again on 12 June 1347 there was a fire in the city. A third large fire, in 1351, destroyed many buildings including the Count's castle and the city hall; the Count did not need a castle in Haarlem because his castle in Den Haag had taken over all functions. The Count donated the ground to the city and a new city hall was built there; the shape of the old city was square—this was inspired by the shape of ancient Jerusalem. After every fire the city was rebuilt an indication of the wealth of the city in those years; the Black Death came to the city in 1381. According to an estimate by a priest from Leiden the disease killed 5,000 people, about half the population at that time. In the 14th century Haarlem was a major city, it was the second largest city in historical Holland after Dordrecht and before Delft, Amsterdam and Rotterdam. In 1429 the city gained the right to collect tolls, including ships passing the city on the Spaarne river. At the end of the Middle Ages Haarlem was a flourishing city with a large textile industry and beer breweries.
Around 1428 the city was put under siege by the army of Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut
The African Studies Centre is an independent scientific institute in the Netherlands that undertakes social-science research on Africa with the aim of promoting a better understanding of historical and future social developments in Sub-Saharan Africa. The present director is Jan-Bart Gewald; the institute is located in the Pieter de la Court Building of Leiden University’s Faculty of Social Sciences. The main objectives of the African Studies Centre are to promote and undertake scientific research on Sub-Saharan Africa in the social sciences and humanities, to function as the main focal point for African studies in the Netherlands and contribute to education and teaching in this field, to promote the dissemination of knowledge and an understanding of African societies; the research programme of the African Studies Centre for the period 2012-2016 is entitled ‘African Dynamism amidst Global Restructuring’. It will focus on four major fields of inquiry, with flexible and shifting emphasis by its members of staff and members of the ASC Community temporarily present at the ASC.
The four fields of enquiry are: African trajectories of improved well-being, its impact on people and resources Mediating identities of Africans in Africa and beyond Constellations of Governance in Africa: historical and contemporary studies Africa’s connections to the World: Africa negotiating an multi-polar world The Centre’s library consists of some 90,000 books and about 2,000 journals, government reports, African newspapers and about 1,700 documentaries and feature films on video and DVD. The Centre has developed a web service, Connecting-Africa, with links to more than 58,000 online articles about Africa; the library has a collection of archival material including archives of African government publications and a number of personal archives. The Centre was founded on 12 August 1947 as the academic division of an Afrika Instituut, which also had an economic section spun off as the Netherlands-African Business Council. Over the years, many well-known Dutch Africanists have worked at the African Studies Centre, including the poet Vernie February, the activist Klaas de Jonge, the sociologist Robert Buijtenhuijs and the law professor and film director Emile van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal.
Legal scholar Hans Holleman served as a director from 1963 to 1969. Barbara Harrell-Bond worked at the Centre in the 1970s. Kofi Abrefa Busia, who became prime minister of Ghana, worked at the African Studies Centre between 1959 and 1962. Former director Stephen Ellis was editor in chief of Africa Confidential. Petrus Johannes Idenburg, lector of African constitutional law at Leiden University, was one of the founders of the Centre; the Centre was one of the founders of AEGIS, a network of African Studies Centres in Europe, set up in 1991 to build upon the resources and research potential available within Africanist institutions in Europe. As of 1 January 2016, the African Studies Centre is a part of Leiden University. On 1 September 2017, Jan-Bart Gewald became the new director of the ASC replacing Ton Dietz, director since 2010; the Centre publishes extensively, sometimes in cooperation with publishers such as Brill Publishers in Leiden. Among the ASC publications are: Africa Yearbook African studies abstracts online Kroniek van Afrika Max de Bok, Leer mij Afrika kennen: vijftig jaar Afrika-Studiecentrum, Leiden: Afrika-Studiecentrum Leiden, hdl:1887/18449, ISBN 90-5448-040-8, OCLC 67427364, Wikidata Q55759295 Official website Connecting-Africa AfricaBib AEGIS Kroniek van Afrika, online access
Rotterdam is the second-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands. It is located in the province of South Holland, at the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas channel leading into the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta at the North Sea, its history goes back to 1270, when a dam was constructed in the Rotte, after which people settled around it for safety. In 1340, Rotterdam was granted city rights by the Count of Holland. A major logistic and economic centre, Rotterdam is Europe's largest port, it has a population of 633,471. Rotterdam is known for its Erasmus University, its riverside setting, lively cultural life and maritime heritage; the near-complete destruction of the city centre in the World War II Rotterdam Blitz has resulted in a varied architectural landscape, including sky-scrapers designed by renowned architects such as Rem Koolhaas, Piet Blom and Ben van Berkel. The Rhine and Scheldt give waterway access into the heart of Western Europe, including the industrialized Ruhr; the extensive distribution system including rail and waterways have earned Rotterdam the nicknames "Gateway to Europe" and "Gateway to the World".
The settlement at the lower end of the fen stream Rotte dates from at least 900 CE. Around 1150, large floods in the area ended development, leading to the construction of protective dikes and dams, including Schielands Hoge Zeedijk along the northern banks of the present-day Nieuwe Maas. A dam on the Rotte was located at the present-day Hoogstraat. On 7 July 1340, Count Willem IV of Holland granted city rights to Rotterdam, whose population was only a few thousand. Around the year 1350, a shipping canal, the Rotterdamse Schie was completed, which provided Rotterdam access to the larger towns in the north, allowing it to become a local trans-shipment centre between the Netherlands and Germany, to urbanize; the port of Rotterdam grew but into a port of importance, becoming the seat of one of the six "chambers" of the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company. The greatest spurt of growth, both in port activity and population, followed the completion of the Nieuwe Waterweg in 1872.
The city and harbor started to expand on the south bank of the river. The Witte Huis or White House skyscraper, inspired by American office buildings and built in 1898 in the French Château-style, is evidence of Rotterdam's rapid growth and success; when completed, it was the tallest office building in Europe, with a height of 45 m. During World War I the city was the world's largest spy centre because of Dutch neutrality and its strategic location in between Great-Britain and German-occupied Belgium. Many spies who were arrested and executed in Britain were led by German secret agents operating from Rotterdam. MI6 had its main European office on de Boompjes. From there the British occupied Belgium. During World War I, an average of 25,000 Belgian refugees lived in the city, as well as hundreds of German deserters and escaped Allied prisoners of war. During World War II, the German army invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940. Adolf Hitler had hoped to conquer the country in just one day, but his forces met unexpectedly fierce resistance.
The Dutch army was forced to capitulate on 15 May 1940, following the bombing of Rotterdam on 14 May and the threat of bombing of other Dutch cities. The heart of Rotterdam was completely destroyed by the Luftwaffe; some 80,000 civilians were made homeless and 900 were killed. The City Hall survived the bombing. Ossip Zadkine attempted to capture the event with his statue De Verwoeste Stad; the statue stands near the Leuvehaven, not far from the Erasmusbrug in the centre of the city, on the north shore of the river Nieuwe Maas. Rotterdam was rebuilt from the 1950s through to the 1970s, it remained quite windy and open until the city councils from the 1980s on began developing an active architectural policy. Daring and new styles of apartments, office buildings and recreation facilities resulted in a more'livable' city centre with a new skyline. In the 1990s, the Kop van Zuid was built on the south bank of the river as a new business centre. Rotterdam was voted 2015 European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism.
A Guardian profile of Rem Koolhaas begins "If you put the last 50 years of architecture in a blender, spat it out in building-sized chunks across the skyline, you would end up with something that looked a bit like Rotterdam."'Rotterdam' is divided into a northern and a southern part by the river Nieuwe Maas, connected by: the Beneluxtunnel. The former railway lift bridge De Hef is preserved as a monument in lifted position between the Noordereiland and the south of Rotterdam; the city centre is located on the northern bank of the Nieuwe Maas, although recent urban development has extended the centre to parts of southern Rotterdam known as De Kop van Zuid. From its inland core, Rotterdam reaches the North Sea by a swathe of predominantly harbour area. Built behind di
Leiden is a city and municipality in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. The municipality of Leiden had a population of 123,856 in August 2017, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp and Zoeterwoude with 206,647 inhabitants; the Netherlands Central Bureau of Statistics further includes Katwijk in the agglomeration which makes the total population of the Leiden urban agglomeration 270,879, in the larger Leiden urban area Teylingen and Noordwijkerhout are included with in total 348,868 inhabitants. Leiden is located on the Oude Rijn, at a distance of some 20 kilometres from The Hague to its south and some 40 km from Amsterdam to its north; the recreational area of the Kaag Lakes lies just to the northeast of Leiden. A university city since 1575, Leiden has been one of Europe's most prominent scientific centres for more than four centuries. Leiden is a typical university city, university buildings are scattered throughout the city and the many students from all over the world give the city a bustling and international atmosphere.
Many important scientific discoveries have been made here, giving rise to Leiden's motto: ‘City of Discoveries’. The city houses Leiden University, the oldest university of the Netherlands, Leiden University Medical Center. Leiden University is one of Europe's top universities, with thirteen Nobel Prize winners, it is a member of the League of European Research Universities and positioned in all international academic rankings. It is twinned with the location of the United Kingdom's oldest university. Leiden University and Leiden University of Applied Sciences together have around 35,000 students. Modern scientific medical research and teaching started in the early 18th century in Leiden with Boerhaave. Leiden is a city with a rich cultural heritage, not only in science, but in the arts. One of the world's most famous painters, was born and educated in Leiden. Other famous Leiden painters include Jan van Goyen and Jan Steen. Leiden was formed on an artificial hill at the confluence of the rivers Nieuwe Rijn.
In the oldest reference to this, from circa 860, the settlement was called Leithon. The name is said to be from Germanic *leitha- "canal" in dative pluralis, thus meaning "at the canals". "Canal" is not the proper word. A leitha was a human-modified natural river natural artificial. Leiden has in the past erroneously been associated with the Roman outpost Lugdunum Batavorum; this particular castellum was thought to be located at the Burcht of Leiden, the city's name was thought to be derived from the Latin name Lugdunum. However the castellum was in fact closer to the town of Katwijk, whereas the Roman settlement near modern-day Leiden was called Matilo; the landlord of Leiden, situated in a stronghold on the hill, was subject to the Bishop of Utrecht but around 1100 the burgraves became subject to the county of Holland. This county got its name in 1101 from a domain near the stronghold: Holland. Leiden was sacked in 1047 by Emperor Henry III. Early 13th century, Countess of Holland took refuge here when she was fighting in a civil war against her uncle, William I, Count of Holland.
He captured Ada. Leiden received city rights in 1266. In 1389, its population had grown to about 4,000 persons. In 1420, during the Hook and Cod wars, Duke John III of Bavaria along with his army marched from Gouda in the direction of Leiden in order to conquer the city since Leiden did not pay the new Count of Holland Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut, his niece and only daughter of Count William VI of Holland. Burgrave Filips of Wassenaar and the other local noblemen of the Hook faction assumed that the duke would besiege Leiden first and send small units out to conquer the surrounding citadels, but John of Bavaria chose to attack the citadels first. He rolled the cannons along with his army but one, too heavy went by ship. By firing at the walls and gates with iron balls the citadels fell one by one. Within a week John of Bavaria conquered the castles of Poelgeest, Ter Does, Hoichmade, de Zijl, ter Waerd, Warmond and de Paddenpoel. On 24 June the army appeared before the walls of Leiden. On 17 August 1420, after a two-month siege the city surrendered to John of Bavaria.
The burgrave Filips of Wassenaar was stripped of his offices and rights and lived out his last years in captivity. Leiden flourished in the 17th century. At the close of the 15th century the weaving establishments of Leiden were important, after the expulsion of the Spaniards Leiden cloth, Leiden baize and Leiden camlet were familiar terms. In the same period, Leiden developed an important publishing industry; the influential printer Christoffel Plantijn lived there at one time. One of his pupils was Lodewijk Elzevir, who established the largest bookshop and printing works in Leiden, a business continued by his descendants through 1712 and the name subsequently adopted by contemporary publisher Elsevier. In 1572, the city sided with the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule and played an important role in the Eighty Years' War. Besieged from May until October 1574 by the Spanish, Leiden was relieved by the cutting of the dikes, thus enabling ships to carry provisions to the inhabitants of the flooded town.
As a reward for the heroic defence of the previous year, the University of Leiden was founded by William I of Orange in 1575. Yearly on 3 Oc
Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 854,047 within the city proper, 1,357,675 in the urban area and 2,410,960 in the metropolitan area; the city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country but is not its capital, Haarlem. The Amsterdam metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, which has a population of 8.1 million. Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin around a dam in the river Amstel. Originating 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, as a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading centre for trade. In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were planned and built.
The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Since the annexation of the municipality of Sloten in 1921 by the municipality of Amsterdam, the oldest historic part of the city lies in Sloten, dating to the 9th century; as the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha- world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. The city is the cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, including Philips, AkzoNobel, TomTom and ING. Many of the world's largest companies are based in Amsterdam or established their European headquarters in the city, such as leading technology companies Uber and Tesla. In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit and 12th globally on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer; the city was ranked 4th place globally as top tech hub in the Savills Tech Cities 2019 report, 3rd in innovation by Australian innovation agency 2thinknow in their Innovation Cities Index 2009.
The Port of Amsterdam to this day remains the second in the country, the fifth largest seaport in Europe. Famous Amsterdam residents include the diarist Anne Frank, artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh, philosopher Baruch Spinoza; the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city centre. Amsterdam's main attractions include its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House, the Scheepvaartmuseum, the Amsterdam Museum, the Heineken Experience, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Natura Artis Magistra, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, NEMO, the red-light district and many cannabis coffee shops, they draw more than 5 million international visitors annually. The city is well known for its nightlife and festival activity, it is one of the world's most multicultural cities, with at least 177 nationalities represented. After the floods of 1170 and 1173, locals near the river Amstel built a bridge over the river and a dam across it, giving its name to the village: "Aemstelredamme".
The earliest recorded use of that name is in a document dated 27 October 1275, which exempted inhabitants of the village from paying bridge tolls to Count Floris V. This allowed the inhabitants of the village of Aemstelredamme to travel through the County of Holland, paying no tolls at bridges and dams; the certificate describes the inhabitants. By 1327, the name had developed into Aemsterdam. Amsterdam is much younger than Dutch cities such as Nijmegen and Utrecht. In October 2008, historical geographer Chris de Bont suggested that the land around Amsterdam was being reclaimed as early as the late 10th century; this does not mean that there was a settlement since reclamation of land may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat, for use as fuel. Amsterdam was granted city rights in either 1300 or 1306. From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished from trade with the Hanseatic League. In 1345, an alleged Eucharistic miracle in the Kalverstraat rendered the city an important place of pilgrimage until the adoption of the Protestant faith.
The Miracle devotion was kept alive. In the 19th century after the jubilee of 1845, the devotion was revitalized and became an important national point of reference for Dutch Catholics; the Stille Omgang—a silent walk or procession in civil attire—is the expression of the pilgrimage within the Protestant Netherlands since the late 19th century. In the heyday of the Silent Walk, up to 90,000 pilgrims came to Amsterdam. In the 21st century this has reduced to about 5000. In the 16th century, the Dutch rebelled against Philip II of his successors; the main reasons for the uprising were the imposition of new taxes, the tenth penny, the religious persecution of Protestants by the newly introduced Inquisition. The revolt escalated into the Eighty Years' War, which led to Dutch independence. Pushed by Dutch Revolt leader William the Silent, the Dutch Republic became known for its relative religious tolerance. Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Huguenots from France, prosperous merchants and printers from Flanders, economic and religious refugees