Despite the 16 million day trippers who descend upon Amsterdam every year, the city manages to maintain a slightly quaint charm. The relatively small size and population of the city (barely scraping a population 1/10th that of London), as well as the strictly limited number of automobiles on the roads, ensures that Amsterdam seldom feels as rushed as the other major capitals of Europe.
Much more than a ‘must-visit-once’ destination; Amsterdam boasts headline-grabbing sites as well as genuinely well-hidden hidden gems. Even the most seasoned traveller will find something new, interesting and exciting every time they visit the Netherlands’ charming capital.
The vibrant, liberal atmosphere of Amsterdam is largely thanks to the city’s positioning as a global trade hub. Traders from all around the world would descend upon Amsterdam to share their wares from the north, south, east and west – creating an eclectic mix of nationalities stepping the city’s stones at any one time.
Although much younger than other Dutch cities such as Nijmegen, Rotterdam and Utrecht; Amsterdam quickly progressed and developed since flooding formed its foundations in the late 12th century. The city began to really flourish in the 14th century, thanks to the trade confederation of the Hanseatic League.
In the 17th century, Amsterdam became the wealthiest city in the world, during a period known as the city’s Golden Age. Further trade routes opened up across the Baltic Sea and over to North America, South America, Africa and Asia – swelling the coffers of Amsterdam’s movers and shakers. The city even housed the world’s first stock exchange, when the Amsterdam office of the Dutch East India Company began trading shares.
This helped to create a unique culture within the city which is still celebrated to this day with millions of visitors pouring in to enjoy the beautiful canals, striking architecture and relaxed atmosphere.