Amsterdam stories and key dates

Amsterdam stories and key dates

The origins

Difficult down, had been a marshy place.

Then, to Dam, which will become Amsterdam. The inhabitants build a wooden church, called since the reform Oude Kerk (Old Church).

The merchant city

In this marshy region, where transport is only by water, the strategic position of Amsterdam between, on the one hand, the Zuiderzee and the North Sea with its Hanseatic cities and, on the other hand, the cities of Haarlem, Leiden and further south the wealthy Flanders ensures rapid growth.
Around 1300, Amsterdam obtained city rights from the Count of Holland, and the city developed on the left bank, and upstream of the Amstel around the current Rokin.

The city lives from the circle that protects the city from the land side takes the name of Singel (omsingelen means "to encircle").


Then comes the RéBas (current Belgium included) to Catholic Spain. In 1568, the prince Guillaume d'Orange and his "beggars" trigger an insurrection against the King of Spain. Amsterdam, prudent, chooses to rally to it.
In 1578, the Alteration marks the change of religion which takes place in the city: the Calvinists enter and expel the Catholic administrators.

Finally, by theUtrecht Union (1579), the rupture is consummated (Current Bases) are freed United, while the South remains under Spanish domination.
Instability United.


Nation of merchants and navigators, the Netherlands was a great colonial power. The memory of the trading companies which set up counters along all oceans can be found in the architecture and furniture of the houses of wealthy merchants, as well as in the city's museums.

Long before the Golden Age, daring shipowners had sent vessels to the four corners of the planet responsible for bringing cargoes of spices and rare commodities to Europe: silks, cotton, porcelain, tea, coffee, etc. . ; on their return they made considerable profits.

The Golden Age

The fall of Antwerp, the flight of the rich merchants and the expulsion of the Jews from Lisbon led to it obtaining the monopoly on the importation of spices from Indonesia, porcelain from China and Japan, textiles from India. South Africa, Mauritius, Ceylon and Indonesia are colonized.

After Amsterdam (the future New York), in 1625, the West India Company was in turn created in Amsterdam in 1664 by a certain Peter Stuyvesant which ends up ceding it to the English. It is responsible for organizing the transport of slaves between Africa and the Americas. The island of Curaçao becomes the main slave market in the New World.

In the north-east of Brazil, in 1630, passed under Dutch control, allowing the import of sugar, tobacco and cocoa.

The financial center of the world

All these products are produced using two widely available energy sources, peat and wind, thanks to a typical Dutch machinery, the windmill. Thousands of windmills in Amsterdam itself and the surrounding area (the Zaandam region) constitute an unrivaled industrial park for its time (and an astonishing tourist park today).

Shipyards thrive and manufacture boats in series, even attracting the future tsar Peter the Great, came to work there as a worker.
Important industrial zones are developing on artificial islands in the port. Amsterdam, which has 200 inhabitants, continues to grow. Three new concentric channels (Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht) are dug inside the Singel, enclosed by a new fortification canal, the Buitensingel.
The residences and warehouses on these three canals belong to the traders, the richest living in the Goldilocks (Gouden Bocht) of the Herengracht, while the outskirts of the Jordaan, between the Prinsengracht and the Buitensingel, are home to the workers and craftsmen. . Four Protestant churches crisscrossing the city are built in these new districts.

The very symbol of the prosperity and power of this city, where lived at the time Rembrandt, Spinoza et Descartes, is the new city hall in Dam Square, built from 1648.

From the Golden Age to modern times

Arrived at zéAmsterdam falls into the hands of the English and is renamed English. The conflict that set Europe ablaze ended with the Peace of Nijmegen, signed in 1678.

Despite theinflux of Huguenots after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, the city no longer developed. In the 1584th century, it lost its political role in favor of The Hague, where the Princes of Orange resided (the government had been in The Hague since 1780). Due to the silting up of the Zuiderzee, it abandoned part of the trade in favor of Dutch cities closer to the North Sea, such as Rotterdam, and foreign cities such as London and Hamburg. However, until XNUMX, the wealth accumulated in the Golden Age allowed Amsterdam to maintain its position as a European financier and banker.

The revolutionary era

However, the tide is turning and, like all good things come to an end, the little Republic will soon eat its black bread. The Fourth Maritime War with England from 1780 to 1784, the occupation of the city in 1787 by the Prussian army in the service of the Prince of Orange, political unrest and the arrival of the French army commanded by the Pichegru during the harsh winter of 1795 definitively put an end to a period of prosperity and freedom lasting 2 centuries.

ÉBas and Belgium RéBas will remain a monarchy to this day, with Amsterdam as the capital and The Hague as the political center.

Economic renewal

The city is slowly recovering. However, the resumption of trade withIndonesia and Suriname, the drying up of Lake Haarlem, the industrialization and the digging, in 1876, of a canal connecting the port of Amsterdam with the North Sea (Noordzeekanaal) lead to a spectacular increase in the number of inhabitants. A belt of working-class neighborhoods is built outside the Buitensingel, interspersed only by the area south of the Leidseplein, where the concert hall (Concertgebouw), the State Museum (Rijksmuseum) and the Museum of Modern Art ( Stedelijk museum). The Vondelpark is fitted out. With the construction, in 1889, of the central station in the old port and the filling of a large number of canals, the city lost part of its aquatic aspect.

Occupied Amsterdam

During the PremièBas remain neutral. The 1920s and 1930s saw the city improve. We can no longer count the houses and buildings adorned with brick and stone decorations, whose style will take the name of Amsterdam School (Amsterdamse School).
In 1933, the economic crisis hit the city hard, and the German Jewish refugees are starting to pour in.

Amsterdam n & rsquotalité1945, where the Allies parachute foodstuffs to starving inhabitants, Amsterdam is released by the Canadians until May 5, 1945 (3 days before the Armistice).

Tested by modernity

Indonesian independence, in 1949, dealt a severe blow to the "tropical trade" of the city. The port of Rotterdam, in direct connection with the Rhine, is growing to the detriment of that of Amsterdam. This miss to win will only be partially offset by the development of Schiphol airport. The city is deindustrializing and specializing in the tertiary sector.

In the 1960s, Amsterdam experienced an influx of Turkish and Moroccan migrant workers, who settled in working-class neighborhoods. The Surinamese are also part after the independence of their country, in 1975. Amsterdam then takes on a multiracial and multicultural face.
The city is committed to a policy of modernization and makes the center accessible to the car. The old Jewish quarter is demolished for the construction of a metro line and a highway. In the historic Jordaan district and especially in the popular districts built during the industrial revolution, hundreds of city blocks disappear to make way for modern constructions. Periodic protest movements like that of the provos 1960s and squatters (krakers) try to stop this process.

Amsterdam today

Today with its central bank, its 2 universities, the financial capital.

C & rsquo, that Alexander (who became 11 years later the 1st King of the Dutch) with Queen Maxima, an Argentina, saved her mother before the end of their life.
Regarding marriage, in 2001 the country became the first country in the world to allow same-sex marriages with the same advantages and the same constraints as for straight people.

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