March 26th, 2014

Amsterdam, or

Capital of the Netherlands – one of the most unusual cities in the world with a population of about one million inhabitants. It is sometimes called the “Venice of the North.” However, Amsterdammers themselves even more offended when he heard this comparison: in their view, Amsterdam, although channeled as Venice has its own face.

Famous beautiful cities in the world, not only because their buildings were the greatest masters. And not only because of historical places. Their special charm is that everyone who comes to this city, finds something different and special. Amsterdam – one of them. For some, the capital of the Netherlands – it bridges and canals, where wild ducks swim. For others – barrels of herring and beer “Heineken”, made from recipes known since the Middle Ages. Third – Amsterdam is the birthplace of Rembrandt, the place where he wrote his best paintings. And for the fourth – the city where you can smoke with impunity “weed” in front of the policeman. And so on to infinity …

Amsterdam – the only capital in the world where you will not see the government residences. All of them are located in The Hague. Amsterdam remains a business, financial and cultural center of the Netherlands. In 1928 held here IX Olympic Games. Stock Exchange, the Board of financial companies and banks, theaters, editors of major newspapers – all it asks the dynamic rhythm that makes the modern city. And the old quarters, consisting of a neat and clean “gingerbread” houses, give residents and visitors to Amsterdam a cozy, almost homely atmosphere.

The first mention of Amsterdam in 1275 relates to the city arose on the site fishing village at the mouth of the Amstel River, hence its name: Dam on the Amstel. Like many Dutch settlements, he began with the construction of the dam. The fact that a large part of the Netherlands is below sea level, so the tides and storms can in a matter of hours wipe out an entire city. Proverb, “God made the sea and the Dutch – shore” pretty accurately describes the national character, and local topography. Many of the suburbs of Amsterdam are located on reclaimed from the sea territories. The fact that at the site of the capital airport once splashed a huge lake of Haarlem, today only resembles its name: Shipholl – “Bay ships.” Yes, and in the names of streets and then flashed root “cancer” or “rock”, which means “port”.

Amsterdammers are constantly mindful of the threat from the sea. In the Town Hall, built as the entire central region, on stilts, is a glass column, inside which then rises, then falls the water column. This device shows the sea level. At high tide the water in the column stands taller than a man. Visitors at such moments it becomes very uncomfortable: it seems that every second raging waves can break into the city. But locals are calm. They had studied the enemy and know what to expect from him. After construction of the dam and crossing Zeydek on the Amstel River city became gateways to sleep peacefully, despite the fact that floods happen in the Netherlands a few dozen
once a year.

Appearance of any city depends primarily on who plays major role in it. There are city-industrialists, aristocrats and city-town warriors … Amsterdam – merchant city. Trade and credit were held in high esteem here at all times. Of overseas colonies brought spices, coffee, textiles, gems … Merchants could offer any products for every taste and budget. In the XVII century. the city was one of the world centers of commerce, and today it makes a lot of bargains.

At the same XVII century was the story of the legendary flower exchanges. After importation into the country tulip bulbs usually tranquil Dutch sick time “Tulip Fever”. In Amsterdam, as well as throughout the Netherlands, people sold all their possessions to buy bulbs rare varieties of tulips and then profitably sell them.

Are records about the “barter” deal for one bulb rare tulip was proposed two loads of barley, rye four carts, four sheep, four barrels of beer, and the same wine, two barrels of oil, the suit of fine cloth and embroidered with silver sash to boot. Somewhat later came to replace the tulip hyacinth – though deals were already smaller scale. Now the Dutch are not so reckless, but regularly deliver tons and tons of flowers to buyers all over the world.

The city has long been famous for hospitality. Here fled the persecution of the Catholic Church, many prominent figures in Europe. In local printing houses they could publish their works banned at home. And, of course, to communicate with their Dutch colleagues. Among the prominent people whose lives, in one way or another connected with Amsterdam, there were thinkers (Erasmus, Ariel Acosta, Spinoza, Huizinga) and artists (Rembrandt, Hals, Van Gogh, Bosch,