A Potted History Of Amsterdam
Potted History: Walking through Amsterdam, you will meet with historic features at every turn. This potted history of the city will enable you to experience the rich history of the streets and buildings to the full.
Founding and early years
Amsterdam was founded in the 13th century (its first mention in print is in 1275), and it began life as a small fishing village. The name Amsterdam comes from the fact that this village was centred around a dam over the river Amstel. Thus strategically located, the village soon grew into a flourishing city and was a hub of the Dutch Golden Age in the 16th and 17th centuries. Most houses during these periods were made of wood, and so most have since disintegrated. One famous centuries old house remains in Amsterdam, however: the Houten Huis (which means ‘wooden house’) which you can visit to this day in the Begijnhof. Non wooden buildings from this period which survive include what is now the palace in Dam Square (this building began life as a town hall) and the ‘House with the Heads’ (in Dutch the Huis met de Hoofden) to name just two.
In the centuries that were to follow, Amsterdam suffered severe recessions (which undid many of the effects of the economic boom of the Golden Age), experienced occupation by the French and, of course, the invasion and occupation during the Second World War. One of the most historically important buildings to visit during this latter period is the Anne Frank House, which is also a museum. To this day the Anne Frank Museum does work to counter prejudice and hate and to educate new generations about the life and the legacy of Anne Frank. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century in Amsterdam was also a time of economic recovery. Thanks to the growth of industry in the region, the city expanded rapidly once more in a way that (perhaps) had not been seen since the Golden Age period. The result of this is the sprawling city with its suburban neighbourhoods that we see today.
History still in the making
Amsterdam’s history is still being made to this day, with new ideas and new cultural venues springing up all the time. Be a part of it as you wander the streets and explore this fabulous metropolis.