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Amsterdam

Capital and most populous city of the Netherlands

Top 10 Amsterdam related articles

Amsterdam
From top down, left to right: Keizersgracht, canal in the Centrum borough, the Royal Concertgebouw and Rijksmuseum
Nicknames: 
Motto(s): 
Heldhaftig, Vastberaden, Barmhartig (Valiant, Steadfast, Compassionate)
Location of Amsterdam in the Netherlands
Amsterdam
Location of Amsterdam in the Netherlands
Amsterdam
Amsterdam (Europe)
Coordinates: 52°22′N 4°54′E / 52.367°N 4.900°E / 52.367; 4.900Coordinates: 52°22′N 4°54′E / 52.367°N 4.900°E / 52.367; 4.900
CountryNetherlands
ProvinceNorth Holland
City HallStopera
Boroughs
Government
 • BodyMunicipal council
 • MayorFemke Halsema (GL)
Area
 • Municipality219.32 km2 (84.68 sq mi)
 • Land165.76 km2 (64.00 sq mi)
 • Water53.56 km2 (20.68 sq mi)
 • Randstad3,043 km2 (1,175 sq mi)
Elevation−2 m (−7 ft)
Population
 • Urban
1,558,755
 • Metro region
2,480,394
 • Randstad
8,116,000
Demonym(s)Amsterdammer
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postcode
1000–1183
Area code020
GeoTLD.amsterdam
Websitewww.amsterdam.nl
Topographic map of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam (/ˈæmstərdæm/, UK also /ˌæmstərˈdæm/,[5][6] Dutch: [ˌɑmstərˈdɑm] ( listen)) is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands with a population of 872,680[7] within the city proper, 1,558,755 in the urban area[8] and 2,480,394 in the metropolitan area.[9] Found within the province of North Holland,[10][11] Amsterdam is colloquially referred to as the "Venice of the North", attributed by the large number of canals which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Amsterdam was founded at the Amstel, that was dammed to control flooding, and the city's name derives from the Amstel dam.[12] 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 of the 17th century, and became the leading centre for finance and trade.[13] In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded and 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. Sloten, annexed in 1921 by the municipality of Amsterdam, is the oldest part of the city, dating to the 9th century.

Amsterdam's main attractions include its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, the Concertgebouw, 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. It drew more than 5 million international visitors in 2014.[14] The city is also well known for its nightlife and festival activity; with several of its nightclubs (Melkweg, Paradiso) among the world's most famous. Primarily known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses with gabled façades; well-preserved legacies of the city's 17th-century Golden Age. These characteristics are arguably responsible for attracting millions of Amsterdam's visitors annually. Cycling is key to the city's character, and there are numerous bike paths.

The Amsterdam Stock Exchange is considered the oldest "modern" securities market stock exchange in the world. 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 (GaWC) study group. The city is also the cultural capital of the Netherlands.[15] Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters in the city, including: the Philips conglomerate, AkzoNobel, Booking.com, TomTom, and ING.[16] Moreover, many of the world's largest companies are based in Amsterdam or have established their European headquarters in the city, such as leading technology companies Uber, Netflix and Tesla.[17] In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked the second best city to live in by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)[18] and 12th globally on quality of living for environment and infrastructure by Mercer.[19] The city was ranked 4th place globally as top tech hub in the Savills Tech Cities 2019 report (2nd in Europe),[20] and 3rd in innovation by Australian innovation agency 2thinknow in their Innovation Cities Index 2009.[21] The Port of Amsterdam is the fifth largest in Europe.[22] The KLM hub and Amsterdam's main airport, Schiphol, is the Netherlands' busiest airport as well as the third busiest in Europe and 11th busiest airport in the world.[23] The Dutch capital is considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with at least 177 nationalities represented.[24]

A few of Amsterdam's notable residents throughout history include: painters Rembrandt and Van Gogh, the diarist Anne Frank, and philosopher Baruch Spinoza.

Amsterdam Intro articles: 52

History

Prehistory

Due to its geographical location in what used to be wet peatland, Amsterdam proper is presumed to be much younger than Dutch cities like Nijmegen and Utrecht (both having a Roman origin). However, the area around what later became Amsterdam - along the prehistoric IJ - had been settled almost three millennia ago. The IJ was mainly in peatland behind beach ridges, and could grow there into an important settlement center, especially in the late Bronze Age, the Iron Age and the Roman Age. Neolithic and Roman artefacts has also been found in the south of this area, where later Amsterdam arose, in the prehistoric Amstel bedding under Damrak and Rokin, such as shards of Bell Beaker culture pottery (2200-2000 BC) and a granite grinding stone (2700-2750 BC),[25][26] but these probably point to a presence of a modest semi-permanent or seasonal settlement, since the river mouth of the Amstel was probably too wet for permanent habitation.[27]

Etymology and Founding

The origins of Amsterdam is linked to the development of the peatland called Amestelle, meaning 'watery area', from Aa(m) 'river' + stelle 'site at a shoreline', 'river bank'.[28] In this area, land reclamation started as early as the late 10th century.[29] Amestelle was located along a side arm of the IJ. This side arm took the name from the eponymous land: Amstel. Amestelle was inhabited by farmers, who lived more inland and more upstream, where the land was not as wet as at the banks of the downstream river mouth. These farmers were starting the reclamation around upstream Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, and later at the other side of the river at Amstelveen. The Van Amstel family, known in documents by this name since 1019,[28] held the stewardship in this northwestern nook of the ecclesiastical district of the bishop of Utrecht. The family later served also under the count of Holland.

A major turning point in the development of the Amstel river mouth is the All Saint's Flood of 1170. In an extreme short period of time, the shallow river IJ turned into a wide estuary, which from then on offered the Amstel an open connection to the Zuiderzee, IJssel and waterways further afield. This made the water flow of the Amstel more active, so excess water could be drained better. With drier banks, the downstream Amstel mouth became attractive for permanent habitation. Moreover, the river had grown from an insignificant peat stream into a junction of international waterways.[30] A settlement was built here immediately after the landscape change of 1170, and right from the start of its foundation it focused on traffic, production and trade; not on farming, as apposed to how communities had lived more upstream for the past 200 years and more north for the past thousands of years.[31] The construction of a dam at the mouth of the Amstel, eponymously named Dam, is historically estimated between 1264 and 1275. The settlement first appeared in a document concerning a road toll granted by the count of Holland Floris V to the residents apud Amestelledamme 'at the dam in the Amstel' or 'at the dam of Amstelland'.[32] This allowed the inhabitants of the village to travel freely through the County of Holland, paying no tolls at bridges, locks and dams.[33] By 1327, the name had developed into Aemsterdam.[34][35]

Middle Ages

The Oude Kerk was consecrated in 1306 CE.

Amsterdam was granted city rights in either 1300 or 1306.[36] From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished, largely from trade with the Hanseatic League. In 1345, an alleged Eucharistic miracle in Kalverstraat rendered the city an important place of pilgrimage until the adoption of the Protestant faith. The Miracle devotion went underground but was kept alive. In the 19th century, especially after the jubilee of 1845, the devotion was revitalised 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.[37] 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.

Conflict with Spain

Amsterdam citizens celebrating the Peace of Münster, 30 January 1648. Painting by Bartholomeus van der Helst

In the 16th century, the Dutch rebelled against Philip II of Spain and his successors. The main reasons for the uprising were the imposition of new taxes, the tenth penny, and the religious persecution of Protestants by the newly introduced Inquisition. The revolt escalated into the Eighty Years' War, which ultimately led to Dutch independence.[38] Strongly 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, and economic and religious refugees from the Spanish-controlled parts of the Low Countries found safety in Amsterdam. The influx of Flemish printers and the city's intellectual tolerance made Amsterdam a centre for the European free press.[39]

Centre of the Dutch Golden Age

Courtyard of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by Emanuel de Witte, 1653. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange was the first stock exchange to introduce continuous trade in the early 17th century.[40]

The 17th century is considered Amsterdam's Golden Age, during which it became the wealthiest city in the western world.[41] Ships sailed from Amsterdam to the Baltic Sea, North America, and Africa, as well as present-day Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Brazil, forming the basis of a worldwide trading network. Amsterdam's merchants had the largest share in both the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company. These companies acquired overseas possessions that later became Dutch colonies.

Amsterdam was Europe's most important point for the shipment of goods and was the leading Financial centre of the western world.[42] In 1602, the Amsterdam office of the international trading Dutch East India Company became the world's first stock exchange by trading in its own shares.[43] The Bank of Amsterdam started operations in 1609, acting as a full-service bank for Dutch merchant bankers and as a reserve bank.

Decline and modernisation

Amsterdam's prosperity declined during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The wars of the Dutch Republic with England and France took their toll on Amsterdam. During the Napoleonic Wars, Amsterdam's significance reached its lowest point, with Holland being absorbed into the French Empire. However, the later establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815 marked a turning point.

View of Vijzelstraat looking towards the Muntplein, 1891

The end of the 19th century is sometimes called Amsterdam's second Golden Age.[44] New museums, a railway station, and the Concertgebouw were built; in this same time, the Industrial Revolution reached the city. The Amsterdam–Rhine Canal was dug to give Amsterdam a direct connection to the Rhine, and the North Sea Canal was dug to give the port a shorter connection to the North Sea. Both projects dramatically improved commerce with the rest of Europe and the world. In 1906, Joseph Conrad gave a brief description of Amsterdam as seen from the seaside, in The Mirror of the Sea.

20th century–present

Photochrom of Amsterdam's Dam Square at the beginning of the 20th century

Shortly before the First World War, the city started to expand again, and new suburbs were built. Even though the Netherlands remained neutral in this war, Amsterdam suffered a food shortage, and heating fuel became scarce. The shortages sparked riots in which several people were killed. These riots are known as the Aardappeloproer (Potato rebellion). People started looting stores and warehouses in order to get supplies, mainly food.[45]

On 1 January 1921, after a flood in 1916, the depleted municipalities of Durgerdam, Holysloot, Zunderdorp and Schellingwoude, all lying north of Amsterdam, were, at their own request, annexed to the city.[46][47] Between the wars, the city continued to expand, most notably to the west of the Jordaan district in the Frederik Hendrikbuurt and surrounding neighbourhoods.

Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940 and took control of the country. Some Amsterdam citizens sheltered Jews, thereby exposing themselves and their families to a high risk of being imprisoned or sent to concentration camps. More than 100,000 Dutch Jews were deported to Nazi concentration camps, of whom some 60,000 lived in Amsterdam. In response, the Dutch Communist Party organised the February strike attended by 300,000 people to protest against the raids. Perhaps the most famous deportee was the young Jewish girl Anne Frank, who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.[48] At the end of the Second World War, communication with the rest of the country broke down, and food and fuel became scarce. Many citizens travelled to the countryside to forage. Dogs, cats, raw sugar beets, and tulip bulbs—cooked to a pulp—were consumed to stay alive.[49] Many trees in Amsterdam were cut down for fuel, and wood was taken from the houses, apartments and other buildings of deported Jews.

People celebrating the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of World War II on 8 May 1945

Many new suburbs, such as Osdorp, Slotervaart, Slotermeer and Geuzenveld, were built in the years after the Second World War.[50] These suburbs contained many public parks and wide-open spaces, and the new buildings provided improved housing conditions with larger and brighter rooms, gardens, and balconies. Because of the war and other events of the 20th century, almost the entire city centre had fallen into disrepair. As society was changing, politicians and other influential figures made plans to redesign large parts of it. There was an increasing demand for office buildings, and also for new roads, as the automobile became available to most people.[51] A metro started operating in 1977 between the new suburb of Bijlmermeer in the city's Zuidoost (southeast) exclave and the centre of Amsterdam. Further plans were to build a new highway above the metro to connect Amsterdam Centraal and the city centre with other parts of the city.

The required large-scale demolitions began in Amsterdam's former Jewish neighbourhood. Smaller streets, such as the Jodenbreestraat and Weesperstraat, were widened and almost all houses and buildings were demolished. At the peak of the demolition, the Nieuwmarktrellen (Nieuwmarkt Riots) broke out;[52] the rioters expressed their fury about the demolition caused by the restructuring of the city.

As a result, the demolition was stopped and the highway into the city's centre was never fully built; only the metro was completed. Only a few streets remained widened. The new city hall was built on the almost completely demolished Waterlooplein. Meanwhile, large private organisations, such as Stadsherstel Amsterdam, were founded to restore the entire city centre. Although the success of this struggle is visible today, efforts for further restoration are still ongoing.[51] The entire city centre has reattained its former splendour and, as a whole, is now a protected area. Many of its buildings have become monuments, and in July 2010 the Grachtengordel (the three concentric canals: Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht) was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.[53]

The 17th-century Canals of Amsterdam were listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2010,[54] contributing to Amsterdam's fame as the "Venice of the North".[55][56] Along with De Wallen, the canals are the focal-point for tourists in the city.

In the early years of the 21st century, the Amsterdam city centre has attracted large numbers of tourists: between 2012 and 2015, the annual number of visitors rose from 10 to 17 million. Real estate prices have surged, and local shops are making way for tourist-oriented ones, making the centre unaffordable for the city's inhabitants.[57] These developments have evoked comparisons with Venice, a city thought to be overwhelmed by the tourist influx.[58]

Construction of a metro line connecting the part of the city north of the river (or lake) IJ to the centre was started in 2003. The project was controversial because its cost had exceeded its budget by a factor three by 2008,[59] because of fears of damage to buildings in the centre, and because construction had to be halted and restarted multiple times.[60] The metro line was completed in 2018.[61]

Since 2014, renewed focus has been given to urban regeneration and renewal, especially in areas directly bordering the city centre, such as Frederik Hendrikbuurt. This urban renewal and expansion of the traditional centre of the city—with the construction on artificial islands of the new eastern IJburg neighbourhood—is part of the Structural Vision Amsterdam 2040 initiative.[62][63]

Amsterdam History articles: 103

Geography

Satellite picture of Amsterdam and North Sea Canal
Large-scale map of the city centre of Amsterdam, including sightseeing markers, as of April 2017.

Amsterdam is located in the Western Netherlands, in the province of North Holland, the capital of which is not Amsterdam, but rather Haarlem. The river Amstel ends in the city centre and connects to a large number of canals that eventually terminate in the IJ. Amsterdam is about 2 metres (6.6 feet) below sea level.[64] The surrounding land is flat as it is formed of large polders. A man-made forest, Amsterdamse Bos, is in the southwest. Amsterdam is connected to the North Sea through the long North Sea Canal.

Amsterdam is intensely urbanised, as is the Amsterdam metropolitan area surrounding the city. Comprising 219.4 km2 (84.7 sq mi) of land, the city proper has 4,457 inhabitants per km2 and 2,275 houses per km2.[65] Parks and nature reserves make up 12% of Amsterdam's land area.[66]

Water

Reguliersgracht, autumn 2010

Amsterdam has more than 100 km (60 mi) of canals, most of which are navigable by boat. The city's three main canals are the Prinsengracht, Herengracht, and Keizersgracht.

In the Middle Ages, Amsterdam was surrounded by a moat, called the Singel, which now forms the innermost ring in the city, and gives the city centre a horseshoe shape. The city is also served by a seaport. It has been compared with Venice, due to its division into about 90 islands, which are linked by more than 1,200 bridges.[67]

Climate

Amsterdam has an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb)[68] strongly influenced by its proximity to the North Sea to the west, with prevailing westerly winds. While winters are cool and summers warm, temperatures vary year by year. There can occasionally be cold, snowy winters and hot, humid summers.

Amsterdam, as well as most of the North Holland province, lies in USDA Hardiness zone 8b. Frosts mainly occur during spells of easterly or northeasterly winds from the inner European continent. Even then, because Amsterdam is surrounded on three sides by large bodies of water, as well as having a significant heat-island effect, nights rarely fall below −5 °C (23 °F), while it could easily be −12 °C (10 °F) in Hilversum, 25 km (16 mi) southeast.

Summers are moderately warm with a number of hot days every month. The average daily high in August is 22.1 °C (72 °F), and 30 °C (86 °F) or higher is only measured on average on 2.5 days, placing Amsterdam in AHS Heat Zone 2. The record extremes range from −19.7 °C (−3.5 °F) to 36.3 °C (97.3 °F).[69][70] Days with more than 1 mm (0.04 in) of precipitation are common, on average 133 days per year.

Amsterdam's average annual precipitation is 838 mm (33 in).[71] A large part of this precipitation falls as light rain or brief showers. Cloudy and damp days are common during the cooler months of October through March.

Amsterdam Geography articles: 21

Demographics

Historical population

Estimated population, 1300–1564
YearPop.±% p.a.
13001,000—    
14004,700+1.56%
151411,000+0.75%
YearPop.±% p.a.
154613,200+0.57%
155722,200+4.84%
156430,900+4.84%
Source: Bureau Monumentenzorg en Archeologie (1300)[75]
Ramaer 1921, pp. 11–12, 181 (1400 and 1564)
Van Dillen 1929, pp. xxv–xxvi (1514, 1546 and 1557)

In 1300, Amsterdam's population was around 1,000 people.[76] While many towns in Holland experienced population decline during the 15th and 16th centuries, Amsterdam's population grew,[77] mainly due to the rise of the profitable Baltic maritime trade after the Burgundian victory in the Dutch–Hanseatic War.[78] Still, the population of Amsterdam was only modest compared to the towns and cities of Flanders and Brabant, which comprised the most urbanised area of the Low Countries.[79]

Historical population in 10-year intervals, 1590–present
YearPop.±%
159041,362—    
160059,551+44.0%
161082,742+38.9%
1620106,500+28.7%
1630135,439+27.2%
1640162,388+19.9%
1650176,873+8.9%
1660192,767+9.0%
1670206,188+7.0%
1680219,098+6.3%
1690224,393+2.4%
1700235,224+4.8%
1710239,149+1.7%
1720241,447+1.0%
1730239,866−0.7%
1740237,582−1.0%
1750233,952−1.5%
1760240,862+3.0%
1770239,056−0.7%
1780228,938−4.2%
1790214,473−6.3%
1800203,485−5.1%
YearPop.±%
1810201,347−1.1%
1820197,831−1.7%
1830206,383+4.3%
1840214,367+3.9%
1850223,700+4.4%
1860244,050+9.1%
1870279,221+14.4%
1880323,784+16.0%
1890417,539+29.0%
1900520,602+24.7%
1910573,983+10.3%
1920647,427+12.8%
1930757,386+17.0%
1940800,594+5.7%
1950835,834+4.4%
1960869,602+4.0%
1970831,463−4.4%
1980716,967−13.8%
1990695,221−3.0%
2000731,289+5.2%
2010767,773+5.0%
2020872,380+13.6%
Source: Nusteling 1985, p. 240 (1590–1670)
Van Leeuwen & Oeppen 1993, p. 87 (1680–1880)
Department for Research, Information and Statistics (1890–present)

This changed when, during the Dutch Revolt, many people from the Southern Netherlands fled to the North, especially after Antwerp fell to Spanish forces in 1585. Jewish people from Spain, Portugal and Eastern Europe similarly settled in Amsterdam, as did Germans and Scandinavians.[77] In thirty years, Amsterdam's population more than doubled between 1585 and 1610.[80] By 1600, its population was around 50,000.[76] During the 1660s, Amsterdam's population reached 200,000.[81] The city's growth levelled off and the population stabilised around 240,000 for most of the 18th century.[82]

In 1750, Amsterdam was the fourth largest city in western Europe, behind London (676,000), Paris (560,000) and Naples (324,000).[83] This was all the more remarkable as Amsterdam was neither the capital city nor the seat of government of the Dutch Republic, which itself was a much smaller state than England, France or the Ottoman Empire. In contrast to those other metropolises, Amsterdam was also surrounded by large towns such as Leiden (about 67,000), Rotterdam (45,000), Haarlem (38,000), and Utrecht (30,000).[84]

The city's population declined in the early 19th century,[85] dipping under 200,000 in 1820.[86] By the second half of the 19th century, industrialisation spurred renewed growth.[87] Amsterdam's population hit an all-time high of 872,000 in 1959,[88] before declining in the following decades due to government-sponsored suburbanisation to so-called groeikernen (growth centres) such as Purmerend and Almere.[89][90][91] Between 1970 and 1980, Amsterdam experienced its sharp population decline, peaking at a net loss of 25,000 people in 1973.[91] By 1985 the city had only 675,570 residents.[92] This was soon followed by reurbanisation and gentrification,[93][91] leading to renewed population growth in the 2010s. Also in the 2010s, much of Amsterdam's population growth was due to immigration to the city.[94] Amsterdam's population failed to beat the expectations of 873000 in 2019.

Immigration

City of Amsterdam (2018)
population by country of origin
(includes 2nd generation immigrants)[95]
Country or territory Population
Netherlands 397,723 (46.57%)
Morocco 76,156 (8.92%)
Suriname 64,991 (7.61%)
Turkey 43,525 (5.10%)
Indonesia 25,117 (2.94%)
Germany 18,771 (2.20%)
UK 13,374 (1.57%)
Dutch Caribbean 12,228 (1.43%)
Ghana 12,184 (1.43%)
USA 10,117 (1.18%)
Other 179,861 (21.05%)

In the 16th and 17th century, non-Dutch immigrants to Amsterdam were mostly Huguenots, Flemings, Sephardi Jews and Westphalians. Huguenots came after the Edict of Fontainebleau in 1685, while the Flemish Protestants came during the Eighty Years' War. The Westphalians came to Amsterdam mostly for economic reasons – their influx continued through the 18th and 19th centuries. Before the Second World War, 10% of the city population was Jewish. Just twenty percent of them survived the Shoah.[96]

The first mass immigration in the 20th century was by people from Indonesia, who came to Amsterdam after the independence of the Dutch East Indies in the 1940s and 1950s. In the 1960s guest workers from Turkey, Morocco, Italy, and Spain emigrated to Amsterdam. After the independence of Suriname in 1975, a large wave of Surinamese settled in Amsterdam, mostly in the Bijlmer area. Other immigrants, including refugees asylum seekers and illegal immigrants, came from Europe, America, Asia, and Africa. In the 1970s and 1980s, many 'old' Amsterdammers moved to 'new' cities like Almere and Purmerend, prompted by the third planological bill of the Dutch government. This bill promoted suburbanisation and arranged for new developments in so-called "groeikernen", literally cores of growth. Young professionals and artists moved into neighbourhoods de Pijp and the Jordaan abandoned by these Amsterdammers. The non-Western immigrants settled mostly in the social housing projects in Amsterdam-West and the Bijlmer. Today, people of non-Western origin make up approximately one-third of the population of Amsterdam, and more than 50% of the city' s children.[97][98][99] Ethnic Dutch (as defined by the Dutch census) now make up a minority of the total population, although by far the largest one. Only one in three inhabitants under 15 is an autochtoon, or a person who has two parents of Dutch origin.[100] Segregation along ethnic lines is clearly visible, with people of non-Western origin, considered a separate group by Statistics Netherlands, concentrating in specific neighbourhoods especially in Nieuw-West, Zeeburg, Bijlmer and in certain areas of Amsterdam-Noord.[101][102]

In 2000, Christians formed the largest religious group in the city (18% of the population). The next largest religion was Islam (12%), most of whose followers were Sunni.[103][104] In 2015, Christians formed the largest religious group in the city (24% of the population). The next largest religion was Islam (11.1%), most of whose followers were Sunni.[105]

Religion

Religion in Amsterdam (2015)[106]

  Non affiliated (62.2%)
  Catholic Church (11.3%)
  Islam (11.1%)
  Other Christian denominations (5.9%)
  Hinduism (1.1%)
  Buddhism (1.0%)
  Judaism (0.7%)

In 1578, the largely Catholic city of Amsterdam joined the revolt against Spanish rule,[107] late in comparison to other major northern Dutch cities.[108] Catholic priests were driven out of the city.[107] Following the Dutch takeover, all churches were converted to Protestant worship.[109] Calvinism was declared the main religion,[108] and although Catholicism was not forbidden and priests allowed to serve, the Catholic hierarchy was prohibited. This led to the establishment of schuilkerken, covert religious buildings that were hidden in pre-existing buildings. Catholics, some Jewish and dissenting Protestants worshiped in such buildings.[110] A large influx of foreigners of many religions came to 17th-century Amsterdam, in particular Sefardic Jews from Spain and Portugal,[111][112] Huguenots from France,[113] Lutherans, Mennonites, and Protestants from across the Netherlands.[114] This led to the establishment of many non-Dutch-speaking churches. In 1603, the Jewish received permission to practice their religion. In 1639, the first synagogue was consecrated.[115] The Jews came to call the town Jerusalem of the West.[116]

As they became established in the city, other Christian denominations used converted Catholic chapels to conduct their own services. The oldest English-language church congregation in the world outside the United Kingdom is found at the Begijnhof.[117] Regular services there are still offered in English under the auspices of the Church of Scotland.[118] Being Calvinists, the Huguenots soon integrated into the Dutch Reformed Church, though often retaining their own congregations. Some, commonly referred by the moniker 'Walloon', are recognisable today as they offer occasional services in French.

In the second half of the 17th century, Amsterdam experienced an influx of Ashkenazim, Jews from Central and Eastern Europe. Jews often fled the pogroms in those areas. The first Ashkenazis who arrived in Amsterdam were refugees from the Khmelnytsky Uprising in Ukraine and the Thirty Years' War, which devastated much of Central Europe. They not only founded their own synagogues, but had a strong influence on the 'Amsterdam dialect' adding a large Yiddish local vocabulary.[119]

Despite an absence of an official Jewish ghetto, most Jews preferred to live in the eastern part of the old medieval heart of the city. The main street of this Jewish neighbourhood was the Jodenbreestraat. The neighbourhood comprised the Waterlooplein and the Nieuwmarkt.[119][120] Buildings in this neighbourhood fell into disrepair after the Second World War,[121] and a large section of the neighbourhood was demolished during the construction of the subway. This led to riots, and as a result the original plans for large-scale reconstruction were abandoned.[122][123] The neighbourhood was rebuilt with smaller-scale residence buildings on the basis of its original layout.[124]

The Westerkerk in the Centrum borough, one of Amsterdam's best-known churches

Catholic churches in Amsterdam have been constructed since the restoration of the episcopal hierarchy in 1853.[125] One of the principal architects behind the city's Catholic churches, Cuypers, was also responsible for the Amsterdam Central station and the Rijksmuseum.[126][127]

In 1924, the Catholic Church hosted the International Eucharistic Congress in Amsterdam,[128] and numerous Catholic prelates visited the city, where festivities were held in churches and stadiums.[129] Catholic processions on the public streets, however, were still forbidden under law at the time.[130] Only in the 20th century was Amsterdam's relation to Catholicism normalised,[131] but despite its far larger population size, the episcopal see of the city was placed in the provincial town of Haarlem.[132]

Historically, Amsterdam has been predominantly Christian, in 1900 Christians formed the largest religious group in the city (70% of the population), Dutch Reformed Church formed 45% of the city population, while the Catholic Church formed 25% of the city population.[133] In recent times, religious demographics in Amsterdam have been changed by immigration from former colonies. Hinduism has been introduced from the Hindu diaspora from Suriname[134] and several distinct branches of Islam have been brought from various parts of the world.[135] Islam is now the largest non-Christian religion in Amsterdam.[106] The large community of Ghanaian immigrants have established African churches,[136] often in parking garages in the Bijlmer area.[137]

Diversity and immigration

Amsterdam experienced an influx of religions and cultures after the Second World War. With 180 different nationalities,[138] Amsterdam is home to one of the widest varieties of nationalities of any city in the world.[139] The proportion of the population of immigrant origin in the city proper is about 50%[140] and 88% of the population are Dutch citizens.[141]

Amsterdam has been one of the municipalities in the Netherlands which provided immigrants with extensive and free Dutch-language courses, which have benefited many immigrants.[142]

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