The unique city of Amsterdam is not only the most populated city in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but it is also the capital. The population of the city is almost 814,000, whilst the greater metropolitan area has well over 1.5 million inhabitants. The original derivative of the city's name is Amstelredamme, which pertains to the fact that the city's origin was actually as a dam on the Amstel River.
During the late 12th century when the city when first settled, it was also a small fishing village. However, in the 17th century it shot to fame during a period known as the Dutch Golden Age. It became one of the key shipping ports, due to its innovations in trade. It was also during this time that Amsterdam was a major centre for finance and diamonds. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the city grew exponentially.
The city is now classified as an Alpha City, due to its status as being one of the top finance centres in Europe, and the commercial capital of the Netherlands. The city is home to seven of the world's Fortune 500 companies such as ING and Philips. The oldest stock exchange in the world, the Amsterdam Stock Exchange sits proudly in the city's centre.
The city is famous not only for its beautiful canals that are interwoven through the city, but more so for its red light district and the overabundance of cannabis coffee shops which draw almost 3.7 million tourists into the city.
Amsterdam's main attractions include Anne Frank House, Natura Artis Magistra, Stedelijk Museum, the Rijksmuseum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Verzetsmuseum, Vondelpark, the Van Gogh Museum, the Museum of Bags and Purses, Amsterdam Museum, Jordaan, the National Maritime Museum, Ons Lieve Heer op Solder, Oude Kerk, Westerkerk, the Allard Pierson Museum, Beurs van Berlage, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Paradiso, the Heineken Experience, Singel, De Duif and De Krijtberg.