Amsterdam Netherlands
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Amsterdam

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Sex, Rave parties, sex workers is illegal in  Amsterdam
Amsterdam, If you look out of your hotel window across the sluggishly flowing water of the Herengracht in which the elegant facades of the houses, trees, and bridges are reflected then you have arrived in Amsterdam. You can also spend a couple of hours in a "brown cafe" and find yourself in the "liveliest city of the world." The walls are almost black with cigarette smoke, the polished beer tap is in constant use and the clacking of billiard balls sounds above the roar of laughter. There are some five hunndred of these brown cafes in Amsterdam and they are all filled with people, serving as living room, information exchange, and favorite local bar. Amsterdam vibrates with life but can also be surprisingly calm and rooted, revolutionary and insistent, exotic and tolerant. The changing seasons on their own pro¬vide constant variety and seem more marked here. For instance when its seems all of Amsterdam are enjoying themselves skating on the frozen canals in the cold of winter, when the gabled houses are lit up by the early evening light and bridges span the canals like golden arches, then one understands why Dutch artists have painted these scenes time and again. Amsterdam is a Breughel set, even while the city pulsates with modern life. Standing still is unknown to the principal Dutch city and boundless curiosity led to Amsterdammers pursuing the sea. They controlled the trade with the East Indies with their ships and brought spices from East Asia in the early seventeenth century to all of Europe. In the "Golden Century" Amsterdam was the most important trading power of the world and today this city astounds people not least because it is founded on five million spruce piles.
Amsterdam

Amsterdam had its beginnings at a dam on the Amstel River sometime near the end of the 12th century.  The people who lived here and later became known as the Dutch were descended from two early medieval tribes, the Franks and the Saxons.  The first mention of the name “Amstelledamme” (which, as you may have guessed, simply means ‘Dam on the Amstel’) occurs in a toll concession penned by Count Floris V of Holland on October 27, 1275.  It was not until the later 14th and 15th centuries that the city began to take on the magnificent appearance it has today.  Between the years 1585 and 1672, during what is sometimes referred to as Amsterdam’s Golden Age, commercial success in trade allowed the city’s leading entrepreneurs to build stunning private homes along its canals.  But this prosperity came screeching to a halt in 1672, when the Dutch Republic was simultaneously attacked by both France and England.  Amsterdam’s prosperity helped its inhabitants weather this storm,

and economic expansion continued at a more modest clip until 1795, when the city’s government of patriarchal oligarchy was overthrown and the French managed to occupy the city.  By 1813, Amsterdam was experiencing a full economic recession, and many of its centrally located mansions were abandoned, some of them even collapsing entirely.  The Industrial Revolution righted the city, however, in the later part of the 19th century, and by 1870 Amsterdam had begun to grow again, as working-class neighborhoods sprung up around its outskirts.  During this period and the period of the two World Wars, city-planners experimented with filling in some of the canals, in hopes that this would improve traffic-flow in the center of the city.  Fortunately, in the 1950’s, these efficiency-friendly plans were abandoned in favor of preservation efforts, rendering Amsterdam the rich monument to its own history we see today.
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is centrally located in the nation of the Netherlands, which is bordered by the North Sea to its north and Belgium and Germany, to its south and east, respectively.  The Netherlands’ 41,526 km² area is very flat, with 27% of it below sea level and 60% of the country’s population living in this low terrain.  Netherlanders have been attempting to reclaim their land from the sea for more than 2000 years, using a variety of dykes, canals, and water-pumping windmills.  The collective North Sea Protection Works, a system which keeps Amsterdam above water, is cited as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers
Amsterdam
The Netherlands boasts a population of 16,318,199 people (as of July 2004).  Of these, 91% are Dutch and 9% are Moroccan, Turkish, or of another nationality.  The country is one of the most densely populated in the world, surpassed only by Bangladesh and South Korea.  Allied with Germanic people, the Dutch are traditionally a nation of shipbuilders and traders, and have been some of the most innovative capitalists known to Europe.  Today the nation struggles to accept a growing immigrant population in sometimes cramped quarters where conservative tendencies still hold sway.
Amsterdam
Much of the best art in Amsterdam is free: it is the city’s architecture and is on view 24-7, 365 days-a-year.  Half of the buildings at the center of the city are national monuments dating from the prosperous 18th century.  For those looking to travel even farther back in time, a few medieval wooden buildings remain, the Old and New Churches and the graceful Houten Huis (the Wooden House) at the Beginjnhof.  The Netherlands’ three great native sons are also in evidence in Amsterdam.  Johannes Rembrandt (1606-1669) was one of the finest painters, draughts men, and etchers of the 17th century.  His dark, luxuriant canvasses make the most of chiaroscuro and pre-figure French Impressionism in their portrayal of light.  Jan Vermeer (1632-1675) took great pains chronicling the lifestyle of the Flemish merchant classes with hyper-realistic portraits in rich yellows and pale grays.  Tragic post-Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) was also born in the Netherlands.  His revolutionary use of color and light in painting and his turbulent life have made him one of the most famous painters of all time and one of the highest banking, with paintings selling for over $80,000,000.
Amsterdam Tourist Info
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