capital and most populous city of the Netherlands

Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands, with The Hague being the seat of government. It has a population of 921,402 within the city proper, 1,457,018 in the urban area and 2,480,394 in the metropolitan area. Located in the Dutch province of North Holland, Amsterdam is colloquially referred to as the "Venice of the North", for its large number of canals, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Keizersgracht, Reguliersgracht, Amsterdam


  • I call to mind a winter landscape in Amsterdam — a flat foreground of waste land, with here and there stacks of timber, like the huts of a camp of some very miserable tribe; the long stretch of the Handelskade; cold, stone-faced quays, with the snow-sprinkled ground and the hard, frozen water of the canal, in which were set ships one behind another with their frosty mooring-ropes hanging slack and their decks idle and deserted, because... their cargoes were frozen-in up-country on barges and schuyts. In the distance, beyond the waste ground, and running parallel with the line of ships, a line of brown, warm-toned houses seemed bowed under snow-laden roofs. From afar at the end of Tsar Peter Straat, issued in the frosty air the tinkle of bells of the horse tramcars, appearing and disappearing in the opening between the buildings, like little toy carriages harnessed with toy horses and played with by people that appeared no bigger than children.
  • While many of the world's richest people live in London, four of its boroughs rank among the twenty poorest in England, and 27 percent of the city's population live in poverty. London's polarized economic landscape is typical of "superstar" cities. Other leading cities of EuropeOslo, Amsterdam, Athens, Budapest, Madrid, Prague, Riga, Stockholm, Tallinn, Vienna, Vilnius—also suffer widening gaps between the top and the bottom of the social hierarchy.
    • Joel Kotkin, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class (2020), p. 133
  • The most outstanding feature of Amsterdam is the water. In Holland the marriage of water and land differs from its Venetian and Swedish counterparts because in Amsterdam the water is the mistress and the land the vassal. The earth is a mere grass cloak placed upon the city's mighty liquid torso. You constantly have the impression that the land is there by courtesy of the sea, wrested from it by sheer force, for throughout the city there are as many canals and drawbridges as bracelets on a gypsy's bronzed arms.

  Encyclopedic article on Amsterdam on Wikipedia