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.
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- 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.
- Félix Martí Ibáñez, The Mirror of Souls, and Other Essays (1972), p. 335.
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