A protective dam
was built where the Amstel joins the Zuiderzee and “Amstelledamme”
was born. Five years later Amsterdam was officially mentioned for
the first time.
1300 Amsterdam was
granted its town charter and developed into an important centre of
The town was destroyed by fire and it took four years to rebuild.
The use of straw and wood as building materials was prohibited.
The Habsburg Emperor Charles V became ruler of Holland in 1515, the
Spanish suppressed the reformist movements in the country. In 1566,
following the “iconoclasm”, the Calvinists were given the right
to hold public church services. Ten years later the
Protestants fled from the Catholic rulers once more. In 1578 William’s
troops drove the Spanish out of Amsterdam: Catholicism was
prohibited. Many merchants from the still Catholic south of the
Netherlands fled to Amsterdam, overseas trade began.
"The Golden Century” – Amsterdam was the most important
trading city in the world as well as a cultural centre. In 1602 the
East Indies Trading Company was established followed by the West
Indies Trading Company in 1621. In
1642 Rembrandt painted “The
Nightwatch”. In the middle of the century Amsterdam was the
largest city in the Netherlands with 200 000 inhabitants.
France and England were growing in strength, in the 1780–84 war
the English destroyed the Dutch fleet.
France occupied the Netherlands and controlled the continental
blockade against England, Amsterdam’s economic power waned. With
the end of Napoleon’s rule in 1813 Amsterdam remained the capital
city but the seat of government was transferred to The Hague.
1940 Amsterdam was
occupied by German troops.
1945 Liberation by
1952 Opening of the
1960’s In the
sixties Amsterdam became the Mecca for the Hippy movement. The
marriage of Queen Beatrix with a German in 1966 provoked great
unrest from the new protest movement.
1970’s In the
seventies the liberal drugs policy led to an influx of drug users
from all over the world. Social flashpoints flared up.
struggles by squatters (Krakers) against real estate speculators.
1992 The crash of a
Jumbo Jet on the Amsterdam suburb of Bijlmermeer shook the world.
1997 The EU summit
was accompanied by massive clashes between demonstrators and police.