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The three crosses, the symbol of Amsterdam. © The Manta, 2000

Important historical dates

1270 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 trade.

15th c. The town was destroyed by fire and it took four years to rebuild. The use of straw and wood as building materials was prohibited.

16th c. 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 Amsterdam 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.

17th c. "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.

18th c. France and England were growing in strength, in the 1780–84 war the English destroyed the Dutch fleet.

Houses alongside the waterfront at the Damrak.19th c. 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 the Allies.

1952 Opening of the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal.

The Bulldog, coffeeshop and hotel. © The Manta, 20001960’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.

1980’s Violent 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.


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