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Amsterdam- Netherlands

Amsterdam (English /ˈæmstərdæm/Dutch: [ˌɑmstərˈdɑm] ( listen)) is the capital and most populous city of theNetherlands, lying at the center of the Randstad, one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe. Its status as theDutch capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands.[5] Amsterdam has a population of 801,200 within city limits, 1,557,905 in the urban region and 2,332,839 in the greater metropolitan area.[4][6] The city is located in theprovince of North Holland in the west of the country. It comprises the northern part of the Randstad, one of the largerconurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.[7]
Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme,[8] indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds.[9] In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam (in Dutch: 'grachtengordel'), located in the heart of Amsterdam, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2010.
As the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) study group. The city is also the cultural capital of the Netherlands.[10] Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and 7 of the world's top 500 companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city.[11] In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked 2nd best city to live by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) [12] and 12th globally on quality of living by Mercer.[13] The city was previously ranked 3rd in innovation by 2thinknow in the Innovation Cities Index 2009.[14]
The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city center. Amsterdam's main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh MuseumStedelijk MuseumHermitage AmsterdamAnne Frank HouseAmsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually.

Credit by : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam
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