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The Dam Square can be rightly considered as the epicentre of the Amsterdam City Center. This old center of the city is rich in history, architecture and culture. Some of the beautiful bridges that let you navigate across the city center have been around since the 17th Century and the magnificent buildings that dot this area belong to the medieval period. There are several options for a quick bite and even for a laid back lunch, if hunger strikes during your escapade. Global, retail outlets are also available but the essence of the historic, city center are the local vendors and their charming shops.
Standing on the central square, the heart of the city, are the royal palace and the national monument.
Located at Dam Square, The National Monument was unveiled on on May 4th, 1956 in honor of those who died during World War II. The monument is a 73 feet (22 meter) tall obelisk, with two stone lions standing beneath. Every year on May 4th, you will find a large gathering of dignitaries, as well as many other people, commemorating the victims of the war.
The Nieuwe Kerk is a 15th-century building, partly destroyed and refurbished after several fires. Located in the bustling Dam Square area of the city, this historic church has held a prominent place in the country's political and religious affairs over the centuries. It has been the venue for coronations of kings and queens, and also plays host to an array of exhibitions, concerts and cultural events. Admire its Gothic architecture, splendid steeples, glass-stained windows and ornate detailing.
In the mid-17th Century, painter Jacob van Campen was given the assignment to design a new town hall. The city council wanted a grand symbol of their leading role in Europe at that time - Holland's Golden Age - as well as their economic and civic power. The building had to make this clear for everyone to see. The Koninklijk Paleis became the biggest in Europe at the time of its construction. In 1808, this building was refurbished into a Royal Palace by the brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, Louis, king of the region during the French occupation. The Dutch royal family, the Oranje-Nassaus, receive royalty and dignitaries at the palace. After coronations, the new king or queen also present themselves to the citizens of the Netherlands from the balcony of the palace.
Lovingly refered to as the 'Venice of the North', Amsterdam is a city with unique geographical features. Through the Defence Line of Amsterdam, water was used as a shield to protect the city in times of war. The fortification includes seriers of forts constructed around the city with tracts that can be filled with water to refrain the enemies from entering the city. The Defence Line of Amsterdam has never witnessed combats but its unique construction and use of hydraulics has earned it an UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist cities in Europe. Capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, its named has been derived from the city’s origin as a dam of the river Amstel. It wasn’t until the 19th Century when the city expanded with new neighborhoods when it became a hotbed for tourists due to its many attractions including cafe shops, historic canals, museums, and the red-light district. The place is also a host for a number of events, major events include Cannabis Cup, Koningsdag, Holland Festival, Amsterdam Gay Pride, Uitmarkt and lots more.