Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is located in the North Holland province in the western area of the country, and it comprises a great deal of Randstad, one of the largest conurbations in Europe with a population of more than 7 million. In 2016, Amsterdam had an estimated population of 813,562 within the city limits.
Population and Density of Amsterdam
While Amsterdam has a 2016 population of 813,562 in the city limits, the urban area has a population estimated at 1.1 million and a greater metropolitan area with a population close to 1.6 million. The city has a population density of 4,908 people per square kilometer (12,710/sq mi).
Amsterdam is known for its live-and-let-live attitude and acceptance, as well as its rich history. Its cannabis coffee shops, red-light district and historical sites like the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House draw in over 5 million visitors each year.
The racial and ethnic makeup of Amsterdam as of 2012 was 49.5% Dutch and 50.5% foreign ancestry. Non-Dutch immigrants in the 16th and 17th century were primarily Sephardi Jews, Huguenots, Flemings, and Westphalians. Huguenots came to Amsterdam after the 1685 Edict of Fontainebleau, which rescinded the right of the Huguenots to practice their religion without persecution in France. Flemish Protestants immigrated to the area during the Eighty Years' War. Westphalians migrated to the area in the 18th and 19th century for better economic conditions.
Amsterdam experienced its first mass immigration in the 20th century as Indonesians moved to the area following the independence of the Dutch East Indies. By the 1960s, guest workers emigrated from Italy, Spain, Morocco, and Turkey. In the 1970s, a large number of Surinamese moved to the city after Suriname gained independence. There have also been waves of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers from Asia, Europe, America, and Africa.
Individuals of non-Western origin account for 35% of Amsterdam's population and over half of all children in the city. Non-Westerners are concentrated in certain neighborhoods, such as Nieuw-West, Bijlmer, Zeeburg, and Amsterdam-Noord.
Amsterdam has 176 different nationalities, which makes it one of the most diverse cities in the world in terms of citizenship.
The name Amsterdam has been used in the region since at least 1275. The city's founding is relatively recent compared to older Dutch cities like Rotterdam. It was granted city rights in 1300 or 1306, and it flourished quickly due to trading. An alleged Eucharistic miracle made the city a place of pilgrimage in 1345 until the Protestant faith was adopted.
In the 16th century, the Dutch rebelled against Spain, an uprising due in part to new taxes and religious persecution of Protestants during the Spanish Inquisition. This revolt eventually became the Eighty Years' War which led to Dutch independence. The new Dutch Republic became known for religious tolerance. Soon, Huguenots from France, Jews from the Iberian Peninsula and Flanders painters came to the area, as well as religious refugees from Spanish-controlled regions of the Low Countries.
The 17th century was the Golden Age of Amsterdam. It was during this time that it became the wealthiest city in the world and the center of a worldwide trading network. Prosperity eventually declined in the 18th century as wars with France and England took a toll. During the Napoleonic Wars, the city reached its lowest point as Holland was absorbed into the French Empire. The establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815 was a turning point for the city and led to a second Golden Age at the end of the 19th century.
Amsterdam began to expand before World War I. While it remained neutral in the war, food and heating fuel became scarce, and there were riots and looting. Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940 and took control. Many Amsterdam citizens protected Jews, and were thus sent to concentration camps along with them. Over 100,000 Dutch Jews were deported to concentration camps, of which 60,000 were from Amsterdam. The most famous was Anne Frank, who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Amsterdam Population Growth
Amsterdam has shown the fastest population growth rate among major Dutch cities, which in turn have grown three times faster than the 1% average of the Netherlands as a whole since 2009. Amsterdam increased by 25,000 people between 2009 and 2011, compared to an increase of less than 1,000 per year in the previous decade. Accelerated growth in Amsterdam is due to foreign and domestic inflow into the area.