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Historical Description[]

Unlike many of the great capitals of Europe, Amsterdam has a history dating back only about 800 years. It was the center of the Dutch Golden Age, which began when the United Provinces - the modern Netherlands - broke free of Spanish control in the late 16th century. During this period, Amsterdam became possibly the richest city in the world. The city pioneered several major financial innovations, including the creation in 1602 of the world’s first public stock corporation: the Dutch East India Company.

The 17th century was also the golden age of Dutch painting, especially portraiture. Famous artists like Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, and Frans Hals were all active during this period. In addition, the United Provinces gained a reputation as perhaps the most tolerant place in Europe. Amsterdam welcomed Christians of all stripes, as well as Jews, who were fleeing the religious persecutions convulsing the continent as a result of the Protestant Reformation.

History[]

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