Amsterdam, The Netherlands

While mostly known for its Red Light District, Amsterdam is full of carefully hidden treasures and lesser known charms. Started in the 1000, a fisherman’s village was built on the Amstel dam. With the sailors and business though came prostitutes. The government tolerate the sailor’s lifestyle because they brought in a lot of business. Because of the city’s tolerance policy, the city quickly evolved into a very successful and influential port city. Home to Unilever, Heineken, Shell Oil and Philips Electronics, Amsterdam keeps its tradition of global influence. During its Golden Age in the 1600s, the Dutch East India Company created the first large stock exchange, in 1602. (The NYSE was founded in 1792.) Ever wondered where NYC got its liberal ideas and business ambition? In the 1700s, the Dutch East India Company hired Henry Hudson to set up a trading post in North America. Moreover, the names in the current New York City area have their roots in Dutch history: Bronx after a Dutch immigrant named Jonas Bronck; Brooklyn after Breukelen, Netherlands; Harlem after Haarlem, Netherlands.

The Dutch have three main guidelines:

  1. Be discreet.
  2. Don’t disturb anyone.
  3. If we have to tolerate something, we might as well make money.

These guidelines are the reasons and explanation for the way the city functions. The Dutch have always tolerated, and generally accepted, diversity. If it wasn’t for their acceptance of the Jews, the Dutch East India Company would not have had accurate maps to use for their international business, which was the catalyst of the Dutch Golden Age.

Note: I tried (unsuccessfully) to keep the post short and have thus not included even half of the interesting facts about the city. Amsterdam has plenty to offer and I suggest to those who love to travel to go visit (and spend about a week there).

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