Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands. Its name comes from "Amstel dam", a dam in the river Amstel. The city is known for its historic port, the Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House, its red-light district (de Wallen), and its many canals, naming Amsterdam the "Venice of the North". During the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam was one of the most important ports in the world, with innovative developments in trade, and became the leading centre for finance and diamonds.The Amsterdam canal system is the result of conscious city planning in the early 17th century, a comprehensive plan was developed that was based on four concentric half-circles of canals, known as the Grachtengordel
The city, founded in the late 12th century as a small fishing village, has grown to become the largest city of the Netherlands. Amsterdam, with a population of around 1 million and a metropolitan area of 6.7 mil people and at least 172 nationalities, is the 6th largest metropolitan area in Europe. The hotelroom occupation rate is the 2nd highest in Europe in 2007. Tourists can choose from 350 Hotels, 17 of which are fivestar hotels. 18,000 rooms and almost 45,000 beds are provided.
The liberal nature of Amsterdam is not only physically embodied in the layout of the city, such as the de Wallen area which contains the red-light district and many cannabis-selling coffeeshops, but it is also embodied in the well-rounded, prevailing attitudes of its residents, government and businesses. Amsterdam's red-light district is located in the centre of the city and is clearly marked on maps.