Amsterdam’s name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city’s origin
around a dam in the river Amstel. It is the capital and most populous municipality
of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became
one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age (17th
century), a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the
city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds. The 17th-century canals
of Amsterdam and the 19–20th-century Defence Line of Amsterdam is on the
UNESCO World Heritage List. As the commercial capital of the Netherlands and
one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha
world city by the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) study group.