A tour of the IJsselmeer is not complete without a stop or an overnight stay in Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands.

In Amsterdam dialect, the town was known as Mokum. It is located at the mouth of the River Amstel and on the banks of the IJ. ‘Amsterdam’ means ‘dam in the river Amstel’. There was a settlement of fishermen on the banks of the river Amstel. In the 13th century they built a dam in the river – at the site of today’s Dam Square – to stop the IJ from flooding into the river Amstel and flooding their settlement. The settlement grew and grew with St. Nicolas’ Church at its center. That church, Oude Kerk, is the oldest building in the city today. Amsterdam received town rights around 1300 AD. In the Golden Age it developed into one of the most important commercial centers in the world. The population grew and led to urban expansion at the end of the 16th century, including the Canal District.
This district is now one of the major tourist attractions in the city and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Other tourist attractions include the Rijksmuseum of art, the Stedelijk Museum of modern art, Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House. The markets, parks, “coffee shops” and red-light district also attract many visitors. Amsterdam is one of the top ten most cosmopolitan cities in the world.

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