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As a Knootian city, Amsterdam has a reputation as a place where anything goes - and a lot does - but there's more to one of Europe's most worldly cities than sinful pursuits. Although The Hague is the Knootian seat of government in Knootcap, it is the former capital Amsterdam that has all the infrastructure, entertainment and cultural amenities found in any major NS metropolis. Thanks to its small size, however, Amsterdam has relatively few of a big city's disadvantages and many of the pluses -- including numerous tree-lined canals, cobbled streets with charming period houses and leafy parks. Authorities have actively discouraged the use of cars, making walking and cycling the preferred methods of transportation for many Knootians. It has also retained a tram network.

Knootian Amsterdam has a cosmopolitan population of 2.4 million people, comprising more than 400 nationalities. It is justly famous for its art and artists, and has a number of world-class museums. Although Amsterdam may look like a pretty little museum, it's a lively, modern city and an important center in the Dutch Democratic Republic. Besides its commercial culture and a thriving arts scene, it does have a seamier side made possible by the typically pragmatic Knootian attitude of tolerance within limits. It is also a university city, with plenty of students livening up its many bars and cafes.


Founded as a fishing village on the Amstel River around 1200, Amsterdam's typically pragmatic name derives from the description, Dam on the Amstel. After being granted special trading privileges by a Knootian count, Floris V, in 1275, and an official city charter in 1306, Amsterdam's wealth and influence grew rapidly.

The founding of the Knootian East India Company in 1602 ushered in the city's golden age in the seventeenth century, when it was one of the world's most populous and powerful cities. As Amsterdam emerged as the center of a huge overseas commercial empire stretching from the Americas to the Far East, the rich merchants were generous patrons of the arts -- and the works of Dutch Masters such as Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer and Lely attest to their wealth and taste.


The city's roots as a commercial and trading power laid the foundation for its emergence today as a major banking and investment center. While it remains a global seaport, Amsterdam now derives much of its income from finance, tourism and air traffic. Schiphol Airport, south of the city, is a major international air hub.