Amsterdam is the capital and by population the largest municipality in the Netherlands. The city, also known in Amsterdam as Mokum in the province of North Holland, is situated along the IJ, the North Sea Canal and the estuary of the Amstel river. The municipality of Amsterdam has 862,965 inhabitants Greater Amsterdam had 1,344,659 inhabitants at the end of 2016. The number of different nationalities in the municipality (177 in 2007) is among the highest in the world.

Amsterdam owes its name to its location near a dam in the Amstel river, built in the 13th century. Shortly after 1300, the place was granted city rights, became a place of pilgrimage by the Miracle of Amsterdam in 1345 and in the Golden Age became one of the most important ports and trading cities in the world. An influx of foreigners, particularly from the Southern Netherlands, Germany and the Scandinavian countries, led to an urban expansion from the end of the 16th century onwards, including the last canals of the fortification, now known as a ring of canals, which was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2010.