Netherlands. According to
Countryaah.com, the Dutch crash investigation into the
launch of the aircraft MH17 over Ukraine in 2014 announced
in May that the Russian Federation bears responsibility and
will "be held accountable for its role". The statement came
from the Dutch Parliament after the investigation found that
the robot that hit the aircraft could be linked to the
In October it was announced that Russian computer hackers
attacked the anti-nuclear weapons organization OPCW
headquarters in The Hague. It involved four agents from the
Russian military intelligence service GRU. The attack had
been made to get information about the downed aircraft MH17
in Ukraine in 2014. The agents were taken in bargain at the
Marriott hotel, which is next to OPCW's headquarters, and
was expelled immediately.
The turmoil with Turkey continued during the year. It
started when the Netherlands stopped Turks from campaigning
for the Turkish referendum on the Constitution. In February,
the Netherlands officially withdrew its ambassador to
Turkey. Turkey had then prevented the country's ambassador
from entering the country for over a year. In addition, they
announced that they will not allow any new Turkish
ambassador to the Netherlands. They simply pressed the pause
button in the conversation with Turkey on the issue.
In order to further fuel the turmoil with Turkey,
Parliament voted overwhelmingly in a motion that the
Armenian massacre of the old Ottoman Empire in 1915 should
be recognized as genocide. However, according to Foreign
Minister Sigrid Kaag, the government will not follow
Parliament's decision. Of course, the result of the vote was
condemned by Turkey.
In June, Parliament's first chamber voted for a ban on
wearing face-covering veils, such as burka, in public
buildings in the country. This means a ban in schools,
hospitals and government buildings and includes motorcycle
helmets but does not apply to streets and squares.
In August, the feminist organization De Bovengrondse set
up alternative street signs named after women, among them
British mathematician Ada Lovelace and Dutch women's rights
activist Marie Anne Tellegen. One of Amsterdam's main
streets, Rokin, was given the alternative name Beyoncé
Boulevard. According to reports, only 12% of the streets in
the big cities of the Netherlands are named after women.
Amsterdam - architecture and museums
The center of Amsterdam is the large square Dam with the monumental royal
castle, built from 1648 as a town hall in Dutch classicist style by Jacob van
Campen, and the late Gothic church Nieuwe Kerk, begun in the late 1400's; it is
used today like several other of the city's old churches for exhibitions and
In 1956, the National Monument was erected on the square, which has since
been a gathering place for young people from all over the world. East of Dam is
the town's oldest church, the Gothic Oude Kerk, begun in the early 1300's.
South of Dam is the town museum and Begijnhof from the 1400's, a settlement
with small private houses that until the 1900's, has been reserved for
the beginner, a kind of nunnery.
North of Dam, the main street Damrak (originally part of Amstel) passes the
stock exchange building (1898-1903), a masterpiece by the architect HP Berlage,
to the neo-Gothic Central Station, built 1885-89 by PJH Cuypers on an artificial
island in Het IJ.
Around the oldest parts of the city have been spreading since the 1600's, the
many canals with the characteristic narrow houses. The traditional gable house
in Amsterdam was in the 1500's. Among other things, a combined warehouse and
residential house; one of the preconditions for its design was the shape of the
grounds, which was determined by an economic distribution of the expensive
In this 'canal belt' (Canal belt) are several large churches from
the 1600's, Westerkerk, one of the originally Calvinist churches built by
Hendrik de Keyser in a sober Dutch Renaissance style; it contains
Rembrandt's grave. The Portuguese Synagogue, built 1671-75 in Dutch
classicist style, is located in the former Jewish quarter east of the center.
The museums Anne Frank's House, Rembrandt's House and the Willet-Holthuysen
Museum are housed in civic houses from the 1600's; Trippenhuis is a double canal
house, built in Dutch classicism 1660-62 by the architect Justus Vingboons for
the arms manufacturer brothers Trip.
On the transition to 1800's and 1900's districts you will find the ethnographic
Tropen Museum with rich collections from the former Dutch colonies, as well
as the Austrian-inspired American Hotel, built 1898-1900 by the architect W.
Kromhout from the Amsterdam School.
The city's largest museum is the Rijksmuseum, one of the world's most
significant museums of older art; recent art is seen in the Stedelijk
Museum. Between these two museums is the van Gogh Museum, built 1963-73 after
drawings by Gerrit Rietveld, with a large collection of works by van Gogh and
his contemporaries. In 1999, the museum received a large, elliptical extension,
designed by the Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa (b. 1934).
South of this part of the city was built from 1917 the district Plan-Syd,
planned by HP Berlage with architects from Amsterdamskolen; it is
characterized by avenues and enclosed apartment blocks around quiet gardens. In
connection with the reorganization of the port's functions, the eastern port
area is being built near the city center according to a city plan from
1989; apartment blocks here have a view of the former harbor and Het IJ.
The city's theater and music life unfolds on Stadsschouwburg, in the
internationally famous concert building Concertgebouw (inaugurated 1888) and in
the combined town hall and music house Stopera (inaugurated 1989) as well as on
the city's many fine church organs. The colorful street organs are still a
characteristic part of the cityscape.
The vast square Museumplein, where both the van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum,
the Stedelijk Museum and the Concertgebouw are located, was designed by the
Swedish-Danish landscape architect Sven-Ingvar Andersson 1992-1999. In the city's
port area to the north, the experimental Science Center NEMO was opened in 1997
in a mighty, ship-like building by the Italian architect Renzo Piano.
At the harbor pier Oostelijke Handelskade is the city's new center for modern
music, Muziekgebouw aan't IJ, with three music halls and a large foyer on
several floors. The building was designed by the Danish architectural firm
3xNielsen in 1997 and was taken into use in 2005.