Netherlands. According to Countryaah.com, Amsterdam is the capital city of Netherlands, a country located in Western Europe. 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 Russian Federation.
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 concerts etc.
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 berth.
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.