Restaurants range from being rather luxurious and expensive to being ordinary and affordable. The two main nightlife areas for tourists are the Leidseplein and the Rembrandtplein. In recent years 'hour' clubs opened their doors, most notably Radion De School, Shelter and Marktkantine.
Bimhuis located near the Central Station, with its rich programming hosting the best in the field is considered one of the best jazz clubs in the world. In , there were festivals and events in Amsterdam. On Koningsdag—that is held each year on 27 April—hundreds of thousands of people travel to Amsterdam to celebrate with the city's residents. The entire city becomes overcrowded with people buying products from the freemarket, or visiting one of the many music concerts.
The yearly Holland Festival attracts international artists and visitors from all over Europe. It offers previews of many different artists, such as musicians and poets, who perform on podia. The stadium Johan Cruyff Arena is the home of Ajax. It is located in the south-east of the city next to the new Amsterdam Bijlmer ArenA railway station. Before moving to their current location in , Ajax played their regular matches in the now demolished De Meer Stadion in the eastern part of the city  or in the Olympic Stadium.
In , Amsterdam hosted the Summer Olympics. The Olympic Stadium built for the occasion has been completely restored and is now used for cultural and sporting events, such as the Amsterdam Marathon. The ice hockey team Amstel Tijgers play in the Jaap Eden ice rink.
The team competes in the Dutch ice hockey premier league. Speed skating championships have been held on the metre lane of this ice rink. Amsterdam holds two American football franchises: the Amsterdam Crusaders and the Amsterdam Panthers. The basketball team MyGuide Amsterdam competes in the Dutch premier division and play their games in the Sporthallen Zuid.
Since , the city of Amsterdam honours the best sportsmen and women at the Amsterdam Sports Awards. Boxer Raymond Joval and field hockey midfielder Carole Thate were the first to receive the awards, in Amsterdam hosted the World Gymnaestrada in and will do so again in The city of Amsterdam is a municipality under the Dutch Municipalities Act.
It is governed by a directly elected municipal council , a municipal executive board and a mayor. Since , the municipality of Amsterdam has gradually been divided into semi-autonomous boroughs , called stadsdelen or 'districts'. Over time, a total of 15 boroughs were created. In May , under a major reform, the number of Amsterdam boroughs was reduced to eight: Amsterdam-Centrum covering the city centre including the canal belt , Amsterdam-Noord consisting of the neighbourhoods north of the IJ lake , Amsterdam-Oost in the east, Amsterdam-Zuid in the south, Amsterdam-West in the west, Amsterdam Nieuw-West in the far west, Amsterdam Zuidoost in the southeast, and Westpoort covering the Port of Amsterdam area.
As with all Dutch municipalities, Amsterdam is governed by a directly elected municipal council , a municipal executive board and a government appointed  mayor burgemeester. The mayor is a member of the municipal executive board, but also has individual responsibilities in maintaining public order. On 27 June , Femke Halsema former member of House of Representatives for GroenLinks from to was appointed as the first woman to be Mayor of Amsterdam by the King's Commissioner of North Holland for a six-year term after being nominated by the Amsterdam municipal council and began serving a six-year term on 12 July On 18 September , it was announced by Eberhard van der Laan in an open letter to Amsterdam citizens that Kajsa Ollongren would take up his office as acting Mayor of Amsterdam with immediate effect due to ill health.
Unlike most other Dutch municipalities, Amsterdam is subdivided into eight boroughs , called stadsdelen or 'districts', a system that was implemented gradually in the s to improve local governance. The boroughs are responsible for many activities that had previously been run by the central city. In , the number of Amsterdam boroughs reached fifteen.
Fourteen of those had their own district council deelraad , elected by a popular vote. The fifteenth, Westpoort , covers the harbour of Amsterdam and had very few residents. Therefore, it was governed by the central municipal council. Under the borough system, municipal decisions are made at borough level, except for those affairs pertaining to the whole city such as major infrastructure projects, which are the jurisdiction of the central municipal authorities. In , the borough system was restructured, in which many smaller boroughs merged into larger boroughs.
In , under a reform of the Dutch Municipalities Act, the Amsterdam boroughs lost much of their autonomous status, as their district councils were abolished. The municipal council of Amsterdam voted to maintain the borough system by replacing the district councils with smaller, but still directly elected district committees bestuurscommissies. Under a municipal ordinance, the new district committees were granted responsibilities through delegation of regulatory and executive powers by the central municipal council.
Colloquially, some areas within the municipality, such as the town of Durgerdam , may not be considered part of Amsterdam. The city region is similar to Greater Amsterdam but includes the municipalities of Zaanstad and Wormerland. It excludes Graft-De Rijp. The smallest of these areas is the municipality of Amsterdam with a population of , in Amsterdam is part of the conglomerate metropolitan area Randstad , with a total population of 6,, inhabitants.
Of these various metropolitan area configurations, only the Stadsregio Amsterdam City Region of Amsterdam has a formal governmental status. Its responsibilities include regional spatial planning and the metropolitan public transport concessions.
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Under the Dutch Constitution , Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. Since the constitutional revision, the constitution mentions "Amsterdam" and "capital" in chapter 2, article The king's confirmation by oath and his coronation take place in "the capital Amsterdam" " de hoofdstad Amsterdam ".
The ceremony traditionally takes place at the Nieuwe Kerk on Dam Square , immediately after the former monarch has signed the act of abdication at the nearby Royal Palace of Amsterdam. Normally, however, the Parliament sits in The Hague , the city which has historically been the seat of the Dutch government , the Dutch monarchy , and the Dutch supreme court. Foreign embassies are also located in The Hague. The coat of arms of Amsterdam is composed of several historical elements. First and centre are three St Andrew's crosses , aligned in a vertical band on the city's shield although Amsterdam's patron saint was Saint Nicholas.
These St Andrew's crosses can also be found on the city shields of neighbours Amstelveen and Ouder-Amstel. This part of the coat of arms is the basis of the flag of Amsterdam , flown by the city government, but also as civil ensign for ships registered in Amsterdam.
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Second is the Imperial Crown of Austria. In , out of gratitude for services and loans, Maximilian I awarded Amsterdam the right to adorn its coat of arms with the king's crown. Then, in , this was replaced with Maximilian's imperial crown when he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor. In the early years of the 17th century, Maximilian's crown in Amsterdam's coat of arms was again replaced, this time with the crown of Emperor Rudolph II , a crown that became the Imperial Crown of Austria. The lions date from the late 16th century, when city and province became part of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.
Last came the city's official motto: Heldhaftig, Vastberaden, Barmhartig "Heroic, Determined, Merciful" , bestowed on the city in by Queen Wilhelmina , in recognition of the city's bravery during the Second World War. Currently, there are sixteen tram routes and five metro routes. All are operated by municipal public transport operator Gemeentelijk Vervoerbedrijf GVB , which also runs the city bus network.
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Four fare-free GVB ferries carry pedestrians and cyclists across the IJ lake to the borough of Amsterdam-Noord , and two fare-charging ferries run east and west along the harbour. There are also privately operated water taxis, a water bus, a boat sharing operation, electric rental boats and canal cruises, that transport people along Amsterdam's waterways. Regional buses, and some suburban buses, are operated by Connexxion and EBS. Amsterdam was intended in to be the hub, a kind of Kilometre Zero , of the highway system of the Netherlands ,  with freeways numbered One to Eight planned to originate from the city.
The A3 to Rotterdam was cancelled in in order to conserve the Groene Hart.
Road A8 , leading north to Zaandam and the A10 Ringroad were opened between and The A10 ringroad surrounding the city connects Amsterdam with the Dutch national network of freeways. Interchanges on the A10 allow cars to enter the city by transferring to one of the 18 city roads , numbered S through to S These city roads are regional roads without grade separation , and sometimes without a central reservation. Most are accessible by cyclists. The S Centrumring is a smaller ringroad circumnavigating the city's centre. In the city centre, driving a car is discouraged.
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Parking fees are expensive, and many streets are closed to cars or are one-way. Amsterdam is served by ten stations of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen Dutch Railways. Amsterdam Centraal is also an international railway station. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is less than 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam Centraal station and is served by domestic and international intercity trains, such as Thalys , Eurostar and Intercity Brussel. Schiphol is the largest airport in the Netherlands, the third-largest in Europe, and the 14th-largest in the world in terms of passengers.
Amsterdam is one of the most bicycle-friendly large cities in the world and is a centre of bicycle culture with good facilities for cyclists such as bike paths and bike racks , and several guarded bike storage garages fietsenstalling which can be used. Previously, wildly different figures were arrived at using a Wisdom of the crowd approach. Other institutions for higher education include an art school — Gerrit Rietveld Academie , a university of applied sciences — the Hogeschool van Amsterdam , and the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten.
Amsterdam's International Institute of Social History is one of the world's largest documentary and research institutions concerning social history , and especially the history of the labour movement. Amsterdam's Hortus Botanicus , founded in the early 17th century, is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world,  with many old and rare specimens, among them the coffee plant that served as the parent for the entire coffee culture in Central and South America. There are over primary schools in Amsterdam. Many schools, however, are based on religion.
This used to be primarily Roman Catholicism and various Protestant denominations, but with the influx of Muslim immigrants, there has been a rise in the number of Islamic schools. Jewish schools can be found in the southern suburbs of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is noted for having five independent grammar schools Dutch: gymnasia , the Vossius Gymnasium , Barlaeus Gymnasium , St. Ignatius Gymnasium , Het 4e Gymnasium and the Cygnus Gymnasium where a classical curriculum including Latin and classical Greek is taught. Though believed until recently by many to be an anachronistic and elitist concept that would soon die out, the gymnasia have recently experienced a revival, leading to the formation of a fourth and fifth grammar school in which the three aforementioned schools participate.
Most secondary schools in Amsterdam offer a variety of different levels of education in the same school. The city also has various colleges ranging from art and design to politics and economics which are mostly also available for students coming from other countries. Amsterdam is a prominent centre for national and international media.
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However, Amsterdam is not considered 'the media city of the Netherlands'. The town of Hilversum , 30 kilometres 19 miles south-east of Amsterdam, has been crowned with this unofficial title. Hilversum is the principal centre for radio and television broadcasting in the Netherlands. Radio Netherlands , heard worldwide via shortwave radio since the s, is also based there. Hilversum is home to an extensive complex of audio and television studios belonging to the national broadcast production company NOS, as well as to the studios and offices of all the Dutch public broadcasting organisations and many commercial TV production companies.
Amsterdam is also featured in John Green 's book The Fault in Our Stars , which has been made into a film as well that partly takes place in Amsterdam. The housing market is heavily regulated. The increased influx of migrants, especially since the Syrian Civil War —present , has been burdensome, economically and culturally, but the government deals with citizen and migrant cases for housing equally.
No different treatment for migrant groups". From the late s onwards many buildings in Amsterdam have been squatted both for housing and for using as social centres. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.