Disney Cruise Line and Its Ports of Call LIVE! Guidebook

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Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands


The Netherlands' greatest city is one of the world's capitals of finance and culture. The central city's network of tree-lined canals, its picturesque brick buildings, great museums, and famed Red Light District also make it one of Europe's top tourism destinations.

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AMBIENCE

Though a great, cosmopolitan city with modern skyscrapers and sprawling suburbs, cruisers will mostly see Amsterdam's historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its famous canals form an irregular grid at the historic center, giving way to a series of concentric semi-circles in the surrounding neighborhoods. The River Amstel ties them together before it flows into the IJ, the lake/river that forms the city's harbor. Picturesque, residential neighborhoods and broad squares lined with shops, cafes, and museums make this a city ripe for exploration.

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HISTORY

In the late 1100s, villagers dammed the Amstel River, giving birth to the city and its name. Though disastrous in so many ways, the 1282 storm that enlarged the Zuiderzee also gave Amsterdam easy access to the Baltic Sea, laying the groundwork for later trade and prosperity. After the overthrow of Spanish rule in 1648, Protestantism prevailed but the Roman Catholic Church was still tolerated. The city became a haven for religious and intellectual freedom, attracting Jews, French Huguenots, and a thriving free press. Trade rose to a peak in the 17th Century when the Dutch East India and West India Companies built a global empire that became the Dutch colonies. Much of that wealth flowed to Amsterdam, supporting the arts and science and funding construction of the city's network of canals. In 1876, the new North Sea Canal gave the port a more direct route to the sea, reviving it fortunes.

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FACTS

Size: City: 84.7 sq. mi. (219 sq. km.) Metro: 996 sq. mi. (2,580 sq. km.)
Climate: Oceanic Temperatures: 47°F (8°C) to 68°F (20°C)
Population 844,667/2,431,000 Busy Season Summer
Language: Dutch, English Money: Euro (€)
Time Zone: Central European Summer (UTC+2) Transportation: Walking, trams, boats, bicycles
Phones: Country code 31, area code 20, dial 112 for emergencies
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