How Was Amsterdam Built?

old architecture
Photo by Arun Sharma on Unsplash

How was Amsterdam founded?

Amsterdam was established around a dam on the Amstel River during the 13th century. The first written mention of it dates back to 1275 when Count Floris V granted residents near the dam freedom to navigate without paying tolls on the IJ.

At this time, Amsterdam became a major global trading center. Ships from Amsterdam would sail to North America, Indonesia, Brazil and Africa forming the foundations of an extensive global trading network.

But the town was rapidly growing and needed space to expand. Therefore, in the 17th century, a series of canals were constructed.

These canals were the basis of Amsterdam’s Golden Age and opened up new trade opportunities by transporting goods between its new port and financial centers across Europe. Furthermore, these canals allowed ships to transport goods between them as well as within Amsterdam itself, creating a vibrant financial center.

Amsterdam’s success was due to a unique blend of goods and people. In the 17th century, Dutch merchants who funded expeditions around the world and purchased assets that became the foundations for future Dutch colonies were instrumental in shaping Amsterdam’s destiny.

Due to its location on marshy land, houses were typically constructed using long wooden piles as foundations. These piles were driven into the soil to give them extra support and make the structures more stable.