In the early 17th century Amsterdam was the third largest city in Europe and undisputedly the financial centre of the continent. The “Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie”, founded here, sent its ships as far as America, Asia and Africa, thus creating the basis for an early world trade network.
As more and more people moved to Amsterdam, they were forced to build new houses and the city began to expand into the surrounding countryside.
In the course of this, the existing canals, which until then had been purely defensive ditches, were extended and numerous new canals were built.
They were no longer purely military facilities, but were used to transport goods from and to the numerous merchants’ and warehouses built directly at the water. They were also useful for the drainage of the marshes, which had to be reclaimed through the expansion of the town.
The most famous and beautiful part of the city is certainly the “Golden Bend” (Gouden Bocht), which was inhabited by the richest patricians and merchants of Amsterdam and which is home to the most magnificent buildings, such as the “Huis de Neufville”, also known as the “most beautiful house on the Bocht”.