AMSTERDAM – Venice of the North
Black Horizons has decided to return to Amsterdam for a second time. There is just too much Black history, culture and general sightseeing and knowledge to pass it by. This is one destination that definitely deserves a second look!
Recent archaeological excavations found evidence, that the origins of Amsterdam are much older than the 12th century. During the construction of the Metro “Noord-Zuid subway line” archeologists discovered, pole-axes, a stone hammer, and some pottery, all dating from the New Stone Age. This would mean the origins of Amsterdam, date back to about 2600 BC!
At its lowest point, Amsterdam is situated nearly 22 feet below sea level. This is an astounding fact, considering that if not for a highly efficient system of dams, the North Sea just might come crashing in like a tsunami!
Amsterdam is the home of more than 75 miles of canals, which divide the city into 90 islands, connected by more than 1,200 bridges (more bridges than Venice has). Tourists and residents have opportunity of experiencing the city by both water and by land.
The 17th century was Amsterdam’s Golden Age. Ships from the city sailed to North America, Indonesia, Brazil, and Africa and formed a worldwide trading network. Amsterdam’s merchants financed expeditions to the four corners of the world and they “acquired” the overseas possessions which became the Dutch colonies. New Amsterdam was one of its prized possessions, which later became known as New York! Many of these expeditions were to transport slaves to and from these “acquired” colonies.
Today Amsterdam has grown into a wealthy metropolitan area with more than 1.6 million people within a relatively small area. Amsterdam is known for its canals, cheese, wooden shoes, red-light district, beer, King and Queen, Philips electronics, international ship transport, and shipbuilding.
Afro-Dutch or Black-Dutch are residents of the Netherlands who are of African ancestry. The majority of Afro-Dutch in the continental Netherlands hail from former and present Dutch overseas territories. Suriname and the former Netherlands Antilles; now Curaçao, Aruba, Bonaire, Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. Of the approximately 500.000 Afro-Dutch people, about 300.000 people or 60%, are from these territories. The majority of Afro-Dutch people migrated to the Netherlands from the 1970’s onwards, although there is recorded evidence of Black folk in Holland and particularly Amsterdam, since the 16th and 17th century. That’s another story we will explore on our tour.