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last updated: October 5, 2005


Amsterdam is the capital and also the largest city of the Netherlands. Nevertheless, it holds less than one million inhabitants within the boundaries of the municipality. Depending on the method of delimitation, the metropolitan area of Amsterdam adds another million.

The economy of Amsterdam never had a strong industrial base and is now almost completely dependent on the service sector, specifically banks and other financial enterprises and consumer services. Next to that, the large historic inner city of Amsterdam is an important tourist destination.

The housing stock of Amsterdam is almost completely for rent; only some 17 per cent is owner-occupied, although this share has risen over recent years. Part of the explanation of this high figure of housing for rent is the policy of the municipality of Amsterdam in the 20th century. In extending the city, the municipality has constructed a large share of social housing within the city boundaries.