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Amsterdam

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amsterdam

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Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is the capital and largest city of the Netherlands, located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. The city, which had a population of 1.36 million (with suburbs) on 1 January 2008, comprises the northern part of the Randstad, the 6th-largest metropolitan area in Europe, with a population of around 6.7 million.

Its name is derived from Amstel dam, indicative of the city’s origin: a dam in the river Amstel, where the Dam Square is today. Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded and many new neighbourhoods and suburbs were formed.

The city is the financial and cultura capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and 7 of the world’s top 500 companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world is located in the city centre. Amsterdam’s main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam. Anne Frank House, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops, draw 4.2 million tourists annually.

Geography

Amsterdam is part of the province of North-Holland and is located in the northwest of the Netherlands next to the provinces of Utrecht and Flevoland. The river Amstel terminates in the city center and connects to a large number of canals that eventually terminate in the IJ.

Amsterdam is situated 2 meters above sea level. The surrounding land is flat as it is formed of large polders. To the southwest of the city lies a man-made forest called het Amsterdamse Bos. Amsterdam is connected to the North Sea through the long North Sea Canal.

Amsterdam is intensely urbanized, as is the Amsterdam metropolitan area surrounding the city. Comprising 219.4 square kilometers of land, the city proper has 4457 inhabitants per km2 and 2275 houses per km2. Parks and nature reserves make up 12% of Amsterdam’s land area.

Tourism

Amsterdam is the 5th busiest tourist destination in Europe, receiving more than 4.2 million international visitors annually. The number of visitors has been growing steadily over the past decade. This can be attributed to an increasing number of European visitors. 41,743 beds were located in 19,400 rooms in 351 hotels as of 2007. Two thirds of these hotels are located in the city’s center. Hotels with 4 or 5 stars contribute 42% of the total beds available and 41% of the overnight stays in Amsterdam.

The room occupation rate was 78% in 2006, up from 70% in 2005. The majority of tourists (74%), originate from Europe. The largest group of non-European visitors come from the United States, accounting for 14% of the total.[59] Certain years have a theme in Amsterdam to attract extra tourists. For example, the year 2006 was designated “Rembrandt 400”, to celebrate the 400th birthday of Rembrandt van Rijn. Some hotels offer special arrangements or activities due to these years. The average number of guests per year staying at the four campsites around the city, range from 12,000 to 65,000.

Retail

Shops in Amsterdam range from large department stores such as De Bijenkorf founded in 1870 and Maison de Bonneterie a Parisian style store founded in 1889, to small specialty shops. Amsterdam’s high-end shops are found in the streets Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat and Cornelis Schuytstraat, which are located in the vicinity of the Vondelpark.

One of Amsterdam’s busiest high streets is the narrow, medieval Kalverstraat in the heart of the city. Another shopping area is the Negen Straatjes: nine narrow streets within the Grachtengordel, the concentric canal system of Amsterdam. The Negen Straatjes differ from other shopping districts with the presence of a large diversity of privately owned shops. The city also features a large number of open-air markets such as the Albert Cuypmarkt, Westermarkt, Ten Katemarkt, and Dappermarkt.

Fashion

Fashion brands like G-star, Gsus, BlueBlood, 10 feet and Warmenhoven & Venderbos, and fashion designers like Mart Visser, Viktor & Rolf, Marlies Dekkers and Frans Molenaar are based in Amsterdam. Modelling agencies Elite Models, Touche models and Tony Jones have opened branches in Amsterdam.

Supermodels Yfke Sturm, Doutzen Kroes and Kim Noorda started their careers in Amsterdam. Amsterdam has its garment center in the World Fashion Center. Buildings which were formerly housing brothels in the red light district, have been converted to ateliers for young, up-and-coming fashion designers.

Culture and entertainment

During the later part of the 16th century Amsterdam’s Rederijkerskamer (Chamber of Rhetoric) organized contests between different Chambers in the reading of poetry and drama. In 1638, Amsterdam opened its first theatre. Ballet performances were given in this theatre as early as 1642. In the 18th century, French theatre became popular.

Opera could be seen in Amsterdam from 1677, first only Italian and French operas, but in the 18th century, German operas. In the 19th century, popular culture was centred around the Nes area in Amsterdam (mainly vaudeville and music-hall). The metronome, one of the most important advances in European classical music, was invented here in 1812 by Dietrich Nikolaus Winkel.

At the end of this century, the Rijksmuseum and Gemeentelijk Museum were built. In 1888, the Concertgebouworkest was established. With the 20th century came cinema, radio and television. Though most studios are located in Hilversum and Aalsmeer, Amsterdam’s influence on programming is very strong. Many people who work in the television industry live in Amsterdam. Also, the headquarters of SBS 6 is located in Amsterdam.

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Santiago, Chile – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Santiago, Chile – Lonely Planet Travel Video

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Santiago is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the center of its largest conurbation (Greater Santiago). It is located in the country’s central valley, at an elevation of 520 m (1,700 ft) AMSL. Although Santiago is the capital, legislative bodies meet in nearby Valparaíso.

Approximately three decades of uninterrupted economic growth have transformed Santiago into one of Latin America’s most modern metropolitan areas, with extensive suburban development, dozens of shopping malls, and impressive high-rise architecture. The city has some of Latin America’s most modern transportation infrastructure, such as the growing Santiago Metro (the metropolitan underground train system) and the new Costanera Norte, a toll-based highway system that passes below downtown and connects the Eastern and Western extremes of the city in a 25-minute drive. Santiago is headquarters to many important companies and is a regional financial center.

Transport

Air

Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is Santiago’s national and international airport. 15 minutes from downtown through the urban highways (Costanera Norte-Vespucio Norte).
Has rental car services, taxi cabs, transfer and buses available within the premises of the airport. Airport Commodore Arturo Merino Benítez has many projects.

They include the expansion of the area of (check-in) desks national international and the Customs and (Equipaje claim) baggage claim area. Furthermore, is the construction of new doors in international and national terminals.

The green areas are not left behind, the Ministry of public works in conjunction with the DGAC and the airport operator the construction of a park facing airport to fulfilled an area of recreation and leisure users from this airport Hall have projected. The enlargement project proposed by the concessionaire was supported by the Ministry of public works, however, the Ministry believes that this is only a measure to cure airport congestion for only about 5 years, after of which would overwhelm.

For this reason, the Ministry advises from 2008 with Paris Aeroports to create the master plan expansion. Meanwhile, the Ministry adopted plan of works presented by the dealership related to improving the service and installation of a new bridge boarding at the national terminal (door 28).

Retail holding Censosud s.a. prepares the opening of a shopping centre in the vicinity of the air terminal specifically on the grounds of ENEA, 7 kilometres from the airport. In parallel ENEA, Urbanya, Prairie and recently Cencosud joins the project finance the extension of the metro to the Mall and the airport with an extension of line 1 from the station pajaritos.

Rail

Trains operated by Chile’s national railway, Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado, connect Santiago to Chillan, in the central-southern part of the country. All such trains arrive and depart from the Estación Central (“Central Station”) which can be access by bus or subway.
The routes and coverage are from:
Santiago-San Fernando.
Santiago-Chillán.
Talca-Constitución.
Talcahuano-Hualqui.
Talcahuano-Renaico.
Victoria-Temuco.

Inter-urban buses

Bus companies provide passenger transportation from Santiago to most areas of the country, while some also provide parcel-shipping and delivery services.

There are several bus terminals in Santiago:
Terminal San Borja: located near the Metro station “Universidad de Santiago”
Terminal Los Heroes: located near the Metro station “Los Heroes”
Terminal La Paz: located in the municipality of Independencia, the closest Metro station is “Puente Cal y Canto”
Terminal Alameda: located near the Metro station “Universidad de Santiago”

Highways

Toll road, inter-urban free flow highways connect the city’s extremes, including the Vespucio Highway (which surrounds the city describing a semi-circle), Autopista Central (which crosses the city in a North-South direction), and the Costanera Norte (which runs from the eastern edge, in Las Condes to the international airport and the highways to Valparaíso on the western side of the city).

Religion

Most of Chile’s population is Catholic and Santiago is no exception. According to the National Census, carried out in 2002 by the National Statistics Bureau (INE), in the Santiago Metropolitan Region, 3,129,249 people 15 and older identified themselves as Catholics, equivalent to 68.7% of the total population, while 595,173 (13.1%) described themselves as Evangelical Protestants.

Around 1.2% of the population declared themselves as being Jehovah’s Witnesses, while 0.9% identified themselves as Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 0.25% as Jewish, 0.11% as Orthodox and 0.03% as Muslim. Approximately 10.4% of the population of the Metropolitan Region stated that they were atheist or agnostic, while 5.4% declared to follow other religions.

There are about eleven million Catholics – around 70% of the total population (16.500.000 in 2008). There are 5 archidioceses, 18 dioceses, 2 territorial prelatures, 1 apostolic vicariate, 1 military ordinariate and a personal prelature (Opus Dei).

Catholicism was introduced by priests with the Spanish colonialists in the 16th century. Most of the native population in the northern and central regions was evangelized by 1650. The southern area proved more difficult. In the 20th century, church expansion was impeded by a shortage of clergy and government attempts to control church administration. Relations between church and state were strained under Salvador Allende and Augusto Pinochet.

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