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The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

As the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities (Ga WC) study group.

New museums, a railway station, and the Concertgebouw were built; in this same time, the Industrial Revolution reached the city.

Strongly pushed by Dutch Revolt leader William the Silent, the Dutch Republic became known for its relative religious tolerance.

Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Huguenots from France, prosperous merchants and printers from Flanders, and economic and religious refugees from the Spanish-controlled parts of the Low Countries found safety in Amsterdam.

The Stille Omgang—a silent procession in civil attire—is today a remnant of the rich pilgrimage history.

In the 16th century, the Dutch rebelled against Philip II of Spain and his successors.

During that time, the city was the leading centre for finance and diamonds.

In the 19th and 20th centuries the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were planned and built.

During the Napoleonic Wars, Amsterdam's significance reached its lowest point, with Holland being absorbed into the French Empire.

However, the later establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815 marked a turning point.

Amsterdam's merchants had the largest share in both the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company.

These companies acquired overseas possessions that later became Dutch colonies.

Amsterdam's prosperity declined during the 18th and early 19th centuries.

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