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Amsterdam's main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, the Anne Frank House, the Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 5 million international visitors annually.
The metropolitan area comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.
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.
From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished, largely from trade with the Hanseatic League.
In 1345, an alleged Eucharistic miracle in the Kalverstraat rendered the city an important place of pilgrimage until the adoption of the Protestant faith.
In October 2008, historical geographer Chris de Bont suggested that the land around Amsterdam was being reclaimed as early as the late 10th century.
This does not necessarily mean that there was already a settlement then, since reclamation of land may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat, for use as fuel.The certificate describes the inhabitants as homines manentes apud Amestelledamme (people residing near Amestelledamme).Amsterdam is much younger than Dutch cities such as Nijmegen, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.The earliest recorded use of that name is in a document dated October 27, 1275, which exempted inhabitants of the village from paying bridge tolls to Count Floris V.This allowed the inhabitants of the village of Aemstelredamme to travel freely through the County of Holland, paying no tolls at bridges, locks and dams.Famous Amsterdam residents include the diarist Anne Frank, artists Rembrandt van Rijn and Vincent van Gogh, and philosopher Baruch Spinoza.