Amsterdam and its urban expansion

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The ancient merchant city of Amsterdam has been laid out rather methodically and did not grow spontaneously like many of those originally medieval towns. Much of the urban expansion took place on the islands at the mouth of the Amstel River and in the IJ. 

At the beginning of the Golden Age, in the 17th and 18th centuries, the famous canal belts were dug, including among others the Prinsengracht, Herengracht and Keizersgracht. Industrialization in the 19th century led to such a rapid increase in the city’s population that the expansion continued on beyond the initial moats and canals, creating the districts around the Vondelpark, De Pijp and the Staatsliedenbuurt. In the 20th century other districts followed, including the Sloten and the Bijlmermeer. Due to the limitations of surrounding nature areas, further expansion in the 20th century was only possible to the north east: a new district emerged in the IJsselmeer: the district of IJburg. 

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