October 24, 2008

Amsterdam 200 years older than previously believed

Filed under: History,Science by Branko Collin @ 7:55 am

Amsterdam is 200 years older than is commonly assumed, says historical geographer Chris de Bont. The settlement was originally started in 1000 AC instead of 1200 AC, which is still pretty young. De Bont bases his conclusion on the patterns formed by old brooks. “I found the same patterns elsewhere in the region where farmers lived around the time,” De Bont told print daily Metro, “so it’s logical to assume that farmers also created the patterns in Amsterdam.”

According to Volkskrant, De Bont also claims that parts of the rivers Amstel and Zaan were dug, and that the IJ used to be a big swamp instead of a waterway. De Bont’s assertions are part of his PhD thesis which he gets to defend next Tuesday at Wageningen University.

Illustration: one of the earliest city maps of Amsterdam (1544) by Cornelis Anthonisz. after one of his own paintings. Check the larger version at Wikimedia Commons, it’s pretty detailed and a great demonstration of how little the inner city has changed in 500 years (they built a McDonald’s in the Kalverstraat and that new-fangled ‘palace’ on Dam Square, and that’s about it).

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