Amsterdam marks 736th birthday

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Amsterdam's Mayor Eberhard van der Laan is unveiling the capital's birth certificate on Wednesday.

The city's toll privilege declaration, signed by Count Floris V of Holland in 1275, will be put on public display until Sunday. For conservation reasons, the document is normally kept in the dark, but the city archive has decided to put it on view every year around Amsterdam's birthday on 27 October.

The Count's signature marked the start of Amsterdam's development as one of Europe's main trading centres. It also gave Amsterdammers the privilege to sail on all of Holland's canals without having to pay any fees, a gesture seen as a snub to the lords of Utrecht who tried to dominate the embryonic city at the time. The toll freedom privilege was not abolished until 1795.

The toll privilege document is shown as part of an exhibition highlighting twelve themes of Amsterdam's history, illustrated by documents, pictures and paintings. Thursday being the capital's 736th birthday, the archive will welcome the first 736 visitors with coffee and cake.


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