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Stadsarchief Amsterdam – Amsterdam 744 years


20191025 Stadsarchief Amsterdam

Bert de Vries, director of Stadsarchief Amsterdam, announces the Birthday of Amsterdam with the gong. On October 27, 1275, Floris the Fifth, Count of Holland  granted Amsterdammers toll exemption in his county. The Tolprivilege is the oldest document in Amsterdam and the basis for the powerful, prosperous and tolerant trading city.

The Tolprivilege laid the foundation for Amsterdam that would grow into the most powerful trading city in the world in the seventeenth century. The City Archives preserves the Tolprivilege and all other archive records of Amsterdam. In the document from 1275, Amstelledamme is mentioned for the first time in history. Count Floris V (the Fifth) granted toll-free freedom for "People staying near the Amsteldam" to transport their wares through the County of Holland. This cost advantage laid the foundation for the then young trading city. Based on the year 1275, mentioned in this insignificant but meaningful document, Amsterdam will turn out big in 2025 with the celebration of its 750 anniversary.

The Amsterdam City Archives preserves the archives of the municipal government, besides those of private institutions, families or individuals, and companies connected with the city. In addition, the City Archives houses a large collection of images and audio-visual material, as well as a library.

Among the various documents of international significance kept at the Amsterdam City Archives are the archives of the Heineken brewery and the renowned Concertgebouw, letters written by Charles Darwin and Mahatma Gandhi, an eighteenth-century trade agreement between the city and the newly founded United States of America, the book containing the excommunication of seventeenth-century philosopher Spinoza, and a police report about the theft of Anne Frank’s bike in 1942.

Archival material is made available for consultation both on site and through the internet. The website of the Amsterdam City Archives features an Image Bank, containing more than 460.000 photos, drawings, and prints related to the city, and an Archives Database, providing scans of archival material on request, including a wealth of sources for genealogical research, accessible through several indexes. These scans now number more than seven million.

The Amsterdam City Archives shares the available expertise on Amsterdam and its history through exhibitions, publications, films and events. Noteworthy documents are on permanent display in the so-called: Amsterdam Treasure Room. Wander through the Treasure Room, dating from 1926. Find out about Rembrandt or Johan Cruyff and their times. Marvel at the medieval charter cabinet. And follow the change from a small city in a medieval world to a world city in our times. Historical films about Amsterdam are shown in a small movie theatre.