Venice of the north, city with houseboats and reclaimed lands to the North Sea. Its ring of canals, the emblem of the Dutch gold century, recently inscribed on UNESCO's world heritage, is one of the most beautiful and best-preserved European historic centers. Famous for its bicycles, cheeses and tulips, but also for its long tradition of tolerance and openness, Amsterdam was a precursor of capitalism with the oldest stock exchange in the world and the company of East Indians, one of the first transnational companies. A port city, leader in the era of major explorations, a center of commerce and finance, Amsterdam has managed to modernize without destroying its historical heritage, creating a multitude of iconic architectural complexes.