1150-1300 Dams are built to retain the IJ river between the Zuiderzee and Haarlem. A tiny community of herring fishermen settles on the banks of the Amstel river.
1275 Amsterdam is founded after the Count of Holland grants toll-free status to residents along the Amstel. The city gains its first direct access to the ocean via the Zuiderzee, now the IJsselmeer.
1380 Canals of the present-day Medieval Centre are dug. Amsterdam flourishes, winning control over the sea trade in Scandinavia and later gaining free access to the Baltic.
1519 Spain’s Charles V is crowned Holy Roman Emperor. Treaties and dynastic marriages make Amsterdam part of the Spanish empire, with Catholicism the main faith.
1535 A group of naked Anabaptists (motto: ‘Truth is Naked’) occupies Amsterdam’s city hall, but is defeated by the city watch in fierce battle and brutally executed.
1578 Amsterdam is captured in a bloodless coup. A Dutch Republic made up of seven provinces is declared a year later, led by William the Silent.
1600s The Golden Age places Amsterdam firmly on the culture map. While Rembrandt paints in his atelier, the grand inner ring of canals is constructed. The city’s population surges to 200,000.
1602 Amsterdam becomes the site of the world’s first stock exchange when the offices of the Dutch East India Company trade their own shares.
1618 The world’s first regular newspaper, the Courante uyt Italien, Duytslandt, &c., is printed in Amsterdam. Catholicism is outlawed, though clandestine worship is permitted.
1650s Oops! Big mistake. The Dutch infamously lose the colony of New York to the British, killing all future likelihood that Broadway musicals will be sung in Dutch.
1795 French troops occupy the Netherlands and install the Batavian Republic. The fragmented United Provinces become a centralised state, with Amsterdam as its capital.
1813-14 The French are overthrown and William VI of Orange is crowned as Dutch King William I.
1830 With French help, the southern provinces secede to form the Kingdom of Belgium. The country is not formally recognised by the Dutch government until 1839.
1865-76 In a period of rapid economic and social change, the North Sea Canal is dug, the Dutch railway system is expanded and socialist principles of government are established.
1889 Centraal Station makes its grand debut, and poof – in an instant – Amsterdam is connected by rail to the rest of Europe.
1914-20 The Netherlands remains neutral in WWI. Food shortages cripple the country leading to strikes, unrest and growing support for the Dutch Communist Party.
1939 The Dutch government establishes Westerbork as an internment camp to house Jewish refugees.
1944-45 The Allies liberate the southern Netherlands, but the north and west of the country are cut off from supplies. Thousands of Dutch perish in the bitter ‘Hunger Winter’.
1975 The Netherlands’ drugs laws distinguish soft from hard drugs; possession of small amounts of marijuana is decriminalised.
1980 Queen Beatrix marries German diplomat Claus von Arnsberg; the coronation is disrupted by a smoke bomb and riot on the Dam.
2002Leading politician Pim Fortuyn, a hardliner on immigration and integration, is assassinated. The ruling Dutch parties shift to the right after suffering major losses in the national election.
2004 Activist filmmaker Theo van Gogh, a fierce critic of Islam, is assassinated, touching off intense debate over the limits of Dutch multicultural society.
2006 The government passes a law requiring immigrants to have competency in Dutch language and culture in order to get a residency permit.
2008 The city announces Project 1012. The goal is to close several prostitution windows and coffee shops believed to be controlled by ‘organised crime’.
2009 Amsterdam courts prosecute Dutch parliamentary leader Geert Wilders for ‘incitement to hatred and discrimination’.
2010 Members of the Dutch government officially apologise to the Jewish community for failing to protect the Jewish population from genocide.
2011 Dutch authorities announce that they will implement a rule banning tourists from coffee shops, while locals will require a registration card.