Amsterdam is the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands, lying at the center of the Randstad, one of the largest metropolitan areas in Europe. Its status as the Dutch capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands. Amsterdam has a population of 801,200 within city limits, 1,557,905 in the urban region and 2,332,839 in the greater metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. It comprises the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.
Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam (in Dutch: 'grachtengordel'), located in the heart of Amsterdam, were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in July 2010.