Free thinkers

The Amsterdam of the Golden Age didn’t only act as a magnet for economic reasons. The city was also an attractive base for intellectuals and the religious. Thanks to the international trading network, and the many visitors and its residents attracted from abroad, it embodied unrivalled familiarity with the world of its time. Philosophers and sages who had suffered repression in their own countries found a safe refuge in Amsterdam. This also turned the city into an intellectual warehouse. Maps, atlases, newspapers, books and periodicals were printed and sold in a host of languages. Available here too were the writings of foreign authors which were banned in their own countries. There was an explosive growth in the production and sale of paintings.  

Religious tolerance

Although Amsterdam was officially Protestant, other denominations were tolerated. In addition to Protestant churches, within the Canal Ring there were also so-called house churches or conventicles for Remonstrant believers, such as De Rode Hoed on the Keizersgracht. This centuries-old tradition of Amsterdam as a tolerant, open city is what attracts many world citizens to it this very day.