World - City

Amsterdam in the world. The world in Amsterdam.

Permanent exhibition 2018 - 2021
Amsterdam Museum Burgerweeshuis


About the exhibition

The Amsterdam Museum expanded its permanent presentation Amsterdam DNA in 2018 with the exhibition Amsterdam World - City (2018-2022); a continuation of, and a deepening of, the themes from Amsterdam DNA. World - City was about the connections between Amsterdam and Amsterdammers with the world. About migration, trade, religion. About how Amsterdam is seen in the rest of the world. About the footprints Amsterdam has left behind elsewhere.

World - City

The visitor was guided through six themes in Wereld - Stad: (1) from settlement to metropolis, (2) seeking happiness, (3) I Amsterdam, (4) perpetrator or victim, (5) religion and tolerance and (6) World - City revisited. The centuries-long and intensive interaction between the city, the delta and the world were the focus of this exhibition.

Think, for instance, of the ports that have made the city what it is today: the port of Amsterdam in the past and Schiphol in the present are indispensable in the story of our world city. The headquarters of the Dutch East India Company was not in The Hague but in Amsterdam. The Society of Surinam was an Amsterdam affair and therefore Surinam was in fact a suburb of Amsterdam. Until the middle of the 20th century, Amsterdam was the colonial capital. What influence does this have on today's city?

The Dam

The name Amsterdam is derived from 'Dam in de Amstel'; the city literally and figuratively revolves around the Dam. It has always been a local, national and international meeting point. In the 17th century, the town hall was built here with a Civic Hall where the whole world is depicted on the floor, with Amsterdam as the centre of the world. Today, it is the place where shoppers and tourists meet, where we commemorate the Second World War and where people come together to seek solace after a tragic event. Similar to the place Dam Square occupies in our city itself, it is also the focal point of the World - City exhibition; Dam Square appears in almost every room.

Growth map

A popular feature of our museum was the so-called digital growth chart, which shows how the city has developed over the past centuries. A new digital growth map was produced for Wereld- Stad, which zooms in on the city and zooms out to relevant (inter-)national connections, with a focus on migrations and links, among other things.