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Since the annexation of municipality Sloten in 1921 by the municipality of Amsterdam, the oldest historic part of the city lies in Sloten (9th century).
As the commercial capital of the Netherlands and one of the top financial centres in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities (Ga WC) study group.
Amsterdam is much younger than Dutch cities such as Nijmegen, Rotterdam, and Utrecht.
In October 2008, historical geographer Chris de Bont suggested that the land around Amsterdam was being reclaimed as early as the late 10th century.
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 and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished, largely from trade with the Hanseatic League.This allowed the inhabitants of the village of Aemstelredamme to travel freely through the County of Holland, paying no tolls at bridges, locks and dams.The certificate describes the inhabitants as homines manentes apud Amestelledamme (people residing near Amestelledamme).Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, Huguenots from France, prosperous merchants and printers from Flanders, and economic and religious refugees from the Spanish-controlled parts of the Low Countries found safety in Amsterdam.
The influx of Flemish printers and the city's intellectual tolerance made Amsterdam a centre for the European free press.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 (17th century), a result of its innovative developments in trade.