Amsterdam, city and port, western Netherlands, located on the IJsselmeer and connected to the North Sea. It is the capital and the principal commercial and financial centre of the Netherlands. To the scores of tourists who visit each year, Amsterdam is known for its historical attractions, for its collections of great art, and for the distinctive colour and flavour of its old sections, which have been so well preserved. However, visitors to the city also see a crowded metropolis beset by environmental pollution, traffic congestion, and housing shortages. It is easy to describe Amsterdam, which is more than 700 years old, as a living museum of a bygone age and to praise the eternal beauty of the centuries-old canals, the ancient patrician houses, and the atmosphere of freedom and tolerance, but the modern city is still working out solutions to the pressing urban problems that confront it.