The history of Amstelveen starts around the year 1105 from that time the Bishop of the city Utrecht appointed a sheriff for Aem-stelle (the marshlands of the Amstel-river), later on in succession the well known Egbert van Aemstel came to power. The Castle of the van Aemstel's was build along the Amstel river and after the building of a church a village-community was created which is till today named Ouderkerk. The most important means of livelihood was turf for firing. In the 13 nth century arise west of Ouderkerk a peat-cutter hamlet and after building a church Amstelveen was born. In this time the area Aemstelle was divided in two administrative parts, Ouder Amstel east of the Amstel river and Nieuwer Amstel west of the Amstel river. North of Nieuwer Amstel arise a small fisherman hamlet called Amsteldam that by its favorably economical position to the Zuiderzee was growing very fast into a city of traders. Amsteldam got in the year 1300 city-rights and annex in in the year 1342 a big part of Nieuwer Amstel. By the need of firing (turf) for this city which is later renamed into Amsterdam was Nieuwer Amstel assured of a good income.
By digging off the 4 meters thick peat-soil a complete new landscape was created. Water of the Amstel overflow the land and originate big lakes divided by strips of dry land used for transport of the turf ( the so called loopvelden). In the 18 nth century all these lakes are reclaimed and so developed the present landscape of lower polders with channels and straight polder ways.
In the 17 nth and 18 nth century Nieuwer Amstel developed into a lovely country side village which attract many rich inhabitants from Amsterdam. A drawback of neighborhood of a big city is the tumult of war that was going on during this time around big cities. But the biggest disaster was a fire in 1792 which destroyed nearly the whole village. Very soon Nieuwer Amstel recovered from ashes but it spend a 100 years before a new town hall on the border of the Amstel was build. Alas, in the year 1896 Amsterdam annex again a big part of Nieuwer Amstel including the just build new town hall and the number of inhabitants reduced from 35000 to 5500
In the early 20 nth century the development of Nieuwer Amstel going down, the income out of turf decreased and the village was sleeping until 1917 after the reclamation of Haarlemmermeerpolder and a military airport was build. Schiphol, that 3 years later changed into a civil airport. The development of Schiphol attract a lot of people and many domiciling in Amstelveen. Also the headquarter of KLM is located in Amstelveen. At that time Amstelveen was the fasted growing community of the Netherlands and it grow out till 80000 inhabitants. It was not till 1964 that the name Nieuwer Amstel official changed into Amstelveen.
Despite that it within easy reach of and is part of the conurbation of Amsterdam, Amstelveen continued his own policy be expressed in a shade rural districts with ornamental waters, gardens and farmyards for example the famous dr. J.P.Thijssepark and the large and little Pool, real peat-lakes. Due to economization in recent times is the gardens are a little bit demote into sheep grass-fields. There is set up a rail connection with Amsterdam and after some deadly accidents for security a fence along the whole railway. In spite of this fence the tram is still driving very slow? At the moment Amstelveen is working very hard to realize a new urban center with a shopping center joint on to it. If it will come up to the expectations is still a question because the intention is a luxury shopping center and I don't believe Amstelveen and its environs are in need of it. Due to the set back of the quantity visitors the parking fee on Monday to Saturday is already reduced. If the big square (part of the shopping center) will be dressed with some flower-boxes and trees it will makes a better show and a more variation of shops is also necessary. Only the big warehouses Bijenkorf, V&D, C&A, Hema and many clothing-boutiques is not so attractive. Due to the rack-rent and low income many boutiques are already gone and replaced by other ones. A success is the Friday market on the big square, although there is a professional jealousy going on with the catering establishments that like to organize other events on the square. Bicycle stands are available now.
www.amstelveen.nl Web site of Amstelveen.