Amsterdam is a refreshing contrast to the other of grandeur and prestige teeming metropolises. In the Dutch city of canals in the bourgeois style homes dominate, which were replete with colorful ornaments and decorations. The metropolis on the Amstel river has so many close to dense stands of monuments that it possesses the largest historical inner city in Europe. The gabled houses and warehouses along the 160 scenic canals, houseboats bobbing on those romantic. An almost idyllic backdrop, the carefree life in Amsterdam and can appear careless.
During the Dark Ages and the great recession in human progress the lead passed to Constantinople in the east, but this was soon overshadowed by Venice, Florence, and Genoa, even farther northwest than Rome. These in turn gave place to Vienna, Paris, and other minor cities, still another five degrees to the north. Even here the northwestward march of progress did not stop, for London, Amsterdam, and Berlin represent regions which came to the forefront still later. Last of all, in our own day, Stockholm, Copenhagen, and the Scotch cities represent extremely northerly or northwesterly regions whose extraordinarily high standards are universally recognized. Thus in four thousand years the center of human progress - that is, the greatest center - has migrated more or less steadily for 2,500 miles from Egypt and Babylonia to the region around the North Sea--from latitude 30° to 50° or more, and through 40° of longitude. At each stage in this migration there have been zones of culture. In the center new inventions, institutions, and ideas have arisen; political and military power has reached the highest levels; industry has been most active; and art and science have flourished most steadily. Farther out in each case there has been an irregular zone of moderate progress, and outside that a relatively backward zone. The size and form of the zones have varied according to the shape and location of seas, rivers, mountains, plains, and deserts, according to the character and migrations of races, and according to the nature of new inventions, habits, and institutions.
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