|Amsterdam was founded on a dam on the river Amstel in 1275 and by 14th century the settlement could be described as a small harbor village. One century later the city built a wall around it. During the Reformation it rose in stature, taking trade away from Antwerp. By 17th century, the city was the center of a vast trading empire with colonies in Southeast Asia. Amsterdam accommodated its expansion with the cobweb of canals built up over 90 islands, that gives the city its distinctive and elegant shape today. Amsterdam is a very sociable and cultural center with its world class museums and galleries, notably the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, its open-air events, music shows, nearly 1,300 cafes, designer shops, many bars and an extensive supply of ethnic restaurants.