Dam Square is named after its original function. Built in the 13th century, it used to be a dam in the river Amstel. Combine 'Amstel' and 'Dam' and you have: Amsterdam.
The dam was the first to link the settlements on both sides of the river. The square became the heart of the city, which evolved around it.
Nowadays, Dam Square still forms the commercial centre of Amsterdam, attracting many visitors every year. Some popular attractions can be found here, such as the Royal Palace, the National Monument and the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church).
If you would like to take a picture with your idol, you can visit the world famous Madame Tussauds. On the east side of the square you will find the renowned NH Krasnapolsky Hotel, right next to the luxurious department store, De Bijenkorf. It is perfect for a shopping spree, as are the Magna Plaza shopping mall and the Diamond Center, which are just around the corner.
The Dam Square plays an important role in Dutch tradition. Many events and demonstrations take place here, as well as official ceremonies. Every year on 4th May, many people gather at the Dam to pay their respects to war victims, during the Nationale Dodenherdenking (Remembrance of the Dead).