The "European Coal and Steel Community
) was a six-nation "international organisation
serving to unify Western Europe during the "Cold War
and creating the foundation for European democracy and the modern-day developments of the "European Union
. The ECSC was the first organisation to be based on the principles of "supranationalism
The ECSC was first proposed by "French foreign minister "Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950 as a way to prevent further war between "France and "Germany. He declared his aim was to 'make war not only unthinkable but materially impossible.' The means to do so, Europe's first supranational Community, was formally established in 1951 by the "Treaty of Paris, signed not only by France and West Germany, but also by "Italy and the three "Benelux states: "Belgium, "Luxembourg and the "Netherlands. Between these states the ECSC would create a "common market for "coal and "steel. The ECSC was governed by a '"High Authority', checked by bodies representing governments, MPs and an independent judiciary.
The ECSC was joined by two other similar communities in 1957, with whom it shared its membership and some "institutions. In 1969 all its institutions were merged with that of the "European Economic Community (EEC, which later became part of the "European Union), but it retained its own independent identity. However in 2002 the Treaty of Paris expired, and with no desire to renew the treaty, all the ECSC activities and resources were absorbed by the "European Community. During its existence, the ECSC had succeeded in creating a common market but could not prevent the decline of the coal and steel industries. It did however set the ground for the future European Union.
of the "Netherlands
, lies on the banks of two bodies of water, the "IJ bay
and the "Amstel
river. Founded in the late "12th century
as a small fishing village on the banks of the "Amstel
, it is now the largest city in the country and is a financial and cultural centre. As of August 1, 2006, the population of the city proper is 741,329; the population of the official Greater Amsterdam area is approximately 1.5 million, but the real agglomeration is estimated at 2 to 2.5 million. Amsterdam is also one of the core urban centres of the greater metropolitan area called ""Randstad
" (Ring City) which encompasses other Dutch cities and has a population of over 7.5 million.
Amsterdam has one of the largest historic city centres in "Europe, dating largely from the 17th century. At this time, a series of concentric, semi-circular "canals ("grachten") were dug around the old city centre. Along the canals houses and warehouses were built. The canals still define Amsterdam's layout and appearance today. Amsterdam is famous for its free-spirited liberalism, diversity and tolerance.