In general history of Holland called Histoire generale des Pais-Bas: contenant la description des XVII provinces, which is attributed to Jan Baptiste Christyn (published in Amsterdam in 1720), the author describes this port city.

Amsterdam is indisputably the most mercantile city in the world, the general store of the universe, the seat of opulence, the rendezvous of riches and the delight of all nations. Foreigners are surprised by its scenery, charmed by its beauty and enchanted by is magnificence. Parties from all four corners of the world come to enrich it, and bring to the port the rarest and most curious of things.

Its role as a clearing-house of goods and chattels also meant Amsterdam was ideally situated as a place through which foreign knowledge was collected, collated and disseminated. It is no surprise then that Amsterdam also hosted a thriving and important publishing industry. Among its most famous printers were the father and son Willem and Johannes Blaeu, Jacob van Meurs and Johannes Janssonius van Waesberge.

Works published here include Martino Martini’s Sinicae historiae decas prima: res à gentis origine ad Christum natum in extrema Asia, sive Magno Sinarum Imperio gestas complexa (1659) and Athanasius Kircher’s China Illustrata (1667).