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A city centre (or city center) is the commercial, cultural and often the historical, political and geographic heart of a city.
The city centre is the (often historical) area of a city where commerce, entertainment, shopping and political power are concentrated. The term is most commonly used in the United Kingdom and Ireland, as opposed to "downtown", which is most commonly used in North America. In Canada, the terms "city centre" and "downtown" are used interchangeably. While in many cities, the Central Business District (CBD) is within the city centre, the concept "city centre" differs from the CBD. The concept of the "CBD" solely revolves around economic and financial power, while the "city centre" also includes historical, political and cultural factors. A clear example is Paris: La Défense is the central business district of Paris, but is not the city centre. In most larger and/or older cities, the CBD and the city centre will only partially overlap, if at all.
A city centre is often the first settled part of a city, which can make it the most historical part of a city.
In Dutch, the terms binnenstad, centrum, stadscentrum or stadskern are used to describe the city centre. Amsterdam is a clear example of the city centre and the central business district not being the same area. The city centre of Amsterdam is Centrum, the historical heart of the city, while the CBD of Amsterdam is the Zuidas in the south.
Because of the bombardment of Rotterdam during World War II, and thus the loss of its historical core, the city centre and the CBD are the same area in that city.