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What Disneyland is to children, Amsterdam is to adults – a never-ending playground full of surprise, mystery and intrigue. This is a place where all limits are routinely pushed and broken, and where all judgement is left for Judgement Day. You could say that the unofficial motto of the city is “Anything Goes”, but then there’s so much more to Amsterdam than only that.It’s not just hedonism and fun that drives the explosive creative energy of this bustling Dutch metropolis; this is also a rich cultural hub, where old and new influences converge in art, music, design and literature, creating a contemporary style that provides Amsterdam’s unique signature. People don’t move to Amsterdam to live – they tend to come here to let their artistic talents flow and unfold.
Surrounded by its countless canals, or “grachten” as they are known locally, it is a city that seems to belong to another time altogether. And with more bicycles than people (or just about), Amsterdam is driven by a spirit of conviviality and community like few other places, as people appear to move from one gathering to the next. Despite the beauty of the Dutch architecture and the canals, it is very much a people-driven city, and Amsterdamers are proud of that.Nowhere is this notion as obvious as in the many coffee houses that are scattered around town. These are not so much places to be seen at like the coffee halls in Vienna, but more the kind of establishment where you would go in order to relax. The locals consider them extensions of their living rooms.