A European capital renowned for its indulgent atmosphere, Amsterdam is more than just a playground of sensual pleasures. Home of Rembrandt, Van Gogh, classic architecture, and, of course, the canals, this “Venice of the North» augments its famed 17th century glory with a thriving, cosmopolitan presence in the 21st century. Nestled in the heart of Western Europe’s financial powers, the Dutch capital has parlayed its geographic location, well-educated population, high quality of life, and tolerant attitude into an appealing package that hosts the European headquarters of over 1,800 foreign corporations. The cultural mecca is also home to one of Europe’s largest airports, seaports, and stock exchanges. These days, about 45% of Amsterdam’s population is of non-Dutch origin, and almost everyone speaks English. The city’s transportation system is as impressive as its business statistics, and Amsterdam is a dream to navigate. Compact and safe (unless you’re a pedestrian on the bike paths), the city is accessible to locals and visitors alike, who traverse the city via a superb tram system or by cycling down the many bike lanes. Amsterdam, although wet at times, boasts a pleasant climate overall and encourages cyclists and pedestrians. Plus, canals keep automobile traffic to a minimum. Reminders of Amsterdam’s rich cultural heritage can be found everywhere. The historic city center contains over 6,000 historic, protected buildings, many of them narrow, ornate mansions along the canals. As expected, the city offers a wealth of excellent museums. When the work day’s over, Amsterdam’s citizens spend their euros leisurely and late in the city’s many restaurants, cafés, and bars. Terrific cuisine from every culture imaginable satisfies hungry appetites, and nightclubs cater to a gamut of preferences. The city, a must for any serious traveler, is a mix of old and new, traditional and modern, athletic and apathetic, serious and bizarre - much like the citizens and visitors who inhabit and frequent it.