Amsterdam has all the benefits, as well as the disadvantages, of a multi-cultural city. There is an excellent choice of cultural, shopping and sporting facilities, but in some areas drug-related crime, poverty and racial tensions are serious problems. Housing prices are low compared with many other same-size European cities, unless you are trying to find somewhere in the old city centre.

In almost all areas there is a mix of architectural styles, from period houses to new, impersonal apartment blocks. Public transport is excellent, with trams, an underground, a light railway and ferries. Forget your car unless you need to travel outside the city and take to a bicycle, but remember to take a sturdy lock and chain. Amsterdam has an excellent website for ex-pats and those who want to do business, work or study in the city: