Ofcourse the ignorant outsider will see Amsterdam as one of the few places in the world where prostitution and smoking pot are legal. However, the capitol of The Netherlands is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, with a very rich tradition. The city center consists of mainly warehouses built a few hundred years ago. It was that the ships set out to explore the Americas and the far east. Nowadays, people are among the best English speakers in Europe and the city is one of the safest places I know. It's a multicultural example for the rest of the world.
Amsterdam was a thriving city when New York was a puddle of mud - and it shows.