Amsterdam's historic canals, narrow houses and colourful façades create an instantly recognisable aesthetic. The Netherlands' capital city has long been a champion of arts and culture and today hosts more than 300 festivals a year, celebrating artistic, musical, theatrical and culinary expertise. In 2016, the city will host the European Athletics Championships, welcoming the world's finest athletes to its Olympic Stadium. With so much going on throughout the year, Amsterdam is undoubtedly one of northern Europe's most attractive destinations.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol serves around 50 million passengers a year, so wherever you're coming from, it should be easy to find a connection. Once you've settled in and got your bearings, the Rijksmuseum provides a comprehensive introduction to Amsterdam's fascinating cultural history. Among an enviable selection of works from Dutch and foreign masters, Rembrandt's The Night Watch and Vermeer's Milkmaid stand out as highlights. The ceramics section is also notable for its extensive collection of Delft faience, including a ceramic violin in the trademark blue-and-white pattern.
The Van Gogh Museum fittingly contains the world's largest collection of works by the tortured genius, including Almond Blossom and Sunflowers. The Museum het Rembrandt Huis converts the former studios of the master into a fitting showcase of both his artistic endeavours and personal belongings.
If you're looking to add to your own collection of artworks, the nearby Speigelkwartier is the ideal district for a discerning art lover. Visitors are free to peruse and purchase the antiques and unique artworks on display at historic shops, or explore modern art galleries such as Gallery Delaive.
For centrepieces that are no less beautiful, if slightly less permanent, pay a visit to the Bloemenmarkt, or flower market. If you're a flora connoisseur, it's worth journeying to the flower auction in Aalsmeer, just outside Amsterdam. The auction sells around 20 million flowers every weekday, in a building that's recognised as one of the largest in the world. You can view the proceedings from 7am; the earlier you arrive, the more you'll see.
Continuing the theme of celebrating beauty in all its forms, many of Amsterdam's historic diamond firms offer tours of their cutting rooms and workshops. Stop by Coster Diamonds and explore their Diamond Museum before browsing through the glittering wares in the showroom.
When the sun is shining, Vondelpark is a popular picnic spot. Its lavish English gardens provide an enchanting setting for a lengthy evening stroll. If you're visiting on King's Day, 27 April, you can watch the park transform into the Vrijmarkt, in which local residents, young and old, are allowed to set up market stalls in the park and sell whatever they choose for a day.
All of this nestled within the beautiful cobbled streets of Amsterdam make the city a tempting proposition for property investment. If you're considering expanding your portfolio to include a base in northern Europe, visit the Engel & Völkers Amsterdam office on Prinsengracht in the city centre. Whether you're looking for a historic narrow house or a modern apartment, our friendly local experts will be able to select a range of properties that meet your exact specifications.