I love Amsterdam. You're supposed to-- it's one of the easiest cities for us Americans to visit, since it's safe and civilized and everyone speaks English, not to mention the fact that the Dutch tend to be tall, blond, and good-looking. I also have been living in central Amsterdam surrounded by canals-- that's like loving New York when you live on Central Park South, I suppose. Who wouldn't?
I like it because of the silence of the streets in the mornings and evenings. At nine o'clock in the morning the loudest noises are the bicycles whizzing by, the seagulls crying, the wind in the trees, or more likely, the rain in the trees. (I know a young Dutch woman who told me that during her year teaching in India, the things she missed the most were her family, Dutch cheese, and the cold rain.) I like it because the Dutch turn out to be whimsical and sophisticated and fun to be around. I like the tolerance and the good restaurants of so many different cuisines. There is a big Chinatown here, and in spite of all the "Eurabia" headlines back home, many Dutch Muslims seem well assimilated and very Dutch. I love the way the Dutch leave their curtains open at night. I love the way even blue-collar workers who wouldn't necessarily be educated in the U.S., like hairdressers or waiters, are smart and well-traveled.
Most of all I love the books. I'm a booklover, and I've never seen a city with so many books. Every apartment in this part of town seems to be lined with them. The public library is the best I've ever seen (and has a great café on the top floor overlooking the whole city). There are bookstores everywhere. And almost all of them sell English, French and German books right along with the Dutch ones.