Known for its flashy Red Light District and iconic Dutch windmills, Amsterdam is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands

A canal boat with tourists negotiates a lock near the harbor in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The inner city of the Dutch capital is compact with heritage buildings, museums both grand and odd, hidden gardens and outdoor markets — all within easy reach by any mode of transport — except the unwelcome car.

Peter Dejong / AP

No longer the bargain city of Europe, Amsterdam is still a city of wonders that can be had for a discount, and sometimes for free.

A vendor selling flowers and plants hands over a bag to a customer at Albert Cuyp market. The market is the busiest in all of the Netherlands and is said to be the largest daytime market in Europe.

Peter Dejong / AP

Varieties of red tulips in bloom in Amsterdam.

People relax at Vondelpark in Amsterdam. In the park are a film museum, an open air theatre, a playground, and several food service facilities. Vondelpark sees around 10 million visitors a year.

Barbara Opitz / ANP FILES

Loenersloot castle is located between Utrecht and Amsterdam, on the Angstel River. The castle was first inhabited by the Van Loenersloot family who played an important part in the life of the village in the 12th century.

Large copper kettles used in brewing beer are seen at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam, a museum where visitors can learn about brewing and the history of Heineken. The museum reopened in December after a major renovation.

Peter Dejong / AP

IJburg is a residential community currently under construction east of Amsterdam. The neighborhood is being built on man-made islands situated on IJ Lake.

Four museums are located around Museumplein (the museum Square): the Rijksmuseum (center), the Van Gogh Museum (left), the Stedelijk Museum, and the Diamond Museum.

A visitor visits the exposition "Barcelona 1900", at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. The exposition shows the artistic and social life in the Spanish city in the period 1880-1909.

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Once a corn mill, the Molen De Gooyer windmill is now a brewery and tourist attraction. The windmill was built in 1725 and towers over the Nieuwevaart Canal.

The Music Building, located on Amsterdam's IJ Lake, has a restaurant, theater, plaza, and outdoor cafe.

Amsterdam harbor and historic buildings are illuminated at night by traffic racing through the streets. The harbor is one of the most important commercial centers in Europe.

Hugo De Wolf / 36Clicks Creative