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12. Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities on our list, renowned for its red light district and marijuana serving coffee shops.

Coming to world prominence through trade during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, the city has maintained a high quality of living as the cultural and financial center of the Netherlands. It’s home to the world’s oldest stock exchange and its historic canals, buildings, and infrastructure are a big draw for tourists. The city promotes varying lifestyles and about 54 percent of its households are single people. Households with two adults make up only 20 percent of the population, according to government statistics from 2009. The city also ranks among the top 20 in the world when it comes to personal safety.

Once regarded among the more generous European countries in welcoming immigrants, the Netherlands reputation has changed over the past decade. The anti-Islam, anti-immigration Freedom Party is a key ally for the ruling coalition in Parliament and has used its influence to push for tougher immigration policies. In September, the government announced plans to ban face-covering veils worn by some Muslim women because lawmakers argued that it flouts the Dutch way of life.

Photo: Sylvain Sonnet | Getty Images