Ahhh, I have a home in Amsterdam…well…almost. Renting a place here is much more difficult than in the US. There are all sorts of negotiations that need to happen. Apparently the rental price listed is always a ‘suggested’ or ‘asking’ price. You can usually knock off a few euros from the price. whoda thunk?!? Then there are the clauses of the contract. Everything is negotiable. In the US for every apartment I have rented there is a set price for the rental. You can suggest a lower price, but you will rarely get the apartment for your suggested price. And the contract is usually not going to change. There is a standard agreement that you sign that everyone else in your neighborhood has also signed.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Amsterdam (myself included still) it seems to have a horseshoe shape made of 4 canals in the middle of the city. Take a look at a map. See the horseshoe? To the southwest of the horseshoe are a lot of the museums. In the middle is the Dam and the palace, I think. Those canals are where all of the standard pictures of Amsterdam are taken. And thus that is where I am living: on Utrechtsestraat near the Prinsengracht. Maybe after I have been here for a while I can relocate to somewhere cheaper but for now I want to be in the heart of things. But no matter where you live, everything is close. Amsterdam is a tiny city (with a lot of people squeezed tightly together). I walked from my new place to where my car happened to be at the World Trade Center at the far south edge of the city in about 30 minutes.