It didn't take long for Amsterdam to feel like home (of course, only after the initial shock of coffeshop after coffeshop wore off). The most obvious thing to me is the laid back carefree and friendly attitude. Coming from Sydney, where everything you do is governed by about 25,000 rules that are plastered everywhere, all over the streets, on public transport and in almost every commercial building, Amsterdam is a free mans mecca.
In Amsterdam on a sunny day people take their tables and chairs and sit outside on the footpath to soak up the yummy sunny weather. As we walk past they smile and say hello. I automatically think of Manly - Sydney, If this was to happen there, there would surely be an outcry of cranky people sending letters of complaint to the local council and the local newspaper, within a week there would be a sign telling you not to loiter on the footpath.
In Amsterdam adults use common sense. In Manly you're told by a big sign that you're not allowed to spike peoples drinks with GHB.