So far this year the stock exchange has been wonderfully calm.

It is true that the buildings of the trading center face the Börsenplatz on one of the central streets in the city center.

But on the other hand, Paternostergässchen and Kirchgasse lead directly into the historic center, which is also home to the city's red light district.

The “Wallen” are located around the Oude Kerk (“Old Church”), which is considered the city's oldest building still in existence and, from the 1580s onwards, once served as a trading center for merchants.

Klaus Max Smolka

Editor in business.

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    In stark contrast to the Oude Kerk, half-naked women pose in the surrounding courtyard in red-lit shop windows.

    After a long corona break, the prostitutes have only been able to work again for a few weeks.

    Many windows are still dark and there are no tourist crowds - even if more visitors came this month.

    If you are interested in the original character of this district near the stock exchange, you have the opportunity to enjoy the canals and picturesque alleys again in relative peace - without a lot of party people, drunk and stoned people.

    Before the corona pandemic, the hustle and bustle had become louder and louder with each passing year, and the local authorities were no longer able to cope with the onslaught of tourists here and elsewhere in the city center.

    AEX leading index at record level

    If, from a commercial point of view, the neighborhood of the stock exchange has fallen into a bear market due to the corona, the trading center is in astonishing shape even after a brief lull. A sharp price loss in March 2020 was followed by a strong recovery. A good year later, at the beginning of April of this year, the standard value index AEX cracked the two decades old high of a little more than 700 points, which the stock market barometer had set during the enthusiasm for technology around the turn of the millennium. So it took someone twenty years to get into the Dutch market at an inopportune time - something stock fans should bear in mind when they hope for the frequently mentioned 8 percent return that stocks are typically expected to generate annually. Like most international indices, the index takes into accountbut unlike the Dax - not the dividend distributions of its members.

    Almost three months ago, the AEX broke its old high, and the upward trend has not stopped since then: on Monday, the 25-stock index opened trading at 730 points. The earnings expectations of companies calculated by analysts have risen. According to ING's calculations, the chip machine manufacturer ASML alone contributed 40 points to the AEX increase, replacing the traditional old heavyweights Unilever and Shell in the AEX at the top. As the second big climber in the standard value index, the payment service provider Adyen is increasingly shaping the picture.

    Shell shares, on the other hand, have not yet recovered from the corona crisis, and the losses since the beginning of 2020 have not been made up for. To the astonishment of some, however, the sensational verdict against the group was not significantly reflected in the course. A month ago, a court at Shell's headquarters in The Hague ordered Europe's largest oil company to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels - net, offsetting climate-friendly steps. This goes much further than the goals Shell set for itself. The judges found that the foreseeable global warming would impair human rights, including the right to life. The group has announced an appointment - one possible reason that investors have so far not visibly turned their backs on it.

    The Amsterdam Stock Exchange itself, which is part of the cross-border exchange conglomerate Euronext, is benefiting from special factors this year.

    At the turn of the year, after the final completion of Brexit, the financial center London lost the right to trade in shares of EU companies.

    Amsterdam attracted a considerable part of the volume that was subsequently outsourced.

    Then there is the wave of Special Purpose Acquisition Vehicles (Spacs): shell companies that, as newcomers to the stock exchange, first collect capital and then look for a company acquisition for up to two years.

    The target company is then merged with the shell and finally brought to the stock exchange via the Spac.

    This avoids a more complex, conventional IPO.

    Spac center next to Frankfurt

    For example, the former Unicredit boss Jean Pierre Mustier, who brought his Spac Pegasus Europe public in Amsterdam and raised 500 million euros from investors, attracted a lot of attention.

    Former Commerzbank boss Martin Blessing fetched around 415 from the Dutch metropolis with his EFIC1 vehicle

    Million Euros.

    In 2008, more than a decade before the start of the current wave of Spac, German entrepreneurs had already put on such a stock market shell, which was supposed to invest in domestic medium-sized companies - and they also went public in Amsterdam.

    The stock exchange company is drumming powerfully, advertising with favorable regulatory requirements and the already developed market position at Spacs - which some investors apparently take away from it. Alongside Frankfurt, the square is considered to be the main European center for the new stock market jackets, while London seems to be lagging behind. "Amsterdam is now taking on the role of London," said Sven Baumann, head of German investment banking at the American bank Citi, recently. Last week, another Spac announced its debut: Crystal Peak Acquisition, which is backed by the British entrepreneur and author Michael Tobin, claims to have collected 150 million dollars.