I've got a 400d, have had the 300d, have a 18 - 35mm, and a 70-300mm zoom lens, I love them both. My one suggestion would be to ensure that you buy a uv filter that should live PERMANENTLY on your lenses (one per lens) this allows any scratches to be done to this and not your actual lens. Okay, another suggestion would be to buy several batteries even if they are generic brand type as you can never have too many batteries. I have three and even that doesnt last me a whole event sometimes.
I use a canon 350 and I love it. But I haven't taken many pics with in a a year or so and I miss that. I'd do some research between Nikon and Canon but also go to the store to see how they both feel in your hands, that's key. The lenses will cost you all of your disposable income if you let it but I got most of my lenses from Ebay brand new for much less.
I've got a Canon EOS 450D, and it is very pretty indeed. I chose Canon instead Nikon as i had previously used a Canon SLR, so it was more intuitive for me.
I'd suggest you suss out both Nikon and Canon, you should find a preference for one or the other, both make great cameras, and are continually releasing better lenses. Make sure you try them out in store!
Other than that, the safe bet is the more you can spend, the better the camera, but if you aren't working as a professional photographer then i wouldn't recommend anything thats more than $2500AU (about 1250 euros i think?) just because most of the features would be unnecessary.
I'd love to give you advice, especially in return for the great CSS journals you make available to all of us here at DA... I used to sell D-SLR's so I am very very knowledgeable about them... I'm also what one would call a "gear head"... send me a note if you would like... I'm like a walking, talking DPReview... lol...
Canon from me. A little expensive, but damn worth it. I got a 350D second hand from a friend and never looked back. The cameras have a weird notation - they're all the EOS series, and the model number ends in a D. The fewer digits before the model, the more professional (and expensive) it is. For example, their entry level is the EOS 1000D, while their best DSLR is the EOS 5Ds MkIII. I'd say a good starting point (cash providing) would be the XXXD series - the most recent of which is the 450D, the updated version of my 350D, in the same series. Good luck.
I own a Nikon D40x and I am enjoying it tremendously. I own two lenses, the default 18-55mm and the 55-200mm and they are both marvelous. I'm not all that knowledgeable with camera equipment or whatnot but I'd definitely recommend it.