My favourite place: Amsterdam, Netherlands

The latest in our historical holiday series sees Mark Bostridge explore a city famed for its art, commerce and liberal attitudes

Bikes on a canal in Amsterdam and the Basilica of Saint Nicholas church in the background. (Photo by maydays via Getty Images)

This article was first published in the April 2018 issue of BBC History Magazine

Before visiting Amsterdam for the first time, some 20 years ago, I purchased a guidebook and was briefly taken in by the banal tourist description of the city as ‘the Venice of the North’. Both destinations are indeed waterborne. Both were built on bog and marshland reclaimed from the sea. But there, as any visitor will quickly discover, the comparison ends.

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