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Tulips, clogs and bicycles. The capital of the Netherlands evokes a range of chichés. However, the flower-embellished waterside of this attractive city tells quite a different story. Canal boats bob on the water, old fashioned lampposts guard the streets, decorated bridges light up with round, sunburnt bulbs in the evening. Admiring watery reflections in the canals, or sipping beer in a cosy, antique pub, there is plenty to do in this compact and friendly city.
Many of the houses in Amsterdam have what we shall nickname, ‘the Tower of Pisa syndrome'. As these buildings were essentially built on stilt-like poles, over time the foundations have moved. This has left angular, crooked homes sitting along the waterways, and the results are charming. Look for the strange hooks on the rooftops which act as pulleys: without them these skinny structures would be unfurnished due to lack of space in the cramped stairwells.
A road trip to Rotterdam transports you to the flip side of Holland's architecture. Most of the city was decimated in the Second World War; rebuilt from the ashes, its architecture is wildly contemporary. With myriad modern structures, you can't escape the eye-catching design in Rotterdam. From the swan-like Erasmus Bridge to the angular Centraal Station, revolutionary ideas come to life here.
Glistening, silver skyscrapers grace the skyline and edgy, mustard-coloured cube houses provide a cutting-edge haven for Rotterdam's residents. Luckily, there are a few evocative buildings reminiscent of Rotterdam's past scattered between the forward-thinking constructions: a fine example being The Hotel New York. The most striking view of all in this selection of architectural delights is the Rotterdam Market Hall - be sure to check it out.