A recent article appearing in the travel section of Stars and Stripes referred to Dresden as "Florence on the Elbe." I've been mentally collecting references of this type for some time now, so I was pleased to have another one to add to my list.
You may have noticed that nicknames linking one European city to a more famous cousin abound. They range from the obvious -- anyplace that ties itself to Venice probably boasts of a canal or two- to the far-fetched. I thought it could be an interesting exercise to see what labels are applied to places we know and love and those we've never heard of.
Venice -- many cities or neighborhoods within them bear nicknames suggesting similarities to Italy's watery gem. St. Petersburg, Russia, was coined "Venice of the North" by Goethe. But it's not the only one on the block. The title can also refer to Hamburg, Stralsund or Friedrichstadt in Germany; Stockholm, or Brugge, Belgium. "Klein Venedig" is an old fisherman's settlement along the Regnitz river in Bamberg, Germany, while "Venice of Brandenburg" refers to waterways found in the Spree Forest, some 60 miles southeast of Berlin. If you're looking for the Bavarian Venice, that would be Passau. Wroclaw is sometimes billed as "The Venice of Poland." A section of Colmar, France is known as "La Petite Venise."