Maarten Schäfer

I’m cycling through Amsterdam’s historic centre, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an enduring testimony to the city’s rich history. During the Golden Age in the 17th century, Amsterdam’s port was at the centre of a global trade network, with ships sailing to Asia, Africa, the Americas, and merchants trading goods across Europe.

Amsterdam - In the footsteps of the great explorers Amsterdam – In the footsteps of the great explorers – Around the World in 80 Brands

I pass in front of Paradiso, the iconic rock music venue where bands like The Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, The Cure and Nirvana performed, but also more recently Lenny Kravitz and Amy Winehouse. Along with the nearby Milky Way, it became synonymous with the hippie counterculture and the rock music of the ‘70s.

I turn right and then left and cycle along the Prinsengracht, one of the main canals, where warehouses built in the 17th century are still in good shape. Much has changed since then: in those days merchants…

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