City Comparisons

I’ve long been fascinated by the fact that places are sometimes referred to as “the something of something else” (for example Montreal is the Paris of Canda).

I’m not sure why. Possibly because it strikes me as really stupid and a little derogatory – that a place is only important in it’s relation to something else or we can boil a place down to one or two characteristics. Maybe it’s because of how tenuous some of the comparisons are – Newport is the Welsh seattle anyone? Perhaps it’s because it strikes me as incredibly lazy journalism of the “band a + band b = band c” type. Probably it’s just because it strikes me as a little odd.

For whatever reason, I have developed a love for these stupid comparisons and began collecting them. And now, with a little help from my friends, I have a biased and completely incomplete list of them. These are all genuine. Google them.

In fact if you want to find more just think of

a) a famous place

b) a direction, country or landmass

type them into google and Bob’s your relative of choice.



17th Century Amsterdam = The California of the East

Why: Place for free thinking; vaguely “cool


19th Century  St Etienne = The Birmingham of France

Why: Grew rapidly with coal and iron, apparently.


1930s Shanghai = The Liverpool of the East

Why: Big ol’ port


1990s Newport = The Welsh Seattle

Why: Good bands; had scene

Bangalore = The Silicon Valley of India

Why: Has lots of people answering phones.


Brighton = London on Sea

Why: Full of people who work in London


Bude, Cornwall = Brighton of the West

Why: Seaside town; probably “cool”


Cisely, Alaska = The Paris of the North

Why: Full of free thinkers (note: this place is not real)


Dunedin = The Edinburgh of the South

Why: It was formed by Scottish settlers who named it after Edinburgh.


Hebden Bridge = Brighton of Yorkshire

Why: Large gay population; vaguely “cool”


Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) = The Paris of East

Why: Has culture; speak French


Johannesburg = The New York of Africa

Why: Has sky scrapers; is big.


Leeds = Knightsbridge of the North

Why: Has a Harvey Nichols


Liverpool = The Barcelona of the North

Why: Was European Capital of Culture, wanted to be more cultural


Many, Many cities  = The Venice of the East

Why: Have canals; are east of Venice


Montreal = The Paris of Canada

Why: Speak French; is in Canada.


New York = Modern Day Sodom and Gomorrah

Why: Lax morals


Saint Petersburg, Amsterdam, Bruges, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Manchester = The Venice of the North

Why: Have canals; are north of Venice


Shanghai = The New York of China

Why: Important commercial centre, but in China


Sheffield  = The Rome of the North

Why: Built on seven hills

Sydney = The London of the South Seas

Why: Commercial centre that speaks English.


2 Comments on “City Comparisons”

  1. Emlyn says:

    Did you forget the classic English Riviera on purpose?

    • Nope, we were just to dumb to mention it

      Torbay = The English Rivieira

      “Tourist authorities call it the “English Riviera” on account of its beaches and mild climate”, says Wikipedia, “and it’s in England” I add.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s