A Visitor’s Guide To The Netherlands
The Netherlands is a country in Western Europe that gains its name because it is famous for its flat terrain, and while many people refer to the country as Holland, this name really only relates to two provinces, as opposed to the entire country. There are many parts of the country that are actually below sea level, with over half of the country’s territory below one meter above sea level. Agriculture plays an important role in the country’s economy, with a large percentage of the world’s bacon produced in the country, while international politics also plays a major role, with many of the world’s international institutions based in the Netherlands.
Generally traveling to the Netherlands is quite safe, although there are warnings that the country is a potential target for terrorist attack according to the US State Department. Visitors are advised to remain vigilant during their visit, and also to avoid any demonstrations which can be frequent occurrences in the country.
Top Sights To Enjoy In The Netherlands
Amsterdam – The historic capital of the Netherlands is famous for the canals that offer a great way around the city, while wonderful museums looking at the work of Rembrandt and Van Gogh are great attractions, while the night life of the city is also vibrant and exciting.
The Hague – Home to the Dutch Government, the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, this charming city is a blend of cosmopolitan modern city and the historic Binnenhof complex where many of the Dutch Government departments are based.
The Dutch Flower Fields Of Keukenhof – With millions of flowers produced commercially in this area every year, traveling through the fields is a colorful experience, while the beautiful parks of the town itself are equally impressive with an annual flower parade held in May.
The Fortified City Of Maastricht – Most famous for being the birthplace of the European Union, this lovely city was a great stronghold, with strong walls and defensive towers still standing strong today, while within the walls there are several historic buildings and churches.
Old And New Churches Of Delft – Building began on the old church of Delft in the thirteenth century, and the building is famous for a leaning tower which is seventy five meters high, while the New Church is a stunning sixteenth century building where many royal family members are buried.
Rotterdam – Having been decimated by German bombing during World War II, Rotterdam is a vibrant modern city with some excellent architecture and a range of museums including the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen which shows some of the best Dutch and international artworks.
Texel – Located off the north west coast of the Netherlands, Texel is a low lying island with a series of charming traditional villages, and several great beaches while at the northern tip is the nineteenth century Eierland Lighthouse which rises forty five meters above the sand dunes.
Efteling Theme Park – As the largest theme park in the country, Efteling offers rides ranging from small rides for younger children up to the adrenaline pumping ‘Python’ roller coaster and the ‘Piranha’ rafting ride, all in a quirky fantasy theme.
Schokland – Having once been an island, the land between Schokland and the mainland was reclaimed in 1942, and today visitors can explore this charming traditional town and the ruins of some of the older buildings that were damaged by the regular flooding.
Zaanse Schans – In the north west of the country, this area is home to the eight iconic windmills that have become an attractive tourist attraction in the Netherlands, along with a museum looking at the history of the area which dates back to the sixteenth century.
Where To Stay In The Netherlands
Lloyd Hotel – Enjoying a quiet location just a short trip on the tram from the city center, this beautiful hotel is set in its own gardens and offers spacious and luxurious rooms and suites decorated in a rustic style, along with a charming library that is a great place to relax.
Hotel Pax – This hotel is a great choice for those looking for a budget room in Amsterdam, with simple and comfortable rooms located in a perfect spot within walking distance of the main attractions of the city.
Hampshire Hotel Savoy Rotterdam – This attractive luxury hotel enjoys a great location for the city center, with large rooms and luxurious comfy beds, along with useful features such as the wireless internet access and a fitness center.
Hotel Amar – Balancing cost, location and features, this hotel is within walking distance of the city center and offers comfortable beds, free parking and attractive communal areas.
NH Maastricht – The stunning luxury bathrooms are among the standout features in this hotel with lovely deep baths, along with spacious airy rooms and access to leisure facilities including a hot tub, sauna and a steam room.
B and B De Hofnar – Within easy reach of the city center, this bed and breakfast offers a great base from which to explore the city, with clean and comfortable rooms at a good price and access to a games room and wireless internet.
Hotel Corona Hampshire Classic – The beautifully designed rooms and communal areas of this hotel make for a very comfortable stay, while the city center location is convenient for the main sights of the city with on site parking also available.
Staten Hotel – An ideal choice for those looking for good value accommodation in The Hague, this hotel is just a short distance away from the city center with great transport links, along with comfortable attractive rooms and a pleasant on site restaurant.
Much of the cuisine of the Netherlands is based around staples such as cheese and potatoes, while herring also plays a significant role in the cuisine of the coastal areas. One of the most popular dishes is Snert, which may not sound great but is a very tasty thick pea soup that is usually served with ham or bacon. Another traditional dish is Balkenbrij, which is a meatloaf containing several different cuts of meat and offal, that is accompanied by a butter gravy. In the west of the country Kibbeling is a popular fast food which is chunks of white fish that have been deep fried in batter and often served with potatoes.
Currency And Visa
The Netherlands is one of the most important countries in European relations, and is one of the members of the Schengen Agreement, meaning that visitors coming to these countries from the United States will only need a visa if they are staying for over three months. The Dutch were also among the first group of countries to adopt the Euro, which will usually exchange with the US Dollar for around 1.37 Dollars per Euro.
The capital of the Netherlands is one of the most beautiful and interesting places to visit in the world, and this article is a great look at the beautiful city and the different aspects that make it such a special place to visit.