What comes to your mind when you hear the word, “Holland”? For most people, tulips, bicycles, and Amsterdam’s canals come to mind first.
Officially, the Netherlands is bilingual, with Frisian and Dutch as its official languages. More than 60 percent of the population has no religion. The remaining are mostly Christian, but the Dutch are liberal in their thinking; they were the first to legalize same-sex marriage. The dominant sport in the country is football, followed by hockey and volleyball.
The Dutch love their bicycles so much that cyclists have the right of way over pedestrians, even in Amsterdam. Actually, there is no better way to enjoy and explore the country than by cycling.
Start your tour of the Netherlands by visiting Amsterdam, its largest financial, cultural, creative and attraction center. With about 7,000 registered historic buildings, Amsterdam has one of the most extensive historic city centers in Europe.
The famous Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank and her family hid during the Second World War, is also located in Amsterdam. At least a million people troop in every year to witness exhibition on the life of Anne Frank. It is a testament to the negative consequences of racial discrimination and serves as both a reminder and advocate for peaceful coexistence and tolerance.
If you are a lover of museums, then you should know that the Netherlands is home to some of the best museums in the world. Amsterdam’s Rijskomuseum is one of the most visited museums in Europe while its Van Gogh Museum which specializes in collections of the famous artist Vincent Van Goh, who is among the most famous and influential painters in the history of Western art showcases world-class collections.
Another reason to fall in love with the Netherlands is their numerous canals which are a great spot for relaxation, and if you are a lover of the theater, you can also visit the Royal Theatre Carré. You can also visit The Royal Palace, built in 1648 or take a detour and visit some of the historic churches in the world. Oude Kerk, which was built in 1306 or the NieuweKerk, built in the 15th century and is where the royal coronations and weddings take place.
The Hague, often referred to as the judicial capital of the world, houses the International Court of Justice. In Rotterdam, you will experience great architecture, good nightlife and visit the largest Port in Europe.
Dutch cuisine is not well known and is simple and straightforward. Breakfast is usually bread with cheese, while dinner consists of meat and potatoes. The cuisine is varied as it is shaped by the various locations of the regions. The location of the fertile north along the sea river give rise to the farming and fishing being the dominant occupation of the area. Wine is usually absent with meals, though beer, jenever, and brandewijn are popular there. The famous Heineken brand is a second rate there.
Shop for traditional souvenirs at the Albert Cuypmarkt street market, the largest street market in Netherlands with over 300 stalls. The Vondelpark, which is the largest and most popular park in Netherlands with over 10 million visitors each year, is surely one of Amsterdam’s most visited attractions. It is great for relaxing, having a picnic or simply enjoying the sun.