The Netherlands, formally known as tulip country, or the flat country, is a beautiful travelling destination in the European Union, with a population of 18.1 million and a land surface of 41,528 square kilometers.
Metrics aside, the Netherlands boasts its colorful and vivid tulip fields, its peculiar canals, one of the most revered coast lines in the world and in Northern Europe together with its sophisticated and cosmopolite cities.
If you’re an art and culture buff, the Netherlands will feel like home, as you’ll be able to discover and explore the birth place of Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, Mondrian and many, many other big names.
The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, having a king for the head of state, and that goes back hundreds of years ago. The consequence is that many of its big cities are dominated and enriched by majestic palaces, the likes of Amsterdam, the main city and Hague, the capital city.
Amsterdam is veritable mecca for youngsters from all over the world, being a very romantic city, very well known for its ubiquitous bikes, the step gabled houses, the luring red light district and “purple haze” coffee shops, where you can sample forbidden (in other parts of the world) pleasures.
Also, Amsterdam is bisected by a mind boggling network of waterways, of which many are spanned by awesome latticed bridges.
In the south part of the Netherlands you’ll find Rotterdam, a historic port city now heavy industrialized, where you can also enjoy two fundamentally opposite things: some of the best museums in the country and the city’s recently discovered affinity for hip hop.
In Maastricht, together with the resented Limbourg region you’ll find which is called by many as being arguably the best bookshop in the world, and I am referring to the Selexyz Dominicanen. The city itself has that sort of delicate beauty and it’s filled with churches and also traversed by a mighty river.
The coast of Netherlands can be described as featuring the almost stereotypical Dutch landscape, i.e. endless fields of tulips dotted with windmills and dairy farms which are the engine for the country’s world renowned wheels of cheese. The Dutch countryside is abundant in charming little villages and towns, the likes of Haarlem, Edam (here you can find a kick-ass cheese, Edam cheese that is) or Leiden, which are basically unchanged since the medieval period.
Zeeland is called by the locals the Caribbean of the Netherlands, a 400 miles stretch of beautiful sandy beaches, being the shiniest part of the country obviously and the favorite choice for the locals to spend their summer vacation. If the weather is not so great, you can always go cycling or explore the local museums. It’s a win-win situation.
But the most interesting place to visit while in the Netherlands is definitely Amsterdam, the country’s emblematic capital which oozes with culture, romance and kicks. You can take your best half in a candle lit boat cruise along the city’s wonderful canals, and if you have a vivid imagination, you can think you’re in Venice, as you pass by the narrow fronted buildings along the canal, which date way back from the city’s glorious moments when it was the world’s trading centre. Also, Amsterdam is the place to be if you want to admire the original painting of the famous Dutch masters which are available at Rijksmuseum.
Amsterdam Arena is home for Ajax Amsterdam, the famous football team and while in Amsterdam, maybe you can enjoy a football game here or at SV’s Philips Stadion in Eindhoven, or, why not, even at De Kuip, in Rotterdam. Football is the national sport in the Netherlands, together with biking and eating all sorts of cheeses.
And speaking of cheese, don’t forget to enjoy the awesome spectacle of Holland’s cheese markets. The best ones are in the town of Edam and Waagplein, in Alkamaar.
As per Visa requirements, don’t worry, the Netherlands is a member of the European Union and it also signed the Schengen treaty. Getting a Visa for Holland is easy.