The Netherlands (or Holland) is one country that arouses the travelers' curiosity: its image is soon associated with visual icons such as windmills, clogs, and tulips; figures such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Anne Frank; or behavioral issues, such as drug tolerance and prostitution, cycling as a means of transportation, and the supremacy of individual freedom and human rights all of these you can see and experience yourself on holidays in Holland.
The Netherlands has social, political and geographical peculiarities that differentiate it from the rest of the continent. Quite flat, half of its territory is below sea level and is the most densely populated country on the European continent, with a greater concentration in the region between Rotterdam and Amsterdam. If the former is home to one of the most important and historic ports, the second, capital, is a beauty and controversy that singles it out in the world, being one of the most significant reasons for a trip to Europe.
The Netherlands has a temperate maritime climate and therefore has mild winters and not too hot summers. A side effect of the coastal climate is that it can rain all year round and this is something to consider. There is not a rainy season or extended dry periods. So much so, the Dutch think they live in a wet country. Unfortunately, this is true.
For the more adventurous, there is nothing like hiring a bike and enjoying the wonders of this country on two wheels on Holland holidays. For those who want to spend some time with less travel stress, the great place to relax is the Dutch capital, to enjoy the city with the most liberal atmosphere in the world, regardless of whether you go to a coffee shop serving marijuana as part of the menu or not. Canals, museums (Van Gogh and Anne Frank are not to be missed), its squares and people can provide for an unforgettable trip. For other reasons, your days can also be unforgettable - and really enjoyable. Here people are not concerned about the moral issue of drugs, but the fact is many people are forced to leave their programmed route and end up getting acquainted with the hospitals of Amsterdam. Even more experienced people or lighter drugs or small amounts can cause problems - remember, you never know exactly what you are buying. Just in case, if you want to face a fact that cannot be denied here, drugs are part of Amsterdam’s culture, and you should be aware of the risks.
For planning your holidays to Holland of course your starting point should be Amsterdam and What's On In Amsterdam magazine (www.iamsterdam.com/en/whats-on) is published monthly and found at VVV stations, for a small fee, or free at hotels and restaurants. The monthly journal with free distribution is easy to understand.
Tickets: In Amsterdam, the main ticket booking agency for cultural activities is the AUB (Amsterdam Uitburo - www.amsterdamsuitburo.nl). VVV and Tourist Information Centers can also sell tickets for some attractions.
Theaters: Among the many theaters in Amsterdam are the Bellevue Theater, Stadsschouwburg and Felix Meritis. De Brakke Grond, as well as other theaters located on Nes Street, features experimental theater shows. The Koninklijk Theater Carré exhibits international musicals. Dance is an important part of Holland's cultural life.
Dance and Classical music: The Muziektheater in Amsterdam is home to the Netherlands National Ballet, while experimental dance shows can be seen at De Meervaart and Stadsschouwburg. The Muziektheater also hosts the National Opera Company. The center of classical music in Amsterdam is the Concertgebouw, home of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Jazz, Pop, and Rock: Holland has many jazz clubs. In Amsterdam, it is worth to visit the famous Bimhuis, and the Muziekgebouw can't IJ and the Alto Jazz Café. Every summer in The Hague, the North Sea Jazz Festival is held, attracting big names from the music industry. Another attraction on holidays to Holland is the Rotterdam Dizzy. In Amsterdam, rock and pop are synonymous with two houses, which offer a varied program: Paradiso and De Melkweg. Major bands play at the Ahoy stadiums in Rotterdam and Vredenburg in Utrecht.
Many Amsterdam companies offer canal tours. In addition to the day trips, there are night cruises where you can stop in a pub or enjoy a cheese board with wine or a romantic dinner. Lovers (www.lovers.nl) is reasonably priced, while P.Kooij (www.rederijkooij.nl) is much more expensive.
Cycling: It is said that the Netherlands has more bicycles than locals. A topography of endless plains and thousands of miles of cycle trails makes cycling a popular activity among people of all ages, even in cities. Between April and October, Yellow Bike (www.yellowbike.nl) organizes excursions on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Several foreign companies promote tours of a week or more across the country. Cycletours Holland (www.cycletours.nl) offers "bike and boat" itineraries in the regions of greatest interest. Those who prefer to travel on their own can rent bicycles in stores across the country. The VVV provides detailed maps of the cycle routes.
In Amsterdam on holidays to Holland, you will find all kinds of hotels, from luxurious five-star to cheap hostels. Between the two extremes, there are many B & B's (bed & breakfast) installed in beautiful houses, where the interiors have been preserved in period style. The hotel standard in the Netherlands is high, and prices are comparable to those in other Western European countries.
IHH Hostels are the Dutch version of HI, keeping the same style: clean, large, modern, and full of standards and little personal. They usually accept reservations and do not give chances to those who do not.
The Netherlands has a temperate climate. Winter is cold, and spring and autumn are also quite cool and you need to be prepared for this. July and August are the hottest months, but the wind blowing from the North Sea makes the temperature seem lower. Spring is the driest season and perhaps the best for Netherlands holidays, although it rains all year round. Heavy rains occur in the fall, especially in November.
KLM offers direct flights to Amsterdam, lasting about 12 hours from the US. Lufthansa, British Airways, Air France, Iberia, and TAP have flight options with connections in Frankfurt, London, Paris, Madrid, and Lisbon. The reasonable way to get from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to the city center is by train from the airport. The trains leave for Centraal Station seven times every hour, between 5.40am and 1am and after this time, at one hour intervals. The journey takes 20 minutes. The Schiphol Airport station is also connected to other cities in the Netherlands.
Train: International railways offer a fast and efficient journey between Amsterdam and many European cities. The high-speed Thalys trains take two and a half hours from Centraal Station to Brussels and just over four hours to Paris. The Dutch rail system, operated by Nederlandse Spoorwegen (www.ns.nl), covers an extensive network and is one of the most modern and efficient in Europe. OVR (Openbaar Vervoer Reisinformatie) provides information on train travel and special fares but does not issue tickets, which you buy at the box office. If you want to travel to another country, visit the agency of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen International, located at Centraal Station in Amsterdam.
The Netherlands is a country that has increased its area by reclaiming it from the Atlantic Ocean. Dams and drainage systems have enabled the Dutch to live below sea level, in a territory without hills or mountains. Absolute plains, it is a paradise for cyclists on holidays in Holland. However, since everything is not perfect, the wind can be worse than on any hill. For less adventurous transports, the road and rail system are exquisite, which is due to three reasons: the economic stability of the country, the small size of the territory and with few accidents.
Many of the Dutch tourist emblems you only see traveling in the interior, such as windmills, tulip fields, cows grazing and cacao farmers. Others, you see only in the capital, such as the open (though restrictive) use of marijuana and hashish. In fact, Amsterdam is the obligatory stop, and it concentrates the vast majority of travelers in the Netherlands. Anyone who wants to explore the country on Netherlands holidays should not miss smaller places built on medieval wealth and beautiful canals such as Delft, Haarlem or Leiden, important port cities such as Rotterdam and The Hague (Den Haag), or historic cities such as Maastricht.
One of the icons of Holland is the tulip, and you can find them, along with many other flowers, in the Keukenhof Park. Enjoy and also visit Kinderdijk, with its famous windmills. Dutch people have often chosen little Valkenburg as the prettiest town, so if you want more romance and a bit more of the country, it's a good choice.
Discover all the Netherlands have to offer with Booked.net on Holland holidays.