the Netherlands

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Visit the Netherlands: 12 good reasons to ‘Go Dutch’

The Netherlands conjures up images of bicycles, tulips, and windmills, but there is so much more to this dynamic country.

the Netherlands

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From the bustling cultural capital of Amsterdam to the pretty city of Delft, famous for its eponymous blue pottery, the Netherlands oozes culture and charm.

So, while we can’t jump on a plane and head to Holland just yet, we’ll bring the tulips and windmills to you with 12 reasons why you should plan a trip there once the lockdown is lifted.

Twelve reasons you should visit the Netherlands

Bicycles, bicycles everywhere

Holland is the ultimate cycling country and there are more bicycles in some of its cities than people.

The country’s flat landscape is crisscrossed with bicycle paths, allowing you to explore off-the-beaten paths places that cars may not get to. Add to that excellent roads and road safety, a mild climate, and spectacular scenery, the best (and healthiest) way to explore is on two wheels.

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Beautiful beaches in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is home to many beautiful beaches that are great for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying some fun in the sun with the family. Dotted with strandpaviljoens (Dutch for beach pavilions), beaches like Zandvoort aan Zee, Scheveningen, and Egmond am Zee are ideal for spending a day at the seaside.  

Amazing Amsterdam

Undoubtedly, the gem in Holland’s crown, Amsterdam is a vibrant, energetic city with a wealth of things to see and do.

Networked with narrow canals that are lined with pretty buildings, the picturesque city famously boasts more museums and theatres per capita than any other city in the world, including the world-famous Van Gogh, Rijksmuseum, and Stedelijk Museums. It also has fantastic shopping, restaurants, and bars, and a nightlife second to none.

Supercool Rotterdam

Often overshadowed by Amsterdam, Rotterdam is an ultra-cool city with some amazing architecture. After being bombed and almost entirely destroyed during the Second World War, the city was rebuilt from scratch and boasts some spectacular buildings, museums, and galleries. Head up the magnificent Euromast for breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the sea and visit the modern Cube Houses and the iconic Erasmus Bridge.

Picture-book villages

The Netherlands countryside is dotted with charming little villages that look as if they are straight out of a children’s book. Villages such as the fortified town of Naarden, the traditional fishing village Urk, and the car-free Giethoorn, also known as the “Venice of Holland” are surrounded by rolling fields of bright tulips, shimmery canals, and statuesque windmills, and are well worth visiting for their picturesque beauty.

Cheese, glorious cheese

The creamy golden delicacies known as Gouda and Edam originated in the Netherlands and are still produced at farms throughout the country. The Dutch produce 650 million kilos of cheese per year and several towns have their very own cheese markets where you can sample and buy some of the world’s finest Edam and Gouda cheeses.

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Wonderful windmills

Synonymous with Holland, windmills are a much-loved icon of the country. The pretty landmarks are not just for show — they are used to drain the swampy marshlands known as the polders and some are still used for grinding grain. Thousands of these beautiful machines are dotted around the Netherlands and are protected as national monuments.

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The Netherlands’ Masters of art

The Netherlands has produced an impressive number of world-leading artists throughout history such as Dutch Masters like Vincent Van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Pieter Breughel, and Hieronimus Bosch, as well as contemporary artists like Piet Mondriaan, Frans Hals, and Karel Appel.

There are excellent museums in every city where you can admire all kinds of Dutch art, such as the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, and the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem.

Stroopwafels and other Dutch delights

A visit to the Netherlands wouldn’t be complete without snacking on stroopwafels. These waffles made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel-like syrup in the middle are the Dutch’s most famous snack and popular among locals and tourists alike.

Other traditional Dutch delights to try include poffertjes (small, round, and puffy Dutch pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour), bitterballen (deep-fried, bread-crumbed, meat-filled balls), and kroketten (croquettes filled with meat ragout).

Walking and hiking haven

Holland is a walker’s heaven with hundreds of hiking paths and trails around the country. Soak up the beauty of the landscapes by walking on one of the many paths that cater to all levels.

If you really want a challenge, the Pieterpad is the longest and most Dutch famous walking trail at 498km long, extending from Pieterburen in Groningen to the top of the Sint Pietersberg (Mount Saint Peter) in Limburg.

Tulips galore

Another famous icon of The Netherlands, tulips, and other flowers have been cultivated by the Dutch for centuries and are grown on floriculture farms throughout the hinterland. Bursting into full bloom around mid-May, tulips can be seen in every colour at Amsterdam’s iconic floating flower market, de Bloemenmarkt. The market has been around since the 1800s and features an expansive selection of flowers from meticulously crafted bouquets to ready-to-travel tulip bulbs.

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A rocking music scene in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has a prominent spot on the global music scene and hosts thousands of concerts, gigs, and huge festivals every year. Head to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht to soak up excellent local and international music at world-renowned venues like Paradiso, WORM, and Tivoli Vredenburg.

Also read: Ciao, Italy: It’s time to do some lockdown armchair travelling