Travelling through the
Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is known for many things: tulips, stroopwafels, unapologetically direct communication and bicycles – hordes of them, everywhere! More than 60% of the population is living 5 meter below sea level, yet somehow they are the 6th happiest country in the world. Traveling around the Netherlands is something else.

At the very top of Western Europe, just below Scandinavia lies the Netherlands. A kingdom whose territory is in fact submerged for one third under water. Thanks to an ingenious system of pumps, dams, dikes and sand dunes the land was reclaimed over the years and is now home to roughly 17 million inhabitants.

The Netherlands has cultivated a strong image as a beacon of liberalism and tollerance. It was in fact one of the first countries to legalize LGBT marriages (in 2001) and the personal use of recreational drugs has been decriminalised (as is clear from the abundance of coffeeshops dotted around the country).

In the streets you will hear Dutch spoken, and the population will refer to themselves as being “Dutch”. One’s mind is spoken clearly, which to a non-native might come across as a bit rude. Fear not, no offense was meant this is simply a cultural quirk.

Holland vs. Netherlands

There are 12 provinces in the Netherlands two of which are respectively North – and South Holland. Netherlands therefore is not Holland, though it is often refered to as such colloquially both by locals and tourists. Within the provinces of North- and South-Holland lie the three largest cities of the Netherlands: Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague.

Travel through Netherlands

Traveling in the Netherlands

Travel in the Netherlands is relatively easy thanks to the well developed highways and the small size of the territory. From the very northern part of the country (Friesland or the Frisian Islands) to the capital Amsterdam takes around 1h44 minutes by car, add another two hours on to that and you are already at the border with Belgium.

Public transport covers the majority of the country, it is worthy to note that trains tend to run late. Amsterdam is easily reachable from France (Paris) or Belgium (Brussels, Antwerp) via high-speed train (Thalys).

There are a few airports in the Netherlands: Amsterdam Schiphol, Maastricht, Rotterdam, Groningen, and Eindhoven. The first being the largest of the country. Direct high speed trains run between Belgium and Amsterdam Schiphol.

 

Tulip fields in the Netherlands

One of the things Netherlands is famous for are it’s flowers, in particular the beautiful array of tulips. Fields of tulips grow in abundance throughout the Netherlands during late spring (End of March to mid-May) creating seas of bright multicolored patches as far as the eye can see.

The tulip fields around Lisse (South-Holland province) have become quite a sensation these last years, with flocks of tourists and hungry photographers decending down in droves. Lesser known are the tulip fields in West-Friesland and Noordwijkerhout (near Leiden).

Places to visit in the Netherlands

Leiden Netherlands

LEIDEN

Leeuwarden Netherlands

FRIESLAND

Frisian Islands Ameland

FRISIAN ISLANDS

Day trips from Amsterdam

INSPO:
DAY TRIPS FROM AMSTERDAM

Key facts about the Netherlands

Capital

Amsterdam

Main Languages

Dutch, West Frisian

Population

17.44 million

Currency

Euro (€)

Main religion

Catholic

Time Zone

UTC+1 / UTC+2

Plugs types

C, E

Driving

Right side of the road

Emergency Number

112

 Practical information for visiting the Netherlands

HOW TO GET THERE

Fly: Amsterdam Schiphol, Eindhoven, Rotterdam, Groningen, Maastricht.

Train: Take the high speed train from France or Belgium.

ACCOMODATIONS

Find a list of comfortable accomodations ranging from local guesthouses to luxury hotels.

BUDGET

Average Daily Budget: $85
Meals $20 a person; hotel accomodations $35- $100; activities (museums) $30

WHEN TO GO

Spring (Mid April – Mid May)
is the best time to visit the flower fields dotted around the country. This season does tend to get a fair amount of rain!

VISA REQUIREMENTS

Depending on the country of origin visitors can stay for up to 90 days; costs depending on the country of origin

TOURS & ACTIVITIES

Romantic cruises on the canals, tasting tours with locals, bike tours or a guided tour through the tulip fields, there is plenty to do.

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Blogposts on the Netherlands


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