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Netherlands

Visa Requirements:

Schengen Visa

Languages Spoken:

Dutch, English, German

Currency Used:

Euro

General Information

The Netherlands, also known informally as Holland, is a country in Western Europe with a population of seventeen million. It is the main constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, alongside with three island territories in the Caribbean (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba). The European portion of the Netherlands exists out of twelve provinces and borders Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, sharing maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, the United Kingdom, and Germany. The five largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht (forming the Randstad megalopolis) and Eindhoven (leading the Brabantse Stedenrij). Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the Dutch seat of parliament and government. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and the world's largest outside East Asia.

In 2016, the Netherlands has maintained its number one position at the top of the annual Euro health consumer index (EHCI), which compares healthcare systems in Europe, scoring 916 of a maximum 1,000 points. The Netherlands has been in the top three countries in each report published since 2005. On 48 indicators such as patient rights and information, accessibility, prevention and outcomes, the Netherlands secured its top position among 37 European countries for the sixth year in a row. The Netherlands was ranked first in a study in 2009 comparing the health care systems of the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany and New Zealand.

The Netherlands has had many well-known painters. The 17th century, in which the Dutch Republic was prosperous, was the age of the "Dutch Masters", such as Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruisdael and many others. Famous Dutch painters of the 19th and 20th century were Vincent van Gogh and Piet Mondriaan. M. C. Escher is a well-known graphics artist. Willem de Kooning was born and trained in Rotterdam, although he is considered to have reached acclaim as an American artist.

Netherlands

Places To Go

Bordered by Belgium and Germany, the Netherlands (often called Holland) is known for its cultural heritage, its windmills bordering flat tulip fields and its capital Amsterdam. With 42,000km² it is a small country, but its 12 provinces are nonetheless very rich for touristic activities.

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is famous for its nightlife, house boats, red light district coffee shops and liberal lifestyle.

Similar to many other cities that sit over water such as Venice, Amsterdam has also a vibrant canal system. The pretty waterways are one of the best loved attractions in Amsterdam and you can explore the idyllic routes by taking a boat tour or a water taxi that lets you hop around a range of locations.If you don’t want to take to the water then you can still enjoy the canal sights with a leisurely stroll along the banks.

Zaanse Schans

Those who wish they could travel back in time and visit the Netherlands of the 17th and 18th centuries have come to the right place.

Zaanse Schans is located around 15 kilometers to the north of Amsterdam and is styled as an open-air museum where you can take a stroll around a traditional Dutch village and find out how ancient craftsmen would have worked.

Just some of the sights include a shipyard, a grocery store, a pewter factory, and a range of dainty green wooden houses.

You will also find some graceful windmills although out of the 600 that would have dotted the area in the days of old, only 5 now remain and can be visited by the public.These include an iconic saw mill as well as an oil mill and you will find fun live demonstrations like a clog making session.

Keukenhof

Keukenhof, also known as the Garden of Europe, is a riot of color with blooms of every hue as far as the eye can see.

Tulips are the signature flowers of this country and the Garden of Europe just outside of Lisse is the largest public garden anywhere in the world. Covering 70 acres of land, you will find gorgeous flower exhibitions as well as restaurants and a wide variety of flora including daffodils hyacinths, and crocuses.

Grote Kerk

Grote Kerk is found in The Hague and is a large church that is built from red brick in Gothic style.The original building here would have been built in the 13th century although it was razed to the ground in 1539 and rebuilt in the present structure.

The church has an illustrious history as the spot where many members of the Dutch royal family where baptized including King Willem-Alexander who had his christening here. Things to look out for at the church include the dominating bell tower which is the highest in Holland and contains 51 bells as well as the ornate wooden pulpit and the huge pipe organ.

Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is an ode to one of the greatest artists ever to have lived. In addition to that, the Van Gogh Museum is regularly voted one of the best art museums in the world, so art-lovers should make sure not to miss it off the itinerary.

An impressive 1.5 million visitors make their way here each year and the museum has the largest collection of Van Gogh pieces in the world. To that end you will find 200 beautiful paintings, 500 drawings, and 700 letters that give you a unique insight into the life of the artist.

The Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience in Amsterdam is the place to come if you want to learn all about how this famous beer evolved. The experience takes place in an old Heineken brewery and you can learn about the Heineken family as well as see the actual brewing process that is used to make the beer.

This starts from the kind of water used all the way through to the bottling process and you can also see classic examples of the iconic Heineken logo and see how it has changed over the years. As if that wasn’t enough, you can of course also sample this famous brew and end the trip with a tasting session.

Edam

Edam cheese is famous the world over for its red hued rind and signature round shape.Many people won’t realize however that Edam is actually not just the name of the cheese but also the place it comes from which is the pretty town of Edam.

The town is located on the water and dates back to the 12th century and has an array of cheese related sites to enjoy. Don’t be surprised if Edam cheese looks a little different here, as it is actually sold with a yellow rind rather than a red one. Some of the signature attractions for cheese lovers here include a large cheese market and a famous cheese-weighing hall.

Rotterdam

Rotterdam is the second biggest city in Holland, and offers more city dwellers are looking to find. Besides its vibrant night life, great cuisine, and fabulous shops, the Old Harbor is the oldest port in the Netherlands. Here you will find a huge number of attractions such as charming eateries and cafes as well as a selection of ancient sailing ships that give a nod to maritime history of this city.

One of the other iconic structures located on the harbor is Het Witte Huis or the White House which has the claim to fame of having been the first skyscraper in Europe.

Venustempel Sex Museum

Venustempel Sex Museum in Amsterdam has the claim to fame of having been the first sex museum in the world.The museum is located in a building that dates from the 17th century and has a wide display of sex related memorabilia.

Just some of this includes an array of erotic art work as well as photographs, sculptures, and other oddities like chastity belts. The aim of the museum is to tell the story of how sexuality has evolved over the years and is a quirky stop off on a trip to Amsterdam.

Mauritshuis

Mauritshuis, located in The Hague, is one of the premium art galleries in the Netherlands and is known for its vast collection of Dutch and Flemish paintings.
The building itself is a work of art and dates from the 17th century and is nestled between Hofvijver Lake and the parliament buildings.

Filled with over 800 works of art, this is one of the smaller museums in terms of size but it has some of the most iconic works in the world such as the Girl with a Pearl Earring which was created by Johannes Vermeer.

Netherlands

Climate

The predominant wind direction in the Netherlands is southwest, which causes a moderate maritime climate, with warm summers and cool winters, and typically high humidity. This is especially true close to the Dutch coastline, where the difference in temperature between summer and winter, as well as between day and night is noticeably smaller than it is in the southeast of the country.).

Ice days—maximum temperature below 0 °C (32 °F)—usually occur from December until February, with the occasional rare ice day prior to or after that period. Freezing days—minimum temperature below 0 °C (32 °F)—occur much more often, usually ranging from mid-November to late March, but not rarely measured as early as mid-October and as late as mid-May. If one chooses the height of measurement to be 10 cm (4 in) above ground instead of 150 cm (59 in), one may even find such temperatures in the middle of the summer. On average, snow can occur from November to April, but sometimes occurs in May or October too.

Warm days—maximum temperature above 20 °C (68 °F)—are usually found in April to October, but in some parts of the country these warm days can also occur in March, or even sometimes in November or February (usually not in De Bilt, however). Summer days—maximum temperature above 25 °C (77 °F)—are usually measured in De Bilt from May until September, tropical days—maximum temperature above 30 °C (86 °F)—are rare and usually occur only in June to August.

The number of sunshine hours is affected by the fact that because of the geographical latitude, the length of the days varies between barely eight hours in December and nearly 17 hours in June.

Netherlands

Safety Tips

The Netherlands are very safe country. Crimes rates are very low compared to southern European countries, and law is strictly enforced. It is ranked 16th on the ranking of world’s safest countries.

Pickpockets may sometimes be an issue in urban areas cities or at crowded events (see below on Amsterdam).
Prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, if the prostitute gives her consents (therefore pimping is illegal). Coffee shops sell some cannabis to customers over 18 year old. Hard drugs are still strictly enforced.

Recent terrorist attacks have happened in neighboring countries (France and Belgium);and while tourists should raise their level of caution, the police presence has been greatly increased in large cities to deter further attacks. While very few tourists have been victims of these attacks, the terrorist threat is reflected in the safety ranking.

112 is the national toll-free number for emergencies.

Risk Ratings

OVERALL RISK : LOW
The Netherlands are very safe country. They are ranked 16th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.

PICKPOCKETS RISK : MEDIUM
There is some pickpocket-related risk in the Netherlands. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.

MUGGING RISK : LOW
The Netherlands are an averagely safe country regarding the chances of being mugged or kidnapped. Be aware of dangerous zones by asking local advice.

SCAMS RISK : LOW
As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you in the Netherlands and Amsterdam. Be aware of “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage.

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Transports and taxis are generally very safe in the Netherlands.

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There are no natural hazards in the Netherlands.

TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
The Netherlands have not recently been targeted by terrorist attacks, but it is best to stay alert since other countries in Europe have been targeted.

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
The Netherlands are generally very safe for women travelers.