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 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.
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, 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 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 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 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, 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.