Guide to the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a modern and beautiful country located in northwestern Europe. It was often plagued by flood in its early history; the sea would often encroach on the land. Dikes were built to remedy this situation. These dikes have helped reclaim the land and are now a tourist destination in itself.

Many people would associate the Netherlands with fresh tulips, old fashioned windmills, beautiful wooden shoes and bicycles. Often incorrectly referred to as Holland, which is in fact a province of the Netherlands, many tourists from all over the world visit this country to enjoy its culture and places.

The best time to visit the Netherlands is between May and October. It is during this time that day and night temperatures are ideal for touring. Visitors who want to enjoy the tulip season may opt to visit the country from April to May when the tulip season runs.

Entering the Netherlands has some requirements. You only need your passport if you intend to stay in the country for not more than 90 days if you are a citizen of Australia, Canada, the E.U., and the U.S. Citizens of any other country would require a visa which you could get at your nearest Dutch Embassy. Make sure to apply for a visa 1 month before your intended trip since it usually takes this long to have your visa approved.

Once you have entered the Netherlands there are a lot of things to do and places to discover. In Amsterdam there are a lot of museums to visit such as the Anne Frank House and the Rijkmuseum. It is also in this city that you could visit the numerous coffee shops that legally sell marijuana and hashish. The Red Light District is also a famous tourist destination in this city.

For the nature lovers, you could go to the city of Utrecht and visit the huge Hoge Veluwe National Park. This park has lots of trees and wildlife like red deer and wild boars. To top it off, there is a museum in the center of the park that has an impressive collection of artworks done by Van Gogh, Seurat, Mondrian and Picasso.

For the bicycle enthusiasts, proceed to Wadden Islands. Located in the northern part of the country, gorgeous beaches could be found here. Lanes exclusive for bicycles are also everywhere. You could cycle from grazing lands all the way to the sea and enjoy the fresh air and the peaceful scenery.

The traditional cuisine of the Dutch is hearty, heavy and meaty. For breakfast and lunch, expect the menu to be mainly variations of bread and cheese while fish and meat dishes make up dinner. After eating the local dishes, wash it all down with their world famous domestic beer, Heineken.

While touring the Netherlands taking the train to travel between different cities is the fastest and efficient way to travel. Once in the cities, buses are preferred or if you want to rent a car then make sure you have an international driver’s license. Biking is also a preferred mode of transportation since distances between cities is short and most streets have lanes exclusively for bikes.