Although almost half of it was once underwater, the Netherlands is one of the most urbanized – and densely populated – nations on earth, with a huge range of places to visit packed into a relatively small area. This travel guide will walk you through this remarkable country – no more than the size of the US state of Maryland – it’s a largely man-made affair, around half of which lies at or below sea level. Its fertile, pancake-flat landscape is gridded with drainage ditches and canals, beneath huge open skies, while the country’s towns and villages are often pristine and unchanged places of gabled townhouses, pretty canals, and church spires. Despite the country’s diminutive dimensions, each town is often a profoundly separate place with its own distinct identity – indeed there’s perhaps nowhere else in the world where you can hear so many different accents, even dialects, in such a small area. In spring and summer, the bulb fields provide bold splashes of color, and in the west and north, the long coastline is marked by mile upon mile of a protective dune, backing onto wide stretches of perfect sandy beach.
Accessibility Level – High
Dutch (official language), Frisian is spoken in the northern province of Friesland. English, German and French are widely spoken
Babies, Kids, Teens, Adults, Seniors, Any Age
If you plan on visiting more than just a couple of Dutch museums or attractions, consider buying the Museum Pass (museumkaart.nl), which gives free entry to over 400 museums and galleries nationwide, or the I Amsterdam card, which covers over 70 museums, top attractions, and activities.
230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs with two round pins are standard
The Netherlands is a relatively safe place to travel. However, there is some street crime, especially in the more crowded cities, so if you go at night, it’s always better to be cautious. If you’re on a bike, make sure it is well locked up. Bike thefts are common.