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.
Full-day Tour, Overnight Tour
Accessibility Level – High
Flights & Accommodations
Rotterdam is the home to the largest port in the world, lying at the heart of a maze of rivers and artificial waterways that form the rivers Rijn and Maas.
Netherlands’ capital is known for its artistic heritage, Golden Age architecture, museums, iconic canals, lively food scene, nightlife, an eye-opening Red Light District, bustling streets, markets, and bikes everywhere.
The Hague (Den Haag), Netherlands
The Hague has many monuments, trendy hotels, art museums, high-end shopping, and a great beach. It also serves as a political center, including Holland’s government, the King’s office, and the U.N.’s International Court of Justice.
Dutch (official language), Frisian is spoken in the northern province of Friesland. English, German and French are widely spoken
230 volts AC, 50Hz. Plugs with two round pins are standard
Recommended Age Groups
Babies, Kids, Teens, Adults, Seniors, Any Age
See details per each location, but if you plan on going to many attractions, look for cards that cover many attractions, which can save you a lot of money. For example, if you plan on visiting more than just a couple of Dutch museums, consider buying the Museum Pass (museumkaart.nl), which gives free entry to over 400 museums and galleries nationwide.
Reasons to visit Netherlands Travel Guide
There are many reasons to visit The Netherlands. Here are some I love.
Art & Architecture
The Netherlands has an impressive artistic legacy, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, and Piet Mondrian. You can enjoy top art museums such as Den Haag, Rotterdam, and Haarlem.
Bikes are everywhere
With fabulously pancake-flat landscapes and roads, riding a bike is one of Dutch life’s greatest pleasures. Locals practically live on their bicycles. Try to join them for parts of your trip. Bike-rental outlets are everywhere, and the country is crisscrossed with over 30,000km of cycling paths.
The Netherlands is a beautiful country, and it is perfect for family vacations. With plenty of activities to do and family-friendly hotels and vacation villages, this country is a must-visit for family traveling! There is no shortage of fun activities for kids of all ages, from adventure parks to museums. And there are plenty of options for parents who want to spend some well-deserved relaxation time. Dutch people have a reputation for being laid-back and easygoing, making it an even more attractive destination for families on vacation.
Socializing in the Cafe’s
When the Dutch say cafe, they mean a pub, and you can find them everywhere. Duch loves the good life and loves socializing. So join them, find a place you like, overlooking the beach, the canal, or simply sitting in the terraces and enjoying the atmosphere.
The Netherlands enjoys a pancake-flat landscape, with green fields everywhere you look. More than a quarter of the country is below sea level. About 20% of the land has been reclaimed from the sea. Since the 13th century, windmills operated by the constant winds from the North Sea. They were primarily used for pumping water out of the lowlands and back into the rivers beyond the dikes. The windmills were also used for milling flour, sawing wood, and other uses. About two-thirds of the land is devoted to agriculture. Between March and May, you’ll find that much of the land is used to grow beautiful colorful fields of flowers (tulips, crocuses, daffodils, hyacinths).
Frequently Asked Questions
Although you can easily manage talking English, it’s always nice to know few local words:
- Beer = Bier
- Closed = Gesloten
- Danger = Gevaar
- Do you speak English? = Spreekt u Engels?
- Doctor = Dokter
- Entrance = Ingang
- Exit = Uitgang
- Goodbye = Tot ziens
- Hello = Hallo
- Hotel = Hotel
- How much does it cost? = Hoeveel kost het?
- Menu = Menu
- No = Nee
- Open = Geopend
- Please = Alstublieft
- Restaurant = Restaurant
- Thank you = Dank u wel
- Toilets = Toiletten / WC
- Where is …? = Waar is …?
- Yes = Ja
The Netherland offers different types of trip, including one which is pretty uniq, canal traveling.
You can go camping,hostels, hotels, villages, B&B/Pensions, or rent a boat and travel the country via the canals.
The Netherlands has a variety of eating options that will suit all budgets and tastes.
- Cafes are everywhere, offering sweets and tasty sandwiches.
- Restaurants – You’ll find restaurants with different cuisines usually offering super fresh local ingredients, from homemade food to some of the world’s best fine dining restaurants.
- Supermarkets/Markets – if you like your own cooking, are on a budget, or have a kitchen in your room, shop in supermarkets, or buy fresh foods in the local markets.
- Fast-Food / Takeaway – you’ll find different fast-food chain stores in all major centers and along highways. If you’re looking for a cheap and tasty fast food meal, as in any other country, look to where the locals get their snacks and light meals. A popular street food snack is Frites (hot chips with mayonnaise), which you’ll find stands selling them everywhere. If you’re looking for a dessert, Poffertjes is one of the most famous Dutch dishes. Poffertjes are small pancakes, baked in an iron skillet and traditionally served with melted butter and dusted with icing sugar.
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.
Note that drinking and driving is treated harshly.
Although you’re allowed to be in possession of cannabis for personal use, you’re a tourist, so stay out of problems and stick to the coffee shops.
Regular opening hours are:
- Monday to Friday 8.30/9 am to 5.30/6 pm, and Saturday 8.30/9 am to 4/5 pm. Many places open late on Thursday or Friday evenings. Many small businesses enjoy the weekend and stay closed on Monday mornings until noon.
- On Sunday, more and more stores are open between noon and 5 pm.
- Restaurants open for dinner from about 6 or 7 pm, and though many close as early as 9.30 pm, a few stay open past 11 pm.
- Bars, cafés, and coffee shops are usually open from around 10 am. Some are only available at 5 pm. All close at 1 am during weekdays and 2 am at weekends.
- Nightclubs generally operate from 11 pm to 4 am during the week, though a few open every night, and some stay open until 5 am at the weekend.
The famous wooden clogs are everywhere, especially in the tourist areas and stores.
No. Smoking is prohibited in all public buildings, including train and bus stations, restaurants, clubs, bars, cafés, etc.
There are outside dedicated smoking areas on train station platforms.
In restaurants – you are expected to leave around 10% of the bill if you have enjoyed good service. Taxi drivers may expect a euro or two on top of the fare.
The Netherland is socially progressive, but they have a long way to go when it comes to the mobility of people with disabilities.
The streets: In most major cities, including Amsterdam, the streets are paved with cobble and are pretty narrow.
Public transportation: The country’s urban public transport is improving, but still only offers an average accessibility level.
If you need an assistant riding the Dutch train network, contact the Disabled Assistance Office (Bureau Assistentieverlening Gehandicapten) at least 24 hours in advance. They are available daily, from 7 am –11 pm, on phone number 030 235 7822. Someone will be on the platform, ready to assist you. For more information, check the ns.nl website.
Public buildings: museums, theatres, cinemas, concert halls, and hotels are obliged to be accessible, and they do.
There is no country called Holland. The country is called the Netherlands but there are 2 provinces (out of total of 12 provinces) in Netherlands called North Holland and South Holland.
Celebrate King’s Day
King’s Day is a national holiday in the Netherlands that celebrates the monarch. Dutch people wear orange (the national color) clothing, eat pancakes, drink, have outdoor concerts, and having grand celebrations on the canals. The celebrations take place on April 27th (April 26th, if the 27th is a Sunday).
All experiences are written by TravelingFAQ users and subjective of their opinion and not of TravelingFAQ.
Best Time To Visit
The Netherlands has its charms all year-round, and you should plan your visit based on the types of activities you wish to do. Summertimes, June to September offer longer days and lots of sunshine (average 19°C/66°F). These are popular times, so expect more crowds and higher prices, especially in big cities like Amsterdam, top attractions, and coastal resorts. From November to December, winter months, the weather is much colder (average 3°C/37°F). The days are pretty short, especially around January. Late November to December are popular times with tourists visiting for the festive seasons and Christmas Markets around the country. Weather-wise, the best times to visit are mid-April to mid-October. If you wish to see the iconic colorful tulip fields in full bloom, you should plan to travel between mid-April to mid-May. Remember to check the weather forecast few days before the trip and before heading to the airport.