Major Tourist Attractions: Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, Keukenhof (Garden of Europe), Amsterdam Arena, Heineken Experience
While most people book a trip to the Netherlands to see Amsterdam, it’s worth venturing beyond the city limits and discovering more about the country most call “Holland.”
The Netherlands is often referred to as Holland, but the fact is, North and South Holland are two of the twelve provinces that make up the Netherlands. Holland is promoted on a tourism level because it’s the “brand” most travelers identify with. To make it even more confusing, the capital city is Amsterdam, but the government is located in The Hague.
The tolerant and liberal attitude of most Dutch makes the Netherlands a big draw for many travelers, especially LGBT travelers. Many consider it to be one of the most gay-friendly countries in the world.
The Dutch are incredibly passionate about their heritage, and it’s common to see everyone wearing orange (related to the Dutch Royal Family) on important days like King’s Day or at a major sporting event like a football (soccer) match.
The food culture in the Netherlands isn’t as pronounced as some of its European neighbors, but there’s a good mix of local specialties and international cuisines to sample when you visit Amsterdam and other large cities. Don’t miss out on Dutch specialties, especially local cheese and fresh stroopwafels from a farmers market.
When you venture outside the main tourist areas, you’ll find a very different Netherlands. Smaller towns and villages adopt a more family-oriented way of life with stores closing early during the week and all shops closed on Sundays. Dutch is the main language, but most people speak English as well; and if you’re visiting Friesland, they speak Frisian.
If you’re flying into Schiphol, it’s one of the
best airports in Europe, with ample shopping and dining options. There are onsite hotels and grocery stores to stock up on necessities in your room. There is an entire Holland Boulevard shopping arcade offering a last opportunity to purchase Dutch products to bring home.
In the Netherlands, you can:
- Tour the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kinderdijk and learn about traditional Dutch windmills
- Visit the Efteling, the Netherlands’ renowned theme park with elves and dwarves
- Embrace the Dutch lifestyle and cycle the Netherlands’ bike paths
- In Spring, wander Keukenhof where you can see a large collection of Dutch tulips
- Learn about the Delta Project or Delta Works, named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World
- Explore the Hoge Veluwe National Park
- Visit the Netherlands’ iconic cities like Delft and Gouda
- Ride along Amsterdam’s scenic canals, stretching over 60 miles total
- During the summer, visit the Scheveningen beach area
Address: Lange Voorhout 102,
2514 EJ The Hague, Netherlands
Phone: 31 70 310 2209