The Netherlands, or Holland, as most people refer to it is located in Northwestern Europe bordered by Belgium to the south, Germany to the east and the North Sea to the west and north. The people, the language, and anything that is related to the Netherlands have also been referred to as the Dutch.
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, a city of culture that exudes a very relaxed atmosphere. In this sprawling city, museums are full of Golden Age art and the café’s along the canals combine for resplendent memories. In addition to Amsterdam, when the words Holland or Netherlands are mentioned, other pictures come to mind: windmills, tulips, clogs, and Gouda cheese just to name a few.
This nation receives its share of visitors throughout the year which number to about 10 million foreign visitors in any given year. If you are citizen of one of sixty countries, including most of Europe, all you need is a valid passport. Otherwise, you will need to obtain a Schengen visa issued by one of its embassies or consulates. Schilpol airport is the port of entry for most air travelers.
There are many places to go throughout the year in the Netherlands. One popular destination that reopened recently is the Heineken Experience. This tour takes you through an interactive journey in the brewing process of this world famous beverage. You will also have the opportunity to create and bring home a personalized bottle of Heineken.
Then there is Madurodam, which is a display of a miniature Holland sprawled over 28,000 square yards of land. Often referred to as “Holland in a Nutshell”, this attraction is actually 1/25th scale of the actual size of the town. No detail has been left out; this would include an airport, a railway system, and a harbor. All working scale models for the family to enjoy.
For those who love to see the beauty of nature, there is the Keukenhof Gardens, an awe-inspiring display of varied colors of seven million tulips and other bulbs in bloom. Best time to visit this garden is between March and mid-May. Keukenhof means “kitchen garden.” This place is a sight to behold, for young and old, the casual traveler, and for gardening enthusiasts. Then there is the Hoge Veluwe National Park with its 13,591 acres of wooded areas, uncultivated land, pools, and drift sand which you can best explore on foot through one of its 12 walking routes. In the midst of the park is the Kroller-Muller Museum surrounded by a sculpture garden. There are also game observation areas where you might chance upon the sight of red deer, wild boars, and mouflons.
The Netherlands enjoy a maritime climate; you will have cool winters and mild summers. March is its driest month, April, the daffodils spring up, and May, the tulips bloom. July and August are the hottest and wettest months. Plan a visit to the Netherlands and enjoy any one of these places and more, you won’t be disappointed.