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Things To Do In Netherlands
The Kingdom of Netherlands is one of the most underrated European holiday destinations, gaining popularity in the last couple of years. From its canals and tulip gardens to the museums of great artists, Netherlands treasures history and nature, just as it treasures its tourists. You will see sweeping windmills here and go boating down canals, explore museums and castles, followed by some thick french fries the Dutch way. So what are you waiting for? Here are the many things to enjoy in Netherlands and they are just the beginning.
If there’s one thing you must do in Netherlands like the locals then it is to pick up a bike and peddle your way wherever, whenever. Most residents of Netherlands are industrious people and choose bicycle over cars or public transport any day of the week - be it going to the office or college or even if going across town. Dutch life is run by bicycles, literally. There are specially designated bike paths and you must take advantage of them. Do special bicycle tours of any city you want, they each have great roads. Amsterdam has more than 400 km of smooth paved road without other traffic. You can also explore the whole of North Sea Coast in two miles on bicycle. June to September make for the most ideal days to ride. Bicycles are ready for hire almost everywhere.
Do an Art Tour of Amsterdam
Now, if Amsterdam can be renowned for one and only one thing, it would definitely be its museums. The city is teeming with museums at every corner. Some of the most gifted and eccentric artists have come out of Netherlands and their works are displayed proudly in museums of Amsterdam, whose tour you need to do. Museum Square of Amsterdam boasts of many museums including Rijksmuseum, that, among other great works, holds 'The Night Watch’ by Rembrandt. Another marvel is the Van Gogh Museum which was voted as one of the best galleries of the world. His 'Sunflowers' is displayed here. Other museums on this square are Stedelijk Museum, Coster Museum and Diamond Museum. Get a Holland pass to access discounts to these places.
Boat in a Canal
The Dutch canal network is worth great praise, as it connects remote parts of a city with the main squares, sometimes serving as the only route of commute. Did you know that many nationals also live on houseboats floating on these canals? These canals were built back in the 17th Century mainly for transportation of goods and today make for an essential mode to sustain life as well as serve tourism. Cruise along these narrow waterways on boats and enjoy the city through its every intricate part. The best canal tours are done in Amsterdam through Jordaan, Singel and the Canal Ring, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and at Delft, where you will find ancient buildings and cafes and restaurants just at the edge of your floating boat.
Go see the Windmills
Like the canals and the tulips, Netherlands is represented by its windmills. The sweeping scenery of meadows peppered by fairy-tale windmills churning in the wind makes for an imagery that gets etched on your mind forever. Once there were tens of thousands of windmills in this land to use for industrial purposes. Today there are not so many in number because of efficient production, but still make for a great tourist attraction. The best windmill tours are offered at Zaanse Schans near Amsterdam where there is an open air museum of sorts with green wood houses and windmills to bring about the image of a traditional Dutch village. Kinderdijk on River Noord near Rotterdam also makes for a great working mill site with another museum at the centre.
Enjoy the Tulip-bloom season
Holland has been a bulb-producing land and has been growing tulips, hyacinths and daffodils since time immemorial. It is in the month of March that spring sets in and these flowers begin to bloom, coming into their own by April-May. There is a burst of colours as the beds of Tulips are beautifully ripening into yellow, red, pinks, purple and white. These fields make for one of the most coveted site-seeing spots, while the flower parades in Keukenhof (also called the garden of Europe) and Amsterdam take the towns by storm. You can also visit the Tulip Museum. Noordoorstpolder is the land hosting Netherlands’ highest number of tulip farms and is a must visit.
From the traditional Raw herring sandwiches served with pickles on the roadside to the thick Dutch fries handed in a paper cone with mayonnaise and fried onions, Netherlands brings out the child in you when it comes to food. You must eat Stroopwafel here, a pair of round waffles sandwiched with syrup or cream. You will find vending machines serving piping hot croquettes and discover that that’s how the cafe working behind it serves its customers. You will be served poffertjes in pancake-houses and feel like heaven bursting in your mouth. And don’t even go to black Dutch liquorice candies - sold both sweet as well as savoury. Other things to eat here are Dutch cheeses, the most famous being the red gouda cheese. And dunk in Heineken beers after visiting the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam.
Revisit World War II
Netherlands and its inhabitants were also a part of the suffering that tore through Europe in the early 20th Century. The World Wars impacted this country just as much it did others, the scars of which are still alive in its locations of ruin and destruction - battlefields, museums and safe-houses. There are also beacons of hope in these tours, like the Anne Frank Haus which was the building where Anne Frank took shelter with her family. You will find her original diary and other private items owned by them. The other heart-wrenching place is Overloon War Museum, which is a 35 acre park where one of the grittiest battle was fought back in the day. For more, follow the Liberation Route from Gelderland to North-Brabant, Zeeland and Limburg.
A day out at Amusement Parks
Netherlands is not all about history and museums and gardens. There is a bit of thrill here too after all. The country happily hosts a string of amusement parks, mostly situated out of the city to make you bask in the countryside and enjoy a day trip. Efteling is the biggest and one of the oldest amusement parks, located in Kaatsheuvel. It is themed on different myths making up different zones or realms. Another good place for you to enjoy a day trip is just near The Hague - Madurodam. It is a miniature Dutch city replica of the 1:25 scale model type. You will find everything from canals to shops to museums to landmarks, and tulip fields here. Ready apps are available for download to help you navigate the parks and predict estimated waiting time for rides.