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The Netherlands is one of the smaller countries in Europe, it is about the size of Massachusetts and has a population a little over 17 million. And yet, there is so much history, culture, and nature to discover here. Famous Dutch artists include Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Johannes Vermeer. Anne Frank wrote her diary in Amsterdam when she and her family were hiding during World War II. The Netherlands is known for its beautiful tulips, delicious cheeses, and wooden clogs. Also, the country is completely connected via bike paths. You will find Dutch people taking their bikes to work all year round. The flat landscape makes it very easy for people to bike around. Here at The Travelling Souk, we have become totally enchanted with The Netherlands. We want to share with you all the majestic beauty the Netherlands has to offer.
Amsterdam is the capital city of The Netherlands and it is one of the most popular cities in the world. With over 70 museums, this city is exploding with culture. You can find food to eat from just about anywhere in the world. The city is always vibrant with people exploring this lovely canal town. Although Amsterdam is the most popular city, don't forget to check out many of the other incredible destinations in The Netherlands! Cities such as Utrecht, The Hague, and Maastricht have so much to offer, as well. Thankfully, the train will take you just about anywhere you want to go. And you can always rent a bike to explore these cities just like a local!
The best time to visit the Netherlands is between mid-April to mid-October, although most tourists visit during July and August. The tulip season is between mid-April to mid-May. If you want to visit for the tulips, it is best to plan your trip for April, because the tulip fields start getting harvested in May. Tulips are a cold-weather flower, so it will probably still be chilly during this time of year, so don't forget to bring a jacket. The rest of the summer is usually quite warm and sunny, although some days will be gray and rainy.
Don't miss the most famous Dutch pieces of art such as The Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer (Mauritshuis in The Hague), The Night Watch by Rembrandt (Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam), Potato Eaters by Van Gogh (Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam), and Girl with Balloon by Banksy (Moco Museum in Amsterdam). Other things to add to your list include the Keukenhof, the Kinderdijk, Zaanse Schans, North Caves of Maastricht, and the International Court of Justice in The Hague. There is so much to see and do in The Netherlands, that the list is truly endless. You could come back to The Netherlands again and again and never get bored.
Of course, The Netherlands has some great food to try, as well. Stroopwafels are a must-try item. These waffle-like wafers are filled with caramel syrup and are so delicious with a hot beverage, like tea or coffee. Also, poffertjes are miniature pancakes that you can pair with various toppings, such as chocolate, strawberries, or just plain powdered sugar. Yum! If you are looking for a snack to go with your beer, then just order a "borrel plaankje," which is a tasting of several types of Dutch fried food. It typically comes with bitterballen, frikandels and bami. It's the perfect complement to a nice cold beer.
Now that you know a little more about The Netherlands, it's time to start planning your trip! Most Dutch people speak English very well, so you will never have to worry about feeling lost. Start thinking about what you want to see and do the most. Are you more interested in art museums, exploring nature, or learning about history? What about all three? The Travelling Souk has been to many places throughout The Netherlands and has written articles about each one, so you can figure out what you would like to see for yourself. We wish you happy travels!