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Die bekannten Kinderdijk-Windmühlen bei Rotterdam, Bild: Standret / shutterstock

The Netherlands: Is it all just cheese?

“Holland is the coolest city in the world” says a song by the band “275ers”. The Essen band knows what they are talking about. Because the Netherlands is not far from the Ruhr area. But also coming from Lower Saxony, the Lower Rhine or the Rhineland, people crossed the border quickly. If you prefer to travel by plane, you should fly to Amsterdam or Maastricht near Aachen. From the German border, several trains and long-distance buses run to Rotterdam, Amsterdam or Eindhoven. The well-developed road transport network and the numerous ferries ensure that you can get to the many islands of the Netherlands safely and quickly.

A picturesque sunset at the North Sea in the Netherlands, Image: Rudmer Zwerver / shutterstock

Colloquially, the Netherlands is often referred to as Holland. North and South Holland are two of the country’s 12 provinces. Together, they make up the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The head of state is King Wilhelm Alexander, who has ruled since 2013. In his honour, there is the “Koningsdag” (King’s Day) every year, which takes place on the king’s birthday. On April 27 every year, the Dutch celebrate exuberantly on the streets, sell drinks or homemade food and dress in the national colors. On this day, the whole nation lights up in orange.

In addition to French fries with frikandel, stamppot, a hearty stew, is a popular dish of the Dutch. You can get a delicious soft ice cream or poffertjes that look like small pancakes on almost every corner. After a leisurely walk along one of the many canals or a leisurely bike ride along the windmills and tulip fields, such a meal is just right.

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Tulips Amsterdam Netherlands
A beautiful sea of tulips in the middle of Amsterdam

The Netherlands is known for its different types of cheese: there is always something going on at the weekly and cheese markets and so buying a cheese wheel becomes a real spectacle. In the cities of Gouda, Edam or Alkmaar, cheese merchants gather on different days of the week, competing in their classic outfit of blue and white striped shirts, wooden slippers and caps.

The Netherlands has a mild climate and it can be a bit stormy, especially in the coastal areas. If you are on the road with e-bikes, you are on the safe side and make good progress. For this reason, cities such as Hellevoetsluis or Eegmond aan Zee are very popular with windsurfers and sailors. But the IJsselmeer is also a real surfer’s and sailor’s paradise. The dunes and the sea are a relaxation for the soul. An overnight stay in a tent or camper van is not only very popular with the locals. Make sure that the places for camping and camping are advertised. It is not always allowed to spend the night on the beach.

Somewhat more sheltered from the wind and more popular with families are the more southern coasts. The cities of Domburg, Kamperland or Oostkapelle are also very popular with couples and single travellers. The quaint shopping arcades invite you to go shopping.

Mudflat walks and museums explain to visitors the beauty of nature, which is protected in many nature parks. The nature parks offer holidaymakers peace and seclusion from everyday life.

If you need a little more action, you should visit one of the many amusement parks. The Dutch love fast roller coasters and the like. In most amusement parks, French fries, soft ice cream and drinks are included in the price.

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Travel information Netherlands

Capital Amsterdam (seat of government: The Hague)
Form of government constitutional monarchy
autonomous country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Currency Euro (EUR)
Area approx. 41,500 km²
Population approx. 17,140,000 (as of 2017)
Languages Dutch
Electricity grid 230 Volt / 50 Hz
Area code +31
Time zone UTC+1 CET
UTC+2 CEST (March to October)