February 06, 2015 2 min read
There are few countries in the world which can rival the serene and cultural atmosphere of the Netherlands. With much of its land below sea level, this incredibly flat country has become one of the most iconic destinations in Western Europe. Open-minded and welcoming, the Dutch people are known to be incredibly warm and gracious to visitors. Add stunning scenery in a kaleidoscope of colors, tranquil waterways and windmills, bicycles meandering around and the aroma of cheese, and you have a country that is truly unique.
Despite the fact that more than half the country was submerged under sea, the Netherlands can claim the title as one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Whilst many of the cities are densely populated, the countryside is a completely different story. Explore the tranquil side of the Netherlands, with long walks along the canals where you can take in the breathtaking landscape dotted with church spires, windmills, charming villages and endless fields of grazing animals and flowers. The tulip fields burst into bloom during spring and summer, creating an amazing display of color and scent – a sight iconic to the Netherlands.
Travelers have raved about the culture and architecture discovered within Dutch cities. The capital, Amsterdam, is said to be one of the most fascinating and charming cities in the entire world. However, the Netherlands boasts cities scattered throughout the country which could easily rival it, without the touristy feel. The atmosphere is incredibly warm and inviting, which may be one of the reasons why it is one of Europe’s most popular weekend getaways.
There is quite a multi-cultural feel to Amsterdam, with its open-minded and liberal cultural attitude. With a range of open air events during the warmer months, an assortment of seamy and sophisticated bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels, you see a different side to Amsterdam everywhere you turn.
Some of the best sites praised by tourists include the Van Gough Museum and the Rijksmuseum, which includes an awe-inspiring collection of artwork by Rembrandt. Less well known sites that should not be missed include the Resistance Museum and the Royal Palace.
Head outside of tourist packed Amsterdam to explore other beautiful places in the Netherlands. Venture to the north where you can visit many quaint little villages, vibrant towns and energetic cities. Friesland is a northern province which has been highly rated by tourists, especially for the provincial capital of Leeuwarden. There are 11 little cities, more like villages in reality, which are steeped in history and are rich with charm. Explore merchant houses in Harlingen, or learn about the importance of tile manufacturing in Makkum. Enjoy the tranquil ambiance of Hindeloopen with its canals and its quaint cobbled roads.
The golden sands of the Dutch coast land are dotted with islands, which could be classed as sandbanks and can easily be reached by crossing over the muddy flat lands. The countryside is a splendor of color, tantalizing scents and an ambiance that appeals to the senses. Iconic, attractive and charming, the Netherlands is certainly one of a kind.
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