Channel in Amsterdam Netherlands houses river Amstel landmark old european city spring landscape.
Amstel River, Amsterdam
Where endless fields of tulips and windmills define a nation

Netherlands Vacations

The Netherlands: An intellectual and creative hub in western Europe

Netherlands means ‘low country’ and to maintain lands from the encroaching sea, the nation has pumped out seawater and built dykes to keep it out. In 1528 the first lake was drained.

Fully 17% of the country is now land that’s been reclaimed from the sea. Most of the low and flat terrain is at a metre or less above sea level.

Holland is a geographic region in the country and the government has dropped the moniker from tourism promotional materials to encourage crowds to visit other parts of the country. 

The word ‘Dutch’, is an English language creation that comes from ‘Deutsch’, from an old high German language, that referred to Germanic people in the region of present day Netherlands. People in the Netherlands called themselves Netherlanders, or Nederlanders.

The Netherlands is not a free-for-all sex and drugs party. Respectfully, the country’s famous liberal laws and regulations keep those industries safe and accountable for workers and participants, while allowing strong individual freedoms. In public parks people tend to keep their recreational habits discrete, and away from family groups. 

The Netherlands has a long history of social acceptance and is generally regarded as a liberal country having legalized abortion, prostitution, euthanasia, while maintaining a progressive drug policy. It was the first country to legalize same-sex marriage (2001).

Religion - Roman Catholicism is the most followed religion with approximately %30 of the population. Other represented religions include Dutch Reformed Church, Calvinism, and Islam.

Most people speak English, but an attempt at Dutch will always be appreciated. English and Dutch are similar languages and there is some crossover, so go for it. And remember not to obstruct bicycle lanes! Bicycle culture is embraced as a main mode of transport to commute to work, to get around generally, and for pleasure cruising.

The Netherlands is a densely populated country of tall people, with a high global average. It’s bordered by Germany to the east, Belgium to the south and the North Sea on its northwest coast.

The Dutch are outgoing, friendly, and helpful, and view themselves as modest, independent and self-reliant.

At a Glance
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Places To Go

Handcrafted Journeys to our Most Popular Places in the Netherlands.

Floating Houses and houseboats and boats at channels by banks
Aerial shot of Rotterdam skyline with Erasmus bridge at twilight as seen from the Euromast tower
03The Hague
Binnenhof palace, place of Parliament in The Hague at dusk
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Rich history and a heartful spirit are alive in the Netherlands

Visit the extraordinary ports in Rotterdam to witness the masterful seafaring nation at work. Go to Delft and pick up a traditional Delftware ramekin, plate or mug in classic blue. And if you make it to the Hague you find ‘The Girl with the Pearl Earring’, painted by Vermeer, in the Mauritshuis art museum.

Several Nobel laureates hail from the Netherlands and the nation is known for its pioneering efforts in sustainable energy – the Dutch have been harnessing the wind for generations – see the evidence in the iconic windmills of Kinderdijk.

Amsterdam, Netherlands town cityscape over the Old Centre District with Basilica of Saint Nicholas

The Culture

Amsterdam is not the only place to visit in the Netherlands, but it is a good example of the country’s attitudes towards a good life, and it showcases a bunch of the cool architecture and vibrant culture to be found.

A serene masterpiece of engineering, Amsterdam’s canals traverse the city. Known as the ‘Venice of the North’, there are over a hundred kilometres of canals, which flow under 1500 bridges, lined with traditional canal houses. You’d be wise to spend time here taking long strolls through narrow side streets filled with cafes, or take a canal cruise for a unique perspective.

The museums of Amsterdam get very busy. To avoid a long lineup, consider reserving ahead of time to get in at your booking time.

The Netherlands has a thriving art scene and locals celebrate the masters who hail from their shores.Rembrandt’s House has been meticulously reconstructed with furniture, art, and objects from that period, as well as a collection of etchings. It’s incredible to walk through the personal spaces of one of the world’s master painters.

Rijksmuseum is the nation’s foremost art gallery with 8000 exhibits featuring masterpieces from Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. And the Van Gogh Museum artfully tells the story of its namesake’s life and style through his changing works. His museum includes works from contemporaries like Gaugin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Monet, and Bernard. The Stedelijk Museum for Contemporary Art has pieces from Chagall, Kadinsky, and Andy Warhol.

Amsterdam is also home to Anne Frank House, which is located directly on a canal. This is the home where Anne and her Jewish family were hidden from Nazi persecution. Visiting the house is a sobering and moving experience.

And of course there is the Red Light District. De Wallen is one of the oldest parts of the city where sex workers pose and dance and offer their services in red-lit windows. You can visit the Condomerie, a condom shop selling a vast array of prophylactics, and the Sex Museum, the Erotic Museum, and the Museum of Prostitution, all detailing this history and ins-and-outs of the industry. For anyone 18 and older who is interested, cannabis and hashish are legally sold in cafes in Amsterdam as they’re decriminalized for personal use. You can go into a cafe and look at a menu to see lists of strains with various levels of potency and effects.

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