A country that will forever hold a special place in Jasmine’s heart. For when you live in a foreign country, you learn to see more than the stereotypes. In between the Red Light District, the legal “coffee shops” and rows upon rows of tulips, you’ll find a non-touristy side of Amsterdam that you’re bound to fall in love with.
When the weather turns grey, head inside to get cultured. The Netherlands produced several Dutch Masters including Rembrandt, Vermeer & Van Gogh, and several of their iconic masterpieces hang in world-renowned art museums throughout Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Den Haag.
Visit between March and May and witness immaculate rows of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths bursting with colour. It’s easy enough to engage in some incidental exercise too. Being one of the flattest countries in the world (more than a quarter of the landscape sits below sea level), you’re best to do as the Dutch do and grab a bicycle to explore the terrain. Two-wheel along the gingerbread houses lining the canals or head out to the countryside in search of windmills along the dykes.
The summertime is one of the best seasons to visit. This is the time when Dutch cafe culture is in peak form. Make your way to one of the canal side cafes that serve sensational third-wave coffee or grab your mates and pull up a seat at a groovy spot for an unashamedly delectable brunch. Plonk yourself down at one of the canal-side watering holes over borrel (drinks) at dusk and soon you’ll be feeling plenty of gezelligheid. If you choose to cycle home after a few drinks, make sure not to ride too close to the side of the canals!
Top Experiences In The Netherlands
1. Ride a bicycle through tulip fields
The iconic image of The Netherlands during springtime, a bicycle ride through tulip fields provides romantic views plus incidental exercise.
2. Take a canal cruise
Hop on a boat and ride through the canals to see remnants of the Dutch seafaring trade merchants’ history from the water.
3. Indulge in Dutch specialties
When you’re feeling peckish, head to a market or a bar and look for bitterballen, stroopwafels, poffertjes and herring (but don’t eat them altogether!).
4. Admire artwork by Dutch masters
Vincent Van Gogh, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Pieter de Hooch and Jan Steen. For those rainy days, head indoors to view their masterpieces.
The Danish have ‘hygge’ and the Dutch have ‘gezelligheid’. Once you go cycling along the canals and enjoy some borrel, you’ll be feeling ‘gezellig’ in no time.
Before You Go To The Netherlands...
Once you get used to the fact that there are more bicycles than people in The Netherlands, you’ll not only grow fond of the country, you may very well fall in love with it. Look past the stereotypes of legalised marijuana, clogs and windmills and you’ll find some tall, friendly folk who will show you the cool sides of canal life.
Planning Your Trip To The Netherlands
What is the official language of The Netherlands? What is the currency in The Netherlands? What is the best way to travel around The Netherlands? Here’s a quick snapshot to help plan your trip to The Netherlands.
Dutch & English
Trains, trams, bicycles
The Netherlands operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz. Plug types C and F.
Best Time To Go To The Netherlands
The Netherlands comes alive in Spring and Summer when the tulips are in full bloom and the long days are spent dwindling in the parks and having borrel canal-side. The quieter months are perfect for gezelligheid inside a brown bar with some comfort food and your mates.
April – August. Flower fields galore and King’s Day are key events for April whilst summer is glorious in The Netherlands.
March, September – November. Cooler days in early Spring and Autumn but main tourist attractions will be less crowded.
December – February. Winter can be icy cold in The Netherlands which means shorter daylight hours but plenty of indoor gezelligheid.
Sound Like A Local
Some basic Dutch phrases that will be useful to you when you travel in The Netherlands. English is widely spoken.
vaarwel / dooi
dank u / dank je
YES / NO
ja / nee
ONE, TWO, THREE
een, twee, drie