The Netherlands, a constitutional monarchy in western Europe, presents a beautiful blend of culture, innovation, history and natural beauty. The bicycle-friendly cities, vast canal system, colourful tulip fields, the long North Sea coastline, and outstanding Dutch culture, makes the Netherlands one of Europe’s most amazing destinations to explore.
Capital Amsterdam is known for its museums, canals, historic buildings and artistic heritage. The best way to explore the city is on a bicycle or a canal cruise and visit its numerous lively clubs and cafes. Rijksmuseum with an art collection that spans 800 years, Stedelijk Museum dedicated to contemporary art, Amsterdam Museum which narrates the city’s history and the Van Gogh Museum which houses the works of Vincent van Gogh are the best out of the city’s over 50 museums. Other major highlights of the city include Anne Frank House with the original diary of Anne Frank on display, the 17th-century Royal Palace, Dam Square which is the city’s main town square, Vondelpark with an open-air museum and Albert Cuypmarkt, the city’s largest market.
The country’s second-largest city Rotterdam is about 80km away from the capital and known for its innovative architecture. The unique cube houses and the iconic white Erasmus Bridge are the city’s main attractions.
The country’s third-largest city The Hague is just 30 km away from Rotterdam. Popularly known as the “international city of peace and justice”, The Hague is the seat of the United Nations’ International Court of Justice and numerous national and international official buildings. The city is also known for its great food, history and culture. Mauritshuis museum, the 13th-century gothic Binnenhof castle, Madurodam Park and Nederlands Dans Theater are the major highlights of the city.
The city of Delft, with an extensive canal system, lies between The Hague and Rotterdam. The city’s history dates back to the medieval period and is known for its old town, hand-painted pottery and gothic architecture. The charming city Leiden is dotted with centuries-old buildings, home to the oldest university in the country and also offers a great nightlife. It is the birthplace of one of the greatest Dutch Painters, Rembrandt and you can visit the Museum de Lakenhal to view some of his works.
Keukenhof, also known as the ‘Garden of Europe’ is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful botanical gardens. The garden is popular for the millions of colourful tulips, daffodils, orchids, roses, lillies and other flowers that bloom here, creating a paradise-like setting.
Netherlands is also popular for its signature windmills and the open-air museum of Zaanse Schans is the best place to witness them. In the northernmost region of the Netherlands lies Groningen, a student city with a vibrant nightlife and cafe culture. You will find impressive landmarks here, like the 13th-century gothic church Martinitoren, the beautiful gardens of Haren Hortus Botanicus and Prinsentuin and the futuristic Groninger Museum. Maastricht, another university town steeped in history, lies in the southernmost region of the country. It is popular for its old town, gothic Sint Janskerk church and Bonnefanten art museum.
The pristine natural beauty of the Netherlands lies within its many lovely national parks. The country has 20 national parks and Hoge Veluwe National Park in the central region is the largest of all. The park offers excellent wildlife-watching, hiking and cycling opportunities. To experience the idyllic white-sand beaches of the Wadden Sea, you should visit the picturesque island of Texel.
The Netherlands is one of the most interesting European destinations to explore. From its vibrant cities and numerous museums to beautiful gardens, impressive architecture and rich Dutch culture, the country will amaze you at every turn.
Keukenhof, also known as the ‘Garden of Europe’ is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful botanical gardens.