The Netherlands is very often called Holland and is a very popular tourist destination and part of the country is reclaimed land with a large part lying below the sea level. Even though many visitors visit the country to head to Amsterdam, the Netherlands has much to offer. There are quaint canals that crisscross the city, a flat landscape that is friendly to the many cyclists that live in the city, historic town centers that will give you information on the past of the area, the symbolic windmills and other tourist attractions scattered all over the country.
There is much more to the Netherlands than just Amsterdam. There are miles of sandy beaches on the long coastline along the west and north and the flower gardens are a spectacular sight to see. Here are a few places to visit while in the Netherlands:
- Amsterdam’s canals: It’s a given that when you visit the Netherlands that you make at least a cursory visit to Amsterdam. The Dutch golden Age which was during the 17th Century saw the construction of its many canals with a length of over 100 kms of canals, decorated with 1,500 bridges.
- Canals of Leiden: This is the region of Netherland’s oldest university and is also the place where the famous painter Rembrandt was born. Leiden is one of Netherland’s largest 17th century town centers.
- Keukenhof Gardens: This is the largest garden in the world and is a great promotion for the Dutch flower industry and is open to the public from the last week in March to mid May and is considered to be a huge draw for tourists from all over the world. More than seven million flower bulbs are planted every year which include flowers like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths apart from other spring varieties.
- De Hoge Veluwe: This National Park is one of the largest continuous nature reserves of the Netherlands and has sand dunes, woodlands and heathlands to offer a varied landscape for its animal inhabitants. Visitors can use one of the free bikes that are kept for tourists’ use to tour the Park as much of it is inaccessible by other vehicles. The Kröller-Müller Museum is also a big draw which is situated in the Park, hosting the largest collection of Van Gogh in the world.
- Kinderdijk: The Dutch landscape is incomplete without the windmills which dot the villages all over the country. There are over a thousand windmills in the country and most of them are located near the village of Kinderdijk which translates to ‘Children’s dike’ in English. Many of these windmills were built around 1740 and are still in great condition to this day and are a big tourist attraction. 19 of those windmills were constructed to drain the excess water from the polders which is below sea level.
- Rijksmuseum: If you are an art lover, this is the destination to head to. Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum Museum is the most prestigious museum in the Netherlands and has many paintings dating back to the Dutch Golden Age with many works by Rembrandt and Vermeer present.
- Delta Project: For those interested in structures, these series of constructions built between 1950 and 1997 have been declared to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. These storm barriers found in Zeeland and South Holland protect the country’s large coastline from flooding and the structures consist of dams, sluices, dikes and storm surge barriers.
- West Frisian Islands: Also known as Waddeneilanden in Dutch, these islands are a chain off the Dutch coast in the North Sea. They divide the North Sea from the Wadden Sea with tidal mud flats. Under guidance, many of these islands can be reached by walking across the mud flats, but the tidal change has to be kept in mind. Cycling is a popular means of transport in many of these islands.