Being a Tourist in the Netherlands

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:

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.
Lauwersmeer
The notion of taking old wilderness and turning it inside out has hit the Dutch – and hit hard. Flavoland is a province in the Netherlands that owes its existence to a few biologists only a short while back. If you turn back time a century or two,

Experience nature at De Hoge Veluwe National Park

If you are planning a trip to Holland, you must visit the De Hoge Veluwe National Park. This is one of the largest continuous natural reserves in Holland and measures over 5,400 hectares. It is teeming with life with sightings of red deer, roe deer, wild hogs and mouflons being very common amongst the beautiful forests, sand drifts, meres and ponds and heathlands that make up this variable landscape.

History

This park can trace its beginnings to the couple – Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller when they started buying up land with the intent to launch a museum and to have a park so as to offer nature and art in one location. With this thought in mind, they started purchasing land bit by bit from 1909-1923 and brought in animals like deer, mouflons and wild boar to populate the land. This period also saw the start of construction of a building which was intended to be used as a museum.

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However, in 1923 the family hit an economic crisis and was not able to continue the progression and expansion of their plans. The property was transferred to a foundation to form the De Hoge Veluwe National Park, and the art that was collected by Helene was donated to the Kingdom of the Netherlands to be showcased in the museum.

Things to do

If you are a firs time visitor or even a frequent visitor, there is much to do in the biggest national park of the Netherlands. With so much ground to cover, free bicycles have been thoughtfully provided so that visitors can freely roam around and experience the beauty of the park for themselves in an eco-friendly and healthy manner. There are over 1800 bicycles for visitors, so you know there will be no shortage for the Parks’ guests. If you have children, there are smaller cycles for them too!

If you thought that safaris were only for guided tours in Africa, think again. The De Hoge Veluwe National Park offers some of the best safaris to acquaint the visitor with the abundant natural life in the Park. You will be guided by a forester for a four hour long walk so that you can catch the best parts of the park in your visit. For the people who want to truly experience nature can opt for the safari after dark where you can camp under the stars. The safaris are well thought of, with each one varying depending upon the wildlife that comes out in the different seasons.

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If you have time on your own, you could discover the wonders of the park for yourself by going wildlife spotting. Late afternoons and evenings are the best time of the day to spot wildlife, especially if you station yourself on one of the wildlife observation posts located all over the park.

The Kröller-Müller Museum

The wonderful combination of art and nature has culminated in the creation of the Kröller-Müller Museum which is nestled deep in the forest. Host to the largest Van Gogh collection in the world, the Kröller-Müller Museum also boasts of stunning sculpture gardens that are worth seeing. The Museum also is home to many paintings by Pablo Picasso, Odilon Redon and Piet Mondrian to name a few. There is another Museum at the visitor’s center that concentrates on the geology and biology of the Park to educate visitors on the treasures contained within the fenced boundaries of the Park. A small entrance fee is charged for the upkeep of the Park, but it is one worth it to get an overview of Dutch nature and wildlife at their habitat.

Lauwersmeer
The notion of taking old wilderness and turning it inside out has hit the Dutch – and hit hard. Flavoland is a province in the Netherlands that owes its existence to a few biologists only a short while back. If you turn back time a century or two,