Netherlands

Netherlands. Travel information

The Netherlands, informally Holland, is a country primarily located in Western Europe and partly in the Caribbean, forming the largest constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces. In the Caribbean, it consists of three special municipalities: the islands of *Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and *Saba.

Tourist offices in the Netherlands can be recognized by a blue logo with three characters VVV. This abbreviation means: Vereniging voor Vreemdelingenverkeer. Informative leaflets and simple maps are available for free.

Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer, Vincent van Gogh, Frans Hals, Jan Steen, Jacob van Ruysdael, and Piet Mondriaan are just a few of the Dutch painters whose works now decorate the walls of the world’s greatest museums. Fortunately, some of these world-class museums can be found in the Netherlands as well. The Museum Quarter in Amsterdam has the Rijksmuseum (map), the Van Gogh Museum (map) and the Stedelijk Museum (map) right next to each other, all three with excellent collections.

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Delft (map) — historic unspoiled town with the world-famous blue and white ceramics. Leiden (map) — historic student city with the country’s oldest university and three national museums. Maastricht (map) — fortified mediaeval city showing the different culture, style and architecture of the south. Nijmegen (map) — the oldest city in the country, known for the Four Days Marches and its large student population. Utrecht (map) — historic centre, antique stores and the Rietveld-Schröder House.

Hoge Veluwe National Park (map) — perhaps the most visited national park, with heathlands, sand dunes and woodlands. Keukenhof (map) — World famous park for its flowers, with more than 800,000 visitors. Kinderdijk (map) — these windmills show the typical Dutch landscape in all its glory. South Limburg — hilly green landscapes, picturesque villages, castles and orchards.

The best time to go is from May to September (daily maximum 18/19°C up to 23°C), but April and October can also see mild and sunny weather.

 Vacation rental homes (bungalows)   These small homes come in broad varieties: they can be simple or luxurious, individual places or part of large parks with lots of identical homes and they are operated by private owners as well as large chains. travelidu.com – has the largest collection of vacation rentals in the Netherlands. + Center Parks / Landal Greenparks / TopParken. Where privately owned options can sometimes provide a more authentic, local experience.

 Drugs.  You are allowed to buy and smoke small doses (5 g or less) of cannabis or hash. You must be 18 or over to buy. For this you have to visit a coffeeshop, which are abundant in most larger towns. Cannabis sold in the Netherlands is often stronger than varieties elsewhere. Be particularly wary of cannabis-laced pastries (“space cakes”) as it’s easy to eat too much by accident. Wait at least one hour after eating! Do not hesitate to seek medical help if you are suffering from bad effects of drug use.

Public transport

OV Reisplanner – All public transport companies.
All public transport in the Netherlands (buses, trams, metros and trains) use contactless smart cards called >> OV-chipkaart

Cycling is a ubiquitous mode of transport in the Netherlands. The best online routeplanner for cyclists can be found at a wikiplanner made by volunteers of the Dutch cyclist union “Fietsersbond”.

Schiphol Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It is 15 km (9.3 mi) southwest of Amsterdam. It’s a point of interest in itself, being 4 metres below mean sea level.

Information about trains can be found at the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) website, which includes a trip planner which uses the latest information about train delays and detours. (*Rail travel in the Netherlands)

**One particular mistake tourists often make is getting on the wrong part of a train. Many trains consist of two parts with different destinations. Somewhere on the way to the final destination, the parts will be separated and will continue on their own to their respective destinations. In that case, the signs over the platforms will show two destinations and which part goes where: achterste deel/achter means back and voorste deel/voor means front, referring to the direction of departure. Feel free to ask other passengers or an employee.
Another frequently made mistake involves travelling from Schiphol to Amsterdam. From Schiphol you can go to either Amsterdam Centraal or Amsterdam Zuid (South). These railway stations are not connected directly and many tourists with the idea of going to Amsterdam Centraal wind up at South. Therefore, always check the destination of the train. From Amsterdam Zuid you can take the metro to Centraal, or a train to Centraal with an interchange at station Duivendrecht (2nd floor).
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