When we think of the Netherlands the first thing that pops up in our heads is Amsterdam and its famous red-light district. However, Netherlands is not only Amsterdam and the country has many more to offer to its tourists. There are dozens of small cities and villages with traditional Dutch architecture that is worthy of your attention. In this ultimate guide of Netherlands for first-time travelers we will briefly overview what you can do and see during your stay in Netherlands. Follow us on this journey and ease off from the painful process of itinerary planning. Let’s go.
Netherlands – Amsterdam Okay, What Else to See?
The Netherlands is a small country in the north of Europe, with 13 million inhabitants. It is a country with rich history and culture, and it’s also one of the most densely populated countries in Europe. With its multiculturalism, the Netherlands has a lot to offer to tourists looking for something different than just typical European destinations.
Dutch people are known to be very friendly and welcoming. They speak Dutch, English, German, French and sometimes other languages as well. The Dutch are generally tolerant towards other cultures and religions.
Tourism in the Netherlands is booming with more than 17 million tourists visiting every year. The main reason people visit the country is to enjoy its many attractions such as its historic towns, cozy villages and beautiful countryside. If you are planning to visit Netherlands in the near future you should know more about EU’s new entry system – ETIAS that will be effective from 2023. The Netherlands has many beautiful sights to offer: Amsterdam is the capital city of this small country but there are also many other interesting places that you can visit while you’re here: Rotterdam – known for its modern architecture; Utrecht – an old university town; Maastricht – One of the most important cities for Netherlands and the EU. The Netherlands has a lot of natural beauty to offer, with its many lakes, rivers, canals and forests. It also has some of Europe’s best beaches and coastal resorts.
Amsterdam is a city that has an amazing history and culture. It is the capital of the Netherlands, and it has a population of over 800,000 people. Amsterdam is also the site of many iconic landmarks, such as the Anne Frank House, which was Anne’s home during World War II.
Many people are drawn to Amsterdam because it has a unique culture and lifestyle. The Dutch word for ‘city’ is ‘stad’, which means that many people consider Amsterdam to be their hometown. Amsterdam is also known for its famous museums – one of which is Van Gogh Museum – which houses more than 200 paintings by Vincent Van Gogh.
Alternatively, you can go clubbing, since Amsterdam offers great stage for electronic music lovers. The city features some of the best night clubs not only in the country but also in Europe too.
Take a day trip to Haarlem
Haarlem is a city in North Holland and is the capital of the province. The city has about 123,000 inhabitants.
The city has a long history and was once the home to many artists and writers. Today, it’s most famous for its connections to Piet Mondrian, who was born here in 1872. Its origins date back to 1230 when it was granted municipal rights by William II of Holland. Haarlem became city in 1245. Inhabitants of Haarlem are referred to as “Harens” and “Harelses”.
During the Dutch Golden Age, Haarlem became an important trading center where people from all over Europe came to share ideas with each other while trading goods.
Giethoorn is a small village in the Netherlands, which is known for its rural beauty. It is also a popular destination for tourists. The village has been declared a protected townscape since 1990 and was awarded the title of best-preserved traditional town in the Netherlands in 2003. It is often called the “Venice of the North” because of its beautiful architecture, canals and ban on vehicles in the city center.
The village has always had an important function as a hub for water management and transportation on the north-east side of Lake IJsselmeer. The residents of Giethoorn were able to become rich due to their location on an important trade route between Germany and Scandinavia. They traded grain, cattle, peat, wool, salt and herring with these countries.
What to Eat in Netherlands?
Dutch traditional food is one of the things that make the Netherlands and Holland so unique.
The Dutch have a rich history in food, dating back to the Middle Ages, when they were known for their spices and trade. The Dutch eat bread with every meal, including breakfast. They also enjoy eating pancakes with syrup for breakfast or dinner, or as a snack. Dutch people love to drink coffee in the morning, afternoon, and evening. It’s not uncommon for them to drink three cups of coffee a day!
The most famous Dutch dish is probably the Stroopwafel. It’s a thin waffle with caramel syrup filling between the two layers. Other popular dishes are pea soup, bitterballen (fried balls of dough), and hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles).
Stroopwafel is a waffle-like, syrup-filled pastry made by baking thin layers of dough with caramelized sugar. The Stroopwafel was invented in Gouda, the Netherlands in the 1930s by baker Sybren Jan Brouwer. The name comes from the Dutch word “stroop,” meaning syrup. It is often served with coffee or tea and it can be eaten as an ice cream sandwich for dessert.
Pea soup is a dish that originated in Europe and is very popular in Netherlands. Its earliest known mention in English dating to 1822. It is made by boiling dried peas and ham together, then adding water or vegetable stock, salt, pepper and other vegetables. Usually, pea soup comes as an appetizer.
Bitterballen is a Dutch dish that consists of deep-fried meatballs. It usually comes with mustard and pickles. Bitterballen are typically made by frying a mixture of beef, bacon, onion, and sometimes garlic in butter until the onion becomes translucent and the beef browns on all sides. The mixture is then combined with flour, eggs, salt and pepper to form a dough which can be shaped into balls or logs before being deep fried in oil or lard.
Hagelslag is a Dutch word for “hailstorm” and is also the name of a chocolate sprinkles. They are small, round, flat pieces of chocolate that come in various shapes and sizes. They are usually sprinkled on top of buttered bread or toast as an accompaniment to breakfast, brunch or dessert.
The most common shapes are hexagonal, rectangular and circular; other shapes include stars, hearts, squares or triangles.
In this ultimate guide of Netherlands, we briefly discussed what you can do and see in Netherlands in duration of your trip. As mentioned already, though the country is very small, it has huge culture and history, as well as picturesque landscapes and delicious food. Moreover, at some point in history Netherlands was the richest and strongest nation of the world. This means that as a traveler you can combine cultural exploration and having fun together.
We really hope that you will find this guide helpful while planning your perfect itinerary for the Netherlands.