A lthough you’d never know it, The Netherlands — or Holland, if you’d like — is one of the most densely populated countries of Europe, despite being only about twice the size of New Jersey. Still though, outside its major cities you can travel through stretches of farmland punctuated only with villages, windmills and, in the springtime, tulips, and see few people.
What you do see is a lot of water. Although more than half of the country has been reclaimed from the sea by a vast system of dikes, about 20% of the country is still covered with canals and other inland waterways. Canals crisscross the country almost everywhere, but it’s in cities such as Amsterdam where they show their real charm.
Amsterdam is a magnet for tourists, and rightfully so, but many people make the mistake of not going further afield to the cities of Rotterdam, Utrecht, Den Haag and Delft, each of which have their own charm. To get the complete Dutch experience also visit the beaches along the North Sea Coast, and go inland to places such as Kinderdijk where the old windmills stand in a line above the fields.
Good to Know
Amsterdam – It’s All About the Food
To think, I’ve been eating “snert” my whole life and never realized it. Come to think of it, I’ve also eaten my own mix of “hodgepodge,” as well, and never really thought of it as a “dish” or recipe.
Amsterdam’s canals are one of the reasons travelers are so mesmerized by the city. Lined with photogenic, narrow houses and arched over by cobbled bridges, the city is a lacework of little waterways.
Experiencing the Holland of the Masters
Holland is home to some great art museums. The Rijksmuseum and Rembrandt’s House in Amsterdam, the Mauritshuis (The Royal Picture Gallery) in The Hague and the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, are but a few. Visit these treasure troves of art but don’t let your art tour end at the museum doorstep.
Delft: Vermeer and porcelain in a quaint Dutch city
You don’t have to be in Delft long to see what inspired Johannes Vermeer opines Associated Press. Meandering up and down countless bridges that stretch over canals, and past storefronts and slender houses, the quaint Dutch life sets in. (photo: Misty)