The Netherlands or Holland as it is commonly known will charm its way through your heart. A small country, it is immensely beautiful and is well known for its great landscape, open culture, canals, windmills, great sightseeing destinations, museums, painters, clogs and of course tulips! It is a flat country and has no mountains but has lovely beaches and historic towns to explore. If you are an Art and Culture lover, this is the perfect place for you to be. There are countless art museums in Amsterdam alone.
Indians could easily include Netherlands in their itinerary clubbed with other European cities. Popular tourist cities in France, Germany and Belgium are just a train journey away. When you step out of Schiphol, the amazing city of Amsterdam welcomes you. You will be taken in with the wide streets, lush greenery and the fabulous public transport. Amsterdam has a lovely tram and bus system. You can buy passes and use them to travel comfortably with your family. You can take trains to travel to other cities and Eurorail to European cities. Again buying passes are lighter on the pocket. English is the second language in the Netherlands after the native Dutch and is spoken and understood widely. People are friendly and extremely helpful. And Euro works here.
Mostly Caucasian, the Dutch are tall, towering folks. The average height for males is 6 feet! They are big in stature and known to be the tallest nationality on our planet. And they are people who love the outdoors. Most of Netherlands is very friendly towards cycling. Private transport is actively discouraged. With a fabulous public transport, it is not really needed. But seeing people cycle to just about every place is a delight! Yes, they even wear their tuxedos, sling their laptop bag and cycle right to work! And there are exclusive cycleways that really help. You can rent bicycles if you want to do some exploring yourselves. Most town squares and other areas are no-vehicle zones. And you have to walk to explore them. Yes, it is a place that makes you move about.
The people are friendly, warm and helpful and will strike conversations at the drop of a hat. You should of course expect honesty, openness and a wry sense of humor. The best time to visit is in the short summers when everyone is out and enjoying the warm sun. The beaches are filled to capacity.
The Netherlands is a very liberal country. It has open laws about prostitution, sex and drugs. And, it can be intriguing for most first time visitors. But, really one can sidestep that and enjoy all the great sightseeing and shopping options that the country offers. In the next post, we will explore some wonderful cities and places to see there.
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