Visiting The Netherlands
If you want to feel free from prejudices, the Netherlands is where you should go. The country is sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Holland (although the official name of the country is still the Netherlands).
Living in the Netherlands is like an adventure. There you will face up a relatively tolerant attitude to many things that in other parts of the world are not welcomed, such as prostitution, soft drugs, same-sex marriages, and many others. Dutch themselves consider openness and honesty to be their main features, which explains their tolerance towards many things. Freedom is the main value of the inhabitants of the Netherlands, which is why they are so eager to host the representatives of different states, despite of the harsh climate.
Rainfalls in the Netherlands are rather common. Whenever you come to this western European country, located at the mouths of the rivers Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt, you’ll always see rains. But the lack of sunshine is replaced by the riot of color on the ground; no wonder the Netherlands is called to be the country of flowers. In April, soft lawn is covered with daffodils and May is the ideal time for flowering tulips. Endless fields and scarlet, yellow, purple flowers became the hallmark of the Netherlands. One of the most visited parks is the Keukenhof, which holds unique shows and exhibitions of spring flowers every single year.
The endless expanses of this beautiful country are illustrated in the paintings of the world famous painters like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh. In many landscapes you will find windmills, and even some of them are still performing their basic function. The amazing nature of the northern province of Friesland is famous for its sea resorts, pine forests and pristine lakes.
The Antilles and Aruba are also considered to be a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and have a special status. You should visit those if you wish to sunbathe on a beautiful white sand beaches year-round.
The Antilles rejoice in diversity. Here you will find a “vacation package” for every taste. These resorts are popular with those who love a quiet family holiday and those who like diving, surfing and even nightlife.
On the island of Aruba you will face a very lively nightlife. It has gained a reputation of Las Vegas in the Caribbean. In the evening you can choose between a casino, a disco or a dinner in a cabaret. If you want to taste this all, you should visit the great resorts of the north to Oranjestad between the beaches of Druif and the Palm.
Just like in case of other casino islands, here you will find good hotels, in the evening and night-time you will be offered to listen to concerts of the local bands, watch interesting shows and take part in discos. Check out the opening time of the casinos — some of them are open 24 hours. Even if you’re not an avid player, just watch — you’ll definitely enjoy it.
But most of all the tourists are attracted by surprisingly beautiful cities of the Netherlands, where the medieval buildings nestle in between the modern skyscrapers. The brightest representative of this synthesis is the nation’s capital Amsterdam. Here the exhausting walks can be replaced with a more pleasant pastime of water excursions. Over 600 channels permeate the entire city, allowing you to explore the many attractions of Amsterdam, to see the most beautiful bridges, the spirit of this enchanting city.
The second largest city in the Netherlands is Rotterdam, which is also the largest port in Europe. Unfortunately, during the Second World War the city has been heavily damaged. There is a monument in the center of Rotterdam called “Cry” (Zadkine monument) to commemorate the war.
You can walk through the narrow old streets, preserved in one of the blocks of the city, called Delftshavene. Don’t forget to visit the Historical Museum, located in a palace built in the XVII, Van Beuningen Museum Boymana, which displays the works of Flemish painters, the Cathedral of St. Lorentskerk, in front of which you will find the monument to Erasmus Flamandian, and the Town Hall.
Hague is a city of international importance. It is here where the World Court of Justice conducts its trials. Next to the court building you will find Redderzal building (Tribunal), Gevagenport prison (now a museum of the Inquisition), Palace of Mauritshuis, which has a rich collection of works by Dutch artists, the Old Town Hall in the Gothic style and Grote Kerk church. In summer you can visit the palace of Keninkliyk Pale Nordeynde, which is the residence of the current Queen Beatrix of Orange.
In whatever city you arrive — Utrecht, Maastricht, Groningen, or any other, you will encounter historical monuments, medieval castles and cathedrals. If you are tired of the bustle of the city, crowds of tourists and a series of successive landmarks, visit the West Frisian Islands, also known as Avian Kingdom. In June the catamaran regatta is held here, in the rest of the time quiet and calm atmosphere reigns here. Well, except for the island of Terschelling, which is considered to be the most desperate place for the entertainment.
Before leaving, get a few souvenirs for the memory of the freedom-loving country, such as the statues of the famous blue and white Delft pottery, wooden shoes or clothes made of hemp. Do not forget to buy a pair of delicious chocolate bars and, of course, the famous Dutch cheese. In a homelike setting their taste will remind you of an unforgettable journey to the Kingdom of Holland.