There’s more to Holland than windmills, tulips, canals and cheese. The country has many lesser-known attractions such as North Sea beaches, wild heathland, dense forests ... and even hills and caves. Vast landscapes, where a huge sky hangs over flat farmland, stretches far into the distance. Here are 10 aspects of a holiday in Holland to help start your holiday planning and further research.
Amsterdam is small enough to explore on foot, taking time out from must-see attractions such as the Anne Frank House to wander among the maze of canals and charming side streets. Other cities such as The Hague, Delft and Utrecht are also rich in history.
The countryside around Amsterdam is a vibrant patchwork of colourful bulb fields in spring. Visit the gardens at Keukenhof, near Leiden, for spectacular displays of tulips, narcissi, hyacinths, and other flowers.
Saddle up and join the Dutch in their favourite means of transport. Bikes can be hired throughout the country. The flat-as-a-pancake countryside and well-marked bike lanes make cycling in Holland easy and fun.
The Dutch landscape is governed by water, from dams holding back the North Sea to dykes protecting the low-lying countryside. Enjoy the scenery with a boat trip on Amsterdam’s canals or a sailing holiday on the giant Ijsselmeer.
Some of the greatest works by Dutch masters can be seen at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Mauritshuis in The Hague. Amsterdam also boasts the Van Gogh Museum and the home of Rembrandt, while Vermeer lived in Delft.
Dutch cities offer plenty of retail therapy, from large malls and department stores to quirky shops specialising in everything from toothbrushes to comics. Typical souvenirs include Delft pottery, Edam cheese, bulbs and wooden clogs.
Enjoy traditional seaside fun at North Sea resorts such as Scheveningen, with miles of sandy beach. For somewhere quieter, catch a ferry to the tranquil West Frisian Islands.
Entertainment in Holland can be as lively or low-key as you want it to be. Rotterdam has a vibrant club scene, while Amsterdam offers everything from cosy canal-side bars and cafes to the great nightlife.
Food and drink
Holland’s colonial history means Indonesian food is as much a part of Dutch cuisine as herrings, cheese and butter.
Getting around during your holiday in Holland is easy by road, rail or cycle path. Explore lesser-known towns and cities such as Leeuwarden and Dordrecht, visit the royal palace of Het Loo at Apeldoorn, or head south to Maastricht and the hills and caves around Valkenburg.
No matter whether the bulb fields are in full bloom or an icy wind is blowing in off the North Sea, it’s eerily beautiful at any time of year. Holland also has the most picturesque towns and cities imaginable, with narrow gabled houses standing guard over pretty canals.