The Netherlands is famous around the world for all kinds of reasons. This country is indeed very beautiful; not only because they are the neighbour of my homeland, Germany! My grandpa was Dutch and I grew up very close to the Dutch border in West Germany. Naturally, my family and I visited the country regularly. Later on I had Dutch language lessons in school, which brought me even closer to the culture.
The capital of the Netherlands and personally my favourite city in Europe! It is full of beautiful bridges, romantic canals and quirky houses everywhere.
This past spring I visited the city with my lovely fiancé. It was my fifth time – and why is that? You can always find something to do, even when you’re visiting for the fifth time and I love showing off places that I enjoy! This city is one of the most culturally diverse cities in Europe, so even simply sitting outside of a café people-watching is interesting. The city has many great shopping options and I fell in love with the second hand shops they offer there. For sightseeing, I highly recommend the Anne Frank Museum or a canal tour. For a change of perspective; rent a bike! You’ll feel like a true Amsterdammer, everyone rides their bike here. Additionally, the city has a great night life and lots of cool clubs, bars and, of course, coffee shops.
As you can see I could go on and on about this city… Amsterdam provides many sources of entertainment, so get out and explore!
Fietsen – Bike Riding
Seventeen million people live in the Netherlands and thirteen and a half million are cyclists. Altogether they own around twenty-two and a half million bikes (Dutch: fietsen). Isn’t that insane?! Going for a ride on a daily basis is their thing- for a reason; they have a great cycling infrastructure. There are many cycling paths, protected intersections, beautiful paths through nature and coastal roads, bike specific parking and oftentimes the cycling routes end up shorter than the routes by car. The bike friendly infrastructure makes cycling enjoyable and fun for all! The land there is very flat – a lot of areas even lie below sea level, which makes riding the bike even more pleasant.
Dutch food is just… wonderful! They have everything the heart desires including delicious street food like Poffertjes (super small, sweet pancakes), delightful cheese in all flavors and forms, not to mention their variety of sea food. The restaurants here are diverse in offerings and they have a great snack/diner culture! One of their specialties is Frietjes Speciaal (fries with ketchup, mayonnaise, then topped with fresh diced onions). Believe me, it tastes so gooood! Sometimes, you can even find vending machines where you are able get hot snacks like Kaas Soufflé, Hamburgers, Frikandellen or croquettes.
The Netherlands is about 180km (112m) wide, from east to west, which means you can get to the sea easily. The length of the coastline is about 450km (280m). One of my favorite places is Scheveningen which lays next to Den Haag. This charming beach is wide and even offers a romantic pier.
The Dutch are down to earth, friendly and have an open mindset. They have a really casual way of interacting with each other, but what I love most about them is their humour. Netherlanders can always find a reason to make you smile. Dutch society is a very social society; you can see their gregariousness everywhere!
The streets are lined with cafés and many other places that offer opportunities to hang out. Something you may need to get used to would be the big, wide front windows found in Dutch homes, but this style makes the room bright and friendly inside. If you are planning to spend your vacation in the Netherlands I’d recommend you take the chance and meet up with locals. Why not couch surf for a few of nights? This tactic saves you some money while giving you the great opportunity to see this beautiful country from a different perspective – the Dutch perspective! Who knows, maybe you’ll return home with a few new friends?
I hope I inspired you to spend your next vacation in the Netherlands! You can find more information here!
See you soon – Jacqui