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Holland - The Netherlands

Video courtesy of Visit The Netherlands Tourism

The Netherlands is often referred to as Holland, the name taken from the two counties where most tourist attractions are located. Amsterdam with its canals, bridges and gabled houses is the capital of the Netherlands and home to many famous museums including Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank’s House. In nearby Haarlem find the museum dedicated to Frans Hals, the famous Dutch artist. The Hague (Den Haag) is home of the European Court of Justice. Delft is known for its historic pottery whilst Leiden is one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands and home to the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (National Museum of Antiquities) and the Stedelijk Museum.

You won’t be in The Netherlands long before you notice the prominent position flowers hold in Dutch life. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, “Tulip-Mania” spread throughout The Netherlands. Anyone with access to even a small patch of soil would grow and prosper in tulip bulbs.

Is like no other European city; its unique charm and easy-going temperament rise up to greet all visitors whether one is gliding down a floodlit canal or strolling through a quiet 17th century neighbourhood of gabled houses.

In the 17th century Amsterdam was the world’s leading port, its wealth based on the shipping trade. Wealthy bourgeois supported the arts, and the city was home to Rembrandt for almost half a century. Less than one hundred years later, the city was in decline, with foreign powers anxious to break Amsterdam’s powerful international trading monopolies. Amsterdam has long been known as the place of religious tolerance and social progress; it maintained its neutrality during the First World War and tried to do the same during World War II, without success.

Visit the fascinating house of Anne Frank, where the young girl and her family were hidden for three years during the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands. The outdoor market on Saturday at Albert Cuypstraat is also worth exploring, where you can sample fresh herring, licorice, a Dutch specialty. Visit the neighbourhood of Jordan, formerly settled by French Huguenots and now an area containing craft studios/workshops, specialty stores, cafes, pubs and restaurants. One of the towns oldest “brown cafes”, the Dutch equivalent of an English pub, is located here. The largest and richest museum in The Netherlands is the Rijksmuseum, home to a breath-taking collection of Old Masters; also the museum of Vincent van Gogh displays some of his best known paintings.

Explore this lovely city with its pretty streets and canal ways. Visit the Royal Palace and some of the finest churches and old buildings in the city. After ten years of building work, renovations, and restoration, the Rijksmuseum is now open and is sure to be a highlight of your stay. The Van Gogh Museum is also not to be missed!

Not far from Amsterdam’s airport lies the Aalsmeer Flower Auction. Experience the incredible atmosphere, where an abundance of flowers are displayed daily. Visitors are free to watch the colourful action from an observation gallery. The rare beauty will fascinate you as an array of colors circulate throughout the area.

Is the home of the famous blue and white earthenware that bears the city’s name. Also renowned as the home of the largest carillon bell in The Netherlands, the town of Delft is surrounded by canals, gabled houses and humpbacked bridges. In addition to its china, Delft was famous for its breweries, harbour, cloth-trade and shipping in its Golden Age.

In the 17th century, 30 different potteries produced Delft china, now there are only two. Genuine Delft can be recognized by its color, the shine of its glaze and the complexity of its design. The various shades of blue depend on the particular artist. The price of a genuine Delft article is never determined by its size, but, rather by the quality of its painting. Every object is hand drawn, unaided by stencils or tracings; therefore, the quantity is very limited.

The town of Lisse is one of three main bulb towns of Holland. On the grounds of the neo-¬Gothic castle, de Keukenhof, lies the famous Keukenhof Gardens, The Netherlands’s most colourful springtime attractions – fields of tulips, daffodils and hyacinth. Here you can stroll through a showcase of flowers where professional bulb growers have used their skill and imagination in creating this world famous attraction.
August is the hottest month in Amsterdam with an average temperature of 17°C (63°F) and the coldest is January at 3°C (37°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 7 in June. The wettest month is November with an average of 90mm of rain.
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