A small country it may be, but the Netherlands nevertheless possess a profile that’s about as big as it’s possible to have. Sometimes known as Holland, this is a country quite unlike any other, with a beguiling blend of vibrant culture and traditional beauty that you just don’t find in other places. The Netherlands is a mixed-up water world – sat on the confluence of three rivers which pour into the North Sea, its landscape is defined as much by its lakes, canals and coast as much as its liberal people.

 

Sunset.

 

No other country has so much of its territory lying below sea level. No other country possesses so much reclaimed land. No other country is as flat. Nor do many countries possess such a dense population, yet remain so liberal. There are no other countries that have so much wind and water, or so many windmills, tulips, bikes, bridges, dykes and polders. And there are few places that love the color orange quite so much. Quite simply, this is one unique destination.

 

Historical, Cultural, Trendy, Holland

 

Canals.As if we need to press home that point, take Amsterdam. The most famous of Dutch cities, Amsterdam is its cultural capital, criss-crossed by canals and home to the most entertaining coffee shops in the world. It’s hard to overstate Amsterdam’s mesmerizing qualities.

 

Jump on a train and in less than a few hours you’ll have the whole of the Netherlands at your fingertips. Vibrant cities such as Rotterdam and Haarlem, or the historical centers of Groningen, Utrecht, Maastricht, Den Haag, and Delft are but a few moments away.

 

 

This small nation doesn’t just stop with its cities though. Once again, it over achieves with its splendid countryside – polders complete with patrolling sheep, shimmering lakes, stretches of sandy coastline and national parks make the Netherlands a most rewarding place to explore. And what’s more, you’ll only need to get on a bicycle to see it all. Where else is that possible?

 

Windmill

 

Budget for one week: More than 1000 Euro

Taxes and gratuities: Gratuity is appreciated

Local currency: Euro/US Dollar

Spoken language and/or official language: Dutch

Area: 41,848 km2 (16,158 sq mi)

Population: 16,699,200

Sanitary requirements: You can drink tap water anywhere in the Netherlands

Major cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam. Den Haag, and Utrecht.

 

Main images, courtesy: Werner Kunz; Marcel Germain; and coanri