The Netherlands — The Basics
An extremely modern, hip, and culturally rich nation, the Netherlands is rated as one of the best places to travel in Europe. Not only is it rich in nature, history, architecture, and nightlife, but the people are so warm and accepting of visitors. When you come to the Netherlands, you don’t feel like a stranger in a strange land. Instead, you feel like a guest in a picturesque wonderland. If you’re on the fence about visiting this incredible country, just know that life is too short to wait for the joys that the Netherlands has to offer!
Sights and Attractions
Like eating cheese? Well, Gouda, a popular variety known worldwide, actually originates in the Netherlands! Where in the Netherlands? Well, the town of Gouda , of course. Most of us have been saying it wrong our whole lives. Gouda (Goo-da) is actually pronounced How-da!
How-da heck did we get it wrong this entire time? Pronunciation aside, Gouda is not only a great place to pick up some local artisan cheese, but it’s also the perfect place to witness some 15th-century Dutch village architecture.
A castle can be found at every turn in the Netherlands. Ask any local, anywhere, and they can probably point you towards a castle within an hour’s drive! As for some of the most notable: Castle De Haar , Kasteel Huis Bergh , and Loevestein Castle won’t disappoint!
The Netherlands has an abundance of natural beauty, from thick, lush forests, to expansive dunes and windmill-filled fields. The Netherlands is also known for its flowers! In the town of Lisse, a magnificent floral garden called the Keukenhof is home to over 7 million colorful, vibrant flowers. Seas of amazing vivid colors cover over 32 hectares in this spectacular attraction.
The Dutch elites loved them so much that they started to pay top dollar. As global transit was relatively slow back then, a tulip-futures market emerged, and people would sink their life savings with the “sure knowledge” that the tulip would keep appreciating in value. A bubble formed, and boy did it burst! While the Netherlands didn’t enter a recession, plenty of people lost everything. The first known speculative bubble in the world — all because of tulips. Only in the Netherlands. This period of history is referred to as tulpenmanie — Tulip Mania!
Netherlands Travel Tips
Netherlands Currency Considerations
The currency of the Netherlands is the Euro. Well, for the most part. The Caribbean Netherlands actually uses the US dollar. That’s convenient for any US citizens that are visiting those islands. If by chance, you’re visiting the Netherlands in Europe, then you’re going to have to exchange your dollars for Euros. Don’t wait until you are already in the Netherlands to exchange your currency! You are likely to get a terrible rate at an airport kiosk or tourist hotspot. A terrible rate means that you are spending more for your own money, and you inevitably end up with less!
Fewer Euros means less fun. Instead, exchange your currency for the currency of the Netherlands in your home country. An online currency exchange site is an appealing option for anyone who wishes to exchange their money for euros at a favorable rate.
People in the Netherlands are often friendly an honest, and the Netherlands is one of the safest countries in the world. Still, it is vital to watch over your cash and valuables. It’s a bad idea to keep all your money in one place.
Don’t leave yourself susceptible to thieves and crooks. You work hard for your money, and if it’s stolen, your holiday travel plans will be severely hampered. There are many high traffic areas in the Netherlands, and pickpocketers love that! Small things like keeping an arm over your purse, and putting your wallet in your front pocket really pay off.
Hotels, hostels, and homestays are reasonably priced in the Netherlands. If you do plenty of research beforehand, you can end up minimizing your hotel spending for your holiday travel experience.
Flights and Transportation
Your Netherlands travel plans are likely to start at Amsterdam or Rotterdam, homes of the Netherlands’ major international airports. The Netherlands is equipped with an extremely modern, sleek, clean, and punctual railway and metro system. Almost every corner of the country is accessible by rail. That which can’t be accessed by rail can be accessed via bus.
In general, avoid taxis in the Netherlands. Like most holiday travel destinations, visitors end up getting charged way too much. It’s easy enough just to take public transit, and the extra minute or two is worth the wait. The rail system connects to the neighboring countries, and much of the EU can be accessed via rail. The Netherlands is one of the best places to travel if you want to get around quickly, and public transit is extremely affordable!
The people of the Netherlands speak Dutch as their national language. More than 90 percent of Dutch people speak English, and their proficiency tends to be very high. You should have almost no problems communicating throughout your Netherlands travel experiences. The Netherlands is among the best places to travel for Anglophones. Almost nothing will be lost in translation. In the case of a language barrier, a translation app and pictures are always helpful when getting the point across. If you know any German or French, it may be of some help. Still, if you stick to English, you should be just fine!
Netherlands Rules and Etiquette
Maybe you’ll see a couple of Dutch bros kissing each other on the street as a greeting. You may think that it’s normal, and you should go around kissing all Dutch people! Well, unless you want to horrify the local and be the butt of their jokes, don’t go around handing out cheek smooches! In Dutch culture, this kind of greeting is only done between close friends. Avoid the embarrassment of that comes with such a faux-pas.
While Dutch people may not be as formal as the Luxembourgish, they do expect basic table manners and etiquette. Don’t go chomping on your Draadjesvlees like a bear emerging from hibernation. Use your cutlery; don’t eat with your hands if you don’t have to.
Dutch people are friendly, but they don’t just hand out compliments like candy. Just because you aren’t receiving praise from a Dutch person, doesn’t mean that they don’t like you. It’s just the way they are. Consider a compliment from a Dutch person a true honor! These aren’t just empty words in Netherlands travel circumstances.
Don’t chew gum unless you’re alone. Dutch people don’t like watching someone chew and chaw like a cow at pasture, and the noise is considered unpleasant, as well. Although you may have heard the Netherlands be referred to as Holland, Holland is actually just a region within the Netherlands. It’s like calling the United States, “New England.” Pretty jarring.
Don’t speak to someone with your hands in your pockets. When a Dutch person sees this, they assume that the other person is either not listening, or doesn’t care. Also, don’t get too personal with strangers and acquaintances. They aren’t comfortable hearing your life story unless they know you pretty well.
Unless you’re going to the Dutch Caribbean, don’t forget to stock up on the Euro, the currency of the Netherlands! This beautiful country of windmills, modern cities, and historical architecture is a place where anyone can find their own adventure. The Netherlands is waiting for you to come along and take advantage of everything it has to offer!
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