The Netherlands consistently amazes the world with its peculiar innovations and ability to make the most out of its natural resources. The Dutch literally and figuratively keep their heads above the water for a country with 25 percent of the population below sea level.
The Netherlands is situated in the northwestern portion of Europe along the North Sea. Its land area is 41 543 square kilometers and is the lowest in the European continent. Even if one-fourth of its land area is submerged in water, the country ironically cradles a vast number of the Dutch population. Around 17 million inhabitants are in the Netherlands, making it the most densely populated country in Europe.
The country finally got its independence from Spain and officially became a country in 1648. Since then, it established its impressive economy through exports, engineering, and tourism making it one of the most powerful countries in the world. The Netherlands was formerly known as Holland, but in its effort to establish its identity, its official name is now “The Netherlands,” which means a low-lying country. The country has 12 provinces ruled by a monarchy.
Dutch Climate and Seasons
Since it’s near the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea, the Netherlands generally experiences a temperate climate with mild winters and cool summers. The good thing about the Netherlands is the minimal climate difference in all areas since the country is relatively small. There’s a fair rainfall distribution throughout the year, but the driest periods can be from April until September.
The Netherlands also has four distinct seasons as its neighboring countries like Germany and Belgium. Winter commences in January and ends in March, spring from April to June, summer from July to September, and autumn from October to December. Locals highly suggest visiting from June to November as a few festivities are celebrated in the country apart from the blooming flowers and lush greeneries.
Getting Around Netherlands
Your public commute can be an enjoyable experience in the Netherlands. Bicycles, trams, and taxis are popular in the country.
The leading train company is called NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) also offers subscriptions and day tickets which are cheaper than the regular rates. There are also buses providing international and local travel.
If you would like to travel by air, you can include WizzAir and Ryanair on your list. These carriers offer affordable flights all over Europe. You can find airports in Dortmund, Dusseldorf, and Eindhoven to catch these flights.
Tulips and Windmills
The Netherlands is more than tulips and windmills. It has various spots, from its ancient castles, canals, amusement parks, and museums. However, the main attractions of the Netherlands are its historical windmills and gorgeous tulip gardens.
Your travel won’t be complete without paying a visit to the country’s flower garden. The world’s largest tulip sanctuary is located in Keukenhof, with about 7 million flower species and the largest tulip species world. If you visit Amsterdam, which also has its tulip garden and festival, you must drop by Keukenhof since it’s just half an hour away from the country’s capital. The tulip season happens during the spring season.
The Netherlands’ below sea level location was made bearable by its more than 1000 windmills distinct with oversized frames and sturdy blades to adapt to the weather. Dutch used windmills to pump water away from lands and drive it back to the dikes. During World War, windmills also became warning signs to advise of the German invasion. You can find fascinating windmills in the village of Kinderdijk and Zaanse Schans.
For history enthusiasts, you can visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the country’s renowned museums such as Teylers Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Museum of the Hague and Maritime Museum, and Van Gogh Museum. Dutch are great engineers, and it’s evident in their architectures.
Dutch cuisine is shaped by a land abundant in water. Lands below sea level typically have fertile soil, so each region came up with dishes often made from vegetables, bread, and meat. The country’s cuisine can be rustic and straightforward, but many famous Dutch foods are a must-try for gastronomic delights.
You can start by grabbing a bite of Dutch famous waffle cookies called Stroopwafels. Stroopwafels are two thin crunchy waffles stuck together by a caramel syrup. It is best paired with brewed coffee or tea after a busy stroll in Amsterdam.
Among other tasty Dutch foods that deserve a try are Bitterballen, a finger food of brad-crumbed ball made of beef and veal, Krokets aka Croquettes and Stamppot, which is mashed potato mixed with veggies and smoked sausage. These foods have been in existence since the 1800s and are an essential part of Dutch culture. You can easily find these dishes gracing most pubs and cafes in the Netherlands.