Cities in Netherlands
Cheap Flights to Netherlands with Vayama starting at $ 412
There is so much more to the Netherlands than clogs, tulips and windmills, though these might be the first things that spring to mind when thinking about the Netherlands, a small country tucked between Germany and Belgium.
Let us clear one thing up first though which can be confusing. The Netherlands is often referred to as Holland but Holland forms only part of the whole country. The four largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, where the government sits, Utrecht, and Rotterdam, which has the biggest port on the continent.
You probably remember from Geography lessons about the Netherlands with dykes and polders, reclaimed land and deltas mentioned. Flooding is still a real problem for the Netherlands with the Netherlands coastline changing considerably over the years due to natural disasters and human intervention.
The Rhine is the Netherlands largest river and effectively divides the Netherlands in two along with its two main distributaries, the Meuse and the Waal. The main towns strung along the Netherlands part of the Rhine are Rotterdam, Arnhem and Utrecht.
Utrecht is Netherlands centre of religion and has several elaborate churches, the most notable being Dom Church. The city centre has retained many medieval structures but the city is also forward looking with a thriving arts scene and plays host to the Netherlands Film Festival. Over the other side of the Netherlands is Rotterdam, named European Capital of Culture in 2001. The waterfront of this city is smart and teams with shops, restaurants and a buzzing nightlife. Rotterdam also has some innovative architecture including the cube houses, the Euromast which has an observation platform nearly 100m high, and the Erasmus Bridge which links the two parts of the city.
If you happen to be visiting the Netherlands in June, check out the Holland Festival which takes place in various venues across Amsterdam. It is the largest drama event in the country and showcases over 40 productions from opera and theatre to dance and music.
The Netherlands used to be part of the Low Countries which included Belgium and Luxembourg, but it was not until the late 16th century when the Dutch broke away from their Spanish Hapsburg masters and entered the Golden Age. It was here where trade prospered, the arts flourished, and banking and investment grew to enormous heights.
As with all good things, it did not last and the Netherlands saw a massive decline in fortune during the 17th and 18th centuries. However now the country is a force to be reckoned with and has a capital city that is a centre for business and international finance. This has a lot to do the Dutch seeming to have a natural talent for languages, and English, regarded as the international language, is spoken perfectly by most of them.
Flying to the Netherlands is easy with an international airport at Amsterdam. Flying Vayama is easy because the company offer great deals at low prices. Take the time to explore the Netherlands without having to blow your budget by flying Vayama.
Dutch Etiquette Tips
Flying to Amsterdam? There are many different types of traditions that are very important to the cultural heritage of the Netherlands. Below is a list of some do's and don'ts to make your trip more enjoyable
1. Dress Attire
- DO wear a two-piece suit for normal business events. Ties are beginning to be worn less, after the late Prince Claus of the Netherlands took his tie off at a fashion show and declared that it was, “A snake around my neck!”
- DO wear casual clothing for a day of sightseeing, as long as it is not business-related. Shorts are also fine for casual occasions when the weather is warm.
- DON'T wear sneakers, unless you are partaking in sports. Sneakers will make you look like a tourist, and tend to be a giveaway for pickpockets. Instead, wear a pair of comfy walking shoes.
2. Table Manners
- DO expect to “go Dutch” when dining out (they call it “Going American” in the Netherlands). Unless you were invited to a meal and the host told you that it was their treat, you should pay your portion of the bill or expect the bill to be divided up evenly.
- DO leave a restaurant tip if you feel that the service was outstanding. Legally, the service charge for restaurants is included in your bill, but for good service you may want to leave a 10% tip.
4. Gift Giving and Accepting Gifts
- DO give gifts such as high-quality chocolate, a plant, book, or flowers.
- DO give flowers in odd numbers, except for unlucky number thirteen. Avoid white lilies or chrysanthemums, because those are generally for funerals.
- DON'T give wine as a gift if invited to dinner, because your host might have already bought wine for the meal.
- DO open your gift when you receive it.
5. Body Gestures
- DON'T tap the center of your forehead with your index finger. It's the sign for “crazy” and is considered an impolite gesture.
- DO shake hands upon meeting someone.
- DO introduce older people first, as it is a sign of respect.
- DO stand when someone is being introduced to you.
- DO kiss three times on alternating cheeks (left, right, left) when greeting someone as well as bidding farewell. This is a custom typically for people of the opposite sex, although some people of the same sex do this as well. Familiar business partners also greet each other in that fashion. Even if you feel uncomfortable partaking in this greeting, you should go along with it because it could be seen as insulting if you refuse.
7. Language Etiquette
- DO try speaking Dutch if you wish, but note that according to a census, 85% of Dutch people can speak a reasonable amount of English.
8. Visitors Etiquette
- DO give your host a gift if invited to a Dutch person's home.
- DO arrive on time. Being on time indicates proper planning. Do not arrive early, either.
- DO call your host if you expect be more than five minutes late.
9. Business Meeting
- DON'T drop by a colleague's workplace. The Dutch do business only by appointment. Schedule an appointment in advance.
- DO be on time. Punctuality is important to business.
- DON'T make small talk once the meeting has begun.
- DO expect meetings to be conducted in the office, as opposed to a restaurant. Business meals are usually a break from a meeting or to celebrate.
- DON'T use hyperbole or make your business associates feel pressured.
- DON'T cancel or attempt to reschedule your meeting at the last minute.
The Netherlands is a country rich with history and culture, and the Dutch are very traditional people and proud of their heritage, so be sure to respect their etiquette. Keep the general etiquette guidelines in mind throughout your visit, and enjoy your trip!
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