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.
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
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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