Why would you go to the Netherlands?
To be honest, I don’t think the Netherlands is one of the most exciting countries to be in, especially because of its rainy weather which makes enjoying the summer outside a job for die-hards or people who love to be wet and cold all the time. I have to say global warming improves it a bit but it is still a reason not to come here when you just want to chill in the sun.
All the time I am wondering; why should people come here to enjoy their vacations? Why not a nice and warm country with awesome nature? So I started looking for reasons, and I decided to put whatever I found here to maybe convince other people to visit this country or probably stay far away from it.
Even though most of our nature is not as natural as you might be used to, we do have some nice things to see and experience. As our country is kind of an inside out fishbowl (about 25% of it is under sea level) you could take a look at our creative waterworks. Especially the Delta works, consisting of dams, sluices, locks, dikes, levees, and storm surge barriers, used to shorten the Dutch coastline and therefore dikes to prevent us from drowning are very interesting and sometimes stunning to see. Without it I would sit in a sea right now.
The Wadden Sea (Mudflats)
As mudflats are not really common and because our Wadden Sea is famous for its rich flora and founa it is a very good idea to go for a mudflat hike. Even though it sounds grose and like no fun at all to walk through mud and get really dirty it really is! I still find this is one of the most fun things to do, just go and try it, no doubt you’ll have a lot of fun. Do take a guide with you who knows where and when to go because it can go very wrong when you don’t and the sea will eat you alive. There are several tours available with experienced guides who can even bring you to one of the Dutch islands.
Hoge Veluwe National Park
Just because I grew up there and I’ve always liked it. Lots of things to do here, just check the website and go walking, cycling, surfing, swimming, camping, etc.
Try the Dutch delicacy Hollandse Nieuwe, (Dutch New), which is raw herring caught around the end of the spring and the beginning of the summer. The raw herring will be typically served with raw union and it is delicious!
Another thing you should try is our cheese. We have a huge variety of cheeses and some foreigners need to get used to it but in the end they are all just awesome. I especially like Old Amsterdam for its rich flavor.
Do not forget to go to the snack-bar and test our frikandellen (sort of a fried hot-dog with lots of different meat in it) and bitterballen, another meat based snack. Not suitable for a diet or super healthy eaters but definitely worth trying. And then you just love it or hate it.
Obviously everyone wants to visit Amsterdam once. Sure, there are lots of things to see and to do but it is not my favorite city. I found it hard to find an interesting pub or disco open after 3 in the night, didn’t feel like paying a lot to get in and ended up in a transvestite bar, fun to experience but not really my thing. Pubs can be very far apart which could make your evening out pretty tiring if you don’t have a bike. Still, visiting de Wallen, the largest and best known red-light district in Amsterdam is ‘interesting’.
This is the city I study in, and it really is a student city. It has a variety of nice pubs, disco’s and restaurants and most of them are located in the center. There are live music performances regularly in the various cafes and it has no fixed closing times, so you can party until morning if you want to. Groningen was recently chosen as the city with the best city centre in the Netherlands so it is also very good for shopping.
The Netherlands has some really nice old villages that look like you just went back in time. I grew up in the little town Elburg which does not really have a lot of stuff going on, but the village just looks really pretty and medieval. Several records of it date back to the 14th century and it remained a fishing and farming center until the end of World war II. You will see a lot of old fishing ships called 'botters' that make the harbour look very authentic.
Well, that was it for a while, I will add things when I think about it but for now, take care and maybe until soon in the Netherlands!