Delft porcelain, fields of tulips at Keukenhof in the spring, Anne Frank’s House, Van Gogh and his museums, clogs and cheese – the popular imagination has been fed by postcards from The Netherlands, the land of windmills which, above and beyond those pictures on glossy paper, boasts a whole world of traditions and inspirations.
While Amsterdam, with its canals, trendy shops, fantastic museums and romantic atmosphere, is undoubtedly one of the jewels in its crown, all of the Kingdom’s twelve provinces are worthy of interest. Less than 30 minutes from the capital, Haarlem has earned its nickname of the “Flower City” and is the perfect place to pick up some bulbs or fall in love with the streets that have seduced so many artists. For some fresh air, it’s easy to get to the seaside, with 650 kilometers of coastline offered by the seaside paradise of Zeeland, or the islands in the Wadden Sea with their unique environmental potential.
With their charming landscapes, the cities of The Netherlands are also a great asset. A ruggedly beautiful old port, Rotterdam is an open-air architectural museum, with a range of exciting excursions to offer. The bustling Eindhoven boasts the unbelievable Stratumseind, a street that packs in 50 pubs to its 225 metres. Famous for its canals lined with restaurants and the monumental Domtoren (cathedral tower), Utrecht is also home to the Rietveld Schröder House, a marvel of the De Stijl movement and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Like Breda, Maastricht is home to historic buildings that have lived through the centuries, including battlements, huge squares and exquisite churches. The Hague, the seat of power, has its own secular charm to suit its nickname, “Royal City by the Sea”, ruling over a land of stunning riches.