The Hague (officially »’s-Gravenhage«) (Internet: www.denhaag.com ) is the seat of government of the Netherlands as well as the residence of the royal family and the provincial capital of Zuid-Holland. The International Court of Justice is also based here. The center of the old town is the Binnenhof, the government square from the Middle Ages. Parks and boulevards invite you to take a walk. A suburb of The Hague is the North Sea resort of Scheveningen with its famous casino and extensive sandy beaches.
The city of Haarlem is about 20 km west of Amsterdam and is the largest tulip center in Holland. The historic city center is very well preserved. In the center of the old town is the Grote Kerk, a magnificent Gothic church. The local art museum is dedicated to the painter Frans Hals, many of his paintings can be admired here. The water sports centers of Hoorn and Enkhuizen and the seaside resort of Zandvoort are not far from here.
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Netherlands, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
Cooperatieve Bloemenveiling FloraHolland
The sales hall of Coöperatieve Bloemenveiling FloraHolland (Internet: www.floraholland.com ) in Aalsmeer is one of the largest buildings in the world. Thousands of flowers and plants are auctioned every day on more than 999,000 m². Those who get up early can witness the hustle and bustle of the florists from the visitor gallery. The auctions take place all year round Monday to Wednesday + Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
In the Madurodam Miniature Park (Internet: www.madurodam.nl ) you can see the Netherlands in miniature. About 300 of the most important buildings and replicas of typical landscapes have been recreated here with great attention to detail in a ratio of 1:25, including several windmills, a cheese market and Schiphol Airport. Many exhibits are interactive, so that visitors can become the engine driver of the miniature railway or the crane driver in the port of Rotterdam.
The former trading and university city of Delft is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. The old town with its canals has numerous sights, such as the Nieuwe Kerk, which houses the family tomb of the royal family. The city is known for its pottery factories, such as Royal Delft (Internet: www.royaldelft.com ). One of the most famous citizens was Johannes Vermeer, in the Vermeer Centrum Delft (Internet: www. vermeerdelft.nl ) you can find out all sorts of interesting facts about the painter.
Crossed by canals, the city of Leiden (website: portal.leiden.nl ) has long been considered an intercultural hub. The city’s dozens of museums include De Lakenhal (website: www.lakenhal.nl ), which houses masterpieces by Rembrandt van Rijn, who was born here, and the Boerhaave Natural History Museum (website: www.museumboerhaave.nl ). The Pilgrim Fathers lived here from 1610-1620 and the documentation center on Boisotkade (Vliet 45) has artefacts, pictures and documents from that period on display.
Diamond dealers are plentiful in Amsterdam and you can see the artists cutting and polishing the precious stones. One of the best known is Gassan in the Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat (Internet: www.gassandiamonds.com ), where you can choose your own stone and have it set into a piece of jewelry on the spot.
Amsterdam (Internet: www.visitamsterdam.nl ) is the capital of the Netherlands, but not the seat of government. The city is built around a network of canals (Grachten) and has more than 1000 bridges. Many of the buildings and bridges date from the 17th century. Three good art galleries are gathered on the Museumsplein; the Rijksmuseum (Internet: www.rijksmuseum.nl ), the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum. Tourist Information (VVV) (website: www.iamsterdam.com ) is located opposite Central Station at Stationsplein 10.
Arnhem (Internet: www.vvvarnhem.nl ), capital of the Dutch province of Gelderland, was the scene of “Operation Market Garden” during the Second World War, during which the Allied forces tried to capture what is now the John Frost Bridge over the Rhine in order to defend themselves pave a way to Germany. A visit to Burgers’ Zoo (Internet: www.burgerszoo.nl ) is worthwhile, as it has a safari park, a rain forest you can walk through, several saltwater aquariums and a mangrove hall.
Palace on the Dam (Royal Palace)
The Royal Palace, built in 1648, was originally Amsterdam’s city hall. The building is of great cultural and historical importance for the Netherlands. The interior was designed by famous artists such as Rembrandt and Ferdinand Bol. The palace houses an impressive collection of furniture left behind by Napoleon in 1808. The Dutch royal family uses the palace for official receptions and representative events.
Visiting a cheese market is an impressive experience. Arguably the best markets are on the Waagplein in Alkmaar (Internet: www.kaasmarkt.nl ). Every Friday from mid-April to mid-September, thousands of cheeses are lined up at the central weighing house, tried and carried away by cheese carriers in traditional costumes. A similar spectacle takes place in Edam on Wednesdays during the summer months.