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Home Page > Travelogues > The Netherlands (a.k.a. Holland)

Quick Access for this Page -- [ Introduction ] [ Travelogues By Region ] [ Links ]

Click on the colored areas of the map to access a travelogue.  The colors indicate different regions of The Netherlands -- scroll down for explanation and introduction for each location. (Original map comes from the CIA World Factbook)

IntroductionThe Netherlands (meaning "lower lands") is a country that has gone Netherlandsthrough some incredible changes during its history.  Once a major European economic center and worldwide colonial power that spread a doctrine based on a very conservative form of Christianity, this country is now far better known for its role in the international community (the World Court in The Hague) and its welcoming tolerance of alternative lifestyles (i.e. legalized possession and sale of drugs, legalized prostitution to point of celebrating its red-light districts, and openly permissive attitudes towards the gay community).

Interestingly, about the only things I knew about the country growing up as a kid were tulips, windmills, wooden shoes, and little boys saving their villages by plugging a leaky dike with their fingers.  Indeed, the countryside still celebrates "tulip time" every spring, when wide stretches of open fields are alive in a complete rainbow of colors -- tulips bred to bloom in every conceivable color.  Windmills are a staple of most city skylines.  Wooden shoes are a common souvenir item (the Dutch wear designer running shoes like everyone else now).  As far as the little boys plugging dikes, well, perhaps those has passed into legend.

But what the Dutch do have are ports -- lots of them and big ones at that.  With so many major rivers (the Rhine, the Maas, and the IJssel, plus others) emptying into the sea, The Netherlands lives on the shipping industry.  This is especially true of Rotterdam, the world's largest port and one of the world's major commercial centers.

I've pretty much hit the major cities in The Netherlands, so my "list" mostly consists of hitting the smaller towns and beachfronts.  The coastline of Scheveningen near The Hague is a popular destination that I haven't hit yet.

Travelogues.  The coloring of the locations on the map above indicate different locations in The Netherlands, as shown below.  

RED:  AMSTERDAM.  Amsterdam is one of the most incredible experiences you will find anywhere -- the fabled canals The Rijksmuseumscattered throughout the city, the beautiful brick houses with individually decorated gables, the massive market squares and art museums, the wonderful harbor, and the infamous (and I do mean infamous) red-light district.  It's also got the largest bike garage I've ever seen, some of the most wonderful seafood restaurants around, and some absolutely terrific shopping.  Easily requires a full weekend, maybe even a week! GREEN:  MAASTRICHT.  Much lesser known is this beautiful city in the very Den Helpoort in Maastrichtsoutheastern corner of the country.  Maastricht is a lovely walled city with its own canals, colorful market squares, and beautiful parks.  The Helpoort (pictured) is one of the many bastions still standing, and the outer wall facing the Maas River is arrayed with old cannons.  A detailed city tour map will guide you to the many wonderful medieval sights.
BLUE:  Central Netherlands.  Lumped together here are three travelogues of major Dutch cities stretching across central Holland.  Near the Utrechtcoast is The Hague (or Den Haag), site of the World Court and home of several important international institutions.  To the east is the world's largest port city, Rotterdam, which is a great place to visit and shop.  Northward is Utrecht, which is a smaller and less crowded version of Amsterdam -- but with a charm all its own. ORANGE:  Keukenhof Gardens.  Coming soon.

LinksThe below links connect you to external sites in a new window.  All links are official sites sanctioned by the national, state, or local governments unless otherwise indicated.  These links will open to the Dutch-language home page, which will offer an icon or link to an English-language section (normally limited content).  Links updated 8 January 2006.

Country Links:

bulletNetherlands National Tourist Bureau
bullet US Embassy to the Netherlands
bullet US Consulate Sheet for the Netherlands 
bullet Dutch Embassy to US 

City and Town Links:

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Amsterdam Home Page 

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Keukenhof Gardens Home Page

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Maastricht Home Page

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Rotterdam Home Page 

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The Hague Tourism Page

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The Hague Home Page

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Utrecht Home Page 

 

   
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