From its earliest days, Amsterdam has been a bustling hub of commerce that welcomed other cultures with open arms. Learn more about this lovely canal-side city, including the rich history and development of its tolerant society. Or jump straight to the modern day and find out about the city’s architecture and its colourful neighbourhoods. If you’re feeling ambitious, you might even pick up a few words of Dutch!
Amsterdam is best known for its luxurious canal houses and charming gabled facades, but the city has enough architectural treasures to keep design lovers busy for weeks. From windmills and drawbridges to the Amsterdam School and cutting-edge modern design, learn the stories behind Amsterdam’s most memorable structures.
Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is the main international airport of the Netherlands, located 20 minutes southwest of Amsterdam. It is the fourth busiest airport in Europe in terms of passengers.
Schiphol is the primary hub for KLM and its regional affiliate KLM Cityhopper as well as for Arkefly, Corendon Dutch Airlines, Martinair, and Transavia.com. The airport also serves as a European hub for Delta Air Lines and as a base for easyjet and Vueling.Schiphol is considered to be an airport city.
Schiphol is an important European airport, ranking as Europe's 4th busiest and the world's 14th busiest by total passenger traffic in 2013 (16th in 2012). It also ranks as the world's 6th busiest by international passenger traffic and the world's 16th busiest for cargo tonnage. 52.569 million passengers passed through the airport in 2013, a 3% increase compared with 2012. Schiphol's main competitors in terms of passenger traffic and cargo throughput are London Heathrow Airport, Frankfurt Airport, Paris–Charles de Gaulle Airport and Madrid–Barajas Airport.
Batavia was a ship of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It was built in Amsterdam in 1628, and armed with 24 cast-iron cannons and a number of bronze guns. Batavia was shipwrecked on her maiden voyage, and was made famous by the subsequent mutiny and massacre that took place among the survivors. A twentieth-century replica of the ship is also called the Batavia and can be visited in Lelystad, Netherlands.
Admirality ship De 7 Provinciën
Walk around the scaffolding of the replica of the battleship De 7 Provinciën
The battleship De 7 Provinciën was built in 1664-1665 for the Admiralty of Rotterdam. It was part of a larger fleet intended to strengthen the maritime power of the Dutch in relation to the English. Under the guidance of Admiral Michiel de Ruyter, the Netherlands won a great many sea battles, including the Four Days' Battle during the Second Dutch-Anglo War. In 1694, the ship was sold and scrapped because of its old age.
Alde Feanen National Park is a national park in the Netherlands province of Friesland. The Alde Faenen is also a Natura 2000 area.
The Alde Feanen is part of the communities Boornsterhem, Smallingerland and Tietjerksteradeel. Its size is about 25 km2 (9.7 sq mi). Part of the national park is the lake area Princenhof (or Princehof). The Alde Feanen contains morasses, lakes, forests, peat and meadows. In the area at least 450 plant species and 100 bird species can be found.
In the village of Eernewoude there is a visitors centre, De Reidplûm, close to the stork breeding station It Eibertshiem.
The area is owned by It Fryske Gea since 1934. After a preparation period of 4 years, the Minister of Nature designed it as the 20th national park in the Netherlands in 2006.
In the Alde Feanen are several monumental wind mills, such as 'De Ikkers', a so-called 'spinnenkopmolen' from the 18th century.
Many Dutch cities were built around canals. Alkmaar, Utrecht, Dordrecht, Leiden, Groningen, Leeuwarden and Amersfoort are cities with cityscapes that are characterised by graceful canals. Of course, Amsterdam has the best-known canals. The Amsterdam Canal District is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and the city has even been nicknamed the "Venice of the North". Discover Holland from a different perspective and take a cruise through the canals.
The canals were constructed in the 17th century to enable development of new neighbourhoods surrounding the city centre. The canals were used for water management, transportation and defense purposes. Nowadays, the canals are mainly used for recreational activities. Motor boats, canal tour boats, pedal boats and canoes sail through the canals year round, and you can even skate through the city centre during those severe winters when the canals freeze over.
The Fries Museum is dedicated to Friesland and the Frisian people. Its activities revolve around the eleven cities that make up the province and the surrounding countryside. These include the Frisians' love-hate relationship with water, the search for what defines the typical Frisian character, and Friesland's place in the wider world. The freedom fighter Grutte Pier's sword; old costumes and clothing; treasures from the Frisian mounds; the legacy of Mata Hari, the exotic dancer who was executed as a spy at the end of the First World War; Gerrit Benner's paintings; contemporary visual art; and the film de Overval: together these objects tell the story of Friesland.
The Fries Museum was located on the Turfmarkt in Leeuwarden from 1881. Initially housed in the Eysingahuis the museum gradually spread to the surrounding buildings over the next 130 years. The museum has now relocated to Wilhelminaplein 92, in heart of Leeuwarden's city centre. The bold open-plan building has a gigantic protruding roof elevated 25 metres above the ground on robust steel and wooden columns, with an imposing glass façade adorning the front of the building. These are just a few of the most striking attributes of the new Fries Museum. The building was delivered on Monday, 11 June 2012.
The Dutch are cheese-heads. Archeological digs have proven that cheese was already being made on Dutch soil thousands of years ago. A military report by Juius Caesar even mentions how surprised he was about the cheese production of these Low Countries. Being the cheese-heads we are, cheese was initally only made for personal consumption. it wasn't until the Middle Ages that Holland started exporting cheese and gained an international reputation as "cheese land".
History of Cheese
The Dutch association with cheese dates back to pre-Christian times. Archaeologists have found remains of cheese-making equipment dating back to 200 B.C. By the Middle Ages, making and trading cheese had assumed a central position in Dutch life. Cheese markets flourished and towns that were granted weighing rights were able to build Weigh Houses and enjoyed special status. De Waag in Gouda is one of the most beautiful weigh houses in Holland. From that time on, Holland further developed as a world leader in the dairy industry.
People from all over the world still think that the Dutch wear clogs or wooden shoes every day. If you’re one of those people, we’re sorry to disappoint you. Contrary to popular belief, most Dutch people don’t wear clogs anymore. The only group of people that still wear them are rural workers.
Clogs keep your feet dry, are very safe and wearing them is even considered to be healthy. The European Union acknowledged this and gave the clog a CE mark. Currently, there are 25 traditional clog makers who like to demonstrate the profession of clog making.
Besides a group of rural workers there’s only one other group of people that enjoys buying and wearing clogs; tourists like you. Today most clogs are sold to tourists from all over the world that want to bring home a typically Dutch souvenir.
Souvenir from Holland
You know what to do if you want a picture of someone wearing clogs. You need to travel to the countryside in search for farmers and rural workers. Or buy them yourself at one of the tourist shops and have your picture taken.
Iselmar is situated at the edge of picturesque fisermens's village Lemmer.
Its unhurried center with numerous terraces right at the waterside, cafés, and many sights such as the ancient watergate, brims over with life.
Additionally, Iselmar is uniquely located in close proximity to the beach. Lemmer's Lake IJssel beach - offering recreation to young and old - is within walking distance. The inland seas surrounding Lemmer also provide various beaches.
Sporthotel Iselmar is located at the passing channel, with its private marina on one side and pumping station Ir. D.F. Woudagemaal on the other. A most beautiful view is thus guarenteed.
Experience the cathedral of steam!
The ir. D.F. Woudagemaal in Lemmer, opened in 1920 by Queen Wilhelmina, is the largest steam-driven pumping station in the world still in use.Even today the monumental pumping station ensures that the people of Fryslân keep their feet dry during high water. When that happens, the ‘cathedral of steam’ pumps up over four million litres of water per minute from the Frisian ‘boezem’ (drainage pool) into the IJsselmeer.
The visitor centre, which is connected to the pumping station by means of a walkway, is a spectacular experience for both young and old.
The experience centre provides you with information on the Woudagemaal and water management in Fryslân by means of an impressive 3D movie, an interactive water table, the Hall of Fame, animations and experiments.
The capital of the province of Friesland is a mixture of shopping areas, cultural highlights and an exciting nightlife. Leeuwarden boasts over 600 monuments! Enough reasons for you to get a map with walking tours at the tourist information office. Shopaholics must visit De Kleine Kerkstraat, which is one of the most charming shopping streets in the Netherlands.
The absolute highlights of Leeuwarden are:
Mata Hari: the life story of this extraordinary dancer and accused spy is presented in the Fries Museum,
Princessehof: discover the world of ceramics,
Oldehove: the Dutch ‘Tower of Pisa’,
Boomsma Distillery: learn more about traditional Dutch spirits.
Lemmer-Tjeukemeer is an area rich in water with well-known lakes such as the ‘IJsselmeer’, ‘Tjeukemeer’ and ‘Groote Brekken’. They are suitable for all types of water recreation and fishing sports and this makes the region a unique place in the Netherlands.
Water sports activities, from the construction and hiring out of the smallest fishing boats to large seaworthy yachts, are concentrated in Lemmer and Echtenerbrug - Delfstrahuizen, twin villages on the sailing route from Friesland to North West Overijssel. The region is all the more attractive due to the surrounding wooded areas of ‘Gaasterland’ and ‘Kuinderbos’, cycling paths on and along ancient and new sea dykes to Urk and Kuinre.
25,000 m2 of tropical fauna and flora under a single roof.
Have you ever made a trip around the world in a single day? Visit Europe's largest tropical gardens and experience far-flung destinations close by. Accompany us through Asia, Australia, and Middle and South America and discover a colourful world overflowing with orchids, lories, and butterflies. An indoor venue, wheelchair-accessible and child-friendly.
Discover, experience, enjoy, laugh, and admire
Admire thousands of species of wild and rare orchids, feed the rare fish, enjoy the beautiful colours and aromas, and visit Europe's largest butterfly garden, home to more than 2000 butterflies. The voyage crossing the four different continents is an adventure for young and old.
New: Lory garden
In the lory garden, you will discover a world with more than eighty colourful Blue Mountain Lories. You will be given the opportunity to feed the lories yourself through a small feed container containing nectar. The lory will cautiously land on your arm and relish the delicious nectar. A unique experience for all ages!
Sloten(NL) - The fortified town of Sloten in the Dutch province of Friesland (Fryslân) is the smallest town in the world and not Durbuy in the province of Luxembourg in Belgium.
This is the claim made by journalist Albert Hendriks, who is also director of the Friesland Holland tourist office. He ended up in Durbuy by chance during a working visit to the Ardennes. He could not help but notice the huge advertising hoarding in the town square proclaiming ‘Durbuy, the smallest town in the world’. After having wandered around the town making photos for four hours he was convinced that Sloten in Friesland was both smaller and also much more authentic.
The Frisian town, with its moat, fortifications and water gates as clear boundaries, measures just 350 by 350 m. Hendriks claims that the less clearly demarcated town of Durbuy is many times larger. Sloten would also seem to have the edge when it comes to the number of residents. About 350 people live in the town centre, while a lot more people appear to live in Durbuy. In addition, Sloten has a well-preserved urban structure and historic buildings, with a minimum of modern premises.
“Sloten is so well preserved, it could easily function as an open air museum. Durbuy has a lot of modern elements, such as a long, wide promenade with shops and restaurants. Such developments have not taken place in Sloten. Sloten looks like an old town, complete with bulwarks and cannons, water gates, a town hall, a pillory and a real town crier.”
Surely Sloten cannot be that perfect? “One blot on the landscape is the powdered milk factory on the town’s north-eastern periphery which was originally a dairy factory dating from 1903. If that was removed, the town’s image would be well-nigh ideal. However, I still think Durbuy is beautiful, and well worth a visit. In some ways it is similar to Sloten. It too has a river running through it, it is medieval, a tourist attraction and is also a water sports centre, but then on a smaller scale, using kayaks.”
Although people go canoeing in the canals in and around Sloten and on the nearby Slotermeer lake, the vast majority of vessels used are sailing and motor boats. Sloten is one of the key destinations in Friesland for water sports enthusiasts and holiday cyclists alike.
Most of the tulip farms in Holland are located in the Noordoostpolder (Northeast polder), in the province of Flevoland, and in the area known as the Kop van Noord-Holland. The Kop even boasts the largest continuous bulb-growing area in Holland. Another well-known bulb-growing area is the Bollenstreek near Leiden, home of the world-famous Keukenhof. All three of these areas are only half an hour away from Amsterdam by car. The largest flower auction in the world, FloraHolland in Aalsmeer, is also just 30 minutes from the capital.
The weather in Holland is suited to tulip growing, with cool springs just as they begin to bloom. The soil in the polders is always being drained, making it perfect for tulip bulbs that like well-drained but moist soils. There are so many types of tulip varieties, that the Dutch Horticultural society has grouped them into several groups, with differing species within those groups. From mid-March to the end of May the tulips transform large parts of Holland into a colorful patchwork. So when you go to Holland in April to see the tulips bloom, no matter where you look, the fields will be different and no doubt gorgeously colorful.
Harlingen: Lively, sociable, self-willed and good-natured
Who loves a city full of variation with a lively, sociable, self-willed and good-natured character, has found that top destination with Harlingen. Our characteristic harbour city joins a variety of activities, with something for everyone. Harlingen is a bulwark of culture, water and atmosphere and for that reason alone worth a visit.
Harlingen is a city in the northern Netherlands, in the province of Friesland at the Wadden Sea.
Harlingen is an old town with a long history of fishing and shipping. Harlingen received city rights in 1234.
Rederij Doeksen operate ferries to the Wadden islands of Vlieland and Terschelling that depart from Harlingen.
Schokland: a symbol of the Netherlands.
The former island Schokland is a symbol of the traditional Dutch struggle against the water. Traces of this battle can be found everywhere on and around the island. This area has alternated between being sea and dry land, peninsula and island, peat and polder. As a result from the increasing sea-level Schokland transformed from an attractive settlement area in the Middle Ages to a place under continuous threat by floods in the 19th century. By that time the Schoklanders had retreated to the three most elevated parts, Emmeloord, Molenbuurt, and Middelbuurt. A major flood in 1825 brought massive destruction, and in 1859 the government decided to end permanent settlement on Schokland. The former municipality of Schokland was joined to Kampen on the mainland. The former island still stands out as an elongated gently sloping back against the flat surrounding landscape of the Northeast polder. Nowadays Schokland is an unique natural en cultural monument combined.
The Zuiderzee Museum, located on the Wierdijk in Enkhuizen, is a Dutch museum devoted to preserving Enkhuizen's cultural heritage as well as the maritime history of the Zuiderzee, and since 1932, the IJsselmeer. Open year-round, it consists of an "inside" and an "outside" museum, though the "outside" museum is only open in the summer.
The "inside" museum, which is a string of 17th century buildings that once were VOC warehouses, contains temporary exhibition areas, as well as some permanent installations, most notably the ship's hall, which allows visitors a close-up view of some of the more common types of historical boats from Enkhuizen's rich fishing industry. Among these beautiful boats is the Sperwer, owned by the English adventurer Merlin Minshall Merlin Minshall, who sailed this boat from England to the Danube estuary in the 1930s. The indoor museum also displays artifacts from other aspects of Enkhuizen's cultural past, including art and furniture.