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The Netherlands Travel Guide

 🗝️ Key Facts

🏛️Capital: Amsterdam

💶Currency: Euro €

🕙Time Zone: +1 GMT

📞Phone Code: +31

🌐Language: Dutch (English is common)

✈️Best time to visit: March to October

🍴Eat: Poffertjes (small pancakes)

🍷Drink: Amstel Beer

🗺️Don't miss: Anne Frank House/ Canal Ride

🗺 Menu of Contents: 

🤝 Welcome to The Netherlands!
Canals, bikes, "Coffeeshops" and late night entertainment is all on offer in The Netherlands!

From its fun-loving capital, Amsterdam, to its historically rich towns of Delft and Groningen, the Netherlands is guaranteed to delight holidaymakers. It is the country of the "tulip and windmill countryside", plus gorgeous national parks add more fascinating places to discover when visiting The Netherlands.

Most travellers visit Amsterdam first, admiring 17th-century bridges and riverside houses as they navigate the city's famous canals. World-class museums, concert halls and art galleries are also on offer. Otherwise, the city's coffeeshops and lenient attitude toward cannabis have made it a renowned drug tourism destination, while its Red Light District has been a mainstay of the global sex tourism industry for many years.

But, don't stop only at Amsterdam, tourists who venture outside of the capital, will be richly rewarded. The 750-year-old city of Delft is renowned for its distinctive blue and white pottery, and boasts an interesting mix of historic sites and youthful energy. Rotterdam is a gleaming city of high-rise buildings and truly innovative architecture. Utecht, an ancient university town built around the Dom Tower, Utrecht is known for its city center with wharf cellars along the canals housing cafes and terraces by the water.

There are many ways of exploring The Netherlands, or known as Holland, come and see it by yourself and immerse yourself in the magic of its lands!

🛬 Getting there and transportation 

The Netherlands is a very accessible country both by air and road. It has a big air transportation hub located in Amsterdam, where KLM, the national airline, flies to many destinations around the globe with a very modern fleet. It's easy to reach the capital, Amsterdam with a non-stop flight from America, Asia, South America and only one transit from Australia and New Zealand.

Other airlines which offer good offers and routes to The Netherlands are Air France, and Delta Airlines.
Alternatively if you are flying from Europe all major carriers offer flights to Amsterdam and even to other main cities like Rotterdam or Eindhoven. Low cost airlines also offer great packages when visiting for the weekend, as it's very popular to go on a late Friday and come back early Monday. 

TransaviaRyanair and Easyjet are the major low cost airlines with the best prices when travelling light. 

It's also a good idea to travel by train or bus from nearby cities from Germany and Belgium specially. Alternatively you can also catch train services with connections from Paris, London or Zurich. Eurolines connects Amsterdam to many European capitals, a cheap option if you are travelling with luggage and don't mind spending many hours on the road. 

Once in the country, transportation is effective, punctual and efficient. There are many ways of getting around the big cities with integrated public transportation systems. 

However in The Netherlands the best way of transiting is by bike! A lack of steep hills, easy traffic and a green-education to save on gas emissions has made many cities ideal to get a cycle and discover the city by this practical mean of transport. You can rent bicycles from €5/10 a day or for longer periods of time. 

KLM, is the national airline of The Netherlands.
⛅️ Climate and Temperature  🌡️

The Netherlands enjoys a temperate climate, with warm Summers and moderately cold Winters. The best time to visit, and to see the tulips in bloom, is roughly mid-March to mid-May, when also temperatures are very pleasant and there are less crowds. Summer in the Netherlands can be warm, but in the capital it can get very crowded, specially during July and August.

However, no matter the time of year you visit, prepare for cool, rainy weather. Even summer days can be grey and wet, so always bring an umbrella. Winter's are mild with temperatures around 10 °C, at the coast or at Amsterdam it's not often they will go below freezing. The more east you travel the colder it will get. 

🍴 Food and Drink 🍹

In the Netherlands typical Dutch food tends to be wholesome and hearty, rather than elegant. Large cities and towns, however, have a wide range of restaurants specialising in international dishes. A Dutch breakfast table usually consists of fresh bread, cheese, sausage, butter and hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), jam and often a boiled egg, along with a cup of strong coffee. Lunch is a rapid affair, such as snacks, salads or sandwiches. Dinner, eaten between 1800 and 1900, is a more substantial meal, usually some combination of meat or fish with potatoes and veggies. Holland is famous for its cheeses, available in jonge (young), belegen (mature) and oude (old) versions.  

Specialities include: Vlaamse frites (French fries, though literally translated as Flemish fries) is a popular snack, customarily served with a gob of mayonnaise, though curry or peanut sauce make more exciting toppings. Erwtensoep, thick pea soup flavoured with sausage, makes a filling repast; some version of it is often served by the local pub in winter. Poffertjes, tiny pancakes often laced with Grand Marnier and dusted with confectioners sugar, are a teatime favourite. Herring fillets are widely available from street stalls and accompanied by pickles and onions. Smoked eel (gerookte paling) is another seafood speciality. Stamppot, traditional mash-up of potatoes with endive, turnips or some other earthy vegetable, customarily accompanied by smoked sausage. 

As for drinks, Coffee, tea, chocolate drinks and fruit juice are widely popular. Beer is good, with pilsner-style lagers the most popular. The local spirit is jenever (Dutch gin), normally taken straight and chilled as a chaser with a glass of beer, but it is sometimes drunk with mixers. It is available in numerous flavours. The most popular beer brands in Amsterdam are Amstel and the ubiquitous Heineken, which is also produced in the city. Dutch liqueurs are excellent and include Curaçao, Parfait d’Amour, Triple Sec (similar to Cointreau) and Dutch-made versions of crème de menthe, apricot brandy and anisette. 


🌿 "Cofeeshops"

In the Netherlands, the concept of a coffee-shop is not only related to a simple place where to enjoy a fresh coffee. It's also the place where people go to relax, chill, play games, socialise, drink and eat light meals or snacks. Thanks to the relaxed approach of the Dutch on Cannabis, (known as weed, hash or marijuana) it's legal to smoke and consume this light drug in the licensed coffee-shops around the country. It started back in the 1970's with the growing hippy community. Weed and hash were illegal at that time, but places like the Paradiso or the Melkweg were famous to have great artists playing and people would enjoy some good music there while sharing a joint. In 1972, the first coffee shop opened its doors, the Mellow Yellow. 

Mostly located in the capital, Amsterdam has about 250 coffeeshops and most of them are located in the Red Light District. There are many kind of shops, from psychedelic to bohemian and hipster style and from very local ones to more touristic places. Each of Amsterdam coffeeshops has its own atmosphere. You can enjoy a drink only if you wish, or consume some local cakes and snacks containing a little of the light drug. 

✔️Tip: Knowing the coffeeshops: They are not allowed to make any advertising, but the licensed ones are easy to recognise by a green and white licence sticker in the window.  Just ask the person at the counter for the menu, and they’ll give you what you need. You can obtain it mixed within cakes if you are not a smoker. Only take small pieces at the beginning as it can take up to 2 hours to work its way into your bloodstream. As a general norm, a gram of weed can get you high in about 6 times and you can make at least 3 joints from a single gram. Ask for advice if you are not sure, people in the shops are there to make sure everything is safe.

❗Attention:   The Netherlands have a special tolerance policy on soft drugs, but be aware that it's only allowed to consume in low quantities and inside the premises of the coffeeshop. Smoking weed, is allowed only inside the coffeeshops and not in public. Other things to take into account are that possession of drugs is punishable, but with a maximum of 5 grams of cannabis (weed or hash) the police will just seize the drugs. You can give them up and you will not be prosecuted. When going to the the coffeeshop they might ask for your ID, you need to be at least 18 or 21 in some places. Note that you can buy up to 5g per day from one shop. But you are only allowed to come twice a day to the same coffeeshop. Alcohol and smoking are forbidden inside the coffeeshops.

This information is provided as informative only. Planet Airlines does not encourage or promote the consumption of any toxic substances. 

Amsterdam's popular coffeehouse, Green House
Another coffeshop, The Bulldog
📝 Author's Comment  

The Netherlands is such an interesting country to visit in so many ways. The cities and towns are the right size to visit for a weekend, if you are looking for a cultural visit, there's history and art at every city. However if you want to relax, The Netherlands has one of the most chilled atmospheres in Europe with loads of cafes to sit outside and watch life pass by, enjoy both national and international cuisine and for those seeking night adventure, there's hundred of bars and clubs offering late night entertainment! 

The Netherlands, has one of the most trendiest and open-minded society's in Europe, it's impossible not to miss the Red-light district of Amsterdam or visit some of the many "cofeeshops" where cannabis (weed, hash, marijuana) is sold and consumed legally. As well the countryside is not to be missed with lots of green open spaces, not too far from any city and naturally the tulip farming which is one of the most typical photographed scenes in Holland. 

It's a very inviting country with friendly people with everyone speaking a good level of English, highly connected infrastructure with Europe and a centre for leisure and tourism! A very recommended country to visit not only once but several times to escape the hassle and over-crowded feel of bigger metropolis!

(2 times visited)

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