The Netherlands is a country filled with surprises. Most people think of it in terms of one of its famous cities, Amsterdam. The Netherlands is a country of impressive architecture that tells a long history, teaming with vibrant people, museums, canals and streets, and a contagious liberal attitude, not only in its large cities, but in every corner. The dutch enjoy living, being out, and the company of friends. Their unique sense of aesthetics shows everywhere you look. European at heart, but distinctly Dutch...Here are some of the country's hot spots at a glance.
The financial, cultural, and creative heart of the country, and its largest city. the city has dozens of art museums including the Van Gogh Museum and the Jewish History Museum. Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The many canals crisscrossing the city offer a chance for a close up experience, peeking into the canal-side cafes with pedestrians and bikers going by. Tours are offered in large boats or smaller more intimate ones for reasonable fees. Amsterdam has one of the most extensive historic city centers dating to medieval times. And in spite of its relaxed attitude, Amsterdam is an excellent family destination within close distance of many other hot spots in the country.
The second largest in the country, and the largest port in Europe. Although it is a city marked by modern architecture, it is not lacking in historical character. The zoo is one of its best attractions. And the city even has a walk of fame similar to Hollywood's. Rotterdam has one the most vibrant nightlifes around. It is protected from the north sea by giant sea dykes.
located on the Maas river, and almost within walking distance of Belgium. Maastricht is the southernmost city in the country and is a good representative of the culture, style and architecture of the south. Its historical old center attracts tourists with its magnificent buildings. The city claims to be the oldest in the country, an honor it shares with the other claimant, the city of Nijmigen.
An unspoiled town with traditional architecture and canals. Exploring the city by foot, bike or canal boat offers a more intimate experience, especially since the city is much smaller which promises a close up experience of Dutch culture. The city has some good museums, like the tobacco museum and the Science Center.
If you decide to take time and explore the country outside its most famous cities, you have a better chance of experiencing the spirit of dutch living. The food is by no means comparable to what you can find in other countries with a richer culinary tradition. Regardless, the country has a lot of unique traits, and assets. And just a general happy feel, that would make you want to go back.
Artotel Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
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