The Netherlands

This small, quirky, dense country has a great capital that often serves as a launch-pad for European backpacking trips, but dig deeper and you’ll realize that this country deserves more attention. The canal and bike networks are both extremely extensive, and the other cities outside Amsterdam can hold their own as major destinations.

Travel-worthiness verdict: A country well-worth visiting in the region.

Cultural Icons: Canals

Prices: Expensive

You’ll love: The architecture, canals, museums, public transit

You’ll hate: The influence of the Red Light District and the tourists it brings along, the food

Difficulties traveling: This is an extremely easy country to travel in. The only difficulty is dodging the bikes on the streets.

Language(s): Dutch, English widely spoken.

Culture, Arts, and Society: The Dutch society is today very liberal and open, especially in the cities. Environmentalism is valued, and bicycling is a very common mode of transportation. The Dutch culture is particularly interesting in the areas of painting and architecture. During the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, arts and architecture flourished. Famous Dutch paintings from this time period are typically still lifes, portraits, or realistic landscapes.

Ethnic Makeup: 80% Dutch

Food: Go for the Indonesian food. There is not much of a “Dutch cuisine”, and Indonesian food is the international cuisine they do best.

 

Top Destinations

Amsterdam: Don’t assume it’s all this country has to offer, but Amsterdam’s reputation as a picturesque capital is well deserved. The red light district is only a tiny piece of the picture. For the most part, this city’s tourist scene has nothing to do with the Red Light District.

Rotterdam: Amsterdam’s revitalized modern counterpart.

Cycling (Anywhere): If there’s one country in the world that’s perfect for cycling, it’s this one.

 

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