Sitting by the North Sea, Nederland in dutch, The Netherlands is a densely populated but relatively smaller country in northern Europe. Sometimes it is incorrectly called Holland, which actually refers to only a few areas of the country. Over the years, due to its location and geographical nuances, it has been part of many stories and myths, including Hans Brinker (by Mary Mapes Dodge).
Going back in history, it was part of the holy Roman empire, followed by being a Spanish territory in the middle ages. It was only in the 17th century when the Dutch Golden Age came with the separation from Belgium, and Netherlands becoming an independent republic and a naval super power. During this time, it conquered and established colonies in far reaching land, including but not limited to, East Indies (current Indonesia) and more prominent New Amsterdam (now New York City). Even though Luxemburg and Belgium receded to form independent countries, for all common commercial purposes, three of these low-lying countries are referred to the ‘Benelux’ region.
Things to do
Windmills, some more windmills and then wooden shoes, tulips and ‘dykes’ sum up Netherlands in our minds. While being true, as the Dutch has retained some of these eternal Dutch heritage, you will find a lot of modern day amenities in the cities. In our coverage of this beautiful country, we will begin by the gorgeous capital Amsterdam.
Amsterdam | more coming soon
Things to know before you go
- Visa: The Netherlands is part of the Schengen countries; so for visa applications find out if you need a visa to visit the Netherlands here.
- Several people have asked us to provide a bit more direction on the visa application process, as some Schengen country visa application websites are confusing. We will cover the visa application process in more detail.
- We once applied for the Schengen visa in New York through the Netherlands consulate. Note that Schengen through Netherlands is one of the most efficient visa application processes out of all other participating countries.
- Beyond filling out the forms online and bringing documentation, the whole process is outsourced to VFS. They do a pretty good job of ensuring all the documentation is correct, and you pay the appropriate fees.
- Time to visit: There are many articles written on best time to visit. But we found late fall to be the most convenient as the temperatures drop, resulting in cheaper travel costs and fewer tourists. Also the cities light up with holiday decorations albeit these are also one of the wet months.
- Currency and Language: Euro is the only accepted currency, but most places in the cities would accept cards, even ApplePay. Dutch is the official language, but you will have no trouble going around if you speak only English.