The Netherlands has a vast and varied history, which has shaped the country over many centuries. The land has been continually inhabited since prehistoric times, with early settlers settling in what is now the Rhine plains 15,000 years ago. The first kingdom in the area was founded by Charlemagne around 800 A.D., lasting until just after the turn of the 14th century. The Low Countries were then divided into six provinces, each with its own ruler, until 1814 when they were united as one kingdom under King William I. The Netherlands remained a monarchy until becoming a parliamentary democracy in 1848.
Largest and Most Popular Cities
The largest city and capital of the Netherlands is Amsterdam. It's well known for its vibrant nightlife and characterful architecture which make it an attractive tourist destination. Other popular cities include Rotterdam, known for its modern skyline and docklands, Utrecht which is home to a beautiful Medieval old town, and Den Haag, the seat of the Dutch government. All of these cities have lots to offer visitors from fascinating history to incredible cultural experiences.
The Netherlands is home to some stunning tourist destinations for visitors to explore. In Amsterdam, you can admire the works of art at Rijksmuseum or take a canal cruise along the Canal Belt. There are plenty of things to discover in Rotterdam too including a visit to the city’s iconic futuristic Cube Houses or meandering through the old parts of town. Utrecht is full of charming churches and shops among its cobbled streets while exploring Den Haag brings visitors to sights like Madurodam - an open-air miniature model city - or walking through the handsomely manicured gardens of Noordeinde palace.
Things to Do
There’s plenty to do in this interesting country ranging from city sightseeing to watersports on Lake Ijsselmeer. Or take time out from exploring on foot with a cycling tour around Amsterdam, sampling some delicious Stroopwafel ice cream on the way! The country also has plenty of galleries and museums for those seeking cultures such as The Mauritshuis in Den Haag or Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam where you’ll find paintings from varying periods throughout history.
Local Cuisine and Drinks
Eating out in the Netherlands is an enjoyable experience as there are numerous types of cuisine on offer from traditional Dutch dishes to Italian eateries and Asian restaurants too. You’ll be spoilt for choice while trying local dishes such as Stamppot (a blend of mashed potatoes, vegetables and smoked sausage) or Bitterballen (fried beef snack balls). When it comes to drinks there's plenty to choose from like Heineken beer or Dutch Jenever gin.
Is it Expensive?
Accommodation tends to be relatively affordable when staying in the Netherlands but other activities such as eating out may be slightly more expensive than elsewhere in Europe due to the popularity of international foods within the country's cuisine options. However, it’s definitely worth it as you’ll get an insight into traditional Dutch food and drinks that are sure to delight every taste bud!