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With over half the land reclaimed from the sea, the low lying Netherlands are characterised by gentle but beautiful countryside, dotted with windmills and traversed by a network of waterways. It’s home to the vibrant and iconic city of Amsterdam, great artists and cultural masterpieces, and is renowned for being one of the most tolerant and progressive nations on the planet.
The Netherlands, also known as Holland, is home to the Dutch. But don’t let that confuse you. It’s a country with a strong identity, and is also the centre of international diplomacy at The Hague.
Amsterdam is perhaps most famous for its shady side, but this forms only a tiny fraction of its charm. Built around a network of canals, the city is a true one off, boasting an impressive history and numerous cultural highlights. The Netherlands is clearly a country that inspires, which is why it has produced some of the world’s greatest ever artists. Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Vermeer are just three of the globally recognised geniuses that hailed from this relatively small country (although not in stature - as the Dutch are among the world’s tallest people).
With large swathes having been reclaimed from the sea, the country is unsurprisingly flat. It’s something which has aided the domination of one particular form of transport – the bicycle. In most cities, visitors will marvel at the sheer scale of pedal power on display. It’s also a great way to get around and explore, with the flat terrain making the country’s windmills and vast tulip farms accessible to riders of all ages.
The Netherlands is also famed for its café culture. Park your bike outside (you don’t even need to lock it up) and join the locals by indulging in a world-class coffee. Before heading back out onto the thousands of miles of dedicated cycle paths to reach your destination.
Visit the works of the Great Masters on show in historic towns, including Haarlem, Gouda and Delft, sampling the local cheeses along the way – many of which have become world famous.
Cycle across the country’s ‘green heart’, from city to city. Amsterdam, the world’s largest port city at Rotterdam, Groningen and more, are all within easy reach. Pass vast fields of flowers, alongside endless waterways, and past picture perfect windmills in this pleasant and immensely charming European destination.
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