Although almost half of it was once under water, the Netherlands is one of the most urbanized – and densely populated – nations on earth, with a huge range of places to visit packed into a relatively small area. A remarkable country – no more than the size of the US state of Maryland it’s a largely man-made affair, around half of which lies at or below sea level.
Kinderdijk, located 15 miles east of Rotterdam, is a UNESCO-listed site that boasts preserved windmills. The windmills were erected in the 1600's to drain the Alblasserwaard polders, which are situated below sea-levels and had been suffered floods since the 13th century. One such flood, the Saint Elizabeth Flood of 1421, is both the source of the name Kinderdijk and of the associated fairy tale, "The Cat and the Cradle".
After the storm, a wooden cradle was spotted on the flood waters, in which a cat jumped to and fro to keep the cradle afloat. When the cradle approached the dry land of the dyke, the locals discovered a baby inside, hence the name Kinderdijk, Dutch for "children's dyke".
They have been well preserved to the present day and are now popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands.
Keukenhof is the home of the Holland’s annual tulip festival and the most well known tulip festival in the world.
When spring has sprung, your thoughts may be turning towards gardening. If you are in the market for tulips, the best place to buy them – or just to see them – is the tulip fields of Keukenhof in Holland.
These huge gardens are the largest and most spectacular flower gardens in the world – from March to May every year they are a sea of multicolour tulips stretching over the flat Dutch landscape as far as the eye can see.
The musical entertainment and beautifully decorated floats at the flower parade are one of the highlights of the Keukenhof events calendar, but there's always plenty more in store. Throughout the flower season you'll find a host of special activities, shows and performances especially on the weekend or public holidays.
The stunning Erasmus Bridge is Rotterdam’s main landmark. Your visit to Rotterdam isn't complete without having seen this bridge! The Erasmus Bridge is a suspension bridge which links the northern and southern bank of the river Maas by means of an 808 meter bridge deck.
The Erasmus Bridge is the third bridge across the river Nieuwe Maas and is an extension of Coolsingel between Leuvehoofd and Wilhelminaplein. On September 4, 1996, Queen Beatrix opened the new bridge. Soon the Erasmus Bridge, designed by Berkel & Bos, became the signature of the new Rotterdam. Because of its graceful shape she was popularly nicknamed the Swan.
Maastricht, capital city of the province Limburg, has over 120,000 inhabitants and is a real tourist city. Yearly it attracts over 3 million tourists to the city. Explore the canals, walk through the inner city and eat one of Limurg’s famous pies. Or maybe have a look inside the Saint Peter’s Church or visit the limestone mines, Maastricht has a lot to offer.
The city is located in the southeast of the Netherlands. It is located on both sides of the Meuse River, and is one of the oldest cities in the region, and is rich in history and cultural importance.
While many may not have heard of Maastricht, it has a historical significance though, most have heard of the European Union. This union developed as the result of the Maastricht treaty which was signed in this city in 1992.
Maastricht has many secrets, legends and myths. The old fortified city was the site of many battles. Parts of the city's 13th-century fortifications remain today. In addition to the walls, you can see old gates and bastions, forts and casements, the oldest bridge in the country, as well as beautiful parks and squares with notable sculptures and monuments.
After the enlargement of the city in 1450 AD, houses were built on the location of the first wall, and occasionally incorporating fragments of that wall in their structure. Of the 15th-century wall, several stretches remain to the north-east of the old town, while the foundations of the wall have been made visible on the south-eastern side.
The tower is named after Father Finch, this was a Franciscan priest who was involved in an attempted treason in 1638. This took place at the time of "the Eighty Years' War."
Pater Vinktoren, or Father Vinck Tower, is located near to Helpoort. It is part of the Second City Walls and is the junction point with the First City Walls. The tower was built to defend the Jeker gateway.
The Hellgate is part of the first city wall, which was built after Henry I, Duke of Brabant, had given in April 1229 authorized to do so. It is the only city gate remaining in Maastricht, the oldest city gate in the Netherlands. The port is about two centuries as defensive been in use. She lost this function when the Nieuwstad, the area south of the gate was walled. Over the years, it served as a residence, storage space and workshop. Today the gate houses a museum dedicated to the history of Maastricht's fortifications.
The gate is the only gate to Maastricht is still rich. It is also the oldest city gate in the Netherlands. The port has been around for two centuries as a defensive structure. Today it is a small museum in the Helpoort, where you can learn all about the Maastricht fortress.
Kazematten is a system of underground tunnels and mining galleries situated in the western part of the city. They were used to defend the city from enemies. Kazematten total length was 14 km. The vaulted corridors and walls were built of marlstone.
The newest part of the tunnel was built in the 20th century during the Cold War to serve as a shelter in case of a nuclear attack on Maastricht. Bomb shelters during the Second World War, the people of Maastricht here densely packed endure anxious hours while schools for the bombing. At the end of the war was in the corridors place for more than 25,000 people.
After the liberation, the shelters were closed and bricked most inputs. In the 1960s, in the middle of the Cold War, some shelters were redecorated in the bunkers.
Constructed in the 18th century to defend the strategically important city of Maastricht in the Netherlands, the Fort Saint Pieter is a fantastical looking hexagonal construction full of tunnels and caves that, while imposing, only ever saw a single battle. The hill-like stronghold soon came to be known as the tallest "mountain" in the area, 171 meters above sea level. The interior was a maze of tunnels and passages that connected to the famous marl caves that run beneath the city.
It was in 1673 that the French forces of Louis the XIV breached the walls of Maastricht on roughly the exact spot that Fort Saint Peter now sits. The French sacked the city, but the builders had learned their lesson. The angular defensive fort was built a couple of hundred years later.
In 1936, the municipality gives the fortress a new destination and in order to attract tourists. Between 2006 and 2012, the fort receives the original appearance at a major restoration. Conscious one chooses certain areas not to replicate but to ruin. Thus the history visible and there is also a place for rare plants and animals.
Step through the famous entry gate into the historical Binnenhof (Inner Court) in the heart of our democracy. This is the place where the most important events in the nation's history took place. It is also where the future is created. The Inner Court in The Hague is studded with monumental old buildings testifying of eight centuries of governing in the Low Countries, but it also has several ample open spaces, all freely open to the public.
The Hague Ridderzaal
The Binnenhof is the inner court area adjacent to the Dutch Parliament in the Hague (Den Haag). The buildings located on the courtyard include the Ridderzaal (King's Hall) and Parliament Buildings.
Visit the Parliament exhibit in the reception room of the Hall of Knights, and join a guided tour to visit the hall and, government business permitting, one of the chambers of Parliament. It's worthwhile to visit the courtyard and the Hall of the Knights, which you can do easily in an hour; the tour of Parliament isn't all that exciting, so don't fret if you miss it.
Be sure to check out the view from the outside of the Binnenhof, across the rectangular Hofvijver (Court Lake) pond, which has a fountain and a tiny island.
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of the most popular museums in the world, attracting visitors from every corner of the globe. Naturally, this is in large part due to it housing the largest collection of works by Vincent van Gogh – more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 of his letters.
The glass roof with a total area of approximately 600 sqm has as main geometry a shell under an angle of 16,5 degrees. There are 30 glass roof fins, all unique in length and with an optimized height to accentuate the shape of the curved roof. Because of this glass arch, the amount of steel is kept to a minimum and the staircase can be seen as a transparent piece of furniture.
The Rijksmuseum, which in English means – The State Museum, exists for more that two hundred years and today belongs to the most breathtaking museums in the world. During its existence, the museum went through many transformations and remains now, especially after its complete renovation, the attraction you should not miss during your trip to the Netherlands.
In 1800, that The Amsterdam Rijksmuseum opened first its collection to the public as the Nationale Kunstgallerij (National Art Gallery). Since then, it moved several times before being established in Amsterdam (1808) by the decree of the King of the Netherlands Louis Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon.
In 1885 Rijksmuseum moved to its beautiful building, designed by the Dutch architect Petrus J.H. Cuypers. It has been built in the then fashionable Dutch neo-Renaissance style, using historical neo-Gothic elements in it form and decoration.
The museum reopened after 10 years of renovation on 13 April 2013. For the very first time, visitors can follow a chronological
journey through the collection. You will experience the sense of beauty and richness of Dutch history. In a sequence of 80 galleries, 8,000 objects tell the story of 800 years of
Dutch art and history.
Exclusive for Holland Pass holders. Save time and use the preferred partner entrance!
De Oude Kerk (The Old Church) dominates over the Red Light District. Although originally built as a Catholic place of worship, today the Oude Kerk is one of the unique buildings expressing the national character of Dutch Protestantism.
This Gothic-style church rewards visitors with one of the finest carillons in the country, the city's oldest church bell (1450), and a stunning Christian Müller organ that’s still used for recitals.
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam - west of Dam Quare - was originally built as a town hall in the 17th century and became a royal palace only in 1806, when Napoleon installed his brother as the king of the "Batavian Republic".
When the Netherlands regained their independence in 1814, the Dutch monarchs continued to use the building as their palace - to this day. The Palace has a large collection of French Empire furniture left by Louis Napoleon that can be seen. The rooms are decorated with artworks from the collection of the House of Orange-Nassau.