The Netherlands is a country where arts and culture lived their heyday during the 17th and 18th centuries. In this period, the country dominated a commercial empire that extended across the seas of the whole planet. It was in these centuries that the commercial relationships established with other peoples allowed the Dutch knowledge and the first cultural exchanges with distant civilizations. The golden era of the country are now the valuable and well-preserved historical centers in the Dutch cities. Attractions that alone are worth a trip to the Netherlands. The most popular and well-known tourist destination is the capital, Amsterdam, the richest and most famous city in the country, thanks to its architecture, canals, museums and art galleries, its mix of cultures, and nightlife.
The Hague, seat of government and residence of the royal family is another beautiful city to visit. But also Delft, Leiden, Utrecht, Hoorn, Enkhuizen, Dordrecht, Groningen, Gouda, Maastricht, Alkmaar, Middelburg have very well preserved historical centers, with ancient palaces, canals, churches and museums. Small fishing villages like Marken, Volendam, Urk or Giethoorn bring tourists back to the life of times gone by.
The country’s museums are full of masterpieces by great masters of Dutch painting such as Van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt. Among the most important we can mention the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam or the Mauritshuis in The Hague.
There are also interesting museums that recall the ancient maritime history of Holland such as the Nederlands Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam. Amsterdam even has the largest concentration of museums per square kilometer in the world.
THE COUNTRY OF WINDMILLS AND TULIPS
Windmills are among the classic symbols of Holland and among the attractions of the Netherlands. Once there were around 10,000 windmills in the Netherlands, today around 1,100 remain (1,035 windmills and 106 water mills). Their highest concentration is near Kinderdijk, near Rotterdam, and Zaanse Schans, near Zaandam just north-west of Amsterdam.
Another typical attraction of Holland are the tulip fields which during their flowering period, between April and May, fill the flat plains of the country with color. The huge dams, canals and other soil defense and conquest works, which show the enormous effort made by the Dutch to snatch their territory from the sea, are also interesting attractions in the Netherlands.
Even the natural aspect is not to be underestimated, the Netherlands has numerous national parks where nature is protected. There are areas like some of the West Frisian islands where nature tourism is highly developed. Along the Dutch coast there are also several seaside resorts, very popular in the summer by local tourism.