This country of tulips, windmills and bicycles is also a growing and vibrant digital hub bringing business travel to the Netherlands that looks set to rival the halcyon days of the Dutch East India Company.
The land that forms this country was largely reclaimed from the sea, and its predominantly flat landscapes are now punctuated by sophisticated urban centres. Indeed, despite the picture-postcard images of sleepy rural towns, canals, castle walls and dikes, the Netherlands actually contains Europe's most densely populated region, called the Randstad. This urban hub radiates out from Amsterdam to take in The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht, Haarlem, Leiden and Delft.
These metropolitan areas offer just as much to the visitor as the more traditional scenic landscapes: they are abuzz with the activity of seasonal festivals, cultural activities, vibrant art scenes and excellent pubs and restaurants.
Outside of them lies a country still rarely visited and enjoyed by visitors from afar. The southern regions offer undulating landscapes of shifting sands and heath moors, best experienced within the Hoge Veluwe National Park. Yet further south, tucked between the German and Belgian borders, lie the historical delights of Maastricht.
Amsterdam, of course, offers the truly unique experience of the Netherland’s capital city. This is where Anne Frank’s house may be explored, Rembrandt’s masterpieces admired and Van Gogh’s intense genius confirmed.
Visitors can enjoy a Heineken at a café and mingle with the friendly townsfolk, or cycle leisurely along the beautiful canals. Amsterdam is also well known for its tolerant position toward cannabis and its notorious Red Light District (De Wallen).
The Netherlands is a picturesque country studded with very lively cities. Here you can find the chance to relax and unwind or the chance to really let yourself go.
The Netherlands has a temperate climate, very similar to England’s. The best time to visit is in summer (June to August) or in spring (March/April) when the flowers, including the famous tulips, are in bloom. The average daily temperature during these months is 11 degrees Celsius (51.8 degrees Fahrenheit), rising to a maximum of 17.6 degrees Celsius (63.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in July and August.
Dutch is the official language but English is widely spoken.
The Netherlands is a member of the European Union. You may need a Schengen visa (short stay visa) to stay in the country for more than 90 days. Please check rules around visa requirements before you travel, as they may change regularly.
Travel in Holland is considered safe, but your precautions against petty crime should be heightened in the cities, particularly Amsterdam.
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