The Netherlands is known for its lively tradition, windmills and tulips, and fast-paced modern European life.
The Dutch people have a good sense of humour and know how to enjoy themselves, whether they are relaxing in the countryside or partying in the big cities.
Known as being a largely flat country, the Netherlands is an ideal destination for those who enjoy pursuits like cycling or walking without over-exerting themselves. But it is a cultured land as well, as the seemingly endless list of great Dutch artists testifies.
Amsterdam city breaks are very popular with tourists looking for great night life in the evenings and interesting and educational sights in the day time.
Check out the Scheepvaarmuseum shipping museum as well as the Spido, Euromast and Steamship Rotterdam.
A trip to Holland isn't complete without trying some Stroopwafel; this treacle waffle is a typical Dutch treat, best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee!
The Netherlands has a very unique culture. The Dutch are known throughout the world for their liberal attitude and tolerance of a wide range of life-style choices.
The Dutch tend to speak their minds - you may either find this refreshing, or rude.
The Dutch believe in the concept of gezellig, which, roughly translated, means a warm, comforting feeling that you are doing the right thing by working towards the well-being of everyone.
Food and Drink
The main draw of traditional Dutch cuisine is the extremely large portions. You will often receive generous helpings of potatoes and meat of various types (often fried meatballs) with vegetables.
There is always a wide range of international foods available. Flavours from nearby European countries, especially France, mix with those from far-flung ex-colonies such as Indonesia and Surinam. You can get pretty much whatever you want, especially in the cities and larger towns.
Like the majority of European cities, the Netherlands's modern history largely begins with the Roman occupation. Belgium and Luxembourg, together known as the Low Countries, were originally invaded at the expense of the Celtic and Germanic tribes that inhabited the area.
In more recent times, the country managed to remain neutral through World War One, but endured a brutal German occupation in World War Two when the majority of the Jewish population was deported and the city of Rotterdam completely destroyed. Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam, one of the most poignant symbols of the holocaust, remains as a moving reminder of this destruction.
Did you know?
Amsterdam has 1,281 bridges.
The Netherlands still has about 1,000 traditional working windmills.
75% of the world's flower bulb production comes from Netherlands.