Netherlands ? The European Wonder-land
The football frenzy might be over, but Netherlands remains one of the world’s most travelled countries. The country has an unrelenting and lively spirit, which makes it just the right destination to have a vacation in. A glance at some of the most exciting places in the country follows.
People the world over have different opinions about the city of Amsterdam, and not all of them are positive… or accurate! The city is unorthodox, and probably not to everybody’s liking in the first place. But once you are in there, there are very few cities that can match up to the unique experience the capital of Netherlands can offer you. Amsterdam has had its share of negative publicity, with immigration scandals and red light area crackdowns, but all that has quickly been swept under the rug, and permanently at that, as the local population is as enthusiastic as ever. Be it the ever popular coffee shops, the old merchants’ villas, the magical Vondelpark or the Jordaan’s charming lanes, every bit of the city is as influential as it was centuries ago. The museums speak highly of the Golden Age art, and everybody, from the youth to those in tehir late 40s and 50s, party like anything! Although there is no specific time to visit Amsterdam, Queen’s Day is the best time to be in this city, with the world’s biggest party-cum–garage sale. Talking of summers, there is an exponential number of festivals and events like the Holland Festival, the Roots Music Festival, and so on.
Cobble-stone streets, grandiloquent churches, magnificent museums and buildings that are historical monuments in themselves – it’s hard not to get addicted to a city like Haarlem after even a few day’s stay. And for the ultra urban class, there are world-class restaurants, antique shops selling unique items that have stood the test of time, and bars to either savour the finest liquor or just take a shot or two on the go!
The Hoge Veluwe National Park is the largest in the Netherlands, and was purchased by Anton and Helene Kröller-Müller in 1914. The husband wanted the land to be developed as a hunting ground, while the wife insisted on a museum. The result was an exciting amalgamation. The park is a great place to visit for the forests, marshlands, sand dunes, as well as the brilliant museum. The ownership was transferred to the state in 1930, and the museum was opened in 1938 for the remarkable art collection of Helene.
Easily one of the most beautiful, yet relatively undiscovered cities, Maastricht, also referred to as the crown jewel of the south, is not at all comprising of windmills or tulips, much like many parts of the country. One can encounter Spanish and Roman ruins, Belgian and French architecture, global cuisine and basically, a non-Dutch atmosphere, which comes across as a welcome change to many. This difference is heightened by the fact that even the landscape gives one a feeling of being in another part of the world.
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