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The Netherlands

A pre or post cruise stay in the Netherlands compliments any river cruise from/to Amsterdam. Our On Location Partner, ITB Holland is on hand with info and tips for spending time in this vibrant country.

Q: Why is a river cruise from Amsterdam a good idea for visitors?

River cruising allows you to sail right into the heart of the world’s greatest cities and towns. The ships are docked right behind central station in Amsterdam within walking distance from the city center.

Amsterdam is a great gateway onto the Rhine River, where you can sail all the way to the Black Sea, or enjoy a cruise through Holland and Belgium.

April and May is the best period to admire the famous Dutch tulip fields, but the season easily stretches till end of October.

Q: Can you describe a unique river cruise experience?

A great experience and best way to really explore the Benelux countries is combining the river cruise with biking. While the boat sets of to the next port of call, you will cycle through the Dutch countryside, through the tulip fields, alongside windmills and winding waterways. This is a magical experience.

Q: Tell us about The Netherlands and pre / post cruise stays.

Consider visiting The Netherlands if you would like to see a beautiful country with friendly people, where English is widely spoken and it is safe and easy to travel around.  This is a small country - from west to east is just a 90-minute drive; north to south, only 3.5 hours.  Neighboring countries are Germany to the east and Belgium to the south.

The Netherlands is the official name while outsiders often refer to it as Holland. In fact there are only two provinces with Holland in their name - North-Holland and South Holland in the Western part of the country.

Combine a river cruise with a longer stay in cosmopolitan Amsterdam with its famous museums and canals. Then move on to the colorful countryside full of tulips, well preserved 17th century towns, the Kinderdijk windmill village (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the medieval cities of Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp in Belgium.

Q: What do you recommend as the top things to see and do?

  • In Amsterdam, take a boat ride on the canals, stop by the Flower market in the city center and visit the famous Van Gogh Museum, National Rijksmuseum, Hermitage Amsterdam and Anne Frank Museum.
  • Take a bike ride while you are here. There are twice as many bikes as there are cars and no less than 18,000 miles of cycle paths.
  • De Keukenhof at Lisse, is the World's Biggest Flower Shop between mid-March and mid-May, a must see for those who come here for our floral traditions.
  • There are nine UNESCO World Heritage sites in Holland all worth seeing.
  • Most of the country is either below sea level or less than four feet above sea level so there are many engineering marvels relating to this around the country which are unique and fascinating to visit. DeltaWorks in the province of Zeeland is the largest manmade dike in the world.

Q: What about the towns outside of Amsterdam?

  • The Hague, situated at the Dutch beachside, is where our government sits and our Royal family resides. The International Court of Justice (at the Peace Palace) and the International Criminal Court are also situated in The Hague. Madurodam, the famous miniature city is also found here.
  • Utrecht, in the middle of the country, has a rich religious history and many churches.
  • Rotterdam is the largest harbour in Europe and one of the busiest in the world, now a modern city after being bombed by the Nazi's in World War II.
  • Maastricht is the largest city in south.  It is the oldest city in the country, known as a culinary capital and home of the TEFAF antiques exhibition.
  • Groningen, in the north has a wonderful modern art museum as well as islands with beautiful deserted beaches.

Q: Tell us about Dutch food and restaurants.

'Typical' Dutch food tends to be wholesome and hearty, rather than elegant. Large towns, however, have a wide range of restaurants specializing in international dishes. Indonesian cuisine, a spicy legacy of Dutch colonization in the East Indies, is particularly good in the Netherlands.

Houses and boats on Amsterdam Canal. | Amsterdam, Holland
 

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