Holland Luxury Travel Vacation Guide

 Holland has the perfect blend of the old and the new. The sights of windmills and canals intertwined with new innovative architectural styles of buildings reflect the past, present and future of this country. Take a bicycle ride along the many scenic paths, walk through the towns, enjoy sailing in the Delta region or spend some time exploring the history in the many museums.

The terms for the country and people can be confusing: the country is known as Holland and Netherlands. The people are the Dutch (and not Deutsch which is the German's name for themselves in German.)

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city of one million people with tree-lined streets and numerous canals, bridges, markets, museums and the infamous Red Light District. Visit our Luxury Guide to Amsterdam.

Delft

The historic town of Delft is known as the City of Princes and boasts intricate canal system, cobblestone streets and pedestrian bridges. Visit our Guide to Luxury Travel in Delft, Holland.

Travel to Holland

There are four major airports in Holland located at Rotterdam, Beek, Eelde and Schiphol. The last is a hub for KLM (newly merged with Air France). The one you land at will depend on your destination and airline (Europe's budget airlines tend to use secondary airports.) If you are already in Europe, you can drive to Holland as well on excellent roads.

Trains in Holland

Most people traveling in Europe though prefer to take the train for its convenience, speed, dependability and excellent price. There is almost always first class and no smoking in most cars. Within Europe, if the trip is under 500 km, you're best taking the train.

Food and Drinks

There is no lack of restaurants serving all types of cuisine in Holland. The well-known franchises, such as Burger King and MacDonald's ("Royale with Cheese" does exist), are here as well as local fast food outlets. A cone of "french" fries topped by a hefty portion of mayonaise is quite common quick food, as is a Kebab.

Traditional Dutch food is a one-pan dish, consisting of a variety of vegetables, especially potatoes, and meat. Another traditional dish is Erwtensaop a form of pea soup containing smoked sausage and beans.
Holland is a pretty liberal country with most things, including having an alcoholic drink. Wine and beer are very popular. A truly Dutch drink is called Jenever and is made from juniper berries. It is almost like distilled gin, served chilled in a very small glass. It's commonly found in traditional-looking clay jars, which give a certain ambience when lined up behind a bar including specialty Jenever Bars.)

Taxes and Tips

Holland is like most of Europe. The price you see is the price you pay. Stand up bars and taxis require no tipping; sit down restaurants leave a euro if the bill is over 20 euros, and a few smaller coins if less.

Language

The official language of Holland is Dutch but many proudly speak English as their second language and sometimes French. You don't have to worry about taking a guided tour because the headphones you use have the translations into several different languages.

Many firstimers assume that Dutch is very close to German; it's not and it' best to avoid making the reference.

Key Phrases

Yes: Ja (Yaah);
No: Nee (Neigh);
Thanks: Bedankt (Buh-dunked);
Excuse me: pardon (par-DON).
Sorry: sorry (sorry, roll the "rr");

Tourist Visas

The Dutch government makes it easy to visit Holland. Most anyone with a valid passport from his or her home country can travel to Holland for a holiday. If you hold an EU passport, you also don't need a Visa. Lastly, Holland has signed the Schengen agreement which is a form of visa sharing a tourist visa in one of the signatories is valid in the other. The Schengen countries are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden (and not the UK or Ireland). Contact your local Dutch Embassy or Consulate to learn more or visit their websites.
http://www.netherlands-embassy.org.uk/applyvisa_eng.htm

Safety

Holland is a fairly safe place for tourists. As with visiting any country, you have to exercise common sense and be extra careful on an empty street at night. There are no health risks associated with traveling to Holland. You will find that the water is safe to drink, but most tourists stick to bottled water when they are traveling.

Shopping

You can buy just about anything your heart desires in Holland. The stores are usually open from 1-6 pm on Mondays and from 9/10 am to 6 pm from Tuesday to Saturday. Some stores have late night shopping on Thursday or Friday night until 9 pm.

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