Oh, we know what you’re thinking. It’s either clogs and windmills, or weed and red lights. All of the above can, of course, be part of a trip to this corner of the world, yet if they are the only reasons you decide to head to the Netherlands, you’re in for a big surprise.
Most travellers touch down in Amsterdam, where there’s the chance to do some damage or get your culture on (or a maybe a little bit from both piles). Cosy cafes and bars are incredibly enticing, as are the street vans selling chips and mayo or chocolate waffles into the wee small hours. The art scene here is incredible, and you should definitely plan on losing a few hours staring at the Rembrandts and Vermeers at the Rijksmuseum, before taking a canal boat cruise beneath bridges and past centuries-old homes.
But this compact country has plenty more to offer. There’s the country’s oldest city, Utrecht, where the skyline isn’t dominated by skyscrapers but the Dom Tower of the Cathedral of Saint Martin, which stands at just 112 metres high.
Then you have the Netherlands’ southwest, which isn’t all tulips, windmills and cheese. Rotterdam has got it all going on at the moment, with a full-throttle program of reconstruction. The contemporary architecture is mind-blowing and the arts and nightlife scenes of Witte de Withkwartier equally as impressive. Then there’s the Hague, the seat of government and home to a huge population of foreigners working for various embassies and United Nations organisations. Finally, there’s Delft, hometown of Johannes Vermeer and the famous blue pottery.