Plan your trip to the Netherlands

The Netherlands, although a small country, has a lot to offer. Amsterdam, the multicultural capital city, is known for its unique architecture and the canals throughout the city centre. The main mode of transportation amongst the Dutch is a bicycle, therefore you can find bicycle lanes anywhere. For historical reasons, the government and parliament are in The Hague. Do you want to visit the Netherlands? Check the information below to plan your trip to the Netherlands.


  • Amsterdam: The hotspot and also the capital of the country. Amsterdam is a multicultural and special city with centuries-old canals and canal houses, beautiful parks, and an infinite range of museums, attractions and sights. It is precisely because Amsterdam is such a famous city that many tourists come here. Because of this it can be very busy, so try to go to a museum or attraction as close to opening time as possible to avoid a long wait in line.
  • Cities such as Leiden, Haarlem, The Hague, Utrecht and Groningen are also nice alternative cities to escape the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam.
  • While in Amsterdam, visit the Hortus Botanicus. These beautiful greenhouses and gardens in Amsterdam are the ideal place for flora lovers. There are different types of gardens and greenhouses, including a palm greenhouse and a butterfly greenhouse. You can explore on your own or take part in a themed tour, workshops or other activities.
  • Atlantikwall Museum Scheveningen: The Atlantikwall was a 5000 kilometer long defense line, which Germany built in the occupied territories during the Second World War. There are several locations in the Netherlands where this Atlantikwall including bunkers, cannons and photos can be remembered, including at the museum in Scheveningen.
  • Madurodam: This Dutch miniature city is located in The Hague and is a popular tourist attraction park for young and old. In addition to viewing the miniature structures, there are also other activities that vary by season.
  • De Hoge Veluwe National Park: In addition to the beautiful cities of the Netherlands, there are also beautiful nature parks. One of these parks is De Hoge Veluwe, located between the cities of Apeldoorn and Arnhem. Many animals live in this unexpected landscape, including: red deer, badgers, foxes and wild boars.
  • Delta Works in Zeeland: This defense system was built against the water of the sea because a large part of the Netherlands is below sea level. The Delta Works were officially completed in 1986 and are now on the list of the 7 modern wonders of the world. The easiest way to see them is to rent a car and take a scenic tour around them.

Where to stay

  • StayOkay has numerous youth hostels throughout the Netherlands, you will find them in cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, but also at the beach, in the woods and along the river. StayOkay is also part of the Hostelling International Network.
  • If you really want to experience the Dutch lifestyle, you should consider to do Homestay at a Dutch host family. Often cheaper than a hotel and an ideal way to get in touch with locals.

Climate & When to go

  • The Netherlands has a moderate maritime climate with cool summers and mild winters. It is a common assumption that it always rains in the Netherlands, but this is more so a feeling than reality.
  • The Dutch climate is very unpredictable and therefore the Dutch are known for always complaining about the weather.

Eating & Drinking

  • The Netherlands is an open country where you can find almost all kinds of food in big cities. It is often said that the Dutch do not have a food culture. However, there are some special unique Dutch dishes you definitely can not miss. The Dutch kitchen is also very influenced by the Indonesian and Surinamese kitchens.


  • Bitterballen: deep fried pork or beef ragout in a scripy batter.
  • Poffertjes: a version of a tiny airy pan cake, served with butter and icing sugar.
  • Stroopwafels: two thin wafer cookies with caramel sauce in between. 
  • Stampot: mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables. There are various kinds of stampot, for example, with kale, sauerkraut, brussel sprouts or endive.


  • If you want a cup of coffee and a piece of very delicious Dutch apple pie, a "Coffee Shop" is not necessarily the place you want to be. Coffee Shop is a Dutch euphemism for a soft-drugs café. They can sell customers up to five grams of cannabis for personal use. Unless that is what you are looking for, you want to go to a café, a snack bar, or cafeteria instead.

How to get around


  • Dutch trains are efficient, fast and comfortable-most of the time (with an occassional +/- 10 minutes delay)
  • Trains are frequent and serve domestic destinations at regular intervals, even five or six times an hour. Trains can be divided into following types:
    • Sprinter = All stops train
    • Intercity = Fast train (indicated with IC)
    • ICE = Intercity Express (trains that travel between Amsterdam and cities in Germany mostly, which only stop at a few cities in the Netherlands and Germany)
    • Thalys = High speed international train (only stops at Amsterdam, Schiphol, Den Haag and Rotterdam before going on to Antwerp, Brussels and Paris)

OV chipcard

  • The best way to travel with public transport in the Netherlands is with the OV chipcard. On this card you can load money and by checking in at the station you depart from and checking out at the station you arrive, you pay for your trip. Remember to check out once you are at the place of arrival, because otherwise you will be charged a boarding fare.

Bus, tram and metro

  • Buses and trams operate in most cities; Amsterdam and Rotterdam also have metro networks.
  • When you enter a bus or a tram you must either buy a single ticket at the bus driver (which is quite expensive) or check in with your OV chipcard. At the metro and train you already check in before you enter the means of transport. A team of inspectors can suddenly appear in the bus or tram, sometimes even without wearing the uniform, and if you are caught traveling without a valid ticket or OV chipcard, you risk a fine!


  • The Netherlands is famous for its many bicycles. Tourists often have to be careful while sightseeing, because cyclists are everywhere and not just on cycle lanes. There are about 18 million bikes in the Netherlands (so that is over one bicycle per Dutch citizen!) and almost 35.000 kilometers of cycle lanes in a country of 200 by 300 kilometers. You can rent bicycles at the larger train station via railway company NS or at one of the many smaller rental companies throughout the cities. At many rental companies it is also possible to take a cycle tour with a tour guide.

Public holidays

  • King's Day (27 April): In 2013 King Willem-Alexander took over the reign from his mother, now Princess Beatrix. After decades of celebrating Queen's day, the first King's Day was celebrated in 2014 on the birthday of the king. This is a holiday for everyone in the Netherlands, on which children sell toys on flee markets and activities are organized all throughout the Netherlands, including street games, parties and festivals.
  • Bevrijdingsdag/Liberation Day (5 May): the day on which it is celebrated that the Dutch were liberated by the Allied and the end of the Second World War in the Netherlands was official. A day full of festivals throughout the Netherlands. Besides Kings Day one of the best days for street parties and festivals.
  • Gay Pride Amsterdam (beginning of August): A day in Amsterdam you cannot miss. Highlight of the two days is the Can Pride on Saturday, in which many boats parade through the canals of Amsterdam, applauded to by thousands of people. Throughout the city there are activities and parties: a truly unforgettable day for celebrating gay rights.
  • Prinsjesdag (every third Tuesday of September): the day on which the new finance plan is presented to the Dutch citizenry by the Dutch king. The official carriage ride through the Hague with the King and Queen is a true spectacle.
  • Sint Maarten (11 November): mostly a festivity for children, in which the life of Saint Marten is remembered. The children go door by door with self-made lanterns and sing songs in the hope to get candy and fruit.
  • Sinterklaas (5 December): perhaps the most Dutch holiday there is on which the birthday of Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas) is celebrated. On the 5th of December all the children in the Netherlands receive presents from the birthday Saint.
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