Holland

The Netherlands, or the low countries, are a western-European nation right opposite of the United Kingdom. The Netherlands is one of the founding members of the European Union, and most of its citizens speak remarkably good English.

This flat (and I mean FLAT) country is famous for its windmills and clogs, although you will not see either of those outside of tourist attractions. What you will see is the coffee shops where you can legally get weed. But when you are in Amsterdam, don’t be surprised if you’ll find only tourist in these shops.

The canals of Amsterdam

Amsterdam has a bit of a reputation, but it has cleaned up its act in recent years. Yes, the red-light district is still there. Yes, there are lots of coffee shops. But there is much more to do in this charming city. You can find the best concert hall in the world here, as well as the national museum (Rijksmuseum) which houses an extensive collection of the great Dutch masters.

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Trains

The train network in The Netherlands is extensive, though maybe not as extensive as in Germany. Trains usually run on time and are mostly comprised of commuter services and semi long-distance services. Prices are decent and there are several options for cheaper tickets if you don’t mind printing your own ticket.

Typical Dutch trains

There are several high speed connections to Belgium, the UK and France. The connections to Germany are mostly conventional speeds until you reach the border when the ICE-trains switch to the German high-speed network.

Most Dutch citizens travel on contactless cards as they tend to be cheaper than paper tickets. The one exception are the print-at-home tickets from the ‘Spoordeelwinkel’.

Planes

The Netherlands has several airports, but it’s likely you’ll enter the country either in Eindhoven (European flights) or at Schiphol (Amsterdam). Don’t be fooled by the relatively small size of The Netherlands in choosing between Eindhoven and Schiphol. A journey from Eindhoven Airport to Amsterdam or Rotterdam still takes up 1,5 hours of travel time.

KLM plane taking off from Schiphol airport

There are some secondary airports too in Groningen, Maastricht and Rotterdam. Flights from these airports are limited but might be useful.

Automobiles

The Dutch road network is extensive and in pristine condition. You can get everywhere you want if you go by car. Since I don’t drive I will provide you with a link containing more information about driving in The Netherlands.

As for public transport, the network is extensive. Local transport is mostly done with busses and these are relatively cheap and run on time. They cover most of the country, radiating out from the major cities. In the major cities there are busses, street cars and subway systems to make sure you can get around with ease.

The trams run through the streets in Amsterdam

I would recommend against driving your own car inside the city limits of cities like Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague. These cities are crowded and the traffic can be quite difficult to navigate. Parking your car can be a bit of nightmare too. The excellent public transport within these cities should get you there cheaper, faster and safer.

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