Holland may be a small country, but as the famous home of tulips, clogs, windmills and
Amsterdam, its reputation as a holiday destination speaks for itself.
Overview, traditions & history
Holland was once a major colonial power, and challenged the English for naval supremacy. Throughout the Golden Age of the 17th century, its standard of living was the best in the world and to this day Holland remains one of the most developed countries in the world, regularly finishing highly in the OECD better life index.
Holland is a famously liberal and cosmopolitan country, with inhabitants from all over the world, especially in the capital Amsterdam, which regularly attracts tourists from all over the world. Holland is a constitutional monarchy - King Willem-Alexander presides over the government in name only, and the royal palace is still available to see in the centre of Amsterdam.
The Netherlands have a temperate climate, with cool summers and mild winters. In the winter, temperatures can be up to 10 degrees Celsius higher by the coast than further inland.
The landscape in Holland is famously flat, with much of the country lying at or below sea level, but the countryside is beautiful, with over 20 national parks in the country. The Dutch part of the Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to a wide range of marine and other wildlife.
Why visit Holland?
Holland is a land of contrasts, one where a country rich in history and heritage plays host to a liberal and modern populace. Short breaks in Holland come in all shapes in sizes, whether you’re looking to party in Amsterdam, learn the history of the Dutch Golden Age in
Utrecht or go camping in the countryside, there truly is something for everyone. From the UK, Holland is easily accessible via our daily overnight
ferry service from Newcastle.
Travelling through the Dutch countryside or along its beautiful coastline offers so much to see and do. If you choose to visit the coast, go island hopping among the Frisian Islands and discover The Frisian Island of Terschelling, with idyllic beaches and nature walks.
If you prefer to sunbathe, then the seaside resorts of Zandvoort and Bloemendaal are popular places for visitors to unwind, taking in some sun as peaceful summer breezes blow over the nearby dunes and dikes.
As the capital, Amsterdam is naturally Holland’s centre of culture, with the city having the highest museum density of any city in the world! There are plenty of places to visit, including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh museum and Anne Frank House, all of which give you a different chapter to the story of what was once one of the world’s most powerful cities.
Amsterdam is also famous as one of Europe’s nightlife capitals, with an excellent selection of bars, restaurants and more for you to discover. The city also has a rich musical heritage with everything from classical to modern dance music catered for in the city’s venues.
Further afield from the main Dutch cities you will also find many other picturesque Dutch towns and cities worth the visit. Leiden, Rembrandt's birth place, has a great city centre which is famous for its canals and perfect shopping.
Haarlem is definitely one of the most beautiful historical cities in Holland. The city is located west of Amsterdam and has been the historical centre of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears the nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city).
Want a more in-depth look at some of the Netherland's top cities? Visit our individual city travel guide pages for more information.
Watch our video of Holland:
Discover Holland when travelling by car:
When travelling by car, discover what lies further afield from the popular main Dutch cities. Everything is easily accessible within short distances, so you can pack a lot in on a short break to Holland! Read more about discovering Holland by car.
Holland is not only perfect for the cycling enthusiast; Holland is also the perfect country to explore on foot. Vast heaths can still be found in the provinces of Drenthe and North Brabant and in the National Park De Hoge Veluwe. There are also plenty of possibilities to explore the beaches and the dunes behind them on foot. There is always something happening on the Dutch lakes, rivers and seas. Water-skiing is popular in Holland, so why not try Zeeland’s delta, or the lakes between Flevoland and Gelderland to catch some waves? But if you’re more of a sailor, it’s easy in Holland to rent sailboats and motorboats for cruising down a canal, or sailing on a lake with a picnic on board. In Friesland enjoy a day out on a historic Skutsje flat boat ship, for a true Dutch experience. Read more about getting active and cycling in Holland
Quaint Dutch towns and unique cities:
Further afield from the main Dutch cities you will also find many other picturesque Dutch towns and cities worth the visit. Go on a canal cruise, get lost in a corn field maze or enjoy one of the many other events and attractions in Breda. Leiden, Rembrandt's birth place, has a great city centre which is famous for its canals and perfect shopping. This University City is always alive with a friendly atmosphere. Haarlem is definitely one of the most beautiful historical cities in Holland. The city is located on the river Spaarne, about 20 km west of Amsterdam and near the coastal dunes. It has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears the nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city), for this reason. Read more about Haarlem
and other Dutch Cities
Family days out:
For a great way to explore parts of North Holland, take a trip on the steam train which dates from 1926 and leaves from Hoorn to Medemblik in North Holland daily. There are several theme parks in Holland for a fun family day out; The Efteling park near Eindhoven, is where fairy tales come to life. Walibi world is not the place for the faint hearted! This park is in the region of Flevland only 20min away from Amsterdam. Young visitors will no doubt enjoy themselves at the Duinrell park near The Hague. The world-famous miniature city Madurodam is in The Hague and presents everything Holland is famous for, replicated to the smallest detail on a scale of 1:25. Look, there is a monkey on your shoulder! This can happen to you in the Apenheul the monkey zoo, in Gerderland. Here you can walk through woods where monkeys roam around freely. Read more about Holland’s attractions and Family days out
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