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What you should know before you go to the Netherlands

If images of windmills, tulips, and wooden shoes come to mind when you think of the Netherlands, you aren’t alone. Filled with history, and home to the famous city of Amsterdam, you will be able to make lifelong memories during your time in this unique country. But prior to planning all of the details of your upcoming trip, check out the information below on what you should know before you go to the Netherlands.
Popular tourist locations in the Netherlands

What are the most popular places and tourist attractions to visit in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands offers travelers ample opportunities for exploration of historical sites, natural wonders, and expansive cities. But a few of the most popular places to visit in the country are below to help you narrow down your choices to those that are must-see:
  • Amsterdam: Let’s face it, no trip to the Netherlands would be complete without spending a good amount of time in the famous and beloved city of Amsterdam. This is the capital of the country, and it features everything from breathtaking architecture and canals that date back to the 17th century, to art galleries and museums (including the Anne Frank Museum and the Van Gogh Museum), shopping, and a thriving nightlife. Reminiscent of Venice, you can explore the canals of Amsterdam and access a lot of attractions easily by water taxi or boat. And also be sure to check out the many historic homes and small bridges that are too cute to pass up. Bring your camera!
     
  • Gouda: Renowned for its cheese, Gouda is a city that is located in the province of South Holland near Rotterdam and The Hague. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, some of the top things to do there include visiting the Gouda Cheese Market, checking out the Gothic style Gouda Stadhuis that dates back to the 1400s, and exploring the Goudse Hout.
     
  • Hoge Veluwe National Park: The Hoge Veluwe National Park is another popular tourist attraction that deserves to be photographed. This amazing park features landscapes that include sand drift, grassland, and forests. Nature lovers will thrill at the sight of a variety of wildlife while biking or hiking.
     
  • Windmills in Kinderdijk: The village known as Kinderdijk is found between Dordrecht and Rotterdam on the River Noord. There, you will find tourists flocking to see the incredible windmills that date back to the 18th century and have been preserved so well that you will think that you took a trip back in time.   
     
  • Keukenhof: Known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof is where you can go to see the beautiful tulips that the country is known for. Located in Lisse, this is one of the biggest gardens on the planet, with its 32 hectares of gorgeous flowers. Millions of bulbs bloom in the spring, and there are hundreds of varieties of tulips that will take your breath away.
     
  • Kasteel De Haar: Castle enthusiasts will not want to miss the chance to see the famous Kasteel De Haar, which is located near Utrecht. This is considered the most luxurious, as well as the largest, castle in the country. And it is also one of the best European historic houses. As you approach it, you will feel as though you have been transported to a fairy tale, with the castle’s drawbridges, gates, moats, and towers. Plus, it is surrounded by ponds, gardens, and trees that serve to enhance its beauty.
     
  • The Rijksmuseum: Located in Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum, which is also known as the Dutch National Museum, is a splendor to behold from the outside. But inside this lovely building, you will find a collection of rare antiquities and artwork that have been collected since the early 1800s. Impressive indeed!
The best time to go to the Netherlands

When is the best time to go to the Netherlands?

The climate in the Netherlands allows tourists to visit the country throughout the year. Winters are considered moderately cold, while summers are considered quite mild. Summer temperatures will average around 19°C (66°F), while winters will typically have temperatures around 2°C (35°F). These are averages, though, and weather can be unpredictable from one year to the next. Plus, you may encounter different temperatures and conditions based upon where in the country you are staying.
If your goal is to see the unforgettable tulips in full bloom, be sure to book your trip for anywhere from the middle of March to the middle of May.
 
In terms of tourist season in the Netherlands, the months of April through October are preferred, but the peak is typically between July and August, thanks to the attractive weather at that time of year. Just keep in mind that the perks of traveling off-season include a more relaxed atmosphere, fewer crowds, and more affordable hotel rooms.
 
What about rain? Well, you should expect that chilly and rainy weather could occur throughout the year. A summer day could be wet and gray, requiring you to wear a coat and carry an umbrella as you explore. And fog and mist could also be common during your time in the Netherlands.
What you should pack for a trip to the Netherlands

What should you pack for a trip to the Netherlands?

If you are planning on visiting the Netherlands during the cooler months of the year, wearing layers and a thick coat will help you stay warm while exploring the outdoors, especially on cold and damp days.

Unpredictable weather calls for carrying a compact umbrella while out and about, as you just never know when you will need it. Packing a raincoat could also be helpful, as could some sweaters that will keep you comfortable even during warmer months when that damp chill takes hold. Just remember that layering will be your friend, regardless of the time of year in which you travel.

With so many cities, museums, castles, and parks to explore, a good pair of sneakers will be a must for your trip. If you are planning on dining at a fancy restaurant or attending a formal event during your stay, you can pack formal attire. Otherwise, you can typically wear casual clothes that are comfortable yet clean and presentable while you are taking in everything that the country has to offer.

Which electrical outlet adapter do you need for the Netherlands?

When planning your trip to the Netherlands, keep in mind that the power sockets that are used in the country are Type C, which is also referred to as the Euro plug, and Type F, which is also referred to as Schuko. Depending upon what you use in your home country, you may need to pack a power plug adapter if you are planning on taking electrical appliances with you.

In addition to the power sockets used, though, you should also consider that the standard voltage in the Netherlands will be 230 V, while the frequency will be 50 Hz. Check any appliances that you are planning on packing for your trip. Their labels should let you know their voltage and frequency so you can figure out if you need to invest in a voltage converter. Modern devices like cameras, laptops, tablets, cell phones, and toothbrushes, as a few examples, may not require a converter because they will work with 100-240 V and 50/60 Hz.

What languages are primarily spoken in the Netherlands?

Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands, and the majority of the population speaks it, so brushing up on your ability to read, understand, and speak at least the basics will certainly be helpful before heading off on your adventure.
 
You may also encounter individuals who speak Frisian in the Netherlands. However, they only account for about 2% of the population in the country, and the language is primarily spoken in Friesland, which is a northern province. And only about 0.6% of the people in the Netherlands will speak Arabic and Turkish.

What are the best hotels in the Netherlands?

There are a wide variety of attractive hotels to stay in throughout the Netherlands, so you can find the accommodations that will suit your needs as well as your budget. But if you are in search of the absolute best options that the country has to offer, check out the following luxurious hotel options:

  • Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam: Are you planning on staying in the heart of Amsterdam? Then consider pampering yourself by booking a room at the 5-star Grand Hotel Amrâth, where you simply can’t beat the views of the canals.

  • InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam: Another one of the top luxury hotels in Amsterdam is the InterContinental Amstel. It is located right on the banks of the River Amstel, providing you with amazing views that you will love waking up to every day. Plus, you can enjoy the Royal Afternoon Tea, which gives you the opportunity to unwind while taking in the beauty that surrounds you.

  • Grand Hotel Karel V: Travelers who are planning on spending some time in Utrecht should consider booking their stay at the Grand Hotel Karel V. What is unique about this location is the fact that it used to be a monastery that was converted into a luxury hotel. It is conveniently located in the heart of Utrecht, giving you easy access to attractions like boutiques, museums, and cafes. 

  • Chateau St. Gerlach: The Chateau St. Gerlach is located in Maastricht, and its views are also unforgettable. From gardens to parks, if you want to be surrounded by nature, this is the luxury hotel to stay in while you are in the Netherlands. 
What is the currency of the Netherlands

What is the currency of the Netherlands?

The official currency of the Netherlands is the euro (EUR), so converting your home currency will be necessary unless you are traveling to the Netherlands from another country that also uses the euro. Using a currency converter will give you an accurate picture of how far your money will go once it has been converted into euros for your trip.

How much spending money do you need in the Netherlands? 

While you may not need too much spending cash when visiting other parts of the Netherlands, you should bring some extra money for Amsterdam, which tends to be pricier.
 
For example, when shopping in Amsterdam, you can budget around 50 EUR per day, but for getting around the city, you may need around 20 EUR per day to cover transportation costs. Also budgeting around 35 EUR for food and beverages could ensure you stay fueled up for experiencing the sights and sounds of this city. And entertainment might run you about another 30 EUR per day.

Do you need vaccinations in the Netherlands

Do you need vaccinations to go to the Netherlands?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all travelers, regardless of where they are going, should be up-to-date on routine vaccinations. These include the annual flu shot, polio vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine, and diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine.
When traveling to the Netherlands, you can also talk to your doctor about receiving the Hepatitis A vaccine, as there is a risk of contracting this illness through contaminated water and food in the Netherlands.
 
Also, although bats in the Netherlands may carry rabies, it is not considered a risk to the majority of travelers, so you likely do not need to worry about getting this vaccination. Only travelers who are going to the Netherlands to work around or with bats, as well as those who are going to be participating in outdoor activities in remote areas where bats live, should consider talking to their doctor about the rabies vaccine.
Get ready to go to the Netherlands

Get ready to go!

Now that you have a good amount of information on what to expect when you head to the Netherlands, you can book an exciting trip with greater confidence. Make the most of your journey by booking your stay at a luxurious hotel, visiting the historic sites throughout the country, and indulging in delicious Dutch foods like stroopwafel, oliebollen, and, of course, cheeses like Gouda and Maasdammer. With the right itinerary, you will be able to take in all of the things that make the Netherlands so special.
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