Living in the Netherlands is like a dream come true for men and women of all ages from around the world. This is probably because the standard of living in the Netherlands is at par with or perhaps even a bit higher than some of the developed western countries. Moreover, the Dutch are a warm, friendly, welcoming and liberal lot, without being overly formal. There is an abundance of cultural and social activities that you can participate in, which will ensure that your stay in this country a memorable and rewarding experience! Here is a list of 5 things you should do when living in the Netherlands:
1. Cruise along the canals of Amsterdam The famous canals of Amsterdam were built during the Golden Dutch Age in the 17th century. Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht and Herengracht are the three main canals that form the Grachtengordel or the concentric belts around the city. Now, Amsterdam has more than 100 kilometers of canals and 1,500 bridges. More than 1,500 monumental buildings are situated alongside the main canals.
It is best to soak in the city’s sights in the evening on a boat ride, while you are served a refreshing drink and freshly prepared dinner on board. The route covered may vary a bit, depending upon the water levels for the day. However, at the end of the boat ride, you will have seen some of Amsterdam’s most popular attractions like The Anne Frank House, Skinny Bridge, Amstel River and Hermitage Museum.
Bookings for the cruise can be made online weeks in advance. The cost for a single adult may vary between €35.00 and €75.00, depending upon the duration of the ride as well as the menu you choose.
2. Walk through the tulips at Keukenhof Gardens
Popularly known as “The Garden of Europe”, the Keukenhof Garden is the second largest flower garden across the world; it is also one of the most beautiful places on earth! Every year, about 7 million flower bulbs (tulips, daffodils and hyacinths) are planted. These flowers are on display from the last week of March to May.
Keukenhof Garden happens to be the most visited tourist attraction in the Netherlands. During your stay in this county, make it a point to take a walk through the flowers. To plan your visit or discover more about Keukenhof Gardens, log on to http://www.keukenhof.nl/en.
3. Enjoy the cheese markets
Every year, a cheese market is held at the Waagpleinin square in Alkmaar. This market is one of the most popular attractions of the country. The season for this market begins on the first Friday of April and goes on till the first Friday of September. The activities take place every Friday, from 10AM to 12:30PM.
During your visit to the market, you will probably get to see a wide display of world-class cheese, vendors dressed in traditional Dutch garb and medieval décor. The cheese market is a must-see for everyone who visits Amsterdam.
4. Admire the art at Haarlem
The lovely historical city of Haarlem is located on the banks of the Spaarne, barely 20 km away from Amsterdam. In the last few years, tourists and expats from all over the world have begun to appreciate this city, which was home to some of the best Dutch painters, including Frans Hals. Haarlem’s cobbled streets and architecture is a reflection of the gothic times this city dates back to.
All art lovers should definitely be a part of Tyler’s Museum Exhibits, the Carpera Open Air Theater and Haarlem Jazz and More. For more information on events and festivals, visit www.visithaarlem.org.
5. See the medieval architecture of Maastricht
Maastricht is perfect for those expats who are looking for a city to indulge their love of a good life, history, art and culture. This city is located in the southern part of Holland and boasts of historic districts, museums, churches, hidden alleys and castles. As you walk through the city you can also soak in the city walls, big square and monumental merchant houses. Any kind of architecture, right from Roman excavations to modern Bonnefanten-museum designs can be found in Maastricht.
It is a well-known fact that soft drugs (recreational) have been legalized in Amsterdam, which is one of the factors attracting foreigners to the Netherlands. However, buying drugs from the street is a big no-no and should be strictly avoided. The only place for purchasing legalized drugs is a licensed coffee shop. Stay away from products that are banned or illegal.