Locations in Holland
Additional locations, with easy transport links to our depots:
Holland (The Netherlands)
The Netherlands (also commonly called Holland in English, is a Benelux country in Western Europe, facing onto the North Sea and the United Kingdom and bordered on land by Germany and Belgium. The people, language, and culture of the Netherlands are referred to as "Dutch".
Netherlands has many cities and towns of interest to travelers. Below is a list of the most notable. Alkmaar
- historic city north of Amsterdam. Haarlem
- historic city and capital of the province of North-Holland. Leiden
- Historical university city in South-Holland, host to many important museums. The Hague
- seat of the national government, seat of the International Court of Justice and capital of the province of South-Holland. Maastricht
- historic city, capital of the province of Limburg. Utrecht
- historic city, capital of the province of Utrecht Zutphen
- ancient medieval city in the central-eastern part of the country, very well preserved center. Breda
- historic city, with beautiful historic buildings but also pretty modern architecture. Nijmegen
- oldest city of the Netherlands (dates back to Roman times), known internationally for its Four Day Marches.
Nationaal Park De Hoge Veluwe - One of Holland's more than 20 national parks
Volendam - Volendam is a popular tourist attraction in the Netherlands. It is famous for its old fishing boats and the traditional clothing still worn by some residents. There is a regular ferry connection to Marken, a peninsula close by. Volendam also features a small museum about its history and clothing style.
Madurodam is a miniature city located in Scheveningen, The Hague, in the Netherlands. It is a model of a Dutch town on a 1:25 scale, composed of typical Dutch buildings and landmarks, as are found at various locations in the country.
De Efteling - This is the largest and most popular theme park in The Netherlands. It is also one of the oldest theme parks in the world. Originally the park catered towards children with a fairy tale theme. Nowadays Efteling appeals to both young and old with its cultural, romantic and nostalgic themes and its variety of amusement rides. In over fifty years the park has evolved from a nature park with playground and a Fairy Tale Forest, into a full-size theme park along the lines of Disneyland.
The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries on the world. No matter where you go, you are never far away from civilization. Cities can be crowded especially in the Randstad area. Much of the country is flat and at or below sea level, and much of countryside is dominated by intensive farming - despite its population density, The Netherlands is a net exporter of food. Though there are some beautiful spots scattered across the country. The tourist expecting a countryside full of picturesque villages, tulips and windmills will find all of these things and more but will have to know where to look for them.
The Netherland's geography is dominated by water features. The country is criss-crossed with canals and dykes, and the beach is never far away.
By bicycle - Cycling in the Netherlands is much much easier than in other countries, because of the infrastructure - cycle paths, cycle lanes, and signposted cycle routes. Some things to know:
- Cycle lanes and cycle paths are indicated by a round blue sign with a white bike icon, an icon on the asphalt, or by red asphalt. Using them is mandatory.
- Cyclists must obey the same traffic signs as motorists, unless exempted.
- Where there is no cycle lane or path, use the regular road.
- Bicycles must have working front (white) and rear (red) lights. Reflectors are not sufficient. You may be fined for cycling in the dark without a light, and you seriously endanger yourself and other traffic by doing so. Small, battery-operated LED lights attached to your person do not officially satisfy the regulations, but are usually allowed by police.
By Train,Bus and Tram
The public transport systems are well developed, practical and efficient in the Netherlands. In the cities you can use the tram, bus and metro, outside the cities you can use the bus and train. Travel plan information can be found at 9292OV Reisinformatie. Information about the trains can be found at Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS). Both of these sites can plan a trip for you using public transport, but 9292OV includes almost all public transportation types. The NS website only has the trains, but it is able to display up to date infomation about train delays and detours.
By road is a good way to explore the countryside, especially places not connected by rail, such as Veluwe, Zeeland and The North Sea islands. Driving in the Netherlands is normally quite pleasant - the motorway network is dense, roads are well-signposted, and Dutch drivers are among the least aggressive in Europe. However, this one of the most densely populated countries in the world, so be prepared for heavy traffic and congestion in all but the northern part of the country. When driving in cities, always give priority to cyclists when turning across a cycle lane. Drive on the right. The speed limits are measured in kilometers per hour.
Parking fees within cities can be pretty hefty. When planning to go to bigger cities, seriously consider going there by public transport or using P+R park and ride facilities are available at the outskirts of bigger cities.
The national language in the Netherlands is Dutch. Written Dutch might be semi-intelligble to someone who knows other germanic languages (English, German, Scandinavian languages), but the spoken language sounds rather different from English.
Many people speak English in the Netherlands. Education from an early age in English and other European languages, makes the Dutch some of the most fluent polyglots on the continent. Oblivious travelers to the major cities should be able to make their way without learning a word of Dutch.
Dutch traditional cuisine is basic. However, due to influences from Indonesian, Surinam, Chinese and (North) African immigrants there is an abundancy of foodcultures to choose from. In the big cities you can eat good Thai food for a bargain price, and in the Chinese quarters you can get authentic Chinese food. You will also be able to find a restaurant from every corner of the world (especially in Amsterdam).
Also around every corner is a 'frietboer', also known as 'snackbar' or 'cafetaria', which mainly sells french fries (also known as Patat). They also sell all kinds of other fried snacks, like kroketten and frikandellen. Snacks you should try are; "broodje kroket" (a breadroll with a ragout-filled, crispy covered kroket snack), "frikandel speciaal" (a long cylinder of spiced meat, cut open and adorned with mayonaise, ketchup or currysauce, and optionally sprinkled with onion) and "patatje oorlog" (french fries, mayonaise, pinda sauce , optionally sprinkled with onion). Note that "mayonnaise" in the context of french fries is distinctly different from french mayonnaise, and is more accurately described as "frietsaus" (fries sauce); it is firmer, sweeter and contains less fat, whilst remaining just as unhealthy. The snacks listed here are very much the antithesis of high cuisine, but among with other "typically dutch" foodstuffs some of the things Dutch expats miss most about their country.
Traditional highlights are pancakes (available in 'pannenkoekenhuizen'), mashed potatoes with onions, carrots and bacon (hotch-potch 'hutspot') and pea soup ('erwtensoep' or 'snert'). You'll have to go to a traditional restaurant to find this however.
Other "typically dutch" foodstuffs are;
Chocolate sprinkles ('Hagelslag'), used to sprinkle on top of buttered slices of bread (much like jam),
Chocolate spread on bread,
Bars of puur (pure or dark) chocolate,
Dutch peanut butter on bread, which is considerably different from e.g. US peanut butter. Sometimes topped with chocolate sprinkles,
A bread roll with butter and a slice of cheese for lunch, rather than more elaborate lunches,
Dutch coffee (dark, high caffeine grounds, traditionally brewed),
Oranjebitter (orange, bitter liquor drunk only on Koninginnedag), jenever (a sort of gin), Dutch beers
Rookworst (literally "smoked sausage"), available to go from HEMA outlets,
"Limburgse vlaai" (predominantly in the South) a kind of cold pie, usually with a fruit filling.
Some of these "typically dutch" foodstuffs taste significantly different from specialties from other countries. For example, while Dutch coffee and chocolate can instill feelings of homesickness in expats and might be seen as "soulfood", fine Belgian chocolate and Italian coffees (espresso, etc.) are considered to be delicacies.
Drop (liquorice) is something you love or hate, you can buy all kinds of varieties. You can get it from sweet to extremely salty (Double salt).
Beer - Although the Dutch beer "Heineken" is one of the most prestigious beers in the world, it is just one of the many beer brands in the Netherlands. You can get all kind of beers from white beer to dark beer. Popular brands are Heineken, Grolsch, Brand, Bavaria, Amstel etc. Traditional beers come from monasteries in South Holland (Braband and Limburg) or Belgium. You can visit a traditional beer brewer in for instance 'Berkel-Enschot' at the 'Trappistenklooster'. It needs to be said that the brewery is now owned by the big brewer Bavaria, so it's not so traditional anymore.
Tea - Dutch drink black tea, and they keep it as watery as possible and comes in many diffrent tastes, from traditional to fruit infusions etc. Luckily, if you're English, you get the teabag served with a cup of hot (but never boiling!) water, so you can make your own version. Milk in your tea is almost unheard of and only given to children.
Coffee - Coffee is almost compulsory when you are going to visit people. One of the first questions when coming through the door is often "Koffie?" and it is served in small cups (half a mug) with cookies. If you arefrom the States or Canada, you can drink one cup of Dutch coffee in the morning and add water the rest of the day! If you order 'koffie verkeerd' (which literally means a "wrong coffee") you get the French 'café au lait' which is less strong with fresh milk.
Hot chocolate - Hot chocolate with whipped cream is a winter tradition in the Netherlands. It really fills you after a cold walk. In the summer you can also get it in every decent bar, however sometimes it's made from powder as opposed to traditionally, and doesn't taste that good.
Bitters - Also popular in winter are alcoholic bitters. Every city has its own version. Amsterdam has 'Beerenburg', Tilburg has 'schrobbelear' etc.
Three-day Pinkpop popfestival every year with Whitsun ("Pinksteren") in Landgraaf, Limburg.
Dutch acrobatics fesitval, on different locations each year with Whitsun, 2007 probably in Nijmegen.
Lowlands popfestival - every last weekend of August at Biddinghuizen, Flevoland.
Summercarnaval - A big parade through the center of Rotterdam. One of the biggest events in The Netherlands.
Heineken Dance Parade - A big dance parade through Rotterdam. Much in the spirit of the popular Love Parade in germany.
Northsea Jazz Festival - Big summer jazz festival, held in the Ahoy stadion, Rotterdam. Around 1800 jazz, blues, funk, soul, hip Hop, latin and r&b acts play during this 3 day event.
Driving in Holland
In Holland they drive on the right hand side of the road (overtake on the left). Cars coming from the right have priority, unless indicated differently by road markings or signs. Bicycles have the right of way including on roundabouts. Drink driving laws apply as in the other European countries and the UK. Dutch roads are maintained in excellent condition. Care should be taken while driving in Amsterdam, where Trams are frequent.
Motorways, 120 kph/ 72mph
Towns, 50 kph/ 30mph
Major roads, 80 kph/ 48mph
(Conversion for kilometres to miles: 1 km = 0.6 miles)
Please note local signage at all times and adhere to local speed limits.
A litre of petrol cost approximately 1.34 euro and diesel 1.03 euro(Jan 2007.) All types of unleaded (Loodvrije benzine) are available as well as diesel.
- A valid Driving License is required; A European license is fine.
- A Green Card and Motor Insurance certificate is recommended; a Green Card provides additional proof that the minimum legal third party cover is held;
- Country of origin stickers must be used in Holland – e.g. a GB sticker (unless your license plate has the sticker pre-applied.)
- Motorways in Holland are toll free. There is a 60kph minimum speed.
- No motorway tolls are charged in Holland; tolls may be charged at some bridges and tunnels.
- Children under the age of 3 must travel in the rear with a safety system adapted to their size. Children aged 3-12 may travel in the front if they are in a special seat.
- You must carry a reflective warning triangle in your car.
- You will need to adjust your headlamps for driving on the right or use headlamp converters.
It is advisable to carry driving license, insurance certificate, vehicle registration and passport with you at all times.
If you breakdown on the motorway, there are yellow emergency telephones on the hard shoulder from which you can call the ANWB (the Dutch equivalent of the RAC or AA).
At 0.25 milligrams of alcohol per litre of blood (much lower than the UK at 0.4mg/l) the blood alcohol limit is very low so the simple advise is don't drink and drive. There is random alcohol testing for drivers.
- Unleaded petrol - loodvrije bezine
- Diesel - diesel
- Parking - parkeerplaats
- Entrance - oprit, entree, ingang, toegang
- Exit - afrit, uitgang, afgaan, uitreis, uitrit
- Detour - weg omleiding
Enforcement of driving laws
Traffic offences can carry heavy, often on-the-spot fines. If you are fined always ask for a receipt as proof of payment.
The Dutch use all sorts of techniques including speed cameras, speed traps and unmarked vehicles to monitor speeding and traffic laws; exceeding the maximum speed limit can lead to heavy penalties including large (often on-the-spot) fines. Be careful on motorways where the maximum speed can vary. Illuminated overhead lane indicators - when in use - are mandatory and what they display must be adhered to. Where road works are taking place please adhere to indicated speed limits
You may not use a mobile phone when driving in Holland. It is however allowed to use mobile phones with "hands free" equipment.