The Netherlands

Capital: Amsterdam ♦ Population: 17.3 million ♦ Currency: Euro (€) ♦ Language: Dutch

Blog posts


Amsterdam: home to a series of amazing museums, canals and delicious food. It is such a picturesque city and the easiest way to see it is definitely by bike – cyclists rule the roads!

Rotterdam: incredible architecture, Rotterdam is a modern city stooped in culture. Rotterdam and Amsterdam supposedly have quite strong rivalry, evidenced partly by the phrase ‘Amsterdam has it but Rotterdam doesn’t need it’.

Keukenhof Gardens: one of the biggest in Europe, visit in April or May to see the fields and fields of tulips.

Delft: charming Dutch city, world famous for its blue and white pottery. Relaxed atmosphere – great for a romantic getaway.

The Hague: for an educational trip, it’s a bustling hive of activity. Visit the International Criminal Court, the International Court of Justice and is the seat of Government for the Netherlands.

Did you know?

  • More than 1/4 of the Netherlands is below sea level.
  • It is the tallest country in the world. Men clock in at an average height of 184 cm and women 170 cm.
  • 86% of people speak a second language.
  • Holland is not an alternative or outdated name for the Netherlands. Rather, Holland comprises two regions – North Holland and South Holland. Together these two regions are the economic hub of the country, which is where the name has developed from.
  • The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalise same sex marriage, back in 2001.

Useful tips

  • Getting into Amsterdam from Schiphol Airport (the main international airport) is easy with the Sprinter train. It costs about €6 and only takes about 20 minutes.
  • The Netherlands has a similar cafe culture to New Zealand with people  taking pleasure out of catch ups over coffee and cake. The supermarkets actually sell fresh milk (i.e. it’s kept in the fridge) and there is an abundance of fruit and vegetables. Amsterdam was the first European city I came across where oats were commonplace. So make the most of it!
  • Book museum visits online, preferably in advance of visiting. Tickets for the Anne Frank house go on sale three months’ prior and they actually sell out fast – so definitely plan ahead to save disappointment.