Amsterdam is not only the capital of canals, bicycles and coffee houses, but of the whole country, even though the government, like the International Court of Justice, is based in The Hague. The Amsterdam traveler probably wholeheartedly agrees that the city deserves a special status for its beauty and special atmosphere. The narrow, colorful warehouses lean wobbly over the canals. The cyclists whiz along the canal while they stealthily cast jealous glances at the houseboats bouncing in the water. Amsterdam is definitely the city of cyclists. The roads are narrow and often one-way and a car is just a nuisance. Bicycles are actually so popular that it is difficult to keep them to yourself. The people of Amsterdam have to find themselves in a million bicycle thefts every year, and then there are only half a million bicycles in the city.
Another characteristic feature is Amsterdam’s released reputation, despite the fact that it is starting to fall somewhat. Although it is still possible to find shops with various imaginative accessories for the bedroom in the city’s infamous Red Light District, there are now more tie knots than rebellious dreadlocks in the city. However, there are still many sights to see. At the city’s famous museums, you can study Bosch’s demonic richness of detail, Rembrandt’s masterful handling of light and shadow, Vermeer’s brilliant bright colors and of course van Gogh’s dramatic brushstrokes.
In Anne Frank’s house, those who have the patience to stand in the long queue, which often winds its way down the Prinsengracht, can be confronted with the worst period in Europe’s history. In the courtyard, the Frank family and some of their friends lived hidden for two years until the Gestapo one day knocked on the door and crushed all their hopes for freedom. All were sent to concentration camps. Only the father of the family, Otto Frank, survived. As is well known, Anne’s diary also survived and thus became an important testimony of the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews. Another must in Amsterdam is a sailing trip on the small canals. The people of Amsterdam themselves love this occupation, giving them the opportunity to experience the city from a new perspective. There are as many as 165 channels to choose from. These are crossed by 181 bridges and 2,500 houseboats are anchored along the quays.
The second largest city in the Netherlands, Rotterdam, is characterized by a new and modern urban architecture. The sad reason for the city’s extensive facelift is that Rotterdam was largely razed to the ground during World War II. In addition to an architecture that makes both science-fiction fans and innovative architects nod in agreement, Rotterdam also boasts of being home to the world’s second most visited port. Rotterdam is constantly competing with Amsterdam. The positive thing is that this has resulted in an exuberant cultural life and a whole bunch of museums that are interesting enough to be able to compete with Amsterdam.
Two of the best museums are Nederlands Fotomuseum and Kunsthal, which with 20 different exhibitions have something for both the critical art connoisseur and the more educated visitor. In the number one city of modern architecture, you should of course also visit the architecture institute. The Nederlands Architectuur Instituut, or NAI, uses the latest multimedia technology to dust off the visitor’s knowledge of Dutch architecture. Another perspective on the city and its buildings is available at a height of 185 meters in the Euromast tower. A rotating giant lift called Euroscoop allows visitors to enjoy a 360-degree view of the whole of Rotterdam. The descent can of course also be done with the lift, but for the more adventurous there is also the opportunity to imitate the mountaineers and pull themselves down in a rope.
Despite Amsterdam’s status as the capital of the Netherlands, much of what normally characterizes a capital city in The Hague. This includes, for example, the government and the royal family. The Hague was the capital of the country until Louis Bonaparte was proclaimed king by his brother Napoleon, and decided that Amsterdam was a more suitable capital. The Hague is also home to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, which means that residents from all corners of the world make an international mark on the city. The magnificent architecture offers countless embassies and wide boulevards, and the number of museums and restaurants meets more than the metropolitan quota requires. For those who want to experience some sightseeing along the way, there are two beautiful beach areas just outside The Hague. Scheveningen is the largest and most visited,
According to top-medical-schools, there are parts of Holland that have not yet been cultivated. Part of the area is used for national parks, the largest of which is the Hoge Veluwe National Park. The 5,500-hectare park contains dense forests, flat moors, rolling sand dunes and clear lakes. Around the park are a number of white bicycles that can be borrowed freely by the nature lover who is looking for deer, wild mouflon sheep, wild boar and badgers. In the Kröller-Müller Museum inside the national park there is another beautiful experience. The museum has an impressive collection of van Gogh paintings and Europe’s largest sculpture garden where the modern sculptures blend beautifully with the surrounding nature.