One of the greatest misconceptions about the Netherlands is that it is wildly liberal, to the point where everyone is walking around high as kites during the day, and parading through the red light district at night, indulging in every imaginable depth of debauchery.
The truth is a lot tamer, a lot prettier. Much of ‘what happens in the dam’ happens in a relatively small part of the city. The famous coffee shop culture is becoming regulated to the point where it might even be pushed out altogether. But there is more to The Netherlands than the Hangover-style weekends anticipated by bored teenagers.
A romanticism fills the air in Amsterdam in the way it’s kindred spirit Venice does in Italy. Take a relaxing cruise through the canal or explore the city like the locals do-by cycling through every street and laneway. Visit the Anne Frank House and climb the fiercely steep stairs into the attic where the most famous diary ever written was penned. This is one of the city’s most popular attractions and as such is always busy. Expect a 2-hour wait and bring an umbrella if you’re travelling in Spring.
Amsterdam is famous for much more than its lax laws on C class drugs.
It is the birthplace of many prominent artists, Vincent Van Gough of course being the most recognisable. The Gough Museum displays 200 original paintings and 600 drawings. For a look at some other indigenous artists, see The Rijksmuseum. Showcasing paintings from Rembrandt and Vermeer to name but a few Dutch artists celebrated here, it’s arguably the best art museum in The Netherlands and a respected name throughout Europe.
Other notable museums include The Tassenmuseum Hendrikje which details the history of Museum of Handbags and Purses. In Utrecht, you have the Nationaal Museum van Speelklok tot Pierement, which is a museum showing an extensive array of musical instruments, from automatically playing instruments, to music boxes and barrels organs. The country is also famous for its Delft porcelain, which you can see at the Royal Delft Pottery. See the craftsmen doing what they do best or enrol in a workshop to try it out for yourself.
All that culture and we haven’t even mentioned windmills or tulips. The Netherlands is more than what you expect, and deserves curiosity as much as it does respect. Book your Amsterdam airport transfer or Rotterdam transfer to enjoy more time exploring the country’s hidden depths.