Traveling around the Netherlands

I have lived here for more than 1.5 years and have traveled within the country for many times. These are just some of the places I'd recommend you to go to and some tips of what you should do when you are here πŸ™‚ . Hope it's useful.

Keukenhof, Lisse, and its surrounding

In my honest opinion, the best time to visit the Netherlands is in the month of April or May. This is the time when flowers blossomed and trees turn from boring scary leafless thing to beautiful colorful flora. And who would have missed the Keukenhof, the largest flower garden in the world? I'd say, this is the best place to be in the Netherlands. Nothing else can beat such a beautiful garden. But one thing I would strongly recommend everyone to do when you have a chance to visit the Keukenhof is to try following the Dutch way: cycling around the flower fields outside of the Keukenhof itself. Rent a bike from here and they'll give you many different routes to choose from, ranging from less than 10 km to more than 30 km distance. The view that I found was stunning! I, myself, would prefer having such a magnificent view of flower fields in different colors rather than seeing different types of flowers in much smaller number. But I guess, it all depends on your preference πŸ™‚

Amsterdam

Amsterdam, is of course, a must-visit place for those who travel to this country. I am not a big fan of this city, to be honest. It's too noisy and hectic (well, compared to Jakarta, it's nothing, actually!), and I can smell people smoking marijuana everywhere (now, I know how it smells!). When you walk around Amsterdam (and everywhere in the country!), be careful of the bikes, trams, cars, and buses, especially when you're about to cross the streets. Tourists don't usually realize that the path they're walking at or crossing is indeed a bike path. So pay attention to everything when you're about to cross the street! It took me sometime to get used to this actually.

For me, Amsterdam is the city where weirdest things happen. The famous Red Light District is indeed a major tourist attraction. When I first came here, I was surprised and amazed to see those prostitutes, sex shops & theaters, and even condom shops scattered around the church (called Oude Kerk, or the Old Church). Imagine, every time you want to attend a service at the church, you really need to see such contrasting scenes. Ah, I don't know what to say πŸ™‚ .

If you want to find a peaceful part of Amsterdam and located within a walking distance from the central station, try walking towards Oosterdokskade. Don't forget to stop by the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, which is the largest public library in Europe. This library is so massive complete with its unique and different concepts each floor. There's a total of 10 floors in this library. Try to relax in the cafe on the 10th floor and enjoy the view of Amsterdam for free. Priceless! Definitely my favorite place to hang out in Amsterdam πŸ™‚ . Also, don't forget to see the replica of VOC ship Amsterdam, located few minutes from the library. Museumplein is also my favorite part of Amsterdam, located in the south of the city, but you need to go there by bike or tram.

And if you're stuck and don't know where to go, just do the FREE Amsterdam tour and they'll take you to several interesting places. It's for free, so why not give it a try?? Renting a bike and wondering around the city is also a good option πŸ™‚

Beyond Amsterdam

The Netherlands is not only about Amsterdam. This country has a lot of things to offer, however, you'll find that all the cities here are similar to each other: the canals, the architectural buildings, and the atmosphere are pretty much the same. Delft remains my favorite Dutch city. It is a small, almost medieval-like, and typical Dutch city. Every time I wonder around this city, my mind goes back to the setting of the movie the Girl with a Pearl Earring. Yes, this is the hometown of the famous painter Vermeer, whose painting I really love. Den Haag and Leiden are also very interesting and pretty; and those three cities are located very close to each other.

One town that most Indonesians stop by when they come to the Netherlands is no other than Volendam. It's located about half an hour by bus from Amsterdam. This is where you can take pictures of yourself wearing traditional Dutch costumes. I saw many photos of Indonesian public figures and even former presidents displayed in one of the photo shops in Volendam.

If you want to go even further, come to Kinderdijk. This is also one of my favorite places in the Netherlands. It has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village has around 20 windmills built in 1740 and they're located close to each other. What I love about this village is that it only has few houses around the windmills and it has such an open space!! It's amazing to see such many windmills scattered here!

Museum & Transport Tickets

There are many interesting museums across the Netherlands that are worth-visiting (and I never had the chance to do it πŸ™ and would love to do it someday), including the famous ones: Van Gogh Museum, Mauritshuis, and Anne Frank House, as well as the less known ones: the Houseboat Museum (curious about living in a houseboat πŸ˜€ ), Multatuli Museum, and Escher in het Palais. For those of you who want to visit more than 2 museums, I'd suggest to buy a museum card which costs only 17.5 Euros if you are 25 years old or younger. With this card, you can have a free access to most museums in the country! FYI, an entrance to one museum usually costs around 10 to 15 Euros. So the card is worth buying if you're gonna explore many museums here.

Public transports, especially trains, in the Netherlands is not cheap. But most of us have a yearly subscription card which entitles us with a 40% discount on the fare for the train ticket. Not only that, we can also bring up to 4 people whose ticket fares are reduced. Although not widely done, for those who do not have this card, people usually ask passengers who are going to board the same train for the card so that they can "tag along". I haven't done it myself, but one of my friends did several times. Also, watch out for the special offers from NS (Dutch railway company) — during summer or winter vacations, they usually offer a special ticket for 40 Euros which allows you to travel anywhere in the Netherlands for one full day with one other person in the 1st class (so 20 Euros per person). This is a really good offer, knowing that it costs us around 20 Euros return to reach Amsterdam from Eindhoven alone! But with this ticket, you can travel anywhere in the country for many times in one day! Shops like Blokker and Kruidvat also offer similar tickets for few times a year.

Ok, folks. That's it for now. I've uploaded more pictures here. Feel free to browse the album πŸ™‚

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5 Responses

  • for an architect, Rotterdam is good place to see modern architectures & NAi. Boijmans is a great museum. If you r a foodie, it also has one of two restaurants with 3 michelin stars, plus you can get the best pizza in NL at o’pazzo near Blaak library.

    Maastricht & Groningen are nice cozy cities with their own charm. they house wonderful musea: bonefanten, comic & Groninger.

    With regard the location of churches, they were built in that location to help those poor souls. or so I’ve been told.

    • amellie

      triesti: thanks for the additional tips πŸ™‚ I, myself, am not a fan of Rotterdam as I’m not too keen to see modern buildings. But I do love Maastricht (and I actually put some pictures of it in my album, but I forgot to mention it in this post!). Haven’t been to Groningen though, it’s too far from here hehehe. But I will do that one day πŸ™‚ Thanks for visiting my blog!

      Imansyah: train tickets, you mean? I can give you those πŸ˜› .

  • nukie

    wah thanks banget ada panduan wisatanya sebelum menginjak tanah Belanda

  • Mel,
    postingan lo menarik nih, dan kayanya ada hubungannya ama topik gue nih…

    lagi ikut kompetisi blog nih,

    http://myunspokenminds.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/belanda-negeri-kecil-kecil-cabe-rawit/

    hadiahnya diexile ke belanda buat summer school, … lagi butuh feedback… ckk ckk

    πŸ™‚

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