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Honeymoon in Netherlands

Holland: more than just tulips, bikes, cheese and clogs

Holland Spring guide

In March, Holland shakes off the chilly winter, flowers bloom as spring unfolds, and the Dutch come out to celebrate. For travelers, spring is a good time to get outdoors, see the flowers, and beat the high summer crowds to Holland's parks and museums.

Keukenhof Flowers in Spring

One of Holland's natural wonders is the plethorea of flowers, particularly tulips, which come to life in spring. To experience the wonder of the world's largest flower garden, Keukenhof, you'll have to come from late March to early June.

The highlight is in mid April around the time of the Flower Parade (April 16th). Situated just 35km southwest of Amsterdam, the park is easily accessible by car or bus. This year the park has partnered with the Van Gogh Museum to present Van Gogh in Bloom. The collaboration highlights the Van Gogh Museum's Blossom exhibition, and a flower mosaic of Van Gogh's Self-portrait with felt hat has been planted at Keukenhof.

Flowers in Amsterdam

The Singel flower market in Amsterdam is another floral highlight and an institution dating back to 1862. Aalsmeer Flower Auctionis a short bus ride from Schipol. If you can get up early enough on a weekday. 7:30 am to 11:30am - you can experience one of the largest flower auctions on earth.

Celebrating

Holland's national Holiday is Queen's Day. On April 30th, the whole country dresses up in orange and celebrates. The festivities start the night before in the Hague for 'Koninginnenach' with open air stages for national and international artists. In June, the hague also runs a three week mix of cultural, musical and entertainment events as the Hague Festivals take over the city.

Biking

Because Holland is flat and has well developed bike lanes, for the quintessential Dutch experience of riding a bike through canal-lined streets or along country lanes. For approximately $20 a day or less, you can rent a bike. Holland facebook fans recommend Mike's bike tours but if you want to be inconspicuous Black-bikes.com rents incognito Dutch granny bikes.

Beyond

Amsterdam, the country is well marked by "LF Routes" which form a national network with special signs. You can tour the Netherlands along these quiet, safe back roads which go through natural areas and farmland, pretty towns and small villages.Largest National Park ‘De Hoge Veluwe’ is also best toured by bike. The park actually maintains 1,000 white bicycles for visitors use free of charge during their trip. It is home to free-roaming Red Deer, Roe, Wild Boars, and Mouflons. It also features the Kroller Muller museum.

Museums

Spring is a great time for museums. April 2nd and 3rd is National museum weekend. Hundreds of museums around the country open their doors for free.

The Van Gogh Museum will feature Blossom which features a select of flower and tree paintings from the artist.

Cheese Market

From the first Friday of April to the first Friday of September a traditional cheese market is held between 10am and 12.30pm in Alkmaar.

The 400 year old cheese porters' guild goes into action, carrying the cheese off on barrows after the lot has been weighed at the Waag (the official scales). There is a cheese museum that tells everything about dairy farming has been established located in the Waaggebouw.

A must see in Amsterdam – Van Gogh Museum

The world’s largest collection of Van Goghs!

A visit to the Van Gogh Museum is a unique experience. Nowhere in the world is it possible to see as many paintings by Vincent van Gogh under a single roof. At the museum you can trace Van Gogh’s development as an artist through his work and compare his paintings to those of other 19th-century artists in the collection. The museum also hosts a wide range of exhibitions on different themes relating to 19th-century art history. The Van Gogh Museum is situated on Museumplein in two buildings designed by renowned architects: the main building is by Gerrit Rietveld, while the exhibition wing is by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa

Amsterdam seen from the water - canal cruises

Canal Bus provides the ideal transport along the canals of Amsterdam. Our boats operate a regular service along the canals on four routes: the Green Line, the Red Line, the Blue Line and the Orange Line. The 20 stops are located near the major museums, attractions and shopping centres. With a Day Pass, which is valid till 12.00 in the afternoon the next day, you can hop on, hop off as often as you like. And you get a lot of discounts at museums, attractions, restaurants and shops! On board there is a commentary providing interesting information about Amsterdam. On the map you can find our stops and the interesting sights in the neighbourhood.

Canal bike

You can also discover Amsterdam with a Canal Bike: the ultimate fun way of independent sightseeing in beautiful Amsterdam. The steering and pedaling is easy. To fit all, the pedals have two sizes. Fun for young and old! You can rent the pedal boats from four different moorings in the city centre and you can leave them at another.

Evening cruises for individuals

We also offer evening cruises for individuals. Amsterdam is beautiful at night. The illuminated canal houses and the romantically lit bridges are the perfect scenery for the Amsterdam by Night Cruise. From the water you experience historic Amsterdam and her vibrant nightlife. Our staff is welcoming you on board and while the skipper takes you past all the highlights, our guide tells you typical Amsterdam stories. The Pizza Cruise is the perfect combination of sightseeing with dining on the canals.

The Hague

The Hague Visitors and Convention Bureau has mapped out some interesting and varied city walks for you. Experience the different faces of The Hague and learn all about the often-surprising backgrounds of these places. All walks are available from the The Hague Tourist Information Office.

A historic walk through royal The Hague This 1.5-hour walk takes in the Binnenhof, seat of the Dutch parliament, stately Lange Voorhout and the always convivial Denneweg. A walk through seven centuries of local history!

Art and antiques walk The 'Art and Antiques Walk The Hague' takes you on a tour of discovery of the world of art and antiques in this city. It promises to be a special tour of the many antique shops, galleries and auctioneering firms.

The Hague Sculpture: a walk along royal statues and palaces This 1.5-hour walk will acquaint you with the rich past of the Dutch royal family. The route takes you past a large number of historical and royal statues and palaces. These include the Independence Monument on Plein 1813, the equestrian statue of Willem de Zwijger, the Royal Stables and Noordeinde Palace. H.M. Queen Beatrix works and receives honored guests here.

A variety of Dutch Traditional Costumes

The Netherlands doesn't have one single national costume, rather there is a rich variety of traditional dress styles from each of the different provinces. For women, most of these regional costumes include some variety of long modest dress, an apron, and a white hat - one of the most famous examples being a Volendamse Mut. For men, there are wide woolen pants (frequently black), a shirt, jacket and black hat. Particularly in the shape of the hat there was much regional variation.

Dutch Wooden Clogs

The most famous part of traditional Dutch costume is the Dutch wooden clog or 'Klompen'. Traditional wooden clogs were worn in factories, mines and frams because of their resistance to penetration from both punctures and acid. Clogs are mostly worn in the countryside, as they are warmer and dryer than rubber boots. In the past, the shape and design of a clog could help tell where people came from.

These days, 3 million pairs of clogs are still produced in Holland annually. The overwhelming majority are sold in to tourists in souvenir shops. Some clogs still worn by farmers and bulb growers as cheap, long-lasting working shoes, but outside of festivals it becoming increasingly rare.

Where to see traditional costumes

The former fishing villages around the IJsselmeer (formerly Zuider Sea) are your best bet. Volendam and Marken are not far from Amsterdam. If you'd like to see how wooden shoes are made, you can also visit a clog factory. Other areas where you will see people in costume are the provinces of Zeeland and Friesland and the northeastern region of the Veluwe.

Source: www.holland.com

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