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Discover the Netherlands

Magical Journeys to The Netherlands

The recorded history of the Netherlands starts with the Roman invasion halfway the first century A.D. but it had its heydays in the 17th century when it disputed hegemony of the Seven Seas with the English and the Spanish empires. New York, parts of Brazil, a series of forts along the African Coast and the Colonies in Indonesia formed part of the vast Dutch Empire.


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» Albert Cuyp Market

Albert Cuyp Market

Renowned as being Europe's biggest outdoor market, the Albert Cuyp Market, named after the 17th-century painter of the same name, has been trading since the late 19th-century. Starting out as a collection of street traders, the market was taken over by the city council in 1905 and has since become a tourist favorite, offering a fascinating glimpse into local life. Located on Albert Cuypstraat in the city's characterful De Pijp district, the market is open every day except Monday …

» Amstel River

Amstel River

Amsterdam might be most famous for its winding canals and pretty locks, but it's the Amstel River that the city was first built around, even deriving its name from its early settlement at the 'Amstel Dam'. Today the river runs through the center of the city, lined with landmark buildings, stately mansions and colorful houseboats. A walk along the riverside pathway takes in a number of key sights: the regal Carré theatre, still a popular performance house; the post-modernist Stopera city hall and opera house …

» Amsterdam Canal Ring

Amsterdam Canal Ring

The first image one conjures up when thinking of Amsterdam is its tranquil canals. Three rings of canals, lined by elaborately decorated merchants' residences and warehouses built in the 17th century, the Dutch "Golden Age", give the city its iconic and easygoing image. In fact, 90 islands were created when the canals were built, and they're all connected by hundreds of charming bridges. The best-known canals form the central Grachtengordel (Canal Belt) …

» Amsterdam Cruise Port

Amsterdam Cruise Port

With one of the largest and postcard-worthiest historic districts in Europe, Amsterdam is one of the most-visited cities in Europe. It was made for a relaxing day of walking or biking while in port, or if you've already seen the city highlights, consider a shore excursion that will take you into the Dutch countryside. Options include cheese farms, villages like Voldendam, a tour of windmills, and, of course, Keukenhof Gardens and its famous tulips (when in bloom) …

» Amsterdam Red Light District

Amsterdam Red Light District

Amsterdam's Red Light District (aka De Wallen) has been a familiar haunt for pleasure seekers since the 14th century. Though certainly not an area for everyone, the Red Light District has more to offer than just sex and liquor. For underneath its promiscuous façade, the area contains some of Amsterdam's prettiest canals, excellent bars and restaurants, and shops of all kinds. It also consists of windows with sexy girls, dressed in eye-popping underwear …

» Anne Frank House (Anne Frankhuis)

Anne Frank House (Anne Frankhuis)

It is one of the 20th century's most compelling stories: a young Jewish girl forced into hiding with her family and their friends to escape deportation by the Nazis. The house Otto Frank used as a hideaway for his family kept them safe until close to the end of World War II. The focus of the Anne Frank House museum is the achterhuis, also known as the secret annex. It was in this dark, airless space that the Franks observed complete silence during the day, before being mysteriously betrayed and sent to their deaths …

» Artis Royal Zoo

Artis Royal Zoo

Established in 1838, Amsterdam's happily family-friendly Artis Zoo was the first to open in The Netherlands and covers more than 14 hectares (35 acres) of shady tree-lined pathways and landscaped botanical gardens in the Plantage. It combines 19th-century architecture amid hundreds of mature trees with a 21st-century approach to conservation, housing more than 900 species of animal, some in majestic 19th-century compounds. The most impressive of these is the Aquarium, which was built in 1882 …

» Begijnhof

Begijnhof

On a visit to the Begijnhof, an enclosed former 14th-century convent, you'll discover a surreal oasis of peace, with tiny houses and postage-stamp gardens around a well-kept courtyard. Contained within the hof is the charming Begijnhofkapel, a "clandestine" chapel where the Beguines were forced to worship after their Gothic church was taken away by the Calvinists. Go through the dog-leg entrance to find marble columns, wooden pews, paintings and stained-glass windows commemorating the Miracle of Amsterdam …

» Binnenhof & Ridderzaal

Binnenhof & Ridderzaal

The Hague's Binnenhof (or Inner Court) complex is not only an important political hub - housing the official offices and meeting rooms of the Dutch Parliament and Prime Minister - but one of the city's most striking landmarks. Built back in the 13th century as a hunting lodge for the counts of Holland, Binnenhof centers around the Hofvijver or 'Court Pond' and includes the Het Torentje, 'the Little Tower' where the Prime Minister's office is located and the resplendent Ridderzaal, the 'Hall of the Knights' where the Queen holds her annual speech on Prinsjesdag …

» Body Worlds Amsterdam

Body Worlds Amsterdam

Dr. Gunther von Hagens is a controversial German scientist who invented a new method for preserving human tissue called Plastination and has subsequently made his fortune exploiting it. His acclaimed, but somewhat macabre, exhibitions have travelled the world ceaselessly for the last 20 years and in that time have been visited by more than 40 million people. Today Von Hagens has set up six floors of permanent home in the former American Express building in Amsterdam's city center; currently on show is Body Worlds …

» Concertgebouw

Concertgebouw

Designed by architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt, the 19th-century building, located right in front of the Rijksmuseum, was inspired by the famous 18th-century Gewandhaus concert hall in Leipzig. Fashioned mostly in a Dutch Neo-Renaissance style, the impressive building includes a classic monumental facade and a gilded lyre atop its roof. To fully experience the Concertgebouw's spectacular interiors and acoustic prowess, attend one of the 445 annual concerts held in the main hall …

» Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen)

Cube Houses (Kubuswoningen)

Revolutionary architect Piet Blom designed and developed Rotterdam's collection of 40 innovative cube houses in 1984, each of which has a giant yellow and gray tilted, wooden cube balancing on top of the ground level. The houses were built to resemble trees in a forest and to present an alternative to high-density urban living. Blom took the Ponte Vecchio in Florence as his inspiration for the structures and included public areas below and private living spaces above in the cubes …

» Delft

Delft

Situated between Rotterdam and The Hague, Delft is a traditional small town with wonderful landmarks, such as the 19th century renovated Stadhuis (Town Hall) or the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church), where Prince William of Orange resides. Best known for its traditional ceramics, Delft also has a de Markt every Thursday where you can buy delicious produce. There is also plenty to do for the kids, including a waterpark, petting zoo, Technology Museum and the Armamentarium (Army Museum) …

» Edam

Edam

With its distinctive wheel-like shape and fire-engine red rind, Edam is one of Amsterdam's most famous exports, although the cheese looks a little different in its home town - here, the cheese has an uncharacteristic yellow rind. Edam isn't just a cheese, though; it's also the name of the town where it's made, a waterside residence settled back in the 12th century. 18km north of Amsterdam, the town lies on the banks of the IJsselmeer (IJssel lake) and is reachable by boat, as well as being a popular destination for cheese-loving tour groups …

» Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge)

Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge)

Better known by its affectionate local nickname of 'the Swan,' Erasmus Bridge crosses the River Nieuwe Maas with its elegant white spines, constructed in 1996 to link north and south Rotterdam across the harbor. Designed by Ben van Berkel, the bridge is an iconic landmark in Rotterdam, and its 456-foot (139-meter) single pylon supports 32 steel cables from which the half-mile (800 m) roadway is suspended. The southern side of the bridge includes Europe's heaviest bascule, which lifts in order to let shipping transport through …

» Escher in Het Paleis

Escher in Het Paleis

Behind the 17th-century façade of this palace - formerly the winter home of Queen Emma of the Netherlands - lies a startlingly eccentric collection of works of Dutch graphic artist M. C. Escher. The palace is located on The Hague's elegant boulevard of Lange Voorhout and as befits its royal residence, has a series of lavishly appointed rooms plus an ornate Art Nouveau staircase that was installed in 1901 along with glimmering stained-glass windows in the skylights of the main hall …

» Euromast

Euromast

Designed by Dutch architect Hugh Maaskant for the 1960 Floriade flower festival, Euromast dominates the Rotterdam skyline with its futuristic shape, serving as a much-loved city landmark. Now standing 606 feet (185 meters) tall, Euromast was originally only 328 feet tall before its extra height was added in the 1970s to counter its lost title as Holland's tallest structure. Originally built as an observation tower, Euromast is better known today as a center for fine dining and adrenaline-pumping extreme sports …



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