Tulips, windmills and wooden shoes might still be a draw to this
Dutch region for some travellers.
However, Holland is a far more versatile locale with an international
and maritime history extending farther back than most of the rest of Europe; including the
establishment of New Amsterdam as a major trading city, which became New York when the
British took over.
Holland, particularly Amsterdam, is also well known for its
diamond manufacturing and polishing industry. If that tickles your fancy, make sure to
visit the Amsterdam Diamond Centre located in the centre of the city.
Before you continue with this informative guide to Holland, make note
that although the name 'Holland' is used commonly in everyday language, the country is
strictly called The Netherlands and internationally recognised as such.
Besides being the capital city, Amsterdam has enough to offer to
fill your entire vacation.
The unavoidable multiculturalism has brought Amsterdam to the
forefront of controversial equality and human rights issues. Muslims, Jews, Dutch and
Surinamese all have a very active role in the life and politics of the city.
Frank House is an extremely popular sight with a new exhibit at the end that discusses
the modern day conflict between freedom of speech and respect for cultural and religious
Amsterdam is also home to the Van Gogh Museum and the
newly restored Rembrandt
The Dutch acquired an extensive collection of colonies during the 18th
and 19th centuries, one of which was Suriname, located on the
northern coast of South America. Suriname finally gained its independence in 1975 and
through an education exchange program the Surinamese population remains predominant in
Amsterdam. The cultural flair adds richness to the city in the form of contemporary music,
art and exquisite cuisine.
Make sure to dine in a Surinamese restaurant at least once!
Amsterdam is also notorious for its Red Light District and Coffee
Shops. Stroll through the winding streets at night for an incredibly diverse experience
and stop at one of the bustling pubs for delicious locally brewed beer.
Also, many visitors enjoy seeing the city from the water. There are
boat tours offered on an hourly schedule during the summer months that take you through
the picturesque canals and past charming old fašades.
Timeless and Traditional
Even though Amsterdam is a modern hub in the globalise world, there is
still an incredible amount of tradition and history prevalent throughout The Netherlands.
Visit the nearby town of Alkmaar, in the summer, to take part in the
centuries-old cheese market and festival. Locals don traditional dress and haul giant
rounds of cheese through the town square for weighing.
After your fill of dairy, wander through this seaside town's canals
Travel through central Holland to the medieval town of Utrecht,
established around 47 AD. The 14th century wharves, cathedrals and Roman architecture are
sure to transport any traveller to another place in time.
For international travellers, Holland exists in a class of its own.
Whether you enjoy the bustling urban experience or the intimate countryside adventure, you
will find what you are looking for in Holland.
By Frank Johnson.
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