There are a handful of popular places to visit in The Netherlands. You have the big cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht. There’s the Keukenhof with it’s thousands of tulips. You have The Efteling which is the Dutch version of Disneyland. But few decide to venture out of the popular places. Sometimes those obscure places are real hidden gems. Not to say that you should not visit cities because they all have a vibrant variety of cultures that are quick to visit on short trips. What I’m saying is, take a step back and visit the lesser known places once in awhile. Either way, I’ve compiled my reasons for why you should visit The Netherlands this year.
Dutch food is special because once you’ve tasted something you think to yourself Why didn’t I think of that? Simple and yet full of delicate flavors, the Dutch know how to milk limited recipes. Not to say the Dutch don’t have large cook books (they do). But the more every day and common meals are the same basics reinvented a thousand times over. You can enjoy fries with mayo most of the time but which flavor of mayo do you enjoy the most? In the winter they eat Stamppot. It’s sausage served with potatoes with veggies mashes inside. Which Stamppot do you prefer? The ones with carrots and onions, or endives and kale? You can even choose apples to mix in, the possibilities are endless!
Always in bloom
When Sander’s dad told me I would like the spring time because of the fresh blooms, I was ecstatic. Each month provides new flowers that bloom only in that season. Sure, The Netherlands is popular for its tulips. What’s amazing is how the Dutch seem to coordinate their flower blooms. It feels like magic, how colorful the cities and towns can get. Even under lamp lights are dirt plots where flowers spring up when in season. In late February, the “gewoon sneeuwklokje” (the common snowdrop) can come from the frozen dirt. A country that’s in bloom no matter the season, is a retreat for anyone who enjoys flowers and nature.
I used to believe that the sunsets in California where going to be the most magical ones I’ll ever see but I was wrong. Once Golden Hour sets in, everything is pretty much drenched in fairy dust. There are clouds in the sky, lined with golden hues as the sun peeks out from behind them. Trees cast tall shadows over parks and open fields. And this is only in my neighborhood! Imagine what wonders you can find in the mysterious forests!
Long and rock-less, Dutch beaches are something else. Picture miles of warm, white sand, gentle waves and beautiful shells to look at all day. Most beaches have restaurants to dine in. Or if you want to be frugal, you can walk to a grocer and serve yourself a delicious picnic meal. And I have yet to see an over crowded beach. When the sun is out, that’s when the Dutch flock out of their houses. I read somewhere that the Dutch are like sunflowers, always facing the sun. It’s true! So if you’re looking to have the perfect summer beach stay, take a good look at The Netherlands. The sunsets are to die for!
By default, the Dutch are straightforward and yet laid back at the same time. You can pretty much ask them anything and get a straightforward and honest answer. They love hanging out and spending time with friends and family. “Gezellig” is a common term used for these cozy, comfortable meetings. It’s a difficult word to bring into English, but some call it the heart of Dutch culture. It was a bit difficult for me to adjust to some cultural norms here but I never felt unaccepted. That’s one amazing thing about the Dutch, they never turn their backs on anyone.
It’s The Netherlands!
What more do you need?