Located in Northwest Europe, The Netherlands is bordered by the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south and Germany to the east. It is the main constituent country of The Kingdom of The Netherlands which also includes three Caribbean territories. The dense population are known as the Dutch, which is also name of the language spoken in The Netherlands. Much of the country is made up of reclaimed land from a series of dykes built to hold the North Sea at bay. Amsterdam, the capital city, is widely considered one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
The Netherlands has a long and varied history as a European power. Before the Middle Ages, the country was a part of the Holy Roman Empire as well as a Spanish possession. In 1572, The Netherlands became a de facto independent republic following the Dutch Revolt which was led by William of Orange. The 17th Century is known as the Dutch Golden Age when the country created many Dutch colonies around the world. From 1805 until 1848, the country was ruled by a series of kings, but at the end of this period, it quietly became a Constitutional monarchy and one of the first three countries to have an elected parliament. The only disruption to this legacy of rule came at the hands of the Nazis during World War II.
Today, The Netherlands is know for its liberal attitude and economic power. It is one of the largest agricultural producers in the world. Furthermore, it is one of the founders of the European Union and often leads by example in terms of international cooperation. The Netherlands is also extremely friendly to foreign visitors and hosts a wide variety of World Heritage sites from windmills to wooden shoe factories, making it the perfect addition to any European itinerary.
The Netherlands is a famous tourist destination the world over and for good reason. The Dutch have held onto their traditions in an increasingly global world. Because of this, you should take some time to visit the windmills of Zaanse Schans and see one of the still-operating wooden shoe factories. There are also many traditional markets selling local products from fish to cheese. Many flowers sold around the world come from The Netherlands and the tulip fields, in particular, are a site to see every spring. The historical cities of Amsterdam, Utrecht, Maastricht and Leiden are a must on any itinerary, and the art museums of Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter make an educational day trip. Finally, try to cycle as much as possible. There are 13,600 miles (22,000km) of bike trails in The Netherlands. These are used very frequently by the locals and provide a green alternative to the normal rent-a-car. While you may come to The Netherlands to dive, there are many other attractions to keep you busy during your top-side hours.
Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is a major European hub and welcomes flights from around the world. It is also possible to fly into one of the smaller airports, namely Eindhoven Airport, Maastricht Airport, Rotterdam-The Hague Airport, and Groningen-Eelde Airport.
Reaching The Netherlands is simple by train as well. The country is well-connected from most other European destinations.
Once you arrive in The Netherlands, it is easy to travel around the country by car, bus, bicycle, tram or train. The country is particularly designed for travel by bicycle with bike lanes available throughout most major cities.