Netherlands Travel Guide: Travel tips for foreigners & backpackers, Amsterdam tourist information, Netherlands food average prices, eating on a budget, accommodation in Amsterdam. Find discount hotels, cheap accommodation, vacation deals, holiday packages.
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Netherlands Travel Guide

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Full country name: Kingdom of the Netherlands
Area: 41,543 sq km
Population: 16,72 million (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Amsterdam
Languages: Dutch, Frisian, English, German, French
Religion: Roman Catholic 30%, Dutch Reformed 11%, Calvinist 6%, other Protestant 3%, Muslim 5.8%, other 2.2%, none 42%
Government: Constitutional Monarchy, EU Member
Time Zone: GMT/UTC + 1 (Central European Time)
Dialling Code: 31
Electricity: 230V, 50Hz
Weights & measures: Metric

Money & Costs:
Currency: Euro
Average yearly salary: USD 39,500

Budget: €5-10
Mid-range: €10-20
High: €20-60
Top: €60+
Budget: €15-50
Mid-range: €50-120
High: €120-200
Top: €200+

The Netherlands can be expensive for a budget traveller. If you're happy eating chips, sleeping in hostels and walking around the cities, it's possible to stay for around €30 a day. There are a lot of free activities to stretch your budget, especially in Amsterdam in summer. Those who prefer a couple of full meals a day, a comfortable bed with private facilities and travelling by public transport will need about €70 to begin with. Money-saving ideas include getting hold of a museum pass if you're an avid museum-goer, and a bicycle.

Tipping is not compulsory in the Netherlands, but rounding up the bill is always appreciated in taxis, restaurants and pubs with table or pavement service. If you're eating out in a group, it is common to split the bill, but don't suggest 'going Dutch' as the expression is unknown here.

Shopping: Amsterdam is the city of antiques, books, diamonds, and curiosities. In general, shop-opening hours are 1-6pm on Mondays and 9/10am-6pm Tuesday to Friday. Most have late night shopping on Thursday until 9pm, and close earlier on Saturdays, at 5pm. Some supermarkets, like Albert Heijn stay open until 8 or 10 pm. On Sundays, you can shop in the city center, Kalverstraat, Damrak, Leidsestraat, and near the Noorderkerk.

Exchanging Money: "Chequepoint" is a rather expensive service. For changing money, the train station is the best place. The "GWK" Bank at Central Station has the lowest commissions and they're open 24 hours a day.

Geography: The Netherlands, on the coast of the North Sea, is situated in western Europe, between Belgium and Germany. Part of the great plain of north and west Europe, the Netherlands has maximum dimensions of 360 by 257 km and is low and flat except in Limburg in the southeast, where some hills rise up to 322 m (1056 ft). About half the country's area is below sea level, making the famous Dutch dikes a requisite for the use of much land. Reclamation of land from the sea through dikes has continued through recent times. All drainage reaches the North Sea, and the principal rivers, Rhine, Maas (Meuse), and Schelde, have their sources outside the country.

The largest cities and their populations are Amsterdam - 750,000; The Hague (administrative capital) - 465,000; Rotterdam - 600,000; Utrecht - 260,000; Eindhoven, 210,000

Climate: It has a mild, maritime climate. Summers are generally warm with changeable periods, but excessively hot weather is rare. Winters can be fairly cold with the possibility of some snow. Rainfall is prevalent all year.

Recommended clothing: Regular European clothes according to season, with light- to mediumweights worn in warmer months and medium- to heavyweights in winter. Rainwear is advisable all year.

Health: There are no special vaccinations or immunizations required when traveling to the Netherlands. Tap water is considered safe to drink. The standard of health care facilities and services is very high, but travel health insurance is still recommended. EU nationals are entitled to free or low-cost emergency medical treatment, if in hold of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

Food & Drink: The traditional Dutch cuisine is quite simple, since the practice of farming and fishing. The Dutch dishes are seldom described as being 'sophisticated' or 'elaborate', but are indeed very tasty. Potatoes are the main ingredient in Dutch cooking. It is usually served with meat and boiled vegetables. Dairy products are also very popular in the Netherlands. Dutch cuisine consists of five main sectors (tillage-based, greenhouse-based, animal husbandry, fishery, and fruit agriculture) of foods: tillage-based crops include: potatoes, beetroot, kale, beans, cabbages, carrots, onions, and etc. Greenhouse-based food include: tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and sweet peppers. The most popular fruit are: apples, pears, berries, cherries, and plums. The Dutch people keep: cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, goat, and horse. The widely eaten fishery sector products include: cod, plaice, herring, sole, tuna, mackerel, salmon, trout, mussels, oysters, shrimp, and sardines. Wine is not a very popular alcoholic drink in the Netherlands, but there are many brands of beers and other strong alcoholic liqueurs to choose from. The most famous Dutch beer producers are Heineken and Grolsch. The most popular of the strong liquors are Jenever (gin), Brandewijn (brandy), kandeel (made from white wine), Kraamanijs (a liquor made from aniseed), Oranjebitter (a type of orange brandy), and etc.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Varies between Mar 22 & Apr 25 Easter
Apr 30 Queen's Day
May 5 Ascension
May 16 Whit Monday
Dec 25 Christmas Day
Dec 26 Boxing Day

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

Study in the Netherlands: Below are the latest Dutch language schools, MBA business schools & universities to join our directory.

The BSN Language Centre, The HagueThe Hague, Netherlands
Kickstart School, The HagueThe Hague, Netherlands
BSN Language Centre, The HagueThe Hague, Netherlands
Direct Dutch, The HagueThe Hague, Netherlands
The BSN Language Centre, The HagueThe Hague, Netherlands
Pimentel Communications International (PCI)Alkmaar, Netherlands
Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Applied SciencesDelft, Netherlands
SLEM - International Footwear Education CentreWaalwijk, Netherlands
American International School of Rotterdam (AISR)Rotterdam, Netherlands
Koentact Language School, AmsterdamAmsterdam, Netherlands
Wittenborg University of Applied SciencesDeventer, Netherlands
British Language Training CentreAmsterdam, Netherlands

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