Taking a Rail Holiday in The Netherlands
A Holiday in The Netherlands
The Netherlands (sometimes also known as Holland), is a relatively small country located in western Europe. Sharing borders with Belgium and Germany, it is famed for being a very low lying, almost flat country. When most people think of The Netherlands, tulips, windmills and clogs might come to mind, but of course, the country has far more to offer than this!
The Netherlands has an interesting past, including periods when it was once a world and colonial power, a golden age for artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, and a dark period when it was occupied during world war two. Nowadays, its famously liberal people who number some 16 million enjoy a high standard of living and play an integral role in the European Union.
Although quite a densely populated country, there are some fine open spaces, and to some degree these are best explored by train. Train travel makes an excellent way to get around Holland, avoiding the traffic which is on the roads, and opening up the countryside. The rail network in The Netherlands is well developed, and most major towns and cities are linked.
Great Rail Holidays in The Netherlands
One of the best rail trips to take in The Netherlands has less to do with the type of train or service, but more the time of year that it is taken. That is because during the spring months, the route between Amsterdam and Groningen is simply spectacular, due to the fact the famous Dutch Tulips are in full bloom. A sea of colours stretches across neatly kept fields, leaving a lasting memory for anyone that makes the journey.
Essential Travel Information for The Netherlands
Language – The official language of The Netherlands is Dutch, and whilst it shares some similarities with Germanic languages, to most people from outside of Holland, it is unintelligible! Thankfully, The Netherlands has one of the greatest traditions of learning foreign languages in the world, and most children start learning English from nine years old or even younger. Many Dutch citizens are multi-lingual and may also be able to speak German and French.
Currency – The Euro in the form of coins and notes was adopted by The Netherlands as its legal form of currency in 2002. For anyone travelling through mainland Europe, this has become incredibly helpful, as it means that constant currency exchange in each country is not required. Although people from outside the Eurozone might like to exchange currency in their own country before embarking on a vacation, Euro's can easily be withdrawn from most bank ATM machines.
Weather – The weather in The Netherlands is very similar to that of the UK, and its climate could be described as being a broadly maritime one. This means that cool to warm summers and mild winters are the norm, with rainfall being spread evenly throughout the year. Mid spring through to really autumn are the best times of year to visit in terms of the weather, although of course a railway holiday in The Netherlands could be taken at any time of year.
If you are interested in travelling the Netherlands, then you should check out this article on couchsurfing Amsterdam.