NETHERLANDS

NETHERLANDS

NETHERLANDS

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Name: Rijksmuseum
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw.

The Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and later in the Trippenhuis. The current main building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and first opened in 1885. On 13 April 2013, after a ten-year renovation which cost € 375 million, the main building was reopened by Queen Beatrix. In 2013 and 2014, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands with record numbers of 2.2 million and 2.47 million visitors. It is also the largest art museum in the country.

The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The museum also has a small Asian collection, which is on display in the Asian pavilion.


SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rijksmuseum
Name: Dam Square
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dam Square is a town square in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Its notable buildings and frequent events make it one of the most well-known and important locations in the city and the country.

On the west end of the square is the neoclassical Royal Palace, which served as the city hall from 1655 until its conversion to a royal residence in 1808. Beside it are the 15th-century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The National Monument, a white stone pillar designed by J.J.P. Oud and erected in 1956 to memorialize the victims of World War II, dominates the opposite side of the square. Also overlooking the plaza are the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and the upscale department store De Bijenkorf. These various attractions have turned Dam Square into a tourist zone.

Several tram lines traverse Dam Square and have stops there. In the time of the horse tram (end 19th century) it was the most important tram hub of Amsterdam. After 1900 this function moved to the Central Station, at the other end of the Damrak.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dam_Square
Name: Anne Frank House
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Anne Frank House (Dutch: Anne Frank Huis) is a writer's house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex (Dutch: Achterhuis). Anne Frank did not survive the war but in 1947, her wartime diary was published. In 1957, the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block.

The museum opened on 3 May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination. In 2013 and 2014, the museum had 1.2 million visitors and was the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Frank_House
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO NETHERLANDS.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Dutch
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time zone: CET (UTC+1) / CEST (UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +31
Local / up-to-date weather in Amsterdam (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Netherlands travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Netherlands, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO NETHERLANDS.

Netherlands uses the euro, like several other European countries. One euro is divided into 100 cents. The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

All banknotes and coins of this common currency are legal tender within all the countries, except that low-denomination coins (one and two cent) are phased out in some of them. The banknotes look the same across countries, while coins have a standard common design on one side and a national country-specific design on the other. The latter side is also used for different designs of commemorative coins. The design on the national side does not affect the use of the coin.

Banknotes of €100 and especially €200 and €500 are very rarely used, and some merchants will not accept them due to concerns over financial crime.Typically, establishments will have a sticker or A4 sized poster near the entrance or cash register indicating which banknotes aren’t accepted. Almost all ATMs will only dispense denominations of up to €50.

In many stores, especially supermarkets, it’s common for the cash machine to round your total up or down to the nearest 5 eurocents. Do not be surprised, this is allowed by law (the store must legally have a sticker informing you about this, however this is rarely done in practise). The difference will show up on the receipt as “Afronding”. Because of this you don’t get 1 and 2 eurocent coins back as change, but these coins remain legal tender.

Credit and debit cards:

Acceptance of VISA and MasterCard and to a lesser extent American Express has grown, and is now fairly widespread to the point that some establishments no longer accept cash. In tourist destinations, you will generally find credit cards widely accepted. Still, a few establishments might only accept Maestro and/or V-Pay debit cards or even only cash.

Often stores will display a sign saying “Pinnen, ja graag”, loosely meaning “debit cards gladly accepted” (the Dutch word pinnen means to pay by debit card). However, since most Dutch bank cards are on the Maestro scheme (some use V-pay) this could mean that only Maestro and V-Pay are accepted (and no debit VISA or MasterCard). You may wish to ask in advance or check the icons that are usually displayed at the entrance.

Debit and credit cards are also the only way to pay for bus or tram tickets on board (see #Get around). For safety reasons, credit card use in the Netherlands often requires a PIN-code.

Contactless payments are gaining rapid popularity, with 56% of all card payments in December 2018 being contactless. As of 1 January 2020, all payment terminals in the Netherlands should offer contactless payments.

ATMs are readily available, mostly near shopping and nightlife areas. Even villages usually have one or more ATMs near the local supermarket. Machines from the three largest banks in The Netherlands are being rebranded to Geldmaat. See the map for ATM locations.

BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT:

The Netherlands has a fine-grained and well-organised public transport system. Most villages can be reached by public transport although services may be infrequent, especially at weekends. The Dutch public transport system consists of a train network which serves as the backbone, extended with a network of both local and inter-local buses. Amsterdam and Rotterdam have a metro network, each of only a few lines, although Rotterdam’s line E reaches The Hague. Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague also have extensive networks of trams. Utrecht only has two tram lines which serve mainly as links to the surrounding suburbs of Nieuwegein and IJsselstein.

Travel information:

  • 9292.nl, 0900-9292 (high cost). A journey planner for all Dutch public transport – All public transport companies participate in the OV Reisplanner, which can plan a door-to-door (or tourist hotspot-to-hotspot) trip for you using all public transportation types. The site mostly relies on scheduled detours, but delays are incorporated to a limited degree. 9292 -information is also available by telephone costs about €0.70 min, maximum: €14.
  • Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways) – Information about trains can be found at the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) website, which includes a trip planner which uses the latest information about train delays and detours. For the information of the other transport types they use 9292ov information.
  • At a railway station – At large railway stations there are (yellow) information desks; at most smaller stations there is an information/SOS kiosk. If you push the blue information button you are connected to a 9292 operator. If you ask railway staff, they’ll often look for you in their smart-phone journey-planner.

Many trains have digital displays with current travel information. Most train platforms and some bus stops have electronic information.

Tickets:

OV-chipkaart:

All public transport in the Netherlands (buses, trams, metros and trains) use contactless smart cards called OV-chipkaart (OV stands for Openbaar Vervoer meaning “Public Transport”), sometimes also called the Public transport chipcard.

Single-use swipe cards are available for trains and some local operators, but come at a surcharge. Unless you plan to use the public transport system only incidentally, your best option is to obtain an anonymous OV-chipkaart upon arrival as it’s convenient and soon cheaper. However,the card must have a minimum stored value, which for NS trains is €20 (unofficially €16) and generally €4 for local public transit operators. The upfront cost (€7.50) of the anonymous OV-chipkaart is non refundable.

The OV-chipkaart comes in three versions:

  • Disposable OV-chipkaart is a single-use ticket. It can not be reloaded. Some public transport companies in cities offer 1-, 2- or 3-day tickets offering unlimited use in certain regions.
  • Anonymous OV-chipkaart is more the most commonly used smart card. The purchase price is €7.50 (as of 2014) and is non-refundable. These cards are available at ticket offices and vending machines valid up to 5 years. This card is reusable and reloadable.
  • Personal OV-chipkaart is useful for anyone entitled to travel with a discount or monthly or annual season ticket. However, because this card requires a Benelux or German residential address or bank account not usable for most tourists. This card features the holder’s photograph and date of birth.

BY TRAIN:

Most of the Netherlands is densely populated and urbanised, and train services are frequent to most big cities and larger villages and towns in between. There are two main types of trains: Intercities which only stop at major stations and Sprinters which stop at all stations. All types of train have the same prices. Also, there are high-speed trains called ‘Intercity Direct’ between Amsterdam and Breda, which only requires a supplement ticket between Schiphol and Rotterdam. Travelling all the way from the north of the country (Groningen) to the south (Maastricht) takes approximately 4 hours.

The Spoorkaart is an map of the railway system and shows all services. Connections with only one train per hour are shown in thinner lines.

Most lines offer one train every 15 minutes (every 10 min during the rush hours), but some rural lines run only every 60 min. Where more lines run together, the frequency is, of course, even higher. In the western Netherlands, the rail network is more like a large urban network, with up to 12 trains per hour on main routes.

The Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) operates most routes. Some local lines are operated by Syntus, Arriva, Veolia and Connexxion.

Because of the high service frequency, delays are quite common. However, the delay is usually not more than 5 or 10 minutes. Trains can be crowded, especially in the morning rush hour. Reserving seats on domestic trains is only possible on the Intercity Direct.

One particular mistake tourists often make is getting on the wrong part of a train. Many trains consist of two parts with different destinations. Somewhere on the way to the final destination, the parts will be separated and will continue on their own to their respective destinations. In that case, the signs over the platforms will show two destinations and which part goes where: achterste deel/achter means back and voorste deel/voor means front, referring to the direction of departure. Feel free to ask other passengers or an employee.

Another frequently made mistake involves travelling from Schiphol to Amsterdam. From Schiphol you can go to either Amsterdam Centraal or Amsterdam Zuid (South). These railway stations are not connected directly and many tourists with the idea of going to Amsterdam Centraal wind up at South. Therefore always check the destination of the train. From Amsterdam Zuid you can take the metro to Centraal, or a train to Centraal with an interchange at station Duivendrecht (2nd floor).

There is a convenient night train service (for party-goers and airport traffic) between Rotterdam, Delft, The Hague, Leiden, Schiphol, Amsterdam, and Utrecht, all night long, once an hour in each direction. In the nights F-Sa and Sa-Su, North-Brabant is also served. You can get to Dordrecht, ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Eindhoven, Tilburg, and Breda.

Most trains have two comfort classes (1e klasse and 2e klasse). Some regional lines don’t have first class. First class and second class are usually distinguished by different colour schemes. Signs with either “1” or “2” next to outside doors and carriage doors indicate class. Some zones in train are silent zones. Noise is to be kept to a minimum in these areas. They are indicated either by a stylised face in silhouette holding a finger to the lips, or a yellow oval with “Ssst”.

Free Wi-Fi is available at almost all major train stations and in many Intercity trains. Electrical outlets are only available in a few Intercity trains, and then only in First Class.

BY BUS:

The network of regional and local buses in the Netherlands is fine-grained and frequent and usually connects well with the train network; by bus travellers can reach most small villages easily. However, for long-distance travel, these regional buses are not convenient and much slower than the train.

Previously, long-distance buses were only available on a small number of routes that aren’t covered by the rail network; these buses have special names that differ by region, such as Q-liner, Brabantliner and Interliner and special tariffs. However, German long distance bus company Flixbus has been expanding its range of domestic connections in the Netherlands, with expected ticket prices €6-9 for most routes.

There are four main local and regional bus companies in the Netherlands, Connexxion, Veolia, Arriva and Qbuzz. A few large cities have their own bus company.

A cheap way to get across the Netherlands is to buy a “buzzer” ticket. It costs €10 a day, and is valid after 09:00 on every single Connexxion bus for two adults and up to three children. On weekends and holidays it is also valid before 09:00. Because Connexxion have a wide-spread network, you can get from Groningen to Zeeland this way in a day, and it undercuts the train. A big downside though is that bus lines are very indirect. For example, getting from Amsterdam to Rotterdam, would require three or more changes. In short: bus journeys will almost always take longer than train travel. For example, trip to Rotterdam from Utrecht will take 40 minutes, but in the Bus it will take 1.5 hr. However, if you want to enjoy the countryside and villages you can prefer the bus trips.

Many companies and regions have their own bus discount tickets, which are often cheaper than using credit on the OV-chipkaart.

Park-and-ride-(travel-)tickets: some towns and cities have special cheaper bus tickets from car parks near the city limits to the city centre, for outside rush hours, usually a return ticket.

Night buses:

Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht offer public transport at night. Only Amsterdam has a service all night and every night; in the other cities it is more limited to the beginning of the night or only during the weekend. Several other cities and regions also have night buses, usually even more limited. Some night buses cover quite a distance, such as Amsterdam-Almere.

You might need special night-bus tickets so be sure to check the city pages.

BY METRO:

The two largest cities, Amsterdam (map) and Rotterdam (map), have a metro network which consist of mainly elevated railways outside the city centres, and some kilometres underground railways within the centre. Line E of the Rotterdam metro has a start/final destination at The Hague Central Station.

BY TRAM:

Furthermore there is a large city tram network in the agglomerations of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague; Utrecht has two sneltram lines (fast tram or light-rail).

BY BICYCLE:

Cycling in the Netherlands is much safer and more convenient than in many other countries, because of the infrastructure – cycle paths, cycle lanes, and signposted cycle routes – and because of the small distances and flatness. All these factors plus many more additional facilities such as numerous picnic places, terraces, small ferry-connections and camping places, makes it often preferable to discover the country by bike rather than by car.

The proliferation of bicycles also means that you’re seen as a significant part of the traffic mix – motorists will let you know if you don’t keep to the rules and presume you are aware of other traffic. This is specially important to know in the very busy (chaotic) centres of the biggest cities. Here it can be sensible to get off your bike for a few hundred metres and/or leave the centre entirely by taking the bike onto a train, metro or randstadrail-tram).

Some things to know:

  • Cycle lanes and cycle paths are indicated by a round blue sign with a white bike icon, an icon on the asphalt, or by red asphalt. Using them is considered mandatory.
  • Cyclists must obey the same traffic signs as motorists, unless exempted. For example, a cycle icon under a no-entry sign, usually with the text ‘uitgezonderd’ (except), means cyclists may use the street in both directions.
  • Where there is no cycle lane or path, use the regular road. This is unlike the rule in Germany and Belgium, where you are supposed to use the footpath in many places. Cyclists are not allowed on all (semi-)highways indicated as “Autosnelweg” or “Autoweg”
  • On some narrow streets that do have a cycle path parallel to them, mopeds may be required to use the cycle path, rather than the main street (as is usual).
  • Bicycles must have working front (white) and rear (red) lights. Reflectors are not sufficient. You may be fined (€40) for cycling in the dark without a light, and you seriously endanger yourself and other traffic by doing so. Small, battery-operated LED lights attached to your person are allowed.

Regular signs for bicycle routes are usually white, with a red border and lettering, more recreational/touristic routes to a town or village are green lettered. In rural areas as well as in nature areas, signposts may be so called Paddenstoelen (mushrooms). These are small boxes (more or less resembling the form of a mushroom) near the ground on which the destinations are printed.

There are different ways to use a bicycle:

  • staying in a city, the bike can be used as a means of transport, to get from A to B. This is the way local people most of the time use it, for short journeys it is faster than car, bus or tram. Cyclers can also reach interesting places near the city, which may not be accessible by public transport.
  • Many times bikes are also used as means to see nearby places and landscapes:
    • The many signposted cycle routes are designed for this, most of them take cyclists back to the starting point. Some rural routes go through areas inaccessible by car.
    • In most parts of the Netherlands it’s possible to create your own routes by connecting marked and numbered points called “knooppunten”. (see for more information planjeroute.nl (plan your route).)
  • Except for the rush hours in the morning and at the end of the afternoon, bikes can be taken on a train. Therefore cyclers are to buy a supplementary ticket called “dagkaart fiets”, which is easily obtained from the automated kiosks for €6. As an alternative, bikes can be easily rented at (or near) train stations. Folding bikes can be taken on board for free as hand luggage when folded. All trains are provided with specific bicycle entrances. Cyclists may park their bike here and also are allowed to ask people to move for this reason. Also in two western urban region’s it’s possible to transport bicycles for free by metro (Amsterdam/The Hague-Rotterdam) or randstadrail-tram (The Hague-Zoetermeer), except during daytime from monday-friday.
  • More experienced cyclists may like to set off across the country. The national long-distance cycle routes are designed for this type of holiday; see Cycling in the Netherlands Long-distance routes.

The best online routeplanner for cyclists can be found at a wikiplanner made by volunteers of the Dutch cyclist union “Fietsersbond”.

BY CAR:

A car might be a good way to explore the countryside, especially places not connected by rail, such as the Veluwe and parts of Zeeland. Drive on the right.

The motorway/highway network is rather extensive, though heavily used. Congestion, especially during peak hour, is usual and can better be avoided. Roads are well signposted and many times provided with new technologies. A Motorway/highway (Autosnelweg) is indicated with a letter A/number combination which is placed in a red box. In the less urbanised parts, such as the Southwest and the North, motorways/highways are few. Many times connections there are made by a semi highway called Autoweg, or another N way. All these connections are indicated with a letter N/number combination in a yellow box. Most times motorist will automatically be directed to the nearest A or N road. So who likes to make a touristic ride avoiding mainroads, needs to follow signs to local villages.

If your car breaks down on the highway/motorway you might go to the nearest roadside emergency telephone; these praatpalen can be recognized as they are about 1.5 m high, yellow and have a rounded bunny-eared cap on top. This is the direct connection to the emergency and assistance services. These will be taken away in 2018, so take a smartphone with you.

Alternatively, you might use a mobile phone to reach the ANWB autoclub via toll-free number 0800-0888; your membership of a foreign autoclub might entitle you to discount rates on their services. Leased (business) cars and rental cars are usually covered by the ANWB services included in the lease/rental price; but you may want to check any provided booklets.

Road signs with directions are plenty, but having a map is useful, especially in cities where there are many one way streets, and getting from one part of the city to another is not always so straightforward. Be careful not to drive on bus lanes, often indicated with markings such as Lijnbus or Bus, nor on cycling paths, marked by the picture of a bicycle, or by a reddish colour of the asphalt. Also, do not use the rush-hour-lanes (Spitsstrook) when the matrix display above the designated lane indicates a red “X” – this means they cannot be used.

Fuel is easy to come by, but extremely expensive. It’s better to fill your vehicle before entering the Netherlands, since the Belgian and German fuel prices can be €0.30 lower per litre. Unmanned gas stations, such as TanGo or Firezone, save up to 10 cents, but are still far more expensive than their Belgian counterparts. Prices of fuel are, as of 2017, €1.62 a litre in manned stations. Along highways many gas stations are open 24/7. More and more unmanned gas stations can be found, even along highways, selling petrol cheaper. These unattended stations accept all common debit and credit cards. All gas stations sell both petrol and diesel; the “premium” brands have the same octane level (they allegedly contain compounds that improve fuel efficiency to offset the higher price). Liquid Petroleum Gas is sold at relatively many gas stations along the high ways, but it is never sold in built-up areas. The symbol for LPG gas is a green-coloured gaspump-icon, set beside the general case black-coloured gaspump-icon. LPG fueled cars need regular petrol to start the motor, and can also be operated using strictly petrol, though it is more expensive.

If you come to the Netherlands with your LPG-fueled car, you will probably need an adaptor. If you buy it in your country, ask for the specific Dutch adaptor. The plug sold as “European” (screw style), is used in Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany but won’t fit Dutch pumps.

BY TAXI:

The Dutch taxi system has been re-structured to change its bad reputation and sometimes exorbitant rates. While legal maximum charges now apply and all taxis are obliged to have a tariff sheet visible in the window, taxis still remain an expensive way to get around. If you’re travelling on a budget, public transport is a much better bet. With cluttered traffic in and around cities during rush hour, it’s often enough faster too.

If you do want to take a taxi, you’ll usually have to call one or order one online, so you might want to look up a company upon arrival. It’s uncommon to hail taxis on the streets. In larger cities, you’ll typically find a taxi stand at major train stations and sometimes close to entertainment districts. Drivers may want to convince you that you are obliged to take the first in line, but this is never the case. You are always free to pick the taxi of your choice. It is illegal for drivers to refuse short rides, but it’s not uncommon for drivers who have obtained a front position to do so. Keep in mind that these guys sometimes wait for a long time to get to this position. If it’s all the same to you, you might want to let them refer you to someone else. If you don’t want to switch, or if it’s the only taxi around, it may help to say you’ll file a complaint and write down the taxi’s number.

All taxis must have registered blue license plates and a board computer which also serves as the meter. They must have their rates visible on a tariff card and the driver has to carry a taxi driver’s license card. Taxi companies are free to establish their rates, as long as they do not exceed the legal maximum. The driver is allowed to offer you a fixed price, as long as it’s within legal maximum rates.

The maximum rates are the sum of the initial fee, the fee per kilometre and the fee per minute. They are set annually by the Dutch government. For a normal (4-person) cab they are €2.95, €2.17 and €0.36. This means you’ll pay more if you get stuck in traffic. For small vans (5 to 8 passengers), the maximum amounts are €6.00, €2.73 and €0.41. Uber cabs are now illegal but cheaper and still operate in Amsterdam and Rotterdam.

BY PLANE:

Due to the small size of the country and the abundance of road and rail connections, there are no domestic flights.

EAT:

Dutch cuisine:

The Netherlands is not known for its cuisine, as it is simple and straightforward. A conventional Dutch meal consists of meat, potatoes and some type of vegetable on the side. The country’s food culture is best described as rustic. High in carbohydrates and fat, the country’s food culture reflects the dietary need of farm laborers, but as society moved on to work in the services sector, its food culture has remained largely the same. The Dutch national dish is stamppot, potatoes mashed with one or several vegetables. The variety with endive and bacon is considered the most traditional. Hutspot is a variety with carrots and onions.

Dutch cuisine differs strongly by region. Western cuisine is known for its many dairy products, including prominent cheeses such as Gouda, Edam, Leerdammer and Beemster. Being a coastal region, it has a seafood culture best represented by raw herring (haring), usually served with chopped onion and occasionally plopped into a bun (broodje haring). Northeastern cuisine is oriented towards meat due to the relative lack of agriculture in this region. Metworst, a dried sausage, is particularly prized for its strong taste, and Gelderse rookworst, a traditional smoked sausage, became an institution for the country as a whole and is often served together with stamppot.

Southern cuisine is historically influenced by the Dukes of Burgundy, which ruled the Low Countries in the Middle Ages and were renowned for their splendor and great feasts. As such, it is renowned for its many rich pastries, soups, stews and vegetable dishes. It is the only Dutch region which developed an haute cuisine that forms the base of most traditional Dutch restaurants. Typical main courses are biefstuk, varkenshaas, and ossenhaas, premium cuts of pork or beef.

Dutch people are generally not proud of their cuisine, but highly praise their specialties and delicious treats. Dutch pancakes (pannenkoeken), which are either sweet (zoet) or savoury (hartig) come in a variety of tastes, like apple, syrup, cheese, and bacon. Poffertjes are small, slightly leavened pancakes with butter and powdered sugar. Both are served in restaurants specifically dedicated to them. Syrup waffles (stroopwafels), two thin layers with syrup in between, are made fresh on most street markets and specialized stalls.

Sandwiches are consumed for breakfast and lunch. Chocolate sprinkles (hagelslag) on top of buttered slices of bread are a popular Dutch start of the day. Although food habits are changing, a simple bread roll with butter and a slice of cheese or ham is still the daily lunch for the majority of Dutch people. Dutch peanut butter is considerably different from the U.S. variety. As it’s less common to have hot dishes for lunch, many restaurants offer a limited menu around lunch time. In smaller towns outside the main tourist spots you may even find restaurants to be closed for lunch all together.

Some food traditions are seasonal. Pea soup (erwtensoep) is a winter dish made of green peas and a smoked sausage. It is very hearty and often eaten after ice skating. Oliebollen are traditional Dutch dumplings consumed at New Year’s Eve. Asperges flamandes are white asparagus with Hollandaise sauce, ham, crumbled hard-boiled eggs and served with boiled new potatoes. Highly seasonal and usually only eaten between spring and summer.

Restaurants:

Restaurants in the Netherlands serve good quality food and are relatively expensive compared with surrounding countries. Profit is often made from the drinks and the dessert, so be careful ordering those if you are on a budget. Service fees and taxes are included in menu prices. Tipping is not mandatory and seen as a sign of appreciation, not as means to make up a tiny salary. In case you do want to tip, rounding up to the next euro is already acceptable for small bills and a 5% to 10% tip is common for larger ones. A 10% tip will typically be considered generous, especially on a dining bill. Going to a restaurant is generally seen as a special night out with friends or family, not as a quick way to eat food. As such, dining with Dutch people can take a couple of hours.

Smoking is banned in all restaurants, cafes, bars, festival tents and nightclubs. Smoking is allowed only outside or in separate, enclosed, designated smoking areas in which employees are not allowed to serve. Staff may enter such smoking rooms only in emergency situations.

Dutch food is not widely acclaimed, so most restaurants specialize in foreign cuisines, and the large cities offer a wide variety. Middle Eastern cuisine is readily available, even in smaller cities, and often comes at a bargain price. Popular dishes are shawarma (shoarma), lahmacun (often called “Turkish pizza”) and falafel. Due to Dutch colonial ties with Indonesia (then known as the Dutch East Indies), most small to medium-sized towns also have a Chinees-Indisch restaurant, serving Chinese and Indonesian dishes. Usually you get a lot of food for a small amount of money. Do not expect authentic Chinese or Indonesian cuisine though, as the food has been adapted for Dutch tastes. Typical dishes are fried rice (nasi goreng), fried bakmi (bami goreng) and prawn crackers (kroepoek). A suggestion is the famous Dutch-Indonesian rijsttafel, which is a combination of several small dishes from the East Indies, not unlike the nasi padang of Indonesia. Most of these restaurants have a sit-in area and a separate counter for take-away with lower prices. Most larger cities will have more authentic Indonesian and Chinese restaurants as well.

Argentinian, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Surinamese and Thai cuisines are also well-represented throughout the country. Most restaurants have at least one vegetarian dish on the menu or can make you one if you ask for it.

Snackbars:

In town centres, near public transport stations or even in more quiet quarters you can find a snackbar, sometimes known as cafeteria. These snackbars are pretty much the antithesis of high cuisine, but their snacks are considered typical for the country, and many Dutch ex-pats miss them the most when going abroad. Popular chain outlets have giant vending machines attached to their stores (automatiek). Just slot in a euro or two and take out the snack of your choice.

The most popular snack is French fries, known as patat in most of the country and as friet in the south. The standard way is to order them with mayonnaise (patat met), although the local mayo is not the same as you’d get in France or most of the rest of the world. It is firmer, sweeter and contains less fat, whilst remaining just as unhealthy. Other options are with tomato ketchup, curry ketchup (unlike regular curry, tastes more like tomato ketchup), Indonesian peanut sauce (satésaus), cut raw onions (uitjes), speciaal (mayonnaise, curry ketchup and cut raw onions) and oorlog (“war”, a combination of mayonnaise, peanut sauce and cut raw onions).

Other fried snacks are considered typical for the country as well. A croquette (kroket) is a crispy roll filled with ragout. It is served with mustard and can be ordered on bread as well. Famous are the Amsterdam croquettes of Van Dobben and Kwekkeboom. Both companies have their own cafeteria near the Rembrandtplein. A frikandel is a long, skinless and dark-colored sausage, kind of like a minced-meat hot dog. It can be ordered on bread, or speciaal (with mayonnaise, curry ketchup and cut raw onions). A berenklauw (“bear’s claw”) or berenhap (“bear’s snack”) is a sliced meatball with fried onion rings on a wooden skewer, often served with peanut sauce. Finally, a kaassoufflé is a cheese snack popular with vegetarians, and can also be served on bread.

DRINK:

Coffee and tea:

Dutch people are among the largest coffee drinkers in the world, and having a cup is almost compulsory when you are going to visit people. One of the first questions when coming through the door is often “Koffie?”. Traditionally the drink is served in small cups (a half mug) with one single cookie. However, some guests are also treated with one of the country’s typical pie-like pastries such as a tompouce, Limburgse vlaai or a piece of Dutch-style apple pie.

Dutch coffee is generally quite strong and heavy on the stomach. If you’re from the United States or Canada, you can order one cup of Dutch coffee in the morning and add water the rest of the day! If you order koffie verkeerd (which means “coffee wrong”) you get a cup of more or less half milk and half coffee, like the French ‘café au lait’ or the Italian ‘caffe latte’.

The Dutch drink black tea, and it comes in many different varieties, from traditional to fruit infusions. Luckily, if you’re British, you get the teabag served with a cup of hot (but never boiling) water, so you can make your own version. Milk tea is almost unheard of and given only to children.

Hot chocolate with whipped cream is a winter tradition in the Netherlands. It really fills you after a cold walk. In the summer you can also get it in every decent bar, however sometimes it’s made from powder as opposed to the traditional kind (regular chocolate melted and mixed with hot milk), and doesn’t taste that good.

Alcoholic beverages:

The legal drinking age in the Netherlands is 18 for all alcoholic beverages. There used to be a difference between light and strong alcoholic drinks, with people as young as 16 allowed to drink light alcoholic drinks (up to 15% alcohol by volume), but no longer.

The Dutch have a strong beer culture. Heineken is one of the world’s most famous beers, but it is just one of many brands in the Netherlands. You can get all kinds of beers from white beer to dark beer. Popular brands are Heineken, Grolsch, Brand, Bavaria, Amstel, etc. There’s a certain regional variety in the beers you’ll find. Heineken or Amstel is served in the western provinces, Bavaria or Dommelsch in Brabant, Brand in Limburg, and Grolsch in Gelderland and Overijssel. Most breweries nowadays also produce a non-alcoholic variant of their beers.

In addition to the usual lagers, try Dutch wheat beer (witbier), which is flavored with a spice mix called gruit and thus taste different from the better-known pilsener varieties. Fruit-flavoured wheat beers are also available. Dark beers are brewed in monasteries in the south of the Netherlands (Brabant and Limburg). These traditional beer breweries are excellent beer-related tourist attractions, as are the microbreweries and beer shops in Amsterdam.

Bitters are popular in winter. Dutch gin (jenever or genever) is the predecessor of English gin. It is available in two types, oude (old) and jonge (young), which have nothing to do with aging, just the distillation style. The more traditional “old-fashioned” oude is sweeter and yellowish in color, while jonge is clearer, drier and more akin to English gin.

Beerenburg is made by adding herbs to jenever. It has an alcohol percentage of around 30%. The original Beerenburg was made halfway through the 19th century with a secret mixture of spices of the Amsterdam spice merchant Hendrik Beerenburg, to whom it owes its name. Despite it being “invented” in Amsterdam, it is considered typically Frisian. Most other regions also produce their local, less famous variants of a bitter. Orange bitter (Oranjebitter) is drunk only on King’s Day (Koningsdag).

CAMPING:

Camp sites are widespread and available in pretty much all corners of the country, as well as close to most of the major cities. Outside the main tourist season (July-September) there’s usually a place available and most camp sites will find a spot for small trekker’s tents any time of year. For caravans, camper vans or family tents it’s advisable to make reservations beforehand, especially during summer holidays. In popular domestic and regional tourist areas, such as the on the coast, on the West Frisian Islands, in Zuid-Limburg and on the Veluwe, high end camp sites with lots of facilities and entertainment are easy to find. In rural areas, smaller sites next to farms are very popular (see Stichting Vrije Recreatie (SVR)). Pure natural landscapes can be vividly experienced on the so called natuurkampeerterreinen (terrains for nature camping). As it comes to shopping facilities it might be possible to buy products of the place itself.

Sanitary facilities depend n the kind of camping site but quality is excellent for far most of the campsites. On some camping sites the use of warm water is not included, but needs to be paid for at the showers. It’s advisable to ask whether this is the case while checking in. Even without a tent you can enjoy staying at a camping. Many sites offer cabins called trekkershut.

Please notice: wild camping is not allowed and will be strictly regulated. But in at some places there are free ‘pole campings’ (Paalcamping). This is a pole in the ground where you are allowed to stay for one night.

HOTELS:

Hotels in the Netherlands are abundant, particularly in Holland proper, and can be relatively inexpensive compared to other Western European countries. You may be able to find a decent hotel of international standards for €50 or less per night. Due to good public transportation options, even staying outside of the city centre, or even in a different town altogether, may still be a viable option for visiting a particular destination comfortably while remaining within budget limits.

While there are independent properties throughout the country, there is a relatively high presence of international and local hotel chains. Some of the more popular are:

  • NH Hoteles. The Spanish hotel chain inherited a lot of properties throughout Netherlands by taking over the former Krasnapolsky Hotels in Amsterdam and many of the former Golden Tulips. Thus, most of the properties are older, or even historic ones. NH Hoteles in larger cities are usually what one would expect of the chain in any other country, in smaller towns the properties are usually from the 1980s and only partially refurbished since then. You can always count on a very rich breakfast buffet, which is an NH Hoteles’ trademark. NH Hoteles has the largest number of properties of all hotel chains in Amsterdam, which can be either helpful or disappointing in busy periods when hotels are prone to overbooking (you can be easily relocated to another NH Hotel across Amsterdam). Members of Alitalia, Aeromexico, Aerolíneas Argentinas and Iberia frequent flyer schemes can collect award miles/kilometres for stays at NH Hoteles in the Netherlands.
  • Golden Tulip, Tulip Inn (same website as Golden Tulip) and Campanile – the remaining properties of the Dutch Tulip hotel chain now belong to the France-based Groupe du Louvre, which also operates Campanile hotels. Golden Tulips are mostly found in city centres and are of higher standards (four stars usually), Campaniles by motorway junctions and are more basic (two stars), Tulip Inns fall somewhere in between. Some properties may be rather aged, but can offer attractive rates if you don’t mind them not being exactly up to snuff to their international competition. For those touring the Netherlands by automobile, Campaniles and Tulip Inns can help keep them within tighter budgets. Groupe du Louvre runs several loyalty programmes and you can collect air miles with several airlines when staying with them.
  • Van der Valk Hotels. A local hotel chain operated by the Van der Valk family focuses on upscale accommodations and resort-like facilities. The hotels are thusly usually of high standard and comfort and often feature swimming pools and other leisure facilities, but can also be quite far away from city centres. There is no loyalty scheme for guests in Van der Valk hotels, but there are often leisure-themed packages offered, which include stays and additional services or attractions.
  • Hampshire Hotels. With over 80 properties, including 3 in Germany and 8 in Belgium, this is one of the largest hotel chains in the Netherlands. The standard of the hotels vary from basic three-star properties to more upscale, and often historic, Hampshire Eden and Hampshire Classic hotels. The chain does not operate a loyalty scheme, and members of most frequent flyer programmes will not be able to acquire miles for stays with Hampshire Hotels.
  • Bastion Hotels. A chain of highly uniform, limited-service hotels targeting road warriors that tour Netherlands by car on business. Most of the hotels have been purpose-built in the 1990s or later, and are reminiscent of other hotel chains of similar character that can be found across Europe, like ibis hotels or Premier Inn. Usually to be found around motorways, with sometimes poor access to public transportation. While limited-service, most feature an on-site restaurant open throughout the day.
  • Accor. Has a sizeable presence in the Netherlands, in particular with their Ibis, Novotel and Mercure brands. As in other countries, Mercures are often formerly independent three- or four-star properties that have joined the chain.
  • The Intercontinental Hotels Group has increased its presence by opening all-new Holiday Inn Express properties in key locations across the country, with competitive rates including breakfast. There are also older Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza properties in major cities.

Other international hotel chains do maintain some presence in the Netherlands, though this is mostly limited to Amsterdam and Schiphol airport. There are also quite many Best Western-affiliated properties throughout Netherlands, but as in every country, they vary greatly in character, size, pricing and comfort.

Showers are slightly different from the American style. Bar soap is not very popular; most of what is provided in hotels and mainstream stores is liquid body soap. Washcloths are also generally not available, but washing mitts are available in stores. European-style bathrooms often have no edge on the shower floor, allowing water to get on the floor in the other parts of the bathroom. (Be prepared to mop up with a floor towel if someone needs the toilet right after someone showers.) Shower heads are generally hand-held on flexible hoses, and there are separate controls for water temperature vs. volume (instead of hot and cold knobs or a single temperature lever typically seen in the U.S.).

BED AND BREAKFAST:

There is a wide choice of bed & breakfast in the big cities, but there are also plenty to be found in the smaller towns and villages. Prices are generally €40-100, depending on the number of occupants and the season. Bed & breakfasts may not offer all the facilities that bigger hotels do, but the service is generally friendly and personal. Also, many bed & breakfasts are to be found along popular hiking trails and cycling paths.

BUDGET:

Even for budget facilities prices are generally high. Budget accommodation starts at around €20 per person and prices go upwards from there. Seasonal demand affects availability and can cause prices to rise, especially in Amsterdam.

Official Dutch Youth Hostels are called “Stay Okay”, but they are not as widespread as in Great Britain. Also there is no kitchen available for guests, so either you eat what’s on menu or you eat out. Besides the Official Dutch Youth Hostels there are plenty of other hostels spread around the country. Many hostels have regulations for travellers under the age of 18. In some cases they must be accompanied by an adult and in others they cannot book beds in shared rooms. Make sure to check with the hostel of your choice. Sheets are often included but the use of towels typically comes at a charge.

In nature areas the local landscape can be experienced at so called Natuurvriendenhuizen (Friends of nature houses). These facilities are somehow in between hostels and general hotels and are especially open for cyclers and hikers, including groups. They are run by volunteers and visitors, and have communal kitchen facilities and contagious living rooms.

Short-term apartment rental is available in cities, but may not be legal. While most have a 3-night minimum stay, the process of making reservations and checking in is generally identical to that of staying in a hotel, the notable exception being that most require a credit card deposit, and the balance in cash on arrival.

If you are travelling by bicycle or by foot, there is a list of 3,600 addresses where you can stay at private homes with bed and breakfast for no more than €18.50 per person per night, although you must also pay €8 for membership of this scheme. It is called Vrienden op de fiets.

The Netherlands is a good place to buy flowers. Flower bulbs are most suited to bring home, and can be purchased at tourist shops, garden centres and DIY stores throughout the year. Keep in mind that bulbs and their planting times depend on seasons, and tulip bulbs are typically unavailable from late winter to late summer. Fresh flowers can be bought from florists, or pre-packaged in most supermarkets. Although it is not a problem taking bulbs and flowers out of the country, you may be severely restricted in bringing them back to your own country.

The country is also famous for its wooden shoes (clogs). Nowadays almost no one, except for some farmers in the countryside and some fishermen in Volendam and Urk, wear them. Wearing wooden shoes in public outside the countryside will earn you quite a few strange looks from the locals. If you do try them on, the famous “wooden shoes” are surprisingly comfortable, and very useful in any rural setting. Think of them as all-terrain footwear; easy to put on for a walk in the garden, field or on a dirt road. If you live in a rural area at home, consider taking a pair of these with you if you can. Avoid the kitschy tourist shops at Schiphol and Amsterdam’s Damrak, and instead look for a regular vendor which can usually be found in towns and villages in rural areas. The northern province of Friesland has a lot of stores selling wooden shoes, often adorned with the bright colors of the Frisian flag.

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Netherlands
TOP ATTRACTIONS
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Name: Rijksmuseum
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history in Amsterdam. The museum is located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South, close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and the Concertgebouw.

The Rijksmuseum was founded in The Hague in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, where it was first located in the Royal Palace and later in the Trippenhuis. The current main building was designed by Pierre Cuypers and first opened in 1885. On 13 April 2013, after a ten-year renovation which cost € 375 million, the main building was reopened by Queen Beatrix. In 2013 and 2014, it was the most visited museum in the Netherlands with record numbers of 2.2 million and 2.47 million visitors. It is also the largest art museum in the country.

The museum has on display 8,000 objects of art and history, from their total collection of 1 million objects from the years 1200–2000, among which are some masterpieces by Rembrandt, Frans Hals, and Johannes Vermeer. The museum also has a small Asian collection, which is on display in the Asian pavilion.


SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rijksmuseum
Name: Dam Square
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Dam Square is a town square in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Its notable buildings and frequent events make it one of the most well-known and important locations in the city and the country.

On the west end of the square is the neoclassical Royal Palace, which served as the city hall from 1655 until its conversion to a royal residence in 1808. Beside it are the 15th-century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) and the Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. The National Monument, a white stone pillar designed by J.J.P. Oud and erected in 1956 to memorialize the victims of World War II, dominates the opposite side of the square. Also overlooking the plaza are the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and the upscale department store De Bijenkorf. These various attractions have turned Dam Square into a tourist zone.

Several tram lines traverse Dam Square and have stops there. In the time of the horse tram (end 19th century) it was the most important tram hub of Amsterdam. After 1900 this function moved to the Central Station, at the other end of the Damrak.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dam_Square
Name: Anne Frank House
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
The Anne Frank House (Dutch: Anne Frank Huis) is a writer's house and biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

During World War II, Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the 17th-century canal house, known as the Secret Annex (Dutch: Achterhuis). Anne Frank did not survive the war but in 1947, her wartime diary was published. In 1957, the Anne Frank Foundation was established to protect the property from developers who wanted to demolish the block.

The museum opened on 3 May 1960. It preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank, and has an exhibition space about all forms of persecution and discrimination. In 2013 and 2014, the museum had 1.2 million visitors and was the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands, after the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Frank_House
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...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

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My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

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