The Netherlands has been a hot draw of late with Amsterdam a favorite for U.S. students. Our most recent request was for sports marketing at a professional soccer club. We placed another student at coastal resort community with a top travel agency. She had just finished up her university study and sought a career in the travel industry. She enjoyed the placement so much that she applied for a work visa with the intent of moving full time to the country. Side trips to Germany and nearby Dusseldorf make for interesting contrast. And to the south our students have traveled to Brussels. The Netherlands presents well on student resumes as it is still an unusual choice and has a reputation in the business world as producing elite leaders.

Netherlands literally means ‘lower countries’ in reference to its low elevation and flat topography. It is known for a flat landscape of canals, tulip fields, windmills and cycling routes. With over 17 million people all living within a total area of roughly 41,543 square kilometers, it’s a densely populated country with Amsterdam being its crown jewel. 

ATTRACTIONS

Amsterdam is the capital city and most populous municipality of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is one of the most popular destinations in Europe, attracting over 7 million international travelers annually. The 17th-century Canals of Amsterdam were listed as UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010, contributing to Amsterdam’s fame as the “Venice of the North”. Amsterdam is one of the greatest small cities in the world. From Amsterdam canals to world-famous Amsterdam museums and historical Amsterdam sights, it is one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe. Canal cruises are a popular way to see the city and the focal-point for tourists. Amsterdam has many parks, beaches, open spaces, and squares. It has all the advantages of a big city: coffee shops, international restaurants, good transport, and lively Amsterdam nightlife – several of its nightclubs are among the world’s most famous. Amsterdam is a cultural haven with year-round festivals. Museums are the main tourist attraction in Amsterdam. Everyone knows the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Stedelijk Museum, but there is much more. It is also one of the world’s most multicultural cities, with at least 177 nationalities represented. Old Centre is the medieval center and most visited area of Amsterdam. Known for its traditional architecture, Amsterdam is a large city and a major tourist destination, so you can visit it all year round, the center is fairly small, and almost abnormally flat, so you can easily get to most tourist destinations on foot, the bicycle is ideal for exploring the surrounding countryside also. In Amsterdam there’s a world of fascinating stories, spellbinding art and architecture that has stood the test of time.

The Hague is a city on the western coast of the Netherlands and the capital of the province of South Holland. With a metropolitan population of more than 1 million, it is the third-largest city in the Netherlands. It is the seat of the Dutch parliament and government, and the residence of King Willem-Alexander, but the city is not the constitutional capital of the Netherlands, which is Amsterdam. The Hague is one of the most extraordinary cities in Holland, just because it is the government city, but also because of its many monuments, historic districts and its location near the beautiful North Sea. The Hague offers a unique combination of city life and beach life. The main beach resort Scheveningen, in the northwestern part of the city is a popular destination for tourists as well as for inhabitants. With 10 million visitors a year, it is the most popular beach town in the Benelux area. You’ll get to see the most beautiful royal palaces, and the political center in the Royal City of The Hague. The heart of the city contains most of the historic architecture from the medieval, renaissance, and Baroque periods and is easily accessible on foot. City life concentrates around the Hofvijver and the Binnenhof, where the States General of the Netherlands are located. Because of its history, the historical inner city of The Hague differs in various aspects from the nearby smaller cities of Leiden and Delft. Tourism is an important sector in The Hague. The city is the Dutch second biggest tourist destination, after Amsterdam. Night life centers around the three main squares in the city center. The Plein is taken by several large sidewalk cafes where often politicians may be spotted. The Hague offers great architecture, from the picturesque government complex of the Binnenhof, to the grand and stately mansions on Lange Voorhout. Museums like the Mauritshuis rank among the best in the country. For food aficionados, The Hague offers some of the country’s best Indonesian cuisine, due to large-scale immigration from this former Dutch colony. The city also offers good opportunities for outings, such as extensive green spaces for walking and bicycling as well as dunes and seaside recreation areas. The Hague is a royal city with a high feel-good factor and offers a wealth of impressive art.

MadurodamMadurodam is a miniature park and tourist attraction in the Scheveningen district of The Hague in the Netherlands. It is home to a range of 1:25 scale model replicas of famous Dutch landmarks, historical cities and large developments. After the park was opened it has since been visited by tens of millions of visitors. The entirety of net proceeds from the park go towards various charities in the Netherlands. The park is divided into three themes: water, as a friend and an enemy; historical cities; and The Netherlands as an inspiration for the world. Each theme offers different activities – from light shows to mixing music. Small coin slots trigger bridges, factories or an oil tanker on fire. Madurodam strives to show a realistic view of The Netherlands in a scaled down environment. You will discover it’s most iconic landmarks, rich history, culture and facts about Netherlands through a story of magnificent miniatures and indoor attraction, there are also small television stands that show brief video footage or in-depth information. Normally it would take how many days to get to see all the landmarks of the Netherlands but by visiting Madurodam you will get to view and have a full Netherlands experience in a single day all fun without stress. Learning about the whole country has never been so much fun and the interaction with miniature displays is so enjoyable. With colorful flowers that filled the park it adds beauty and sense of delight. This place is so amazing, it provides great knowledge and useful information. This stunning little city absolutely makes you smile.

TRAVEL ADVENTURE

keukaSpring is a lovely time to visit the Netherlands, the sight of tulips in full bloom is breathtaking. Keukenhof also known as the Garden of Europe, is the most famous and the largest flower park in the world, situated in Lisse, South Holland, Netherlands. Approximately 7 million flower bulbs are planted annually in the park, which covers an area of 32 hectares. This historical garden is an enclosed garden where you can see many old types of bulbs and fantastic collection of tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, orchids, roses, carnations, irises, lilies and many other flowers. The Keukenhof features a variety of different gardens and garden styles. The nature garden consists of a water garden where shrubs and perennials are combined with bulbous plants. The Japanese country garden is a non-traditional garden in a natural environment. The best time to visit is in April and May you get to see the Dutch tulips field in full bloom and experience being adrift on a sea of flowers and be drowned on a spectacle of colors and sweet perfumes. Cycling through flowering tulip fields is an extraordinary experience. Very unique in the world, this park attracts over a million visitors every year. Admire the iconic tulip gardens at the Keukenhof and the best view of Amsterdam in a single day. This gorgeous views of blooming Dutch tulips and other flowers is what Holland is very famous for. Every district in Netherlands has at least one park, but the Vondelpark in South is notable for its size and convivial atmosphere.

The Vondelpark is the largest urban park of 47 hectares in Amsterdam, and certainly the most famous park in the Netherlands, which welcomes about 10 million visitors every year. Vondelpark has a lot of attractions like the statue of the poet Vondel, the cast iron music dome, the Groot Melkhuis with playground for children, the historical Pavilion with its restaurant Vertigo, an open-air theatre and several horeca facilities. The park has many different kinds of trees, numerous bushes and herbs that complete the park’s landscape, and also a home to many birds, wild ducks, blue herons and many smaller birds. There are a wide range of activities inside the park, bike is fun, healthy and sustainable way of getting around the park, it is also possible to rent skates zooming around and explore its vastness, you’ll find outdoor art classes in Vondelpark too, with groups setting up their easels to paint the lovely scenery, you can always settle back on the grass to enjoy an outdoor concert or play an open air theatre. A stroll in the park is perfect on a sunny day it’s a lovely escape from the bustle of the city to wander between the lakes, ponds and weeping willows be captivated and fill your heart with satisfaction as you uncover the natural features of the gorgeous landscape.

Rijksmuseum is a Dutch national museum dedicated to arts and history, located at the Museum Square in the borough Amsterdam South. Around 8000 objects of art and history are currently on display in the museum from their total collection of 1 million objects and is dedicated to arts, crafts, and history from the years 1200 to 2000, the collection contains more than 2,000 paintings from the Dutch Golden Age which are some masterpieces by notable painters such as Jacob van Ruisdael, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen, Rembrandt, and countless more Dutch greats. It was the most visited and largest art museum in the Netherlands and one of the most visited art museum in the world. The unique position Rijksmuseumin Amsterdam gained in the world throughout the centuries, comes not only from the possession of many masterpiece paintings of Dutch and world art, the museum has truly exceptional collection of the antique objects of the material Dutch culture, authentic Delftware, sculptures, archaeological artefacts, clothing, Asian art, vast collection of prints, drawings and the classic photography, items from Dutch maritime history and many other culturally significant objects, all combining to vividly explore 800 years of Dutch history. The Rijksmuseum’s internationally revered collection features some of the most famous national treasures in Amsterdam including the most notably Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’, which takes pride of place in a beautifully lit hall allowing visitors to enjoy every tiny detail. The Rijksmuseum Research Library is part of the Rijksmuseum, and is the best and the largest public art history research library in The Netherlands. The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s grandest and most popular museums enjoy your visit and let its history take you back in time.

THE PEOPLE

The culture of the Netherlands is diverse, reflecting regional differences as well as the foreign influences built up by centuries of the Dutch people’s mercantile and exploitative spirit. The Netherlands and its people have long played an important role as center of cultural liberalism and tolerance. The Netherlands has an egalitarian and modern society, where everyone is considered valuable. Every person is equal and should be treated accordingly. Status and respect are obtained through the achievements by working or studying hard, not through family ties or old age. At a young age, Dutch children are taught to value and show tolerance. This involves respecting people’s freedom of choice in their attitudes, beliefs and individuality. This attitude of tolerance has led to social policies that some may consider quite permissive. This characteristic of Dutch people sometimes mistakenly understood by many, typical Dutch directness is often experienced as a lack of respect. While the Dutch often see it as ‘open and honest’, foreigners often experience it as rudeness. But this egalitarian culture also brings many advantages.

Housing & Commute
Cost
Visa
Safety
Languages

Netherlands is a small and heavily populated country with an excellent public transport system. Wherever you want to go, you can get there easily and in comfort by train, bus, tram or ferry. Public transportation in the Netherlands is modern, safe, and convenient. The main public transport in the Netherlands for longer distances is by train. Long-distance buses are limited to a few missing railway connections. Regional and local public transport is by bus, and in some cities by metro and tram. There are also ferries and taxis. Transportation is superb in Netherlands.

Netherlands is certainly not low on the list of the world’s most expensive countries. This may have something to do with the quality of life being extraordinarily good. The general cost of living in the Netherlands is relatively affordable than its western European counterparts, despite it offers the same standard of quality for food, housing, utilities and public transport. Although the average living price certainly does change depending on where you are, its getting higher this is common depending on how close to center you are. Amsterdam is the most expensive city to live in as compared to the other Dutch cities. However, its popularity means Amsterdam’s cost of living is significantly higher than other parts of the country, its network of canals makes an idyllic setting to call home. Food, on the other hand, is typically an affordable expense when budgeting the cost of living in the Netherlands. Your cost of living will vary also depending on your own lifestyle or your individual expenses.

Currency in Netherlands: Euro (EUR)

A visa is necessary for some citizens who plan to stay or travel through the Netherlands. Whether you need a visa to enter the country depends on your nationality. Nationals of EU and Schengen countries are not only visa-exempt but are legally entitled to enter and reside in each other’s countries. Their right to freedom of movement in each other’s countries can be limited in a reserved number of situations, as prescribed by EU treaties. However, nationals from outside Schengen Area, a Dutch visa is required for those who plan to stay for a short period or transit through the Netherlands.

Netherlands is a very safe country to travel. Crime rates are very low compared to southern European countries, and law is strictly enforced. However, in larger cities especially in tourist-heavy zones like markets, train stations, tourist areas, and airports there is heightened risk that you will encounter pickpockets, occasional violence and other forms of petty crime such as bag snatching and bicycle theft. Tourists should raise their level of caution, the police presence has been greatly increased in large cities to prevent further attacks. Netherlands is generally a safe country in fact it is one of the worlds safest countries. Your overall safety is not to worry but exercise normal precautions. Remember to always be vigilant no matter how safe a country usually is.

The official language is Dutch, which is spoken by almost all people in the Netherlands. West Frisian is recognised as a co-official language in the province of Friesland. English is an official language in the special municipalities of Saba and Sint Eustatius, as well as the autonomous states of Curaçao and Sint Maarten. On Saba and St. Eustatius, the majority of the education is in English only, with some bilingual English-Dutch schools. Papiamento is an official language in the special municipality of Bonaire. It is also the native language in the autonomous states of Curacao and Aruba. Several dialects of Dutch Low Saxon (Nederlands Nedersaksisch in Dutch) are spoken in much of the north-east of the country and are recognised as regional languages according to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Another Low Franconian dialect is Limburgish, which is spoken in the south-eastern province of Limburg. However, both Low Saxon and Limburgish spread across the Dutch-German border and belong to a common Dutch-German dialect continuum. Turkish and Arabic are also spoken in the Netherlands, each by over 0.6% of the population.