The beautiful Netherlands, sometimes known as Holland and situated on the coast in Western Europe, is known for its low-lying lands. Its cities and scenery are renowned, and attract many visitors all year round. Take Amsterdam: the capital of culture is full of quirky coffee shops and canals, yet it is within touching distance of the breath-taking countryside. Its national parks, shimmering lakes and staggering coastlines can make for an unforgettable trip by bicycle.
Much of the Netherlands is formed by the estuary of three important rivers, which along with their distributaries form the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta, but exceptions to its flatness are foothills in the southeast and some low-hill ranges. There are 20 national parks, along with nature reserves, dotted with idyllic windmills. With a long and varied history, the country is now recognised internationally as being one of the most liberal in the world.
A two-day break
Sitting in North Brabant, in the south of the Netherlands, Breda offers a great location and insight into Dutch life as a whole. On a two-day break to the Netherlands the first day could be spent visiting the city’s outdoor cafés, culture and nightlife and cycling in nearby nature reserve the Mastbos. On the second day hop on the train and be in the country’s capital, Amsterdam, in under an hour.
A week-long stay
A week is the perfect time frame for exploring this charming little country. Operating from the Premier Classe Breda hotel, spend a few days getting to know beautiful Breda. Take day trips to other areas of the country too: first stop, the capital where you can catch the Van Gogh Museum. Head to Haarlem : its pretty cobble-stone streets, historic buildings and authentic bars will have you falling in love with the Netherlands all over again.
A family holiday
The country is very family-friendly. Children will love checking out the castles and cycling the easy flat countryside with a picnic. The Premier Classe Breda hotel is itself perfectly situated for a visit to the popular theme park De Efteling, which offers a great day out for all ages. The city is also a great place to conquer by bikes which can be rented from the Central Station or at the city bus station.
Breda is accessible by train and has two railway stations and numerous national bus lines stop at the Breda Central Bus Station. There is no airport but there are good connections to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Eindhoven. Bike and foot are popular choices for getting around, but there are bus stations and car rentals available.
Dutch cuisine has been enriched by many foreign flavours. Early Persian and Arab influences were the result of trading. Roman, French and Spanish influences occurred because of various conquests. More recently, the Netherlands has seen an influx of inhabitants from former colonies as well as from Turkey and Morocco, leading to a great fusion.
Art, music and folklore festivals are held in different cities during the summer season. The Holland Flowers Festival is an event to behold in February. During this time 4,500 square metres of colour, fragrance and beauty explode. Queen’s Day is equally as dazzling; it sees everything turn orange and parties in honour of the Queen’s mother’s birthday.
In the space of 150 years theDutchpeople have gone from being the smallest in Europe to the tallest in the world; with an average height of 184cm for men and 170cm for women. Various theories abound about why this could be including a good diet and general well-being.