Many people know the Netherlands as a country in which soft drugs are legalized. But this information is an insignificant part of what you should learn about this state. So, the Netherlands is a country that includes the Western European part, as well as the islands of Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire in the Caribbean.
This country (as well as several other islands, such as Sint Maarten, Aruba, and Kyurosao) are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. But the Netherlands has the special status of a self-governing public entity. The country is bordered by Belgium and Germany.
The capital is Amsterdam, but in fact, in fact, the center can be called The Hague, since it is here that the embassies, the government and the royal residence are located. The official language is Dutch. By the way, some people mistakenly call this state Holland, but Holland is just a province (there are two of them: North and South).
Since the Netherlands is included in the list of countries of the Schengen Agreement, a visa is required to enter this state. Making it is not so difficult, you will need the following documents:
- copy of the passport of a citizen of the state
- 2 photos in size 3,5х4,5 (they should be color),
- a valid passport (in this case its validity period must be completed no earlier than 3 months after the end of the trip),
- if you have an old passport with marks of previously obtained Schengen visas, you will need to provide it,
- a completed application form (you need to fill it in Dutch, German or English),
- certificate of employment, which must indicate the position, income, experience, as well as the address and contact details of the employer,
- bank statement confirming your solvency (about 40 euros should be paid for each day of stay in the country),
- you will also need to provide documents confirming the fact of booking the hotel, copies of air tickets and insurance,
- if you are visiting someone, the recipient must send an invitation, as well as provide a certificate of wages for the last 3 months and a copy of his passport.
Consular fee is about 35 euros. You will also need to pay for the processing of documents in the visa application center (about 20-25 euros). All documents must be submitted personally and in advance.
There may be difficulties at customs, so you should know in advance what can be imported into the country and what cannot. You can take with you any amount of money (amounts above 10 thousand euros are subject to declaration), 250 grams of pure tobacco, 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars, 500 grams of coffee, 100 grams of tea, 2 liters of weak alcoholic beverages (strength less than 22% ) or a liter of spirits (strength over 22%), 50 milliliters of perfume or 250 milliliters of toilet water.
You can not import drugs, not canned meat and dairy products, animals without references, weapons, rare plants, illegal drugs (many drugs require prescriptions, so take them with you), personal goods worth over 175 euros.
The laws of the Netherlands may seem loyal to many, but in reality things are somewhat different. Here are the important points that should be known to all those who are going to enter the state:
- Soft drugs (namely, marijuana) are allowed, but they can only be used in designated places, which for some reason are called coffee shops. In addition, a single dose should not exceed 5 grams per person. By the way, since marijuana in the Netherlands is natural and pure, the risk of overdose is increased. In this case, you should immediately go to the hospital. But it is better, of course, not to try drugs at all, in this state there are many other more interesting and useful things.
- An adult comes here at 16 years old. From this age, it is allowed to use the services of girls of easy virtue, as well as to use weak alcoholic beverages (strength of less than 15%).
- From the age of 18, it is allowed to use soft drugs, as well as drink strong alcoholic beverages. In addition, persons who have reached this age can provide sexual services and even act in porn films.
- Prostitution is not prohibited here, but pimping, oddly enough, is punishable by law.
- Pornography is also not prohibited, so that information of an erotic nature (and sometimes frankly pornographic) can be freely available.
- Perverted types of sex are not prohibited.
- But for drunkenness or smoking in public places can be fined or even arrested.
Tourism in the Netherlands is very developed, and therefore tourists are treated very well. The local people, in general, are very friendly and sociable and always ready to help in difficult situations. Also, residents of the state are very hospitable and not accustomed to isolate themselves from the rest.
Even the windows in the houses here are large, and often they do not curtain with curtains. All people are very polite, so do not tolerate rudeness and rudeness in his address. When meeting or saying goodbye, everyone shakes hands. Dress everything simple, but with taste. Negligence in dress is a bad form and a reason for neglect.
But do not trust everyone. In the Netherlands, unfortunately, theft is rampant. So the money and documents are best hidden in secret and inaccessible places. In general, do not hold anything in your pockets, since most of the thieves are pickpockets.
Where to stay?
There are quite a lot of hotels in the Netherlands, but if you decide to visit a large city, then be prepared to pay a rather large amount for a room. By the way, it is better to book a room in advance, as there may not be places.
In the cities of the Netherlands operates a unified transport system, divided into zones and consisting of buses, trolley buses and trams. There are night routes. Intercity communication is carried out by means of trains, they are very comfortable and modern here.
What's so interesting?
If you are planning a vacation in the Netherlands, then you should first make up a route and include the most interesting places in it. To begin with we list the main attractions and noteworthy corners of the whole country as a whole:
- Kinderdijk is a beautiful and very cozy village, located near Rotterdam.
- Keukenhof is a real flower kingdom located between the Hague and Amsterdam.
- House of Peter I, located in Zaandem. It was here that the world famous king learned the basics of shipbuilding and lived for a long time in secret.
- On the territory of the entire state you can see a lot of windmills. Especially a lot of them in the village of Zaanse Schans.
- Visit the amusement park and the Efteling Safari Park, located near Tilburg.
And what to see in Amsterdam? There are a lot of interesting things here:
- The famous street red light. This is not so much a street as a whole block. The windows are illuminated with red light, and in them you can see the girls of easy virtue, attracting customers. This place, by the way, is one of the most visited in the city.
- Rijksmuseum. Here you can see pictures of the most famous artists of all time.
- National Maritime Museum.
- Zoo "Artis Zoo".
- Channels. No one knows exactly how many canals the Amstel River has, but Amsterdam is often called the Venice of the North.
- Madame Tussauds wax museum.
- Erotica Museum.
- Museum "Nemo".
The cuisine of the Netherlands is, above all, delicious Dutch cheeses. In addition, there is very fond of herring and eat it without bread, almost entirely. But the favorite drink is vodka, especially juniper.
Get in the Netherlands a lot of new experiences!
Rotterdam is a real kaleidoscope city, many-sided and bright. Here you have high art, noisy nightlife, and shopping, and everyday work of the port city. Futuristic architecture and traditional values - this is all Rotterdam.
Connoisseurs of beauty can spend even a whole day, moving from one museum to another, avid party-goers will find exactly where to have fun from the heart, because there are many night clubs here, but gourmets will be happy to taste the local culinary masterpieces in one of the city’s restaurants.
What is worth paying attention to in Rotterdam? Kunsthal Museum, Shabo Museum, Cubic houses, Maritime Museum and Schoonoord Park, but that's not all! If you want to immediately see the most interesting things, we advise you to go on a sightseeing tour of the architectural Rotterdam with a local guide.
Delft is not only the birthplace of the world famous painted porcelain, but also a very picturesque city. For example, the historic center of Delft has been preserved since the 17th century! Old houses and narrow streets, canals and squares framed by picturesque buildings, museums and palaces, ancient churches - Delft is like a jewel box.
Prinsenhof Palace with a magnificent collection of paintings and a collection of porcelain and silver, the Old Church, where you can listen to the organ, the Eastern Gate - all that remains of the former fortress walls, and the Town Hall - this is what you should see here in the first place. And art lovers are advised to go for a walk in the places of Vermeer.
You will love the Hague with its colorful, modern look: here you can mix old Dutch houses of the 17th century, magnificent Baroque residences, and even elegant art nouveau constructions and very modern buildings like the Central Library building. You can walk around the city and wonder how such seemingly incompatible styles can coexist with each other so naturally.
And the Hague is a godsend for those who like to delve into history. Binnenhof Castle, Riedderzal, the Museum of the Inquisition (the former medieval prison Gewagenport) and a bunch of other museums of various subjects and city sights - to see it all, you can turn to local guides and choose a tour on your own.
4. Zaanse Schans
You can find yourself in a real Dutch village of the 18th century if you go to the village of Zaanse Schans, which is half an hour’s drive from Amsterdam.
Here, in the open, all the treasures of this country are collected: old houses along picturesque canals, antique-style shops, where you can see how artisans of that era worked, and of course, traditional products of Dutch masters: porcelain (including the famous Delft with blue painted), sabot, all kinds of cheeses and national toys.
If you do not have time to smash enough The Netherlands and explore the country as it should, do not worry! Go to Alkmaar, because there is everything that these edges are famous for.
Dutch cheese? You are welcome! Alkmaar cheese fairs will not leave indifferent any lover of this delicacy. Dutch mills? Also there, as many as eleven. Want to enjoy the beach? No problem, because the city is located just on the shores of the North Sea. Well, the fact that the central square of Alkmaar (Square of Canada) regularly hosts concerts and exhibitions, and there are many interesting shops in the city, will only add to its popularity with tourists.
This small provincial town is remarkable not only for its lovely cozy landscapes. It is the birthplace of one of the most popular types of cheese. Therefore, in order to fully enjoy the process of buying this delicacy, we advise you to slowly wander around the local cheese shops, tasting at the same time you like cheeses, or go to the special tasting room "Kaasproeverij Gestam" at Voorhaven, 127, where you will be offered to try several varieties of this varieties of cheese. Look only, do not buy everything that you see on the shelves, because it is simply impossible to resist such a yummy!
7. West Frisian Islands
This string of islands stretching along the shores of the Netherlands is definitely worth a visit. Here you need to go to those who do not mind in long walks in nature, because almost all the islands (at least those that can be reached by ferry) are simply created for hiking and outdoor activities. For example, Vlieland is an island entirely composed of sand dunes and coniferous forests. The noise of the sea, the air filled with salt and the scent of pine needles, and sand dunes to the horizon are the best place to take a break from civilization.
1. Dutch men - the highest in the world.
The average height of a Dutch man is 1.83 meters.
2. Home birth is very popular in the Netherlands, and makes up about 20 percent of all births.
3. Most of Amsterdam is built on wooden pillars with a height of 12 meters.
Since the city was built on a swampy area, most of the buildings rest on wooden pillars fortified on the first layer of the sandy bed of the river.
Nearly one million pillars support Amsterdam, many of which were eventually replaced by concrete and steel piles.
4. Among the Dutch, the least cases of lactose intolerance.
5. The Netherlands is recognized as a country with the highest quality and affordable food.
6. In the Netherlands more bicycles than people.
In 2013, the Netherlands, together with Denmark, were considered the most bicycle-oriented countries in the European Union.
7. In the city of Lisse is the Keukenhof flower park - the largest flower garden in the world.
There are more than 800 varieties of tulips growing here.
8. In Amsterdam, 1281 bridge.
They connect the city with 164 channels.
9. Pub "De Drie Gezusters" ("Three Sisters") - the largest pub in Europe.
Life in the Netherlands
10. Every Monday, every month, alarms are activated throughout the country.
This siren is a verification alarm and turns on at noon and lasts 1 minute 26 seconds without interruption.
11. Siphol Airport - the main international airport of the Netherlands is located at a depth of 4 meters below sea level.
The airport was built at the bottom of Lake Haarlemmer, which was drained in 1852.
12. The Dutch greet each other, kissing three times on the cheek.
The rule of three kisses is common in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.
13. At the beginning of spring, the Dutch celebrate the Day Skirts - Rokjesdag, when women begin to bare legs and wear short skirts.
Men can also participate and wear shorts or skirts.
14. Christmas is celebrated in the Netherlands on December 5th, and this is the day when the Sinterclass brings presents to children.
Dutch children call the Santa Claus Kerstman, and they expect gifts from him on December 24th.
15. Every summer, thousands of Dutch children and their parents participate in the 4-day march of Avondvierdaagse, eating halves of mint and mint, which gives them energy.
16. In the Netherlands, people with disabilities receive money so that they can use sex services up to 12 times a year.
17. The supermarket chain in the Netherlands adheres to the rule that if all queues cost 4 people each and not all cash desks are open, you pick up food for free.
18. In the village of Giethoorn in the Netherlands there are no roads. People move around the village on foot or through the many channels of the village.
1. Orthus Botanicus
Amsterdam Botanical Garden is considered one of the oldest and largest in Europe. It was founded in 1638 and today has about 6,000 species of plants and trees.
Ortus Botanicus is famous for its greenhouses, each of which accurately recreates certain climatic conditions. So, in the local "tropics" it is very humid, where you can look at exotic creepers and luxurious orchids. And in the "subtropical" greenhouse there is a bridge from which you can admire ferns and flowering fruit trees. The territory of the garden is huge - if you get tired of exploring rare plants, go take a break in the cafe on the site.
Address: Plantage Middenlaan, 2a
Wiki: Amsterdam Botanical Garden
Operation mode: daily from 10:00 to 17:00 (on holidays - special opening hours, in addition, the park is closed on January 1 and December 25).
2. Museum of Hashish, Marijuana and Hemp
Recently, in the Netherlands, the trade in soft drugs is limited: no more than 5 grams per hand, you can not advertise and sell to minors. And from January 1, 2013 - a complete ban on the sale of hashish and marijuana to foreign nationals.
But no one forbids tourists to go to museums, even to specific ones. Moreover, the Amsterdam exposition of hashish, marijuana and hemp has a noble educational mission. The museum tells about the types and varieties of these plants, methods of their cultivation, their medical properties, as well as the history of use in various cultures and industries (our grandmothers, for example, wore clothes made from hemp).
The cost of attendance - 9 euros. Tasting of exhibits is not provided.
Address: Oudezijds Achterburgwal, 148
Operation mode: every day from 10:00 to 23:00
3. The Pancake Bakery Bakery
The taste of Holland is the famous Amsterdam herring, kibbeling, croquettes and bitterbolans. But you will not understand anything about the Dutch cuisine, if you do not try pannenkokeny. These are pancakes with various fillings - meat, cheese, fruit, chocolate, etc. But, unlike Russian pancakes, the filling in pannenkokeni does not wrap up, but is superimposed on top, as for pizza.
The best pannencocken in Amsterdam are served at The Pancake Bakery, a bakery near the Anne Frank Museum. В меню этого заведения 75 видов (!) национальных голландских блинчиков. При этом цены «не кусаются» – 5,95 евро за большую порцию.
Address: Prinsengracht 191, 1015 DS
Operation mode: ежедневно с 12:00 до 21:30
4. Памятник женской груди
В самом сердце Амстердама, в брусчатке одной из его улочек, находится еще одна необычная достопримечательность – памятник женской груди. Бронзовая композиция, представляющая собой пышную женскую грудь, лежащую в мужской ладони, символизирует Инь и Ян. The chest is a symbol of humility and femininity, and the palm is of firmness and masculine power. At the same time, the hand is chained to the girl’s body, which means the codependency of female attractiveness and male power. True, most tourists do not dig so deep, for them the message of the sculpture is obvious, because it is located in the Red Light District.
Many urban legends are associated with this monument. According to one of them (the most beautiful) a young man and a girl once lived in Amsterdam, who loved each other madly. But the happiness of the young couple did not last long - the war separated them. The guy went to the front and lost his sight, and the girl because of poverty became a prostitute. After returning home, the guy was walking through the streets of his native city, when suddenly someone called him. This was one of the priestesses of love. Touching her breast, the young man recognized his beloved.
In addition to legends, the monument is covered with signs. For example, men who stood on a bronze chest, guaranteed male longevity, and stroked her - many sexual victories.
Address: Prostitutiegebied, in de buurt van de oude kerk
Monument to the female breast in Amsterdam
5. NEMO Science Center
Where does lightning come from? Why earthquakes happen? How do airplanes fly? Children always have a million questions, and adults do not know the answers to all of them. To satisfy the curiosity of the “how-tosomers” (and your own), go to the NEMO scientific center.
This is a unique museum dedicated to science and technology. Its peculiarity is that the rule “Do not touch your hands” does not work there. On the contrary, it is recommended to take the exhibits in hands, twist, shake, press buttons - children should comprehend the world on personal experience.
The building of the center, resembling a ship’s stern, was designed by Renzo Piano. The architect specifically "exposed" the ventilation pipes and other functional elements, as it correlates well with the concept of the museum. On the roof of the NEMO there is an observation deck with a wonderful view of Amsterdam.
Address: Oosterdok, 2
Wiki: NEMO Museum
Operation mode: Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00
6. Tattoo Museum
The Tattoo Museum is a relatively new establishment in Amsterdam. It was founded by Henk Schiffmacher in 2011. Being a tattoo master, Henk for many years collected all sorts of exhibits related to tattoos. As a result, so much has accumulated that the artist decided to open a museum.
And this is really a must see! Tattoo-typewriters, needles, photographs, paintings, and even a piece of real tattooed skin of a Boston sailor — altogether more than 40 thousand exhibits.
A visit to the museum of tattoo will cost you 10 euros. By the way, there is also a themed bookstore and a cafe nearby where you can take a break and share your impressions of what you see.