Although the term “Holland” is commonly used to refer to the whole modern country of the Netherlands, Holland proper is a maritime region located in the western part of the Netherlands. Formerly the County of Holland, it is now divided into two Dutch provinces, North Holland and South Holland, two of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. It is a region that has numerous rivers, lakes, and extensive inland canals and waterway systems. With a glorious coastline, Holland is protected from the sea by coastal dunes. Holland includes the Netherland’s three largest cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague, as well as smaller cities and regions. These cities combine to form a conurbation referred to as Randstad, which is characterized by healthy competition between the many cities of which it is comprised.
Of the three main cities in Holland, Amsterdam is considered one of the jewels of Europe. It is a city rich in art and culture, history, and architecture. It is the financial and cultural capital of the Netherlands. One of Europe’s most popular vacation destinations, Amsterdam is a vibrant city with a plethora of activities and attractions. Amsterdam is noted for its stunning 17th century canals that can be explored on canal buses, canal bikes (individually pedaled boats), or on an evening cruise. Renowned for its arts and culture, Amsterdam has a plethora of museums including the Van Gogh museum and the Rijksmuseum that features the largest collection of classical Dutch art. Amsterdam also boasts a rich architectural history ranging from the iconic windmills to fabulous modern architecture, such as the Van Nelle Building. With fabulous dining that reflects the multicultural composition of this vibrant city, a vibrant nightlife, an abundance of festivals and concerts, as well as top-notch shopping, Amsterdam is truly a magical component of Holland.
The Hague is both a chic and traditional city and is the seat of government for the Netherlands. Highlights include the Madurodam, the world famous miniature city that has everything you would expect to find in Holland replicated to the minutest detail with full movement. Also rich in arts and culture, The Hague is home to The Hague Municipal Museum that features the largest collection of paintings by Dutch-born abstract artist, Piet Mondrian. Also located in The Hague is the Escher in Het Paleis, which has a huge collection of prints and drawings by the famed Dutch artist, M.C. Escher. Similar to Amsterdam, The Hague offers a broad range of cuisine, vibrant nightlife, and fun-filled festivals. It boast the oldest shopping arcade in the Netherlands, De Passage in Den Haag, and you can also shop ‘til you drop in the heart of The Hague in the Haagsche shopping area, which provides a great variety of shopping venues.
Rotterdam is a young city, south of Amsterdam, is renowned for its museums and fine art collections, as well as great views. Rotterdam is reputed for having the biggest harbour in Europe. Rotterdam’s Erasmus Bridge (“The Swan”) is the most talked about bridge in Holland, linking North Holland and South Holland. You can enjoy guided architecture tours, fabulous shopping, and a wide range of dining experiences. The city center actually has a number of traffic-free shopping streets for the ultimate shopping experience.
Holland is famous for its windmills, cheese, tulips, and clogs; however, its glorious coastline is renowned as well. You can avail yourself of numerable water sports such as kitesurfing, offshore fishing, banana sailing, and good old-fashioned beachcombing. You may want to tour the artificial island, the Neeltje Jans (Delta Works), which is considered the Eighth Wonder of the World. It is a system of hydraulic engineering that protects Holland from storm surges and aids in improving water balance. Holland provides ample opportunities for walking and hiking, as well as golfing at its more than 150 golf courts. The opportunities to explore and discover are endless … Holland is truly a jewel and a prime location for your ultimate vacation.