|Holiday vacation to Holland|
Gelderland Netherlands' largest province is located in the central eastern part of the country. Gelderland borders on Germany in the east. The capital city is Arnhem (in German Arnheim), known for its role in World War II. (Operation Market Garden). Other major cities are Nijmegen and Apeldoorn. The Province of Gelderland is divided in several areas: the Achterhoek with old mansions and castles surrounded by small farms in the east, the Veluwe in the north and Rivierenland in the south. Rivierenland is further divided in Betuwe (the fruit centre of Holland), Bommelerwaard and Land van Maas en Waal. An other area is called Rijk van Nijmegen and surrounds the city of Nijmegen. Nijmegen is the oldest town in Holland, every year the 4-days marches are held in Nijmegen. Gelderland is intersected by the major rivers Waal, Neder-Rijn (Rhine) and Ijssel. Gelderland is also intersected by a highway and a main railway line, both providing a good connection to Germany. Higlights in Gelderland are Holland's first and largest National Park De Hoge Veluwe where the Jachtslot St Hubertus and the world-renowned Kroller-Muller Museum are located with it's exceptional collection of art by European masters like Picasso, Renoir, Vincent van Gogh, Redon, Fantin-Latour, Signac, Seurat and Manet and Europe's largest sculpture park with stunning works by Rodin, Volten, Marini. At the border of the city Arnhem you find Burgers Zoo with it's Bush (a covered jungle), Safari Park, the Desert (a living desert) and Ocean (underwater world). Beside the Zoo you find the Nederlands Openluchtmuseum, with the historical trams you may drive with, HollandRama a combination of a futuristic time capsule and a 19th-century panorama theatre and more than 85 buildings, such as windmills, farms and houses. At the Waalkade of the city Nijmegen you find the Veleorama National Bicycle Museum, with a collection of 250 authentic veteran cycles - the only one of its kind in the Netherlands, as they say. Combine a visit to the museum with a walk along the Waalkade of the river De Waal. Close to Apeldoorn within the woods of the Park Berg en Bos Apenheul is situated with about thirty species of primates. The monkeys walk freely among the visitors (the Gorillas do not). Also situated in Apeldoorn is Paleis Het Loo Nationaal Museum. The Loo Palace was the favourite summer residence of the Royal Family of the Netherlands. For historical or genealogical research in and about the territory of Gelderland there is a public archiv in Arnhem, the Gelders Archief, a great source for finding historical documents, maps, photographs, drawings, marriage or death records e.t.c. Known schools in Gelderland with students from all over the world are The Arnhem Academy of Art and Design ArtEZ - HKA and the HAN University (Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen).
Zuid-Holland. Although the province of Zuid-Holland is not the largest in size, it does have the largest number of inhabitants (4 million). It is located in the mid-western part of the country between the provinces of Noord-Holland, Utrecht and Zeeland, and the Noordzee on the western side. The area between Den Haag, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam, the 4 major cities of Holland, is called de Randstad. The capital city is Den Haag. Koningin Beatrix, the head of state, lives and works in Den Haag. Therefore Den Haag is also know as De Residentie. All the Ministries, the Parliament, the Senate and the Government are also located in Den Haag. The Prime Minister traditionally works in Het Torentje which is part of the Binnenhof and Buitenhof. Den Haag is also know for the International Court of Justice which resides in Het Vredespaleis, the Yougoslavia Tribunal and recently the International Crimes Court. Den Haag has several museums, like Het Mauritshuis, Panorama Mesdag and Het Gemeentemuseum, with works of contemporary and old masters like Mondriaan, Vermeer, Rembrandt, Frans Hals and Van Ruisdael. Den Haag is close to the beach of Scheveningen, with wide beaches, a large boulevard, the casino and many restaurants. Just outside of Scheveningen, the dunes offer an oasis of peace, where one can walk for hours. The largest city of Zuid-Holland is Rotterdam, the main port of Europe. Unlike Den Haag which has many historical buildings, Rotterdam is a very modern city, due to the Second World war bombings. Rotterdam is a dynamic city, with breathtaking modern architecture such as Het Groothandelsgebouw, De Kunsthal, De Kubuswoningen en de Erasmusbrug. Rem Koolhaas, worldwide know for his architectural designs, has his office in Rotterdam. Other tourist attractions are the zoo Diergade Blijdorp with the Oceanium, the 185 meter high Euromast, the Spido boot tour through the harbours, the largest tropical swim paradise in Europe Tropicana and the many festivals, such as the International Film Festival of Rotterdam during the month of January and the Rotteram Marathon in the month of april. Other interesting smaller cities are the university cities of Delft and Leiden. Delft has lovely tree-lined canal streets with more than six hundred listed buildings and more than sixty bridges. There are also beautiful old churches such as De Oude Jan and De Nieuwe Kerk where members of the Royal Family are burried and the museum Het Prinsenhof. Famous also is the Delfts Aardewerk, porcelain which is being made since the 17th century and which is still being produced entirely by hand. More to the East is Gouda, know for the Goudse Kaas. From June to August weekly cheese markets are held here. Furthermore, the province of Zuid-Holland provides plenty of opportunities for water recreation. There are many large water area's, such as the Kagerplassen, Nieuwkoopseplassen, Reeuwijkseplassen, Westeinderplassen, etc. Nowhere in the world you will find as many windmills as near the village of Kinderdijk in the the famous 17th century windmill park.
Utrecht is the smallest province of the Netherlands, and is located in the center of the country. Utrecht is bordered by the IJsselmeer in the north, Gelderland in the east, the river Rhine in the south, South Holland in the west, and North Holland in the northeast. Important cities in the province of Utrecht are its capital Utrecht and Amersfoort. The main attractions in Amersfoort are the Sint-Joris church, the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren, the Koppelpoort (gate in the city walls) and the Muurhuizen (Wall-houses). Amersfoort is also called Keistad, originates in the Amersfoortse Kei, a boulder that was dragged into the city about 350 years ago by 400 people because of a bet. The city of Utrecht is known from its Dom Tower with a height of 112 meter (approx. 470 steps). In and around tower you find plenty of objects from artists, most of art can not be seen from the ground but from the tower only. Also visit the canals with its quaysides in the centre of the city with shops and restaurants. The Uithof is the campus of Utrecht - University with Student housing, the university library and the university medical center (UMC). Hoog Catharijne is an indoor shopping center adjacent to the train station. Utrecht Centraal (the Utrecht train station) is a main node of the Dutch rail network of NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen). Be aware since 2004 smoking is forbidden in the Netherlands on domestic trains and train stations. In the east of Utrecht find the Utrechtse Heuvelrug, a chain of hills left after the last ice age.
Drenthe is one of the 12 provinces of The Netherlands, located in the north-east of the country. In the north is the province of Groningen, in the west Friesland, in the south Overijssel and in the east the German border. Drenthe is one of the least densely populated provinces in the Netherlands. The white and red of the Drenth's flag are traditional Saxon colors. The 6 stars symbolize: Zuidenveld, Oostermoer, Noordenveld, Rolder, Beiler and Dieverder. The tower represents the castle of Coevorden from where Drenthe was ruled. The peace and quietness and open spaces of the province with a lot of small villages attracts a growing number of tourists. Drenthe is ideal for cycling, hiking and skating, there are over 600 km of various routes throughout the province. The terrain is fenland and moors, with well-drained clay and peat soils. Another very important aspect in Drenthe is its archeology. Drenthe has been populated since the prehistory. Most tangible evidence of this are the dolmens (hunebedden). There are 52 dolmens, about 5500 years old, in the northeast between the cities Assen, Borger and Emmen. In the Drents Museum at Assen you will find the beakers, axes, scrapers, beads etc. that were found in the hunebedden. National parks in the province of Drenthe are Dwingelderveld, Drents-Friese Wold and Drentsche Aa with it's Boomkroonpad, a walking track through the treetops at a height of 25 meter.
Friesland is located in the in the northern part of the Netherlands. In it's west once the Zuiderzee and now the IJsselmeer, in the east the province of Groningen, in the south the province of Overijssel and Drenthe and in the north the Wadden Islands (Frisian Islands): Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog. The islands are in constant motion, slowly moving eastward. North Friesland has a strong maritime tradition. Frisian people have beside Dutch their own language (the second official language), but also many of the Frisians speak English, German and French. Notice that city names and street names are in Frisian as well as in Dutch. Friesland has plenty of lakes interconnected by a network of canals. This makes Friesland a paradise for small boats. You can sail on the Frisian lakes and canals, the Yssel lake, the North Sea or the Waddensea (the sea between Friesland and the islands). Access to the Wadden Islands is via various ports on the North coast mainland. Consider Wadlopen - walking across mud flats together with an experienced guide to the Frisian islands during low-tide. A highlight of Friesland is the Elf Steden Tocht. The Friesche Elf Steden Association organises, annually when feasible the 11-city ice-skating marathon. It covers a course of almost 200 kilometres. The 11 steden (cities) are Leeuwarden, Sneek, IJlst, Sloten, Stavoren, Hindeloopen, Workum, Bolsward, Harlingen, Franeker and Dokkum.
Zeeland a province of the Netherlands formed by the delta of three rivers and located in the south-western region of the Netherlands is bounded by the North Sea in the west and bordering Belgium in the south. The most important east-west connection is the motorway A58 from the province of Noord-Brabant at Bergen op Zoom to Vlissingen. The railway line between Vlissingen and Amsterdam, forms the backbone of public transport in Zeeland. The largest town in Zeeland is Middelburg, the most important cities are Middelburg and Vlissingen. Zeeland consists of the former islands of Schouwen-Duiveland, Tholen, Sint-Philipsland, Noord-Beveland and Zuid-Beveland and Walcheren and Zeeuwsch-Vlaanderen at the south of the Westerschelde. Large parts of Zeeland are below sealevel. Traditionally Zeeland is a farming province, for centuries reclaiming land from the sea has yielded hundreds of hectares of fertile soil. Zeeland is also of big touristic importance. Attractions are the historic cities of Middelburg, Zierikzee, Veere and Vlissingen. The flat landscape and also along the coastline of Zeeland is perfect for bicycling. Cycle routes have been set out everywhere. A visit to the exposition at Waterland Neeltje Jans (the Oosterschelde Stormvloedkering) is a must. Waterland Neeltje Jans is located at Burgh-Haamstede and includes a water pavilion, water playground and a dolphin rescue and research centre. In February 1953 The Netherlands was confronted with the worst natural disaster in its history. During an extremely strong storm, the North Sea flooded the river-delta of Zeeland as wel the southern part of Holland. It was decided to protect the land with a storm surge barrier (Stormvloedkering) the Deltaworks or Deltawerken, that could let water flow through and that would only be closed if there was a risk of a severe storm surge.
Noord-Brabant (North Brabant) located in the south of the Netherlands is the second largest province of The Netherlands, extending northward from the Belgium border, to the Maas (Meuse) and Merwede rivers, between the provinces of Zeeland in the west and Limburg in the east. Noord Brabant is drained by the Mark (Merk) and Dommel rivers and the Zuidwillemsvaart and Wilhelmina canal. National Parks in Noord-Holland are National Park de Groote Peel, National Park Loonse, Drunense Duinen (Europe's largest areas of drifting sand) and National Park De Biesbosch. The Maas delta flows through the Biesbosch area. Major cities are 's-Hertogenbosch (forest of the duke), also called Den Bosch for short, Tilburg, Eindhoven and Breda. The Dutch Royal Military Academy (Koninklijke Militaire Academie) is located in Breda. Den Bosch is known from its Gothic cathedral St John's, dating back to the 11th century. Eindhoven is the city of the Philips Electrical Company. Points of interest are Rosmalen the location of the Autotron car museum and de Efteling which is located close to the city of Kaatsheuvel. One of the Museums of North Brabant is the Central Noordbrabants Museum.
Limburg with a length of 160 kilometers and 6 kilometers at its narrowest point between the Belgium and German border, is located in the south-east of the country and is the most southern province of the Netherlands. It is bordered by Belgium in the west, Germany in the east, and the province of North Brabant and a small part of Gelderland in the north. Between 1965 and 1975 because of the closure of the coalmines there has been a great investment in a new economy structure, now Limburg is one of Western Europe's care economic areas. Major motorways are the A2, A67, A73 and A77. Major airports in the area of Limburg are Maastricht Aachen Airport and Flughafen Niederrhein (close to the Dutch - German border). The most important river is the Maas (Meuse), that passes through the entire length of the province from South at the village Eijsden to North at the village Mook, sliding into the North Sea at Rotterdam. The Maas provides numerous water sports facilities. Major cities are Maastricht in the south, Sittard-Geleen, Heerlen-Kerkrade, Roermond in the center and Venlo. You may divide Limburg into three regions South, Middle or Central Limburg and North Limburg, each region has it's own point of view. Noord-Limburg (north) - the De Peel region (nature reserve) with an extensive wood and heathland characteristic. Midden-Limburg (Central Limburg) with its green Meuse (Maas) valley is interspersed with numerous lakes. The south (Zuid-Limburg) of the province compared to the rest of the country, has hills. These hills actually are the edges of the Ardennes of Belgium. The highest hill in Limburg, as well in the Netherlands, is the Vaalserberg (321 meter). Many churches in Limburg have an array of treasures such as sculpture, vestments and other religious objects. The historic city of Maastricht, also a congress city (the Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Centre or MECC), with its Vrijthof and Basilica of St. Servatius (the oldest church in the country), is located in the South of Limburg (Zuid Limburg). Maastricht is the oldest city in the Netherlands, known for its Romanesque churches, patrician houses and the Bonnefanten Museum (Museum of Fine Art and Archaeology) with it's collection of Old Masters like Rubens, Van Dyck and Jordaens. Of interest is also the Natural History Museum showing the natural history of South Limburg with remains of sauriers and giant turtles found in marlstone at the St. Pietersberg (Mount St. Pieter) caverns. Marlstone (chalk) was used by the population as building-stones for their farms and houses. Famous caves (mergelgrotten) in Valkenburg aan de Geul (the oldest tourist centre in the Netherlands) are the Gemeentegrot and the Fluweelen Grot. Another city of interest with an attraction is Arcen with the Castle Gardens (Kasteeltuinen), one of the largest permanent exhibitions of flowers and shrubs in the Netherlands, a country estate surrounded by a flowers- and plants park. In the city of Venlo you find the Limburg Museum, it has a general collection of art and cultural objects. A remarkable point in Limburg known as the Drielandenpunt (Three CountriesPoint), is a spot that borders the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany at the city Vaals.
Noord-Holland with dunes along the coast and surrounded by water, in the west the North Sea, in the north the Waddenzee and in the east the IJsselmeer, is a province of the Netherlands located in the northwest part of the country. Much of Noord-Holland is below sea level (polders). One of the major gateways to Europe, Schiphol Airport is located in Noord-Holland. From the train-station at Schiphol Airport you may reach every major city in the Netherlands within 3 hours or less. In Noord-Holland you find the largest continuous area of flower fields (bulb fields) in the Netherlands. Visitors to Holland will find the months of April and May to be highly colorful in any year, with different flowers blooming successfully throughout the entire period. The famous Keukenhof Garden in Lisse is the flower attraction of Holland. An auction of flowers takes place early in the morning at the city Aalsmeer (the world's largest flower auction). Old centers with seaports are Edam, Hoorn and Enkhuizen with its open-air Zuiderzeemuseum. Other cities are: Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, separated by the IJ waterway and connecting by tunnels both parts, the center of Amsterdam and Amsterdam North. The city center has buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries. Amsterdam highlights are the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, the Concertgebouw, Rembrandt House Museum, the Anne Frank house and also the red-light district. Parking space in Amsterdam is rare and expensive using public transport is advisable. Close to Amsterdam you find the historic provincial capital Haarlem with its Teylers Museum (minerals fossils), the Frans Hals Museum and Grote Markt with the St.Bavo Church. Alkmaar is the Dutch cheese town. The traditional cheese market is held every Friday morning. Volendam, with its famous local costumes and its historic fishing port. Den Helder, a visit to the Harbor and the Marinemuseum is worth it. Hilversum is the principal Dutch centre for radio and TV (the Dutch Hollywood). Zandvoort, on the North Sea coast west of Haarlem known from its beach and the Zandvoort Racing Circuit. Recreational areas in Noord Holland are the Streekbos and Ursemmerplas and the island of Texel with its nature reserves de Muy and De Slufter. It is the largest and most populated of the West Frisian Wadden Islands in the Wadden Sea. It can be reached almost every hour from Den Helder by ferries. Texel has 9 towns, De Koog is the most known bathing resort.