What is the high season and what is the low season in Holland?
In general, high season prices apply during the school holidays and national holidays in Holland. For detailed information please check our practical information section about school holidays and national holidays or contact a local tourist office (VVV) in the town where you would like to stay.
We would like to rent a boat and sail through Holland. Do you have addresses of boat rental companies for us?
There is water everywhere in Holland. Rivers, lakes, canals, ditches and don’t forget the extensive Dutch coast. With more than 7,000 km of waterways and many lakes it is not surprising that there is an abundance of water sports facilities. Would you like to rent a boat? Use the search box on this page. For detailed, local information please check with the local tourist office (VVV) in the town where you would like to stay.
Is it possible to stay with a family and to take part in family life?
Yes, it is! You can stay at a guesthouse or Bed and Breakfast. In this type of accommodation a hostess will welcome you into her own home and will offer you good accommodation at a reasonable rate. Breakfast is included. You will get a warm reception, while your privacy will be respected. For detailed information please use one of the search boxes on this page to find a local tourist office (VVV) in the town where you would like to stay.
Do you always have to park your camper in designated areas?
Sorry, but camping is only allowed on standard campsites in Holland. If you park anywhere else you may be fined. Of course, you may park your camper during the day in a quiet spot, but at night the camper should be parked at one of the many campsites in this country. That is the reason why we advise you to look for a campsite. You will find a complete overview of campsites in our online database. Use the search box 'accommodations' and for detailed local information, please check with the local tourist office in the town where you would like to stay.
Can you inform us about special facilities for disabled people in Holland?
Holland is known as a country which is generally quite accessible to disabled people. A good way of indicating the accessibility of accommodations, museums, etc., is the International Accessibilty Symbol (IAS). In our Search Service you can define your specific requirements regarding disabled facilities and, of course, make a selection on the IAS symbol. Please note: many of the public buildings, which do not have such a symbol, may nevertheless be regarded as reasonably suitable for the physically disabled. In addition, the local Tourist Offices (VVV) can give you more information on facilities in their immediate area.
Who exactly is Hans Brinker?
Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates’ is undoubtedly the best-known book on Holland by far.
Where can I learn more about the Second World War?
World War II plays an important role in Dutch history. Holland has several museums on WW II. In the 'Museums' -section you can select 'war/arms' collections. 4 May is our National Memorial Day and on 5 May the whole country celebrates Liberation Day. The largest memorial service takes place on 4 May at 8 p.m. on Dam Square in Amsterdam. Queen Beatrix lays a floral wreath on the National War Memorial Monument to commemorate those who perished in the war. This gesture is followed by one minute of silence throughout the entire nation.
What is 'Prinsjesdag' and is it correct that a Golden Carriage rides around in The Hague?
'Prinsjesdag' is held every year on the third Tuesday in September, and is the official opening of the parliamentary year. On this day the Queen rides to the Dutch Parliament in her Golden Carriage. There she reads her annual speech in which she introduces the plans of the government, together with the country’s budget for the new parliamentary year. Many Dutch citizens travel to The Hague on the third Tuesday of September. Thousands of people stand alongside the Golden Carriage route to wave to the Queen. This is a special experience for you, the tourist, as you will amongst the Dutch themselves. The Golden Carriage leaves at noon from the Noordeinde Palace on the Noordeinde in The Hague and arrives before 1 p.m. at the Binnenhof (Parliament building). The Queen’s speech is given at 1 p.m.
What happens on 'Koninginnedag' (Queen’s Day)?
Queen Beatrix birthday is the 31 January. But in honour of her mother, Princess Juliana whose birthday is on 30 April, Queen Beatrix celebrates her birthday on that day each year. The highlight of the day is her visit to two different towns in Holland. The local populations welcome her with lots of festivities. Details are provided on the Holland Site. You certainly do not have to be in one of the two cities visited by the Queen to celebrate the Queen’s Day. In every city, town and village, you’ll encounter street fairs, games, parades, and flea markets. Try not to miss this celebration. It’s pure fun for everybody! All here in Holland look forward to April 30 every year.
Does Holland have a president?
No, we have a monarchy. Since 1813 Holland has been a constitutional monarchy with a royal family. Our queen is Beatrix of Orange. The Royal House, whose founder was Prince William of Orange (1533-1584), is the House of Orange-Nassau which has historical links with the Netherlands dating back to the sixteenth century. Queen Beatrix (born 1938), who has been head of state since 1980, was married to Prince Claus of the Netherlands (+ 2002). They have three sons: Prince Willem Alexander (1967), Prince Johan Friso (1968) and Prince Constantijn (1969). Succession to the throne is hereditary in both the male and female lines, the first-born child being first in the line of succession.
Which city is the capital of Holland, Amsterdam or The Hague?
Holland is one of the few countries in which the government does not have its seat in the nation's capital. Amsterdam is the capital of Holland and the country's largest city. The Hague has been the seat of government since the 13th century. The Binnenhof is a historical complex of buildings housing the Dutch Parliament. The Ridderzaal (Knight's Hall) is the most important building in the complex. His Royal Highness King Willem-Alexander lives in Wassenaar en works in The Hague.
Where can I find local or regional information regarding Holland?
For local and/or regional information you can, while in Holland, go to a local Tourist Information Office, often called VVV. Every city of interest has one. The VVVs are specialised in providing tourists with information on their city or town and on the surrounding area.
Where can I find detailed maps of Holland?
Detailed maps certainly do exist, but unfortunately we don’t sell them. However, if you would like to discover Holland in an active way such as on foot or by bike, we advise you to visit the relating pages on our website. Maps can be obtained from a local Tourist Information Office. They are specialised in providing tourists with information on their city or town and on the surrounding area.
Is it true that Holland is located under sea level?
24% of Holland’s surface area is situated under the average sea level, mainly in the western and northern part of the country. The lowest point, 6,7 metres below NAP (Normal Amsterdam Level), is in the west. The highest point, 321 metres above NAP, is in the south, at the point where the borders of Holland, Belgium and Germany meet. You can learn more about the struggle against the water at the Neeltje Jans Waterland. This former artificial island is the country’s best information center for discovering the wonders of the world of water.
In which time zone is Holland located?
Holland is located in the Central European time zone, i.e. six hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. Daylight saving time starts at the end of March and lasts till the end of October.
I know Holland is a small country. But how small is it really?
Holland is quite small, the surface area is 41,528 square kilometres. The greatest distance from north to south is 300 kilometres, and from west to east 200 kilometres.
Are 'Holland' and 'the Netherlands' the same?
As far as the traveller is concerned, yes! Holland is the name commonly used abroad to refer to the country that is officially named The Netherlands. Strictly speaking, Holland comprises only the two western provinces of North and South Holland - a region that encompasses Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and other well-known Dutch cities such as Delft, Leiden and Haarlem.
Where and when can we see the Dutch tulips in bloom?
In general, April is the best month to see the colorful tulip fields. Find out more on this subject at http://www.holland.com/global/activities/culture/flowersandbulbfields
Can you please tell me something about typically Dutch dishes?
Typically Dutch dishes are: curly kale and sausages, pea soup with dark rye bread, herring, kroketten (a deep-fried type of breaded ragout), bitterballen (the bite-size version of the kroket, very popular at parties), huge pancakes which hardly fit on a plate and also tiny pancakes, called poffertjes, which are eaten hot with powdered sugar and lashings of slowly melting butter! Curly kale and sausages is a typical dish which the average family eats at home in winter time. Kroketten, pea soup, pancakes and poffertjes are also served in restaurants. Don’t forget to try a raw herring served at one of the stalls in Scheveningen (with chopped onions!). Imitate the locals for the right way of eating this rare treat. Throughout the country you’ll find special pancake and poffertjes restaurants. The local Tourist Offices (VVV) will be happy to give you addresses in the area where you are staying.
Will I need an international driver’s licence in Holland?
Whether your driver’s license is valid in Holland depends on where it was issued. We do advise to use an international driver’s license if your license is in a language other than English. You can apply for an international license at the automobile association in your own country. Driver’s licenses issued in one of the member states of the European Union and in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway are valid in Holland.In all other cases you might have to show an international driver’s license. You can apply for an international license at the automobile association in your own country.
Where is the Delft Blue Pottery made?
The original Delft Blue Pottery is made in the city of Delft, in only two official places. One of these is 'De Porceleyne Fles', Rotterdamseweg 196. Here you can see the whole process of making the hand-painted Delftware.
When is the Eleven-City Skating Tour?
That is hard to say. The Eleven-City Tour is a ice skating tour covering more than 200 km along 11 cities in the province of Friesland (in the north of Holland). Whether or not the tour will take place depends totally on the weather conditions, which have to be quite extreme, and this is the reason why it is never certain whether the tour will take place until a few days beforehand. The tour was only skated 15 times in the past century! The most recent one was in 1997, the one before that in 1986. Anyone completing this gruelling event is considered to be somewhat of a hero in Holland.
Is the Volendam traditional costume still worn throughout Holland?
The Volendam traditional costume is the best-known but is only worn in Volendam. Holland has many other regional costumes. These are worn during special occasions in certain areas of Holland. You’ll also see inhabitants in Spakenburg, Urk and Staphorst wearing the traditional clothes.
Is it possible to travel everywhere from the airport by public transportation?
Yes, Holland has a very extensive public transport network. Trains or buses take their passengers to even the smallest towns. Services to most places run until about midnight. Larger towns have extensive regional bus, train and tram services. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is one of the country's largest train stations. Trains to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague depart at least once every 30 minutes and once every hour between 01.00 a.m. and 05.00 a.m.
Do the Dutch still wear clogs (wooden shoes)?
Contrary to what a lot of tourists think not many Dutch people wear clogs these days. They are mainly worn on farms where the wooden shoes protect feet better against cold and dampness than regular shoes and boots do. Moreover, it has been proven in research studies that walking in wooden shoes is healthy. Try it and see for yourself! In various tourist centres you can try on wooden shoes and buy the ones that fit!
Can you tell me more about celebrating St Nicholas, Christmas and New Year's Eve in Holland?
Long before 5 December it’s on everyone’s mind. The Dutch vigorously prepare for St. Nicholas’ birthday. In November the steamship carrying St. Nicholas and his Black Peters to Holland arrives, and is met by thousands of people. St. Nicholas is a renowned national saint about whom there is no reliable history information. He is thought to have been Bishop of Myra (Turkey) in the fourth century. Nicholas is the patron saint of students, children, cities and countries. Since the 9th century St. Nicholas has been worshipped in Italy. In the legends which circulated about him in Holland Spain replaced Italy. That explains his Moorish servant Black Peter. Originally a feast for children, it has gradually become an occasion for the whole family, who exchange gifts which are usually accompanied by rhymes which mildly tease the recipient. Sometimes the presents are elaborately wrapped, making the unwrapping quite an adventure and a 'surprise'. Christmas in Holland is most of all a religious event, spent with the family. Christmas trees can be found everywhere, in the houses, churches, shops and on the squares. Each family, of course, has its own way of celebrating Christmas, and sticks to the sometimes age-old customs of their ancestors that have become tradition.
Can you tell me about the condition of the highways, and about the secondary roads?
Holland’s infrastructure is quite good. All places are easily accessible by both private car and public transport. All major roads in Holland have crash barriers, many highways are treated with a special material which makes it very safe to drive, even in inclement weather.
Weather and Climate
When can you skate in Holland?
If you’re lucky, your visit to Holland will acquire an extra dimension if the temperature gets under 10 degrees below Celsius for quite a number of days. Then, young and old put on their skates. Although 21st century winters tend to be very mild, a period of frost is very well possible, especially between Christmas and Valentine's Day. At first, when the ice is not thick enough yet, they skate on the pastures which are covered with water (now ice!). The real fun starts as soon as the ice on the ditches and canals is thick enough. Lots of people join in with the fun. Many improvised stalls sell hot cocoa and pea soup right on the ice. A real experience!
What type of clothing should I bring?
The weather varies from day to day, so be prepared for anything. Rainfall is common, so the most important items to bring are a raincoat and water-resistant shoes. A jumper is appropriate for the cooler summer days and evenings. Overall, the Dutch dress casually, so formal clothing is rarely required.
We have heard that, due to your climate, the seasons are very different. Is this true?
When the Dutch converse with each other, 9 times out of 10, the conversation revolves around the weather! It doesn’t matter whether it’s cold outside, rainy, windy or sunny. The weather is totally unpredictable in the Netherlands! The sea has a great effect on the climate of Holland. The average winter is mild, although a sudden cold snap in January or February will have the skaters out with a vengeance on our lakes and waterways. In January and February, the average maximum temperature is about 5 degrees centigrade. Summers are quite warm with maximum temperatures averaging 20 to 25 degrees centigrade in July and August. In the east and south-east winters are a few degrees colder and summers a few degrees warmer. Spring is the driest season. Temperatures in April and May vary between 12 and 25 degrees centigrade.