Top Ten Dutch Attractions

Top Ten Dutch Attractions

The NetherlandsThe Netherlands1The Netherlands2

       The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea, Belgium, Germany, and shares a maritime border with the UK as well. It is a parliamentary democracy organized as a unitary state. The country capital is Amsterdam and the seat of government is The Hague. The Netherlands in its entirety is often referred to as Holland, although North and South Holland are actually only two of its twelve provinces. The Netherlands is a geographically low-lying country, with about 25% of its area and 21% of its population located below sea level, and 50% of its land lying less than one meter above sea level. Significant land area has been gained through land reclamation and preserved through an elaborate system of polders and dikes. Much of the Netherlands is formed by the estuary of three important European rivers, which together with their distributaries form the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta. Most of the country is very flat, with the exception of foothills in the far southeast and several low-hill ranges in the central parts. The Netherlands was one of the first countries to have an elected parliament. With Belgium and Luxembourg it forms the Benelux economic union. The country is host to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and five international courts: the Permanent Court of Arbitration, the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the International Criminal Court and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. The first four are situated in The Hague as is the EU’s criminal intelligence agency Europol and judicial co-operation agency Eurojust. This has led to the city being dubbed “the world’s legal capital.” The Netherlands has a capitalist market-based economy, ranking 13th of 157 countries according to the Index of Economic Freedom. In May 2011, the Netherlands was ranked as the “happiest” country according to results published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

  1. Amsterdam
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           Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The city’s status as the capital of the nation is governed by the constitution. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population of 1,209,419 and a metropolitan population of 2,158,592. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country. It comprises the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million. Amsterdam’s name is derived from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city’s origin: a dam in the river Amstel. Settled as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were formed. As Netherlands’ commercial capital and one of the top financial centers in Europe, Amsterdam is considered an alpha world city by the Globalization and World Cities study group. The city is also cultural capital of the Netherlands. Many large Dutch institutions have their headquarters there, and 7 of the world’s top 500 companies, including Philips and ING, are based in the city. In 2010, Amsterdam was ranked 13th globally on quality of living by Mercer, and previously ranked 3rd in innovation by 2thinknow in the Innovation Cities Index 2009. The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city center. Amsterdam’s main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten European Cities, Top Ten Party CitiesMuseums and Galleries, Top Ten 420 Destinations, Top Ten Amsterdam Hotels, Top Ten Coffee Houses, Top Ten Strains of Cannabis, Top Ten Concert Halls, Top Ten Office Buildings, Top Ten Amsterdam Restaurants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam,
  2. Rotterdam
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           Rotterdam is the 2nd largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam constructed in 1270 on the Rotte River, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial center. Its strategic location at the Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta on the North Sea and at the heart of a massive rail, road, air and inland waterway distribution system extending throughout Europe is the reason that Rotterdam is often called the “Gateway to Europe.” Located in the Province of South Holland, Rotterdam is found in the west of the Netherlands and at the south end of the Randstad. The population of the city proper was 616,003 (2011). The population of the greater Rotterdam area, called “Rotterdam-Rijnmond” or just “Rijnmond,” is around 1.3 million people. Rotterdam is one of Europe’s most vibrant, multicultural cities. The city is known for its university (Erasmus), its cutting-edge architecture, its lively cultural life, its striking riverside setting, its maritime heritage and the Rotterdam Blitz. The largest port in Europe and still one of the busiest ports in the world, the port of Rotterdam was the world’s busiest port from 1962 to 2004, at which point it was surpassed by Shanghai. Rotterdam’s commercial and strategic importance is based on its location near the mouth of the Nieuwe Maas (New Meuse), one of the channels in the delta formed by the Rhine and Meuse on the North Sea. These rivers lead directly into the center of Europe, including the industrial Ruhr region. Rotterdam is currently bidding to host the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotterdam,
  3. Utrecht
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           Utrecht city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, and is the 4th largest city of the Netherlands with a population of 312,634 (2011). Utrecht’s ancient city center features many buildings and structures from the Early Middle Ages. It has been the religious center of the Netherlands since the 8th century. Currently it is the see of the Archbishop of Utrecht, the most important Dutch Roman Catholic leader. Utrecht is also the see of the archbishop of the Old Catholic church, titular head of the Union of Utrecht (Old Catholic), and the location of the offices of the main Protestant church. Until the Dutch Golden Age Utrecht was the city of most importance of the Netherlands until Amsterdam became its cultural and most populous center. Utrecht is host to Utrecht University, the largest university of the Netherlands, as well as several other institutes for higher education. Due to its central position within the country, it is an important transport hub for both rail and road transport. It has the 2nd highest number of cultural events in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam.
    Links: Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utrecht,
  4. The Hague
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           The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants (2011), it is the 3rd largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Located in the west of the Netherlands, The Hague is in the center of the Haaglanden conurbation and lies at the southwest corner of the larger Randstad conurbation. The Hague is the seat of the Dutch government and parliament, the Supreme Court, and the Council of State, but the city is not the capital of the Netherlands which constitutionally is Amsterdam. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands lives at Huis ten Bosch and works at Noordeinde Palace in The Hague. All foreign embassies in the Netherlands and 150 international organizations are located in the city, including the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, which makes The Hague one of the major cities hosting the United Nations, along with New York, Vienna and Geneva.
    Links: Sculptures, Top Ten Towers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Hague,
  5. Cannabis Cup
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    The High Times Cannabis Cup is the world’s preeminent Cannabis festival. Founded in 1987 by Steven Hager, the High Times Cannabis Cup takes place each November in Amsterdam. The event allows judges from around the world to sample and vote for their favorite marijuana varieties. These judges-at-large decide the Cannabis Cup (overall winner in the cannabis variety competition), best new product, best booth, best glass, best hash and best Nederhash. A team of VIP judges decide which seed company has grown the best marijuana. The High Times Cannabis Cup also includes live music, comedy and an expo for marijuana-related products from cannabis-oriented businesses. Beginning with the 6th Cup, Hager began fusing counterculture spirituality into the event and using the time 4:20 as an important ceremonial moment. “Most of what I learned about spirituality came from Stephen Gaskin and Ina May Gaskin and from attending National Rainbow Family Gatherings,” says Hager. Marijuana use is decriminalized in most parts of The Netherlands. Much of the marijuana present at the Cup is from the different coffee shops around Amsterdam. Usually the High Times Cannabis Cup features a surprise variety of marijuana that is new to the culture and will be tested by the judges. Many tourists go to Amsterdam specifically to attend the festival. Recently, High Times created the Medical Cannabis Cup, an event that celebrates the medical marijuana movement in America. The first High Times Medical Cannabis Cup took place in San Francisco, California June 19–20, 2010.
    Links: Top Ten Anticarcinogens, Top Ten Cannabis Strains, Top Ten Amsterdam Coffeeshops, Top 100 Events of the Year, Top Ten Cannabis Festivals, Top Ten Cannabis Cup Posters, Top Ten Cannabis Magazines, Top Ten High Times Covers, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_cup,
  6. Willemstad, Curaçao
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    Willemstad is the capital city of Curaçao, an island in the southern Caribbean Sea that forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Formerly the capital of the Netherlands Antilles prior to its dissolution in 2010, it has an estimated population of 140,000. The historic center of the city consists of two quarters: Punda and Otrobanda. They are separated by the St. Anna bay, an inlet that leads into the large natural harbor called the ‘Schottegat.’
    Links: Islands, Top Ten Caribbean Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willemstad,
  7. Eindhoven
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           Eindhoven is a municipality and a city located in the province of North Brabant in the south of the Netherlands, originally at the confluence of the Dommel and Gender streams. The Gender was dammed off short of the city center in the 1950’s, but the Dommel still runs through the city. The city counts 213,809 inhabitants (2010), which makes it the 5th largest city of the Netherlands and the largest of North-Brabant. Neighboring cities and towns include Son en Breugel, Nuenen, Geldrop-Mierlo, Heeze-Leende, Waalre, Veldhoven, Eersel, Oirschot and Best. The agglomeration has some 440,000 inhabitants. The metropolitan area (which includes Helmond) has nearly 750,000 inhabitants. Also, Eindhoven is part of Brabant Stad, a combined metropolitan area with more than 2 million inhabitants. In 2011, Eindhoven was named world’s most intelligent community.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eindhoven,
  8. Groningen
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           Groningen is the main municipality in as well as the capital city of the eponymous province in the Netherlands. With a population of around 190,000, it is by far the largest city in the north of the Netherlands. Groningen is a university city, inhabited on average by about 50,000 students.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groningen,
  9. Saba
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           Saba is a Caribbean island and the smallest special municipality (officially public body) of the Netherlands. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scenery (877 m), the highest point within both the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Netherlands proper. Saba, including the islet of Green Island, became a special municipality within the country of the Netherlands after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on October 10, 2010. The island has a land area of 13 square km (5 square mi). At the 2001 Netherlands Antilles census, the population was 1,824 inhabitants, which means a population density of 140 inhabitants per km². Its current major towns and settlements include The Bottom (the capital), Windwardside, Hell’s Gate and St. Johns. As the island is part of the Netherlands, Dutch is the official language. Despite the island’s Dutch affiliation, English is the principal language spoken on the island and has been used in its school system since the 19th century. English can therefore be used in communications of and to the government although there is a local dialect. Since January 1, 2011, the US dollar has been the official currency, replacing the Netherlands Antillian Guilder. Saba is home to the Saba University School of Medicine, which was established by American expatriates in coordination with the Netherlands government. The school adds over 300 residents when classes are in session, and it is the prime educational attraction. A.M. Edwards Medical Center is the major provider of healthcare for local residents.
    Links: Islands, Top Ten Caribbean Islands, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saba,
  10. Bonaire
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           Bonaire is a special municipality of the Netherlands, consisting of the Caribbean island of Bonaire and, nestled in its western crescent, the uninhabited islet of Klein Bonaire. Together with Aruba and Curaçao it forms a group referred to as the ABC islands of the Leeward Antilles, the southern island chain of the Lesser Antilles. The name Bonaire is thought to have originally come from the Caiquetio word ‘Bonay.’ The early Spanish and Dutch modified its spelling to Bojnaj and also Bonaire, which means “Good Air.” Bonaire was part of the Netherlands Antilles until the country’s dissolution on October 10, 2010, when the island (including Klein Bonaire) became a special municipality within the country of the Netherlands.
    Links: Islands, Top Ten Caribbean Islands, Top Ten Squids/Octopus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonaire,
  11. Apeldoorn
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           Apeldoorn is a municipality and city in the province of Gelderland, about 60 miles south east of Amsterdam, in the center of the Netherlands. The municipality of Apeldoorn, including villages like Beekbergen, Loenen and Hoenderloo, has over 155,000 inhabitants (2011). The western half of the municipality lies on the Veluwe ridge, the eastern half lies in the IJssel valley.
    Links: Palaces, Top 100 FlowersTop Ten Gardens, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apeldoorn,
  12. Beemster
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           Beemster is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Also, the Beemster is the first so-called polder in the Netherlands that was reclaimed from a lake, the water being extracted out of the lake by windmills. The Beemster Polder was dried during the period 1609 through 1612. It has preserved intact its well-ordered landscape of fields, roads, canals, dykes and settlements, laid out in accordance with classical and Renaissance planning principles. A grid of canals parallels the grid of roads in the Beemster. The grids are offset: the larger feeder canals are offset by approximately 1 km from the larger roads.
    Links: Top Ten Cheeses, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beemster#World_Heritage_Site,
  13. The Wadden Sea
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           The Wadden is an intertidal zone in the southeastern part of the North Sea. It lies between the coast of northwestern continental Europe and the range of Frisian Islands, forming a shallow body of water with tidal flats and wetlands. It is rich in biological diversity. According to C. Michael Hogan, the Wadden Sea is one of the world’s seas whose coastline has been most modified by humans, via systems of dikes and causeways on the mainland and low lying coastal islands. The Wadden Sea stretches from Den Helder in the Netherlands in the southwest, past the great river estuaries of Germany to its northern boundary at Skallingen north of Esbjerg in Denmark along a total length of some 500 km and a total area of about 10,000 km². Within the Netherlands it is bounded from the IJsselmeer by the Afsluitdijk. The islands in the Wadden Sea are called the Wadden Sea Islands or Frisian Islands, named after the Frisians. However, on the westernmost Dutch island, Texel, the Frisian language has not been spoken for centuries. The Danish Wadden Sea Islands have never been inhabited by Frisians. The outlying German island of Heligoland, although ethnically one of the Frisian Islands, is not situated in the Wadden Sea. The German part of the Wadden Sea was the setting for the 1903 Erskine Childers novel The Riddle of the Sands.
    Links: Top Ten Seas, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadden_Sea,
  14. Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout
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           Kinderdijk is a village in the Netherlands, belonging to the municipality of Nieuw-Lekkerland, in the province South Holland, about 15 km east of Rotterdam. Kinderdijk is situated in a polder at the confluence of the Lek and Noord rivers. To drain the polder, a system of 19 windmills was built around 1740. This group of mills is the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netherlands. The windmills of Kinderdijk are one of the best known Dutch tourist sites.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinderdijk,
  15. Rietveld Schröder House
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           The Rietveld Schröder in Utrecht was built in 1924 by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld for Mrs. Truus Schröder-Schräder and her three children. She commissioned the house to be designed preferably without walls. Rietveld worked side by side with Schröder-Schräder to create the house. He sketched the first possible design for the building; Schroder-Schrader was not pleased. She envisioned a house that was free from association and could create a connection between the inside and outside. The house is one of the best known examples of De Stijl-architecture and arguably the only true De Stijl building. Mrs. Schröder lived in the house until her death in 1985. The house was restored by Bertus Mulder and now is a museum open for visits.
    Links: Top 100 Houses, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rietveld_Schr%C3%B6der_House,
  16. Links: Top Ten Dutch Hotels, Top Ten Dutch Restaurants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands,

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