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 The Kingdom of the Netherlands

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state, which unites some islands in the Caribbean and the Netherlands, located in Western Europe. The most beautiful flower market in the world, the largest number of bicycles per capita, unique architecture and extraordinary museums, as well as the most traditional taste of beer and the most delicious cheese in the world – should be mentioned talking about the Netherlands. Anyone lucky enough to visit at least one of the cities or provinces of this country is surprised and impressed.

One of the most interesting cities in the Netherlands is its capital city Amsterdam. Although the seat of the Dutch government and parliament is The Hague, most banks and financial corporations in Europe and the world's oldest stock exchange are centred in Amsterdam. In addition, only in the capital of the Netherlands you’ll have opportunity to visit the famous historical Rijksmuseum, the well-known Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and the oldest sex museum in the world – the “Venustempel”. The world fame gained De Wallen, a red-light district, where freedom flourishes in every sense of the word.

However, not only the capital, but every city, every province of the Netherlands impresses with its uniqueness. Architecture is one of country’s features. Many small houses resembling toy buildings will attract your attention – unique exterior of such constructions looks fabulous in the city of water canals. The Netherlands’ architecture wouldn’t be complete without world famous cube houses, built according to the pioneering project of architect Piet Blom in Rotterdam and Helmond. The constructions’ walls angled at 54.7 degrees are admired by tourists and amaze architects. To have an idea of the Netherlands’ architecture, you should visit one of the oldest castles of the country – De Haar Castle dated the 14th century, located not far from Amsterdam, or Heeswijk Castle, built in the 12th century and considered to be one of the most romantic places.

Another point of interest in the Netherlands is its integral relation to water, so you shouldn’t wonder that one of the biggest ports in the world – Rotterdam Port – is located in the Netherlands. About 200 million tons of cargo is annually unloaded here, such way serving one third of all the European Union’s sea freight. Rotterdam is connected with the North Sea by the Nieuwe Waterweg Canal of 27 kilometres long. In addition, almost the whole country is dotted with canals and covered with bridges, so architecture and tourism are adapted to this feature. As an example, Amsterdam has 160 canals and almost fifteen hundred bridges. St Servatius Bridge, located in Maastricht, is one of the oldest and most famous in Europe. Floating houses so much admired by travellers are homes for romantic Dutchmen or people with low level of incomes.

Since water plays an important role in the Netherlands, it is worth to mention windmills, built in the 13th century. For the present day, in the village of Kinderdijk there are 19 mills, constructed in 1740. Tourists are often invited to take an unforgettable journey by water to Kinderdijk and explore something new, as well as visit one of the windmills.

The Netherlands is a homeland to the world's largest flower market, which is located along the Singel Canal in Amsterdam. Every spring the unique Keukenhof Park, located on 32 hectares, offers its visitors to enjoy blooming of more than 7 million plants of different colour, size and shape. Every year on the 30th of April, each city arranges a wonderful parade of flowers, where you can see not only traditional for the Netherlands tulips of all varieties and colours, but also other interesting plants.

In addition to flowers and mills, another symbol of the Netherlands is a klomp, footwear made of wood. Once they were the only footwear available for the poor, and today klompen have become an integral part of the Dutch culture. Farmers still find them the most comfortable shoes for work, while tourists often buy at least a couple of these strange shoes as a souvenir.

It is impossible to imagine the Netherlands without museums. It is worth to visit the Strijkijzer-Museum in the city of Noordbroek. You are well advised to visit the Madurodam, an open-air museum located in The Hague, the third largest city of the Netherlands. This unique park represents the country in miniature. Those to be fond of biology will admire the only one in the world Corpus Museum, designed as a human figure of 35 meters high the way its visitors can walk “inside a human body” and learn its structure.

It is commonly known that the Netherlands is often called a cheese country. Cheese is not only the traditional Dutch food, but also an important element of its national culture. Love to this milk product and unsurpassed skill of cheese-making have turned the country into the world manufacturer of cheese. Thus, the city of Alkmaar hosts the world's largest cheese market, arranged every Friday from mid-April to mid-September.

You can get to the Netherlands from anywhere in the world. Meanwhile you should remember that in this country it is forbidden to smoke cigarettes in the streets, drink alcohol in the open air, and photograph people without their permission. The best way to get from one place to another in Dutch cities is by bicycle, but you shouldn’t leave it unlocked, because theft bikes are pretty common there. Incidentally, the Netherlands celebrate the Bicycle Day on the 12th May. On this day the Dutch ride their bikes through the country, congratulating each other on the occasion.

This amazing country is full of uniqueness and mysteries, so don’t hesitate to take your camera, buy a ticket and go on an unforgettable journey to the Netherlands!

Administrative division — Netherlands

provinces public bodies
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