I visited the Netherlands in 2008 and spent three great weeks there. If you are interested in visiting this country, I definitely recommend you to go and that’s why:
1) The language
Enjoy the sound of a beautiful Dutch! Most of the people in the NL speak English well, of course, and you will never have a problem to ask for the direction; nevertheless, Dutch language, in my view, sounds very pleasant to the ear! The language was one of reason I fell in love with that country in the past.
2) Friendly people
I have visited several cities in the NL, such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Arhnem, Maastricht and Nieuwegein. All the people I encountered were extremely polite and friendly! Once a man start talking to me when I was sitting alone on a bench in front of the fountain. I believe he made a comment on the weather. Sadly, I could not answer. He smiled at me and left politely. No strange looks, no bad comments. Lots of positive energy and fun!
My Dutch friend mentioned one day that ‘the Dutch kitchen is nothing special and nowadays it has been influenced a lot by dishes from all parts of the world, especially from Indonesia (a former colony) and Southern Europe.’ He has a point, but the cheese I tried in the NL was incredible! Not to mention HUGE pancakes with apples. If you love Asian cuisine, you will not have a problem to find a decent Asian restaurant. Korean food I tried in Rotterdam was amazing.
I took a bus and a train a lot and never encountered any difficulties. Once again, most of the Dutch speak English, so you will never have a problem to understand your route or get the tickets. Trains are clean and comfortable. Bus drivers DO speak English (unlike in Baden-Württemberg, Germany… That’s another story for the future post). Just press the button and the bus will stop at the right bus stop. Easy way of commuting is always a great thing!
If you like tulips, you found your personal paradise! Dishes, cups, jewelry boxes, cutlery, textile etc. You can find everything you wish with a cute tulip print/decoration on it! If you are a guy, bring some to your mother/wife/gf/sister. Girls do like pretty flowers!
Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is the must see place! You shall not miss such an opportunity to feel the incredible atmosphere and see the famous outstanding art pieces. Take your time in the museum, spend some minutes in front of every art piece to let your mind rest and enjoy the beauty of brush strokes.
I did feel safe on the streets in the NL. I went for a walk on my own in the countryside without speaking the language and felt just fine. Sometimes strangers on my way smiled and said hello. Not bad! You won’t see it in every country nowadays.
8) Smoking ban in public places
No explanation is needed, really. Healthy choice is the best one.