Located in the North West of mainland Europe, the Netherlands consists of twelve provinces. With over 16 million residents in a surface area double the size of New Jersey, the country is one of the most densely populated in Europe. Due to where the country is situated, it shares borders with both Belgium and Germany. Areas of the Netherlands have historically been reclaimed by the sea, and currently one fifth of the country is below sea-level.
The land at the time of Julius Caesar's discovery was inhabited by Germanic tribes, who resisted Roman ruling until approximately 13 BC. During 55 BC the Netherlands became officially integrated with the Roman Empire. The Romans then heavily influenced the culture and lifestyle of the Dutch people, which indirectly filtered down through generations.
In general, the climate in the Netherlands is slightly warmer with drier summers, and colder, slightly drier winters than we experience in the south east of England. The winter season can be fairly cold and temperatures often fall below zero. Rainfall is always a possibility in this region, so it is advisable to go equipped with waterproofs when visiting the country.
A fantastic place to visit in summer is the seaside resort, Scheveningen. Take a bike ride through this beautiful city and visit the long sandy beach. With 11 km of coastline, Scheveningen's beach is a perfect place to experience a wealth of activities, and is surrounded by walking routes, restaurants and shops.
There is plenty to see in the Netherlands and the flat surfaced country should be taken advantage of. A popular method of transport with the locals is cycling; there are bike paths in all the towns and touring routes that take sightseers to the heart of the Netherlands' beautiful countryside - interestingly around 70% of journeys in The Hague and Amsterdam are made by bicycle. The Dutch countryside is incredible and has 20 National Parks to visit.
The Hague is the home of the Dutch government, however, unbeknownst to some it is not the constitutional capital city. That title goes to the charming city of Amsterdam. Tourists flock to this beautiful destination throughout the seasons; the city has proven to be just as popular in winter as it is in summer.
Originally a small fishing village, Amsterdam has continued to grow and develop since its 12th century fishing routes. The city later came to have one of the greatest ports in the world, and Amsterdam's canals are registered on the World Heritage List.
Tourists visit Amsterdam in summer for the amazing music festivals; Loveland Festival is incredibly popular and arrives annually in August. Held in beautiful lakeside surroundings, the event features six main stages and is bursting with both international and local talent.
Last updated: 31 January 2014