I sometimes feel like I'm an honorary Dutch, that Holland is an adopted country of sorts. Being in a relationship with a Dutch man for years now, it is very revealing how the Dutch people can be one of the most down-to-earth, hilariously funny, and warm people I've ever come across.
For such a teeny part of the world, the Dutch are busy making waves. They have very progressive politcs and in my very humble opinion, have become very brilliant in matters of science, technology, hydrology, and innovation. They are also masterful in arts and design. After all, they're the people of Van Gogh. Over the years, I've also acquired a fanaticism for the Dutch national football team and my heart was one of those crushed when Holland failed to win the World Cup again. Which isn't representative of their talent and athleticism. Just watch the Winter Olympics and be amazed at how exceptioinal the Dutch ice skate. Or the Summer Olympics and gawk at how strong they cycle. Let me remind you again that Holland is teeny. It's only 5% of America's population.
The weather in Holland is 8 out of 10 times crappy, and yet they manage to be upbeat. Maybe it's the hagelslag which are nothing but candy sprinkles that they have on toast for breakfast (yes - breakfast!). Or could it be secondary high from their coffee shops? Or it must be all that biophilia from riding their bicycles everywhere, rain or shine. Regardless, every traveler I encounter has lovely memories of Holland and once you go, I'm rather sure you will, too.
Favorite Restaurants | We stay with family in Holland so when we eat out, it's at local restaurants. There's a place called Juffrouw Tok serving amazing chicken piri piri in the small rural town of Ede. Also, Jamie (Oliver) in Amsterdam
Favorite Dutch Meal | I must always have to have chicken piri piri when I'm there. And dinner with The Dutch's friends in Haarlem is always special.
Favorite Dutch Experience | Trail running in a forest that borders Germany. Walking the streets of Amsterdam. Scouring antique shops for my vintage plate collection.
Favorite Museum | Van Gogh is Dutch and I'm obssessed! Naturally, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and also an out-of-the-way museum called Kroller-Muller in the eastern part of the country. The Rembrandts and Vermeers in the Rijksmuseum is not something you should miss!
First time? Take a canal tour. Don't miss Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Musuem. Walk or bike places! If you have more time, wander in Haarlem, west of Amsterdam. It's smaller and more intimate, but still bustling.