Bordering Belgium to the south, Germany to the east, and the North Sea to the north and west, a large area of the Netherlands has been reclaimed from the sea and is below sea level. This flat land is cross crossed with rivers, dykes, canals and the fertile reclaimed land known as polders. There are also the beaches on the North Sea coast, the forests of Arnham and the bulb fields to the west, the central lakes and some long and impressive coastal sand dunes.
The region covers 41,528 sq km (16,034 sq miles) and is one of the most densely populated areas of Europe. The cities are crowded; especially the ones that attract tourist, but the areas outside are less so. The country is known for being flat, however there are hills in Southern Limburg and Veluwe, and there are also large areas dedicated to farming. Due to the high population, the picturesque villages and countryside dotted with windmills is less than in times gone by, but can still be found especially in the provinces of Zaan and Waterland.
Divided into four main regions, the Netherlands is further dived into 12 provinces, each with cultural and linguistical differences. The Northern Netherlands is the least densely populated area of the region, popular with the locals but relatively unexplored by visitors. The Eastern Netherlands is home to the Hoge Veluwe National Park; the largest park in the Netherlands, as well as medieval cities such as Zutphen and Doesburh. The Southern Netherlands around Zeeland offer a more German atmosphere; this is also a popular party region. The Randstand or Western Netherlands includes North and South Holland, Flevoland and Utrecht. This area is home to some of the biggest cities and some traditional countryside.
The climate in the Netherlands is classed as mild maritime; meaning changeable but generally warm summers and fairly cold winters. The region doesn't suffer from excessively high summer temperatures or too much snow; however rain can be experienced all year round so it’s a good idea to bring at least a waterproof coat with you, whatever time you visit.
Many visitors relate the Netherlands to just Holland or even Amsterdam, but it’s far more than that. We’ll start with the capital; Amsterdam. Wonderful tall, skinny buildings, canals and museums; any visit to the region should include a few days in this lovely city. There are also the unspoilt and historic cities of Utrecht, Maastricht, and Delft; famous for its blue and white pottery. The Hague, the seat of the government and the royal family too and also home to the world’s Supreme Court, finally Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe with modern architecture and some great nightlife.
As well as great cities, the region has its fair share of natural attractions too, so if you have a motorhome rental or campervan hire get out and visit some of the ‘Top 10 places to visit’ or place s ‘Off the Beaten track’ for some other great experiences.