Travelling to the Netherlands - Travel hub

The Netherlands offers an enchanting mix of scenic landscapes and cultural richness. With Amsterdam’s iconic canals, sprawling tulip fields, and historic windmills, it captivates visitors. The country’s art scene, highlighted by masterpieces from Van Gogh and others, adds depth to its allure. Additionally, its commitment to cycling enhances the experience, making exploration both accessible and enjoyable. Travelling to the Netherlands was our first trip abroad in our motorhome. 

If you want to read all the driving rules and regulations that apply to visiting the Netherlands, our ‘Driving in the Netherlands’ post will help you understand all the essentials you need to take with you, the speed limits, drink drive rules and more.

This handy Netherlands travel guide will give you all the practical and essential information that you need to help you prepare and plan for your epic road trip visiting the Netherlands.

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Key Fast Facts for Travelling to the Netherlands

Language

Dutch is the official spoken language in the Netherlands

Currency

The currency is the Euro, as used across much of mainland Europe.

Schengen

The Netherlands is part of the Schengen and will count as part of you 90 days travel.

Time Zone

Netherlands is in the Central European Timezone (CET), which is GMT +1.

ATM & Credit Cards

ATM's are available everywhere and all credit cards accepted

Plugs and Voltage

Type F is used in the Netherlands (earthed round pin). 230 standard voltage and 50 Hz.

Sim Cards

KPN is amongst the best coverage for mobile phone providers when visiting the Netherlands.

Visa

UK travellers need a passport. ETIAS travel authorisation required from 2025. Apply online. 90 day limit.

Female Travel

Safe for female travellers, including night time. Be more cautious around red light areas.

Health

EHIC will cover basics. You should get travel insurance.

Motorhome Parking

Campsites are plentiful. Wild camping is prohibited when visiting the Netherlands with 500 euro fines.

Dutch Roads

Roads when travelling in the Netherlands are similar to other European countries.

Best Travel Months

April to October are the warmer months, although it is never really cold.

LPG Available

Loads of places do LPG at the pumps in the petrol stations.

Airports

Amsterdam International Airport

Motorhome/ Car Insurance

All insurance companies should cover you for 3rd party in EU.

Tipping

Not essential - but nice to show appreciation (10%) . Free tours - you should tip according to your happiness.

Emergency Numbers

Dialing Code - +31 Emergency - 112

Pets

Must be microchipped. Must have Rabies injection. Animal Health Certificate. Consult your vet if outside the EU.

Local Foods

Stroopwafel
Poffertjes
Erwtensoep
Cheese!
Bitterballen

Why Visit The Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a country in north-western Europe and is known for its flat landscape, extensive canal systems, tulip fields, windmills, and cycling routes. It consists of 12 provinces, including the well-known areas of North Holland and South Holland, and shares borders with Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest. This geographical location makes it great for a road trip in its own right, or the start of a longer road trip in mainland Europe or further afield. 

The capital city, Amsterdam is famed for its historic homes, the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, and its Red Light District. Amsterdam is a great city to visit, with easy access via public transport from several of the campsites outside the city. We stayed in a campsite which was an easy 20 minute ride in.

The Hague, as well as being the city which holds the seat of the Dutch government and the International Court of Justice, is an intriguing city of gothic style architecture, fascinating bars and plenty of canals to meander along, with a strong cafe vibe as you would expect. 

Dutch Culture

Dutch culture is rich and diverse, known for its tolerance and liberal policies. The Netherlands has a long history of artistic achievement, with figures like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh being central to the Dutch Golden Age of painting.

The Dutch educational system and healthcare services are among the best globally, reflecting the country’s high quality of life. Environmental sustainability and innovation are also key priorities, with the Dutch leading in green technologies and flood management systems, crucial for a country much of which is below sea level.  

The Netherlands is one of the cleanest, well kempt places that we have visited.  The cycle paths are just fantastic. This really is the place to take you bikes and explore. With 33,000km of cycling paths and statistically every Dutch person owning 2 bicycles, you really should bring your bikes with you – or at least rent one for the day to explore.

Download our Handy One Week / 9 Day Planner

Use our handy ready made PDF planner to help you plan your trip. We decided to make it 9 days so that you can utilise it for both weekends either side of the trip. Capture everything you need from your start and end points, where you will stay, and all the things you want to see and more, with plenty of room for jotting notes as you plan. 

1 Week/ 9 Day Road Trip Planner


*One Week Road Trip Planner


*By downloading our planner, you give us permission to send you our newsletter. We send this approx every 6 – 8 weeks.

When to Visit for your Holiday in Netherlands

Arguably the best time to visit the Netherlands is April to October, when the weather is warmer. July and August are the peak months for visitors, as is the case in most of Europe, but each season has its own offerings for a visit to this wonderful neighbour of the UK, one which we feel is often overlooked. 

Netherlands in Spring

Visiting the Netherlands in spring is a captivating experience, as the country awakens with vibrant colours and lively energy. This season is famous for its breath-taking tulip fields, blooming in a rainbow of colours, best seen in April and May. 

Cycling through the countryside or exploring the Keukenhof Gardens, one of the world’s largest flower gardens, offers a unique way to experience the Dutch landscape’s natural beauty. Spring in the Netherlands is also filled with cultural events and festivals, making it an ideal time to immerse yourself in Dutch culture and enjoy the mild, pleasant weather.

Netherlands in Summer

Travelling to the Netherlands in summer offers long, sunny days perfect for exploring. Enjoy vibrant city life, lush countryside, and sandy beaches. Holidays in Holland during this season mean experiencing lively festivals, open-air markets, and relaxed bike rides along the canals. Expect a blend of cultural richness and natural beauty.

August is a good month for festivals in Amsterdam; Gay Pride, an LGBTQ+ event  where there is a fantastic canal parade. Grachten-festival, a classical music parade held along the historic canals.

Netherlands in Autumn

Autumn in the Netherlands is cosy, with crisp air and colourful leaves. It’s great for visiting Amsterdam’s museums and cosy cafes. Make a special beeline to the Hoge Veluwe National Park to see the stunning fall foliage and wildlife. The park also houses the Kröller-Müller Museum, perfect for art lovers. Cities like Utrecht and Maastricht also offer charming streets and autumnal vibes, ideal for exploring.

Netherlands in Winter

Winter in the Netherlands transforms the country into a picturesque, frosty wonderland. Cities like Amsterdam and Utrecht dazzle with festive lights and cozy markets, perfect for experiencing Dutch holiday cheer. Ice skating on natural canals becomes a magical possibility, especially in the picturesque countryside. 

Don’t miss the chance to explore the Christmas markets, especially in Maastricht, known for its vibrant atmosphere and unique gifts. The Netherlands also hosts various winter festivals and events, adding to the season’s charm. For a truly special experience, visit the Deventer Dickens Festival, where the city turns into a Victorian-era scene right out of a Charles Dickens novel. 

With fewer tourists, winter offers a more intimate glimpse into Dutch life and culture. The cold, shorter days are perfectly suited for museum visits, with the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum being must-visits, offering a warm refuge filled with art and history.

Why is the Netherlands Often Called Holland?

The Netherlands is often called Holland due to a historical mix-up. Originally, Holland referred to two provinces in the west of the country, North Holland and South Holland, which were the most economically developed and influential areas during the Dutch Golden Age. These provinces played a significant role in the country’s maritime and trading success, which brought them prominence on the international stage. 

Over time, the name “Holland” became synonymous with the entire country, especially in foreign languages. Despite this, the correct name for the nation comprising 12 provinces is the Netherlands, while “Holland” technically only refers to those two provinces. The Dutch government has been working to encourage the use of “the Netherlands” to represent the country as a whole, reflecting its diverse regions beyond just Holland.

The History of the Dutch Tulips

Tulips have a fascinating history in the Netherlands, dating back to the 16th century. They were first introduced to the Dutch from the Ottoman Empire and quickly became a symbol of wealth and status among the Dutch elite. The rarity and beauty of tulips led to what is known as “Tulip Mania” in the early 17th century, a period during which tulip bulbs were traded for incredibly high prices, and their market eventually crashed in 1637, in one of the first recorded economic bubbles.

Despite this, tulips became deeply ingrained in Dutch culture and economy. The Netherlands went on to perfect the art of tulip cultivation, becoming the world’s leading producer of tulip bulbs. Each spring, the Dutch countryside bursts into vibrant colours, with tulip fields attracting visitors from all over the globe. The Keukenhof Gardens, one of the world’s largest flower gardens located in Lisse, becomes a focal point for tulip admiration, showcasing millions of flowers in spectacular displays. 

Today, tulips are synonymous with the Netherlands, symbolizing the country’s horticultural prowess and reflecting its historical ties to this beautiful flower.

The History of Cheese in the Netherlands

Cheese has a long and storied history in the Netherlands, dating back over 2,000 years. The Dutch have been making cheese since Roman times, and by the Middle Ages, Dutch cheeses were already famous across Europe. The cool, moist climate of the Netherlands provided ideal conditions for dairy farming and cheese production, leading to a thriving cheese industry.

Two of the most famous Dutch cheeses, Gouda and Edam, originated in their namesake towns during the Middle Ages. These cheeses became highly sought after, not only for their taste but also for their ability to age well and travel long distances without spoiling, making them valuable export products.

The tradition of cheese markets, where farmers and traders would come together to buy and sell cheese, became a staple of Dutch culture. Some of these historic markets, like those in Alkmaar, Gouda, and Edam, still operate today as tourist attractions, preserving the traditional way of cheese trading.

The Netherlands is now one of the largest cheese exporters in the world, known for its wide variety of cheeses ranging from the mild to the very mature. Dutch cheese-making methods and recipes have been refined over centuries, contributing significantly to the global cheese industry and making cheese an integral part of Dutch culinary and cultural heritage.

Netherlands / Dutch Itineraries and Information

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Driving in the Netherlands

All the essential rules of the road that you need to know about driving in Netherlands; Including the speed limits in a motorhome, the mandatory items to carry in the van, winter driving and drink driving rules and regulations.

The Best Cities to See in the Netherlands
The Best Cities to Visit In the Netherlands

Let us take you to the best cities in the Netherlands, so easy to get to from the UK, both in your motorhome or if you choose to fly. All of these cities are great to explore for a long weekend or put together to explore for a longer period of time.

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A Weekend Visit to the Dutch Tulip Fields

Spending a weekend amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Dutch Tulip Fields, particularly around the Keukenhof area, is an experience that encapsulates the essence of spring in the Netherlands. The Keukenhof Gardens, located in Lisse, serve as the vibrant heart of Holland’s tulip obsession

Traditional Foods in the Netherlands

When you are travelling in the Netherlands, what kind of foods do you think of eating? Probably not much further than stroopwafel and cheese! But we found out that there are quite a few local dishes to try when looking for local food on our visit to the Netherlands. 

The Dutch food is mostly characterised by its simplicity, heartiness, and use of local ingredients.  We will start  with stroopwafel, just in case you are not familiar with it (you really need to change that!):

Savoury Foods

Herring:  Raw herring fish, typically served with onions and pickles. It’s a traditional Dutch snack, especially popular at herring carts.  This is definately one which is like marmite! For us, we loved it.

Bitterballen: Deep-fried, breaded balls filled with a mixture of beef or veal ragout. Often served as a bar snack with mustard.

Dutch Cheese: The Netherlands is famous for its cheese, like Gouda, Edam, and Leyden, which are enjoyed worldwide. Try and visit the markets – they really are worth going to as well as being great fun.

Erwtensoep: A thick pea soup made with split peas, pork, and vegetables, traditionally eaten during the colder months.

Stamppot: A comfort food made by mashing potatoes with vegetables like kale, sauerkraut, or endive. It is served with smoked sausage or meatballs.

Sweet Foods

Stroopwafels: Sweet treats made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling in the middle, often enjoyed with coffee or tea. These are just so delicious and you can also buy them in the supermarkets in packets. Just yum! 

Poffertjes: Small, fluffy pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour, usually served with powdered sugar and butter. Again, another delightful food to try which is simply delicious and sold in the little cafe’s everywhere.

Essential phrases for your Dutch Travel

It is always useful to have a handful of core phrases to get by in the restaurants, cafe’s and when shopping. It brings joy to everyone when people make just a little bit of effort to speak the host nations language. 

 

So for your visit to the Netherlands these are the phrases you need to know:

  • Hello – Hallo
  • Goodbye –  Tot ziens (or ‘Dag’ for a more casual goodbye)
  • Thank you – Dank je
  • The bill please – De rekening, alstublieft
  • Have a good day – Een fijne dag verder
  • Have a good evening – Een fijne avond verder
  • Can I park my motorhome here please? – Mag ik mijn camper hier parkeren, alstublieft?

We hope you enjoyed this article and found it useful. We have tried to cover everything you need to know but if we have missed something – please do let us know. 

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