Tulips, bicycles, clogs, clubs, pubs, windmills, pot-smoking and red-light areas, are things you cannot miss in the Netherlands. Despite being the first country to legalise prostitution, same-sex marriage and decriminalise cannabis, Dutch culture is based on the straight-backed principles of Calvinism. This nation of philosophers and artists, boho chic and stately grandeur is dotted with castle walls and canals, dykes and dunes, marshland and fields of tulips. To get under Dutch skin read 'The Diary of Anne Frank', get into a trance listening to Tiesto and watch 'Stromenlied' or Song of the Rivers, by Joris Ivens.
Best time to visit: April to September (spring through summer). The average temperature in Netherlands is 9.6 °C. During the summer it tends to linger around 16-17°C, especially in July and August. The lowest monthly average is -1 °C in January and February.
Most Dutch crops are tillage or greenhouse-based. Fruit agriculture, animal husbandry and fishery make up other produce. Horse was a popular traditional meat, but isn't so today. Dutch smoked eel and soused herring, which is eaten raw, are popular abroad.
Colourful clogs, Delft blue pottery, Gouda, Edam and other cheeses, contemporary music CDs, chocolates, ashtrays, MC Escher's graphic art prints.
The best and easiest way to see the highlights is on an escorted tour, where all your travel, accommodation and sightseeing arrangements are well taken care of. A knowledgeable local guide brings history and culture to life as you travel in the comfort of your deluxe coach.
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