The Netherlands is a Western European country washed by the North Sea
Shops are open from 8: 30-9: 00 to 17: 30-18: 00. Once a week (usually on Mondays) they are closed until 12:00, and on Thursdays they are usually open until 21:00.
The main “Dutch” souvenir are, of course, tulip bulbs. But we must make a reservation that their export is a risky business: at the border “live cargo” may be delayed and demanded to leave the bulbs in their native land.
In addition to various trinkets with images of mills, wooden shoes and other things from Amsterdam, you can bring savory souvenirs, or all sorts of things from “flea markets”, of which there are many in the city.
WHERE TO STAY
In Holland, there is a national hotel association that sets standards and certifies. You can always count on courteous staff and cleanliness in the rooms.
In Holland many business events, exhibitions and seminars take place, therefore hotels are almost always full.
The quality of tourist-class hotels is generally worse than the average for Europe, but still better than, for example, in Paris.
SEA AND BEACHES
The beaches of the Netherlands have a total length of 280 km, the rest here is suitable for those who do not like extreme heat. Even in the hottest months, the water here warms up only to 18-20 degrees Celsius. The swimming season in the Netherlands lasts from July to September.
The beaches are sandy, many of them have been awarded the Blue Flag as meeting the quality standards of the European Union.
The Netherlands has been inhabited since the last ice age, and the oldest traces of human activity are about one hundred thousand years. At the end of the Ice Age, the territory was inhabited by various Paleolithic groups. Around 8000 BC a Mesolithic tribe lived in the country.
At the time of the arrival of the Romans, the Netherlands was settled by Germanic tribes, such as the tubant, canine, and friezes, who settled there about 600 BC. Celtic tribes, such as eburons and menapies, inhabited the south of the country. At the beginning of the Roman colonization, the German tribes of the Batavians and the Toxander also arrived in the country. In the period of the Roman Empire, the southern part of the current Netherlands was occupied by the Romans.
In the Middle Ages, the Lower Countries (roughly consisting of the present-day Belgium and the Netherlands) included various counties, duchies, and dioceses that were part of the Holy Roman Empire. They were united into one state under the rule of the Habsburgs in the XVI century. After the spread of Calvinism, the Counter-Reformation followed, causing a split in the country. Attempts by the Spanish king Philip II to centralize the state led to an uprising against Spanish domination under the leadership of William I of Orange. On July 26, 1581, the country’s independence was proclaimed, officially recognized by other states only after the Eighty Years War (1568-1648). During the years of the war of independence, the Golden Age of the Netherlands began, a period of economic and cultural prosperity, which occupied the whole 17th century.
After the termination of the French occupation at the beginning of the XIX century, the Netherlands became a monarchy under the rule of the House of Orange. In 1830, Belgium finally separated from the Netherlands and became an independent kingdom; Luxembourg gained independence in 1890. Under pressure from liberal politicians, the country was transformed in 1848 into a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch. Such a political order persisted to this day, with a brief interruption during the fascist occupation.
During the First World War, the Netherlands remained neutral, but during the Second World War for five years were occupied by Germany. During the German invasion, Rotterdam was bombed, during which the city center was almost completely destroyed. During the occupation, about fifty thousand Dutch Jews became victims of the Holocaust.
After the war, the country began a rapid recovery, helped by the Marshall Plan, organized by the United States of America. Thanks to this, the Netherlands quickly managed to become a modern industrial country. State independence acquired the former colonies of Indonesia and Suriname. As a result of mass immigration from Indonesia, Turkey, Morocco, Suriname and the Antilles, the Netherlands has become a country with many cultures and a large proportion of the Muslim population.
In the sixties and seventies, great social and cultural changes took place. Catholics and Protestants began to communicate more with each other, and the differences between classes also became less noticeable due to the rising standard of living and the development of education. Women’s economic rights have expanded considerably, and they have increasingly begun to occupy high positions in enterprises and in government. The government began to care not only about economic growth, but also about . The population gained broad social rights; pensions, unemployment benefits and disabilities were among the highest in the world.