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The Netherlands is a country best known for being a land of windmills, tulips and bicycles; but backpackers today recognize that The Netherlands has much, much, more to offer. From the quaint canals of its capital, Amsterdam, to the fantastic museums of The Hague (Den Haag), The Netherlands is a vibrant country with both the sophistication of a developed nation and the old-world charm of a rural landscape.

The official language of the Netherlands is Netherlandic or Nederlands (commonly called Dutch or Flemish). However, the English speaking visitor will have few problems being understood - English is widely spoken among the population of 15.65 million. The Netherlands is a member of the European Union (EU) and uses the euro as its official currency. Click the currency converter to see current rates.

The climate of The Netherlands is moderate. Winters are typically cool and windy while summers are mild and damp, with the wettest months being July and August. Because much of the land that makes up The Netherlands was at one time reclaimed from the North Sea, the landscape is notoriously flat. This flatness has led to two other predominant features: wind and bicycles.

Bicycles are everywhere! It is not uncommon to see an entire family ride past on one bicycle. Seriously. If you think you'd like to give it a try, there are many shops around the country that rent out bicycles by the hour or by the day. If bicycles aren't your thing, don't worry - Public transport in the Netherlands is inexpensive and easy to use.

Accomodation, however, tends to be on the pricey side - particularly if you plan to stay in hotels. There are many decent hostels and well equipped campgrounds to choose from, but it is highly recommended that you book ahead.

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