For some, holidays in the Netherlands are still associated with many hours of excursions under cloudy skies and trips to fish restaurants, but this is far from all that the country washed by the North Sea can offer. There are beaches, a rich cultural life, and the unique atmosphere of a truly European land.
Pros and cons of the Netherlands
- Cleanliness and order on the streets, security at the same level;
- Unique cultural life and architecture;
- Friendly attitude towards tourists;
- Some of the best restaurants in the world;
- Ecology is above all – a bicycle is the favorite transport of the Dutch.
- One of the most expensive countries in Europe;
- Even in summer it can be cool and very damp;
- Possible language barrier – not everyone speaks English;
- Specific mentality and rhythm of life, bureaucracy is literally everywhere;
- You need a Schengen visa to travel.
When planning a vacation in Holland, you should always rely on the fact that the maritime climate of temperate latitudes can bring pleasant and not very surprises. Summers here are warm, without abnormally hot sun, but with winds that often change direction. According to toppharmacyschools.org, winter is considered mild, snow rarely falls, but frosts from year to year cover the city canals with a thin crust of ice for several days, snow is rather a deviation from the norm.
No matter what they say about rainy days, statistics announce an annual rate of 750 mm of precipitation, most of which occurs in autumn and winter. During the summer season, the weather often changes from clear skies back to rain, and the change is completely unpredictable.
It is impossible to imagine a vacation in the Netherlands without going to numerous shops in search of memorable gifts for yourself and friends. And, if only an avid summer resident can be pleased with tulip bulbs, the rest of the souvenirs will definitely appeal to those who prefer something original, albeit not very expensive.:
The national symbol of the country has been used for centuries not so much for the production of flour, but for draining flooded soils, and now it is an integral part of any rural landscape. You can buy them in the form of magnets, table fountains and children’s designers – there will be many options.
The famous wooden slippers, which inspired even Andersen to write a fairy tale, have long been a source of national pride. Every self-respecting souvenir department sells several dozen types of these shoes, which, despite the obvious rigidity and heaviness, are still worn by local farmers as an everyday accessory.
Armenia has cognac, Japan has sake, but Dutch bars have juniper vodka, recognized as the main alcoholic drink of the country. According to the distillation method, this is not even a vodka product, but something close to gin, hence the consonant name. Distinguishes it from its closest “relatives” by a pronounced smell of barley, which is unusual for gourmets, but interesting for those who are open to new cocktails.
A product that causes elusive nostalgia for any Russian tourist, because the painting of products is done on white glaze in several shades of blue, reminiscent of our Gzhel. Real dishes and figurines from Delft have a special marking, but they are much more expensive than replicas.
No, no one forces you to buy real estate at exorbitant prices, but prefabricated wooden or cardboard models of real buildings diverge in local shops with a bang. You can even buy a few so that when you return, you can make a whole street in a recognizable style on your home bookshelf.
Dutch cheeses have been recognized as a standard for several centuries, both in taste and in the beneficial properties of a fermented milk product. Local producers know the price of the delicacy, so you need to get ready for the “biting” cost, after which Russian supermarkets will seem like sales centers to you.
Visa and customs
For a Russian citizen, holidays in Holland are possible only after obtaining a Schengen visa, since the country was one of the first to be included in this zone. For entry to be legal, any guest will need the following package of documents:
- A valid international passport with a remaining period of at least six months at the time of returning home, as well as previous canceled passports with copies of all pages.
- Visa application form completed in English.
- 2 color photos 3.5×4.5 cm, corresponding to the requirements of European standards (on a light gray / blue background, without corners and ovals, the face must occupy at least 80% of the image area, white margins of at least 2mm are required). One photo is pasted on the application form, the second is attached with a paper clip with a signature on the back – full name and passport number.
- Hotel booking confirmation or original invitation from an individual with notarization by the municipal authority at the place of residence. Information about income and a copy of the Dutch passport are attached to the invitation.
- Certificate of employment, issued not earlier than 1 month ago at the time of application. It should contain the contacts of the organization, information about the position, monthly salary and wages for the last 6 months.
- A copy of the insurance policy with a coverage amount of €30,000. The company issuing insurance must be accredited to operate in the EU.
- Receipt for payment of the consular and service fee in the amount of €60.
Important: When visiting the Netherlands for the first time, a visa is issued strictly for the dates of the trip. If the trip goes without incident, then subsequent tours will allow visiting the country for up to 90 consecutive days every six months.
Read more about visas to Holland and customs regulations for crossing the border here.
Frequently asked Questions
What are the ratings of Dutch hotels, and how do they differ from hotels in other countries?
There are no differences in the “star” status, but there is an unpleasant difference in room prices. The Dutch authorities have introduced a tax on tourists, which is included in the cost of living. The more prestigious the hotel, the greater the “foreigner’s surcharge”. But in the price lists, this extra charge is often not there, so always check the final bill at the booking stage.
When is the best time to plan a vacation in Holland? I heard that there is a real problem with the climate, and getting good weather is simply impossible. Is it so?
Yes, the weather in the country is very unpredictable, and the number of clear days even in the middle of summer is catastrophically small. Amsterdam, for example, is often compared to St. Petersburg, which is partly true, so there is a lot of precipitation in autumn and winter. In summer, strong cold winds are possible, so you should always have a windproof jacket or raincoat with you.
How is the security on the streets of cities, is it worth believing the rumors that the Dutch police are the best in the world?
The official crime rate in the country is 0.9%, local prisons are empty, and the police are frankly bored every now and then, revealing bicycle thefts. But this does not mean at all that guests do not get into trouble, mainly related to theft of valuables and street fraud. If you are in trouble, you can simply loudly call for help – for sure, one of the passers-by will immediately start calling the nearest station. You can call the police or an ambulance at a beautiful number: 555-5555 – dispatchers speak excellent English. You need to inform the consular department of the embassy in Amsterdam in the morning by dialing: +31 (0) 70 364 6473 – they do not have an emergency number, calling at night will get you an answering machine.