The Netherlands is the 10th most populous European countries and the 6th largest economy. Netherlands literally mean the 'Low Countries' because it is low-lying and flat, and much of its land has been reclaimed from the sea and is below sea level, protected by dikes.
This originally a bleak, featureless corner of Europe grew to become one of the wealthiest, most liberal and most influential regions of Europe. Few countries are so evocative in their symbols: windmills, canals, tulips, clogs, Gouda cheese, cannabis coffee shops... Dutch people like to joke that "God created the earth, but the Dutch created the Netherlands".
Right after declaring their independence from Habsburg dominion in the late 1500's, the Netherlands became the world's biggest trading empire, setting up colonies in North America (New York), the Caribbeans, along the coasts of Africa and India, and in Indonesia, which was going to become the largest Dutch colony. Nowadays this colonial heritage is still evident from the multi-ethnic make-up of Dutch society, where over 5% of the population hails from Indonesia, Surinam or the Dutch Antilles.
|Did you know?|
Contrarily to popular belief Holland is not synonymous with Netherlands. Holland only refers to two of the Netherlands's 16 provinces: North Holland and South Holland. Historically the Netherlands designated all the Benelux and French Flanders. Nowadays the whole region is usually referred to as the Low Countries.
This is our ranking of the most interesting Dutch cities and towns to visit. We took into account the attractiveness, atmosphere, historical heritage, as well as the number and quality of museums and local restaurants.
D.F. Wouda Steam Pumping Station ※
|Eupedia's Rating System|
Cities, towns, villages & historic buildings
- : Moderately interesting - nice for a quick stop
- : Recommended - to visit if you have time
- : Outstanding place - really deserves to be seen
- : Best of the country - shouldn't be missed
- : Best of Europe
- : Moderately interesting
- : Recommended
- : Highly recommended
- : World-class natural attraction
- ※ : UNESCO World Heritage site