All things dutch.
My oma is dutch so I grew up in NZ with a true affection for cumin gouda, klompen, poffertjes and speculaas. Yes it's true, I even love dropjes (salty dutch licorice). Visiting the Netherlands for the very first time in my 28th year, was like coming home. I love the quirky nature of the dutch, the symmetry of their houses (right down to the flower boxes lining their windows) and the green lushness of the countryside.
Get on your bike.
The great thing about the Netherlands, is that everywhere is so accessible. For a true dutch experience, you are best to explore by bicycle. The cycle paths are extensive and incredibly flat. Expect to see groups of people of all ages out riding.
A personal connection.
While I was out riding, I thought back to my oma's fond memories of her family's grand bicycle camping trips. Or how she would ride her bike back from Utrecht to Amstelveen every weekend, just so she could visit her family. The Netherlands is a country very close to my heart and I hope you enjoy exploring it as much as I do.
Travelling by van.
Not only did we pick up our Aramaoana in the Netherlands, but the country was incredibly van-friendly. The price of gas was affordable, the roads were all free and the camper parking app listed a bounty of free overnight parking places. Don't forget to add Holland to your European vanlife itinerary and be sure to stop into our favourite towns along the way.
Here are 8 places to include on your next visit to the Netherlands...
I'd always longed to visit the hometown of my oma and on my third trip to Europe I made it a reality. I've grown up hearing stories about the place. The dykes, the canals and crazy tales about what it was like during the german occupation. It's a culturally rich and diverse city and remains one of the most affordable gateways in Europe to fly in or out of.
With its beautiful canals and dykes, this is a lovely spot to enjoy the relaxed countryside. Abcoude is within close proximity to Amsterdam, so you can catch a train right into the heart of the city.
3.) Zaanse Schans
A trip to the Netherlands is not complete without a visit to Zaanse Schans to see the windmills. Less than 30 minutes drive north of Amsterdam, make sure to add this gorgeous spot to your list.
We really enjoyed the ride from Meppel to Balkbrug which wound through the De Zwarte Dennen. Try to get your hands on a cycle map. Once you map out your trail you can note down the numbered markers to look out for so there is no chance to get lost.