Did you polyglots know that "Netherlands" literally means "low countries" and the name derives from a quarter of it lying below sea level? Funnily enough, the Dutch have not been left without due compensation as they are statistically the tallest people in the world. But to the point. If you've been aiming at mountain-related pursuits, you'd better take a short-haul flight to the German Alps. With the highest point at 322.7 meters, the Netherlands offers everything but such opportunities. If you decide to stay, though, you are certainly not going to regret it.
There might be 9 million bicycles in Beijing but it is here that over 15,000 kilometers of cycle routes meander throughout the country, backdropped with the serene landscape of picturesque valleys, multicolored tulips, idyllic windmills and extensive river deltas. Each of the major cities has a distinctive character that inscribes itself in the overall impression of well-organized, yet fairly diversified whole. Amsterdam, for instance, is the perfect place to be. Here you'll find an epicenter of all architectural styles, an Art Deco gallery and Van Gogh Museum across one street, and the Red Light District whose fluorescent glamor illuminates the oldest part of the city. Rotterdam is a young, dynamic, international hub floating on water. Utrecht has the lead in terms of educational institutions and bustling student life. Finally, the Hague inspires respect with its diplomatic, dignified character. And when you've had your fill of urban attractions, there are 20 bucolic national parks and hundreds of other nature reserves to choose from, with Hoge Veluwe topping the list in terms of both size and brilliance.
The Dutch are an interesting lot. They live - all 16 million of them - on 41 thousand square kilometers but being there, you do not really get the impression of overcrowding or chaos. Quite the contrary, they have the reputation for being extremely well-organized, rather bureaucratic, lawabiding, and mindful of quality, which might appear surprising in light of their liberal policies toward drugs, prostitution, homosexuality, or euthanasia. The homeland of Spinoza, Van Gogh and Mata Hari, the Netherlands is definitely a worthwhile place not only as a stopover. So, grease you wheels, activate your common sense and enjoy your stay!