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Amsterdam

06 Nights / 07 Days

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. With more than one million inhabitants in its urban area, it is the country's largest city and its financial, cultural, and creative center. Amsterdam is colloquially known as Venice of the North, because of its lovely canals that criss-cross the city, its impressive architecture and more than 1,500 bridges. There is something for every traveler's taste here, whether you prefer culture and history, serious partying, or just the relaxing charm of an old European city.

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NETHERLANDS

English author Aldous Huxley wrote in 1915, “A tour in Holland is a tour through the first books of Euclid”. Indeed, the landscape of the Netherlands boasts a delightful geometry. The name conjures up pictures of windmills and tulip fields in our mind but there is much more to this country…

The Netherlands gave the world renowned artists Rembrandt and Van Gogh, philosophers Erasmus and Baruch Spinoza and great scientists Christiaan Huygens and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. It is home to Flevoland, the largest man-made island and the world's largest flower garden, Keukenhof. With almost 1000 museums the Netherlands has the highest museum density in the world. It has a claim to ten UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one of which is the preserved mill network at Kinderdijk built in the 18th century. The charming country is sprinkled with historic cities that vaunt impressive architecture and small villages with ancient castles, medieval churches and watermills. Canals, beautiful farmland, cheese-cover farmhouses rising like pyramids and pleasant beaches dotting the coastline give it an amazingly fascinating landscape.

The Netherlands is situated in Western Europe in the deltas of three European rivers- the Rhine, Meuse (Maas), and Schelde, on the coast of the North Sea and is bordered by Germany and Belgium. With an area of 41,526 sq. km and almost 25% of land at, or below sea level, it is a very flat country sheltered from the waves by a narrow strip of dunes and dykes. Polders that have been created in the course of history are conserved areas protected from the sea. The ‘polder mills’ or windmills pump excess underground water to keep the polders dry and farmable. Some of the central area is covered by low rolling hills and in the far south, the land rises into the Ardennes Mountains where Vaalserberg, the country's highest point (322 m) is located. The Netherlands has 24,500 species of fauna and 10,000 species of flora that can be seen at the 20 national parks and over 100 natural reserves.

The Dutch treasures music and opera flourishes in the Netherlands. Levenslied, the traditional music has catchy, simple rhythms and melodies accompanied by instruments like draaiorgel (automatic pipe organ) and beiaard (consists of various bells linked together). The folk dances are mainly group dances and klompen (wooden clogs) are worn as additional percussion by stamping rhythmically. Traditional crafts include pottery, tile work, glassware, and silverware. Since 1653 the town of Delft has been producing the unique blue-and-white pottery known worldwide as delftware. The origin of traditional Dutch cooking lies in its agricultural past. Dutch cuisine is simple with many vegetables and dairy products and little meat. Seafood is widely eaten, especially herring. Tea, coffee, beer, and jenever, a gin made from juniper berries are the popular beverages.

Diverse cultural celebrations from dance and music to art and sports and food fill the Dutch calendar- Holland Flower Festival, Queen’s Day, Pinkpop, Spring Dance Festival, De Parade to name just a few.

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