When ever I mention that I went to Holland people always want to know if it is true that women sit in the windows and sell sex. Yes it is true but that is not what Holland is all about.
When you arrive in Holland from America you will land at the airport outside Amsterdam (Schiphol). The first thing that will be different to the unaware traveler is that the airport is patrolled by armed guards with drug sniffing dogs. so if you have any with you or if your luggage smells like it had some in it you could be in trouble.
But this is supposed to be about what to see in Holland so let's begin. As you drive away from the airport you will see the landscape filled with farm animals, and fields of flowers. You will also see the old windmills that are still in use moving water from one poulter to another.
There will be small canals that are for irrigation and some for travel. you will notice the small boats moored in the canals that look like they did in ancient times. some are now just houseboats and don't move. There are also barges, and tugs. Shipping is a major industry for Holland.
About the time you get to see the cities you will first see the billboards that advertise everything. You will have to guess by the pictures what is being advertise as most will be in the dutch language. The traffic signs will be international and the overhead warnings will be in dutch as well. they are telling you to slow down or be aware there is a delay at a certain point.
Okay now that you have the idea you are in a country that has allot to offer. if you are a history buff and you should be, there are no less than 50 museums. You have the art works of the dutch masters, the maritime museum, world war I and II, Cheese, Pottery, just about anything you may have an interest in and all for very little money.
Just outside Amsterdam is The Hague, this is where the peace palace is and where they hold the war crimes trials. There is also a place that is the littlest city in the world. no building is taller than 6 feet high. there are exact replicas of building you will find in different parts of the country. They have a working airport, and a lock system and everything is in miniature.
Depending on the time of the year you have several beach es where you will be able to people watch and have something to eat. Stroll along the sand or watch the ships coming and going.
In April and May the kitchen Gardens are open(The Queens Gardens). The most dazzling display of flowers you will ever see and all in season. This is the best time to see the fields in bloom. where in America's Midwest you would see fields of wheat, sunflowers and milo, here you will see fields of tulips and other bulb producing flowers. if you get a chance you can visit the flower market where they auction off the flowers, quite a sight.
In Alkmaar and Edam you can see the Cheese markets. The local people dress in period costume and they put on a show of the weighing of the trucks of cheese.
In Vollandam you will see the locals in costume again only this is the sea shore and here they bring in the Sea eels and the herring. The aroma of the fish cooking fills the air. Watch as the locals devour raw herring like it were candy.
In Amsterdam take a boat tour and then visit Ann Franks House,or one of the many churches. in Rotterdam take another boat ride and tour the harbour and learn all about the shipping industry.
During the summer months almost every weekend there is a rummelsmart somewhere. This is like an outdoor market with entertainment. You can try the local cuisine of herring, cheese, wine, panne kookin, crepes, and my favorite strope waffles.
You can purchase clothing, breads, cheeses, fish, and of course flowers. there is usually having what we call yard sales as they aren't allowed to have them at their homes. I have found some great antiques.
Of course there is always the shopping, but you will need to know what cities offer the shopping malls. If you must shop take time to stop and have a taste of the great coffee (espresso)and a piece of the delicious cakes.
So you see there is more to see than the women in the windows. that is for the sailors home from the sea to enjoy, but if you must go along canal street in Amsterdam leave your wife and girl friend behind, the local bars don't like the competition.