Backpacking Holland

Looking for important travel information while backpacking around Holland? Here you will find information on working in Holland, entry visas, Holland hostels, and much more.

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Table of Contents

Facts About Holland

The open-minded, liberal country of the modern world. The Netherlands leads the way in political progress concerning human rights and has many controversial policies on issues such as prostitutuion, canabis and homosexual relations. There is so much colour not only in political aspects but also the land itself; beautiful expanses of greenery where you can literally see for miles due to the remarkably flat geography. Windmills, tulips and canals are everywhere you look and decorate the beautiful scenery with Dutch identity. Amsterdam, the outstanding capital, is a partying city with so much culture to experience that people tend to spend longer here than a lot of other cities, just dont forget your clogs!

  • Currency: Euro (€) = 100 cents
  • Time Zone: GMT + 1
  • Language: Dutch. English, French and German are also spoken
  • Telephone Services: Country Code + 31, International access code 00
  • Emergency Numbers: 112 for all services

Climate

The Netherlands experience a mild climate with prevalent rainfall all year round. The summer months are reasonably warm, but hot weather is not very common. Wintertime is generally quite cold and snow can be expected.

Things to see and do

Amsterdam is host to so many sight-seeing treats; the numerous flowing canals and renowned museums deserve to have the high reputation that they have been given. One of the most famous is The Van Gogh Museum and it is definitely worth a visit if you are taken by this artists work. The museum has some of his most famous work from the beginning of his life as an artist in Holland until his death in France.

The story of Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager who spent the end of her days in hiding before being deported to a concentration camp, is known and felt by millions. The house where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during Second World War has been named The Anne Frank House and has developed into a memorial site, which is a very moving place to see.

Amsterdam undeniably attracts thousands of tourists every year not only for its culture and atristic brilliance but also due to the fact that it is host to loads of Coffeeshops, which are in fact Marijuana cafes. In a city where you can have a spliff with your cup of coffee, rather than a biscuit, and legally have sex with prostitutes, it is clear why Amsterdam is such a big attraction.

Rotterdam is another of the Netherlands beautiful cities and renowned for its architectural brilliance. There is so much to see and do, but one of the best sights, and a starting point, is a boatride which leaves from Europort, the world’s largest port, and tours around the city for over an hour. The outstanding Erasmus Bridge, constructed by a Dutch architect, Ben van Berkel, is a light blue colour so during the day it can actually be difficult to see in bright sun-light, but at night-time white light illuminates the bridge and you can really see what an incredible masterpiece this Bridge is.

There are almost thirty museums in Rotterdam and every one is wonderful for different reasons. The Museumpark is very convenient for you if you want to see several in a limited time-scale. The Museumpark combines five museums dedicated to architecture and art. If you are impressed by the architecture you see in Rotterdam then you should look into doing one of the architecture walks through the city organised by The Netherlands Architecture Institute.

The Hague is the political centre in the Netherlands and the ‘Binnenhof’ is host to the parliament buildings. You can go on guided tours around the complex and the 13th century Knights Hall is fascinating. There is also The Peace Palace where the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration are situated, and again these outstanding buildings are accessible by guided tours. Finally, Lang Voorhout, an extensive lane between Kneuterdijk and Tournooiveld, has developed into the residential area for members of the governement. There are lime trees along the roadside which decorate this famous area, where you can also find the Diligentia Theatre.

Travel

The public transport system in the Netherlands is very efficient.You are able to travel anywhere in the country thanks to this well-thought-out system where no matter how small the village is, you can be assured that it is linked to the transportation network.

The railway network is modern and notably the trains run by the Netherlands Railways (NS) are among the best in Europe. The Intercity IC network runs a direct and rapid service between major cities, only making a limited number of stops. There are even trains that run throughout the night and, departing every hour, these trains connect the major cities, including Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Train Timetables can be found on the NS website.

If you are travelling short distances then the bus is also a great means of transport. There are city buses, regional buses and express services. The buses run reasonably regularly to destinations in and around the cities, but it is during peak hours when the buses run most frequently. There is also the Interliner service available for longer distances.

The main cities of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam offer a tram service and Amsterdam and Rotterdam also have an underground network. Services by both these methods of transport are rapid and run from early morning until late at night.

There are public transport tickets for use on buses, trams and the underground. The Nartional Strippen Card can be used all over the country and is also valid on trains which run within the major cities: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague. The Strippen Cards can be purchased at railway stations, post offices, newsagents and department stores. It is cheaper to buy it from one of these stated places as if you by it on the bus or tram it is more expensive. The transport system has been divided up into zones and the tariffs relate to these zones. To travel to one zone you pay two ‘strips’ and then every zone after you pay one ‘strip’. Once in a zone you travel ‘free’ within a certain time limit.

Accommodation

The Netherlands has a huge variety of accommodation options, ranging from extremely expensive to very affordable. Youth hostels are the least expensive choice and generally you will pay no more than €12 per night. For more information you can visit the website of the Dutch Youth Hostel Association; Stayokay: www.stayokay.com . Another reasonably inexpensive way of visiting the Netherlands is to stay in one of the many campsites. Not all campsites offer pre-booking so it is just a matter of asking on the spot. The Netherlands Board of Tourism can give you a full list of available campsites and reservations for some can be made through the Stichting Vrije Recreatie at www.svr.nl.

Bed and Breakfast accommodation is another affordable option and can be found and booked on-line at www.bedandbreakfast.nl . Hotels can be cheap if you look around and The Netherlands Reservation Centre (NRC) give help and advice on hotel reservations, email them or visit their website. The Netherlands Board of Tourism approves hotels which meet the standards laid down by Dutch Law by issuing a shield to be placed on the outside of the hotel.

Health

You require an E111 form which entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Dutch nationals. This form is free of charge and can be collected from any post office, who also stamp it after you have completed it. You are recommended to take adequate medical and travel insurance too, and the post office offers good cover for around £30.

Useful Links

Entry Visas for Holland

EU or US Nationals will require a valid passport or national ID card for the duration of their stay, up to three months. If the visit is more than three months then a visa is required. For information regarding visas contact the Dutch Embassy.

Addresses

For visa and immigration related enquiries you should contact the Royal Netherlands Embassy in London:

Royal Netherlands Embassy
30 Hyde Park Gate
London 
SW7 5DP
Tel: (020) 7 590 3200 or  (020) 7 171 217� visa information line
Fax: (020) 7 581 3458.

If you require British representation while you are in the Netherlands you should contact the British Embassy in The Hague:

British Embassy
Lange Voorhout 10
2514 ED
The Hague
Netherlands
Tel: + 31 (70) 427 0427
Fax: + 31 (70) 427 0345

Tourist information can be provided by the National Netherlands tourist office:

Netherlands Board of Tourism,
PO BOX 523,
London, 
SW1E 6NT
Tel: (0891) 717 777

How to Say Common Dutch Phrases

Meeting People

English
Dutch
yes
ja
no
nee
thank you
dank u
you are welcome
niets te danken, geen dank
please
alstublieft
excuse me
excuseert u mij
hello
hallo, goede dag
goodbye
tot ziens
Good morning
goede morgen
Good night
goede nacht
I do not understand
Ik begrij u niet
Do you speak…?
Spreekt u…?
English
Engels
What is your name?
Hoe heet je?
Nice to meet you
Leuk je te ontmoeten
How are you?
Hoe gaat het ermee?
good
goed
bad
slecht

Directions

English
Dutch
map
kaart
left
links
right
rechts
straight on
rechtdoor
far
ver weg
near
dichtbij

Methods of Transport

English
Dutch
Where is…?
Waar is…?
How much is the fare?
Wat kost een kaartje?
ticket
kaartje
A ticket to…, please
Een kaartje naar…, alstublieft
Where are you going?
Waar ga je heen?
Where do you live?
Waar woon je?
train
trein
bus
bus
underground
metro
airport
vliegveld
train station
treinstation
bus station
bushalte
underground station
metrostation
departure
vertrek
arrival
aankomst
parking
parkeerplaats

Time

English
Dutch
What time is it?
Hoe laat is het?
today
vandaag
yesterday
gisteren
tomorrow
mor

Accommodation

English
Dutch
hotel
hotel
room
kamer
reservation
reservering
Are there any vacancies?
Is er nog een kamer vrij?
No vacancies
vol
passport
paspoort gen

Places

English
Dutch
post office
postkantoor
bank
bank
police station
politiebureau
hospital
ziekenhuis
chemist
apotheek
shop
winkel
restaurant
restaurant
museum
museum
church
kerk
square
plein
street
straat

Shopping

English
Dutch
How much does this cost?
Wat kost dit? Hoeveel kost dit?
I will buy it
Ik koop het
I would like to buy…
Ik zou graag… kopen
Do you have…?
Hebt u…?
open
open
closed
gesloten
postcard
briefkaart
stamps
postzegels
little
weinig
lot
veel
all
alles

Meals

English
Dutch
breakfast
ontbijt
lunch
lunch
dinner
diner
vegetarian
vegetarisch
cheers!
proost!
The bill please
De rekening, alstublieft

Drinks

English
Dutch
drink
drank
coffee
koffie
tea
thee
juice
sap
water
water
beer
bier
wine
wijn

Food

English
Dutch
meat
vlees
fish
vis
vegetable
groente
fruit
fruit
potato
aardappel
salad
salade
dessert
nagerecht

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Holland Hostels

Hostels are a cheap form of accomodation, and so they are essential to backpackers and other budget travellers. We have compiled a list of hostels in Holland to help you plan your journey. If you are looking for a hostel in Holland, you’ve come to the right place.

Amsterdam
Haarlem
Maastricht
Noordwijk
Rotterdam
The Hague
Utrecht

There you have it, the ultimate Holland backpacking guide. We hope you have found all the information you need for backpacking around Holland.