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Holland
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GENERAL OVERVIEW OF HOLLAND VIDEO
Wooden shoes, tulips, Dutch cheese, and windmills are synonymous with the Netherlands. Windmills are still an integral part of Holland's picturesque landscape. Amsterdam's series of canals are an enduring image, diamond cutting is exceptional, artists like Rembrandt thrived here, and the Red Light District is unique in the world.
TRANSPORTATION IN HOLLAND VIDEO
The green "E" symbol marks an international highway, while the red "A" means it's a national roadway. The highways are all free to use, and motorists will appreciate the many camping areas and scenic rest stops. Seeing Holland by water makes for good touring. Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is a major hub and HQ of KLM, and train links connect the airport with the city, which also has a subway, trams and canal boats.
AMSTERDAM VIDEO
Holland's cultural capital with less than a million people, Amsterdam is surprisingly busy. Islands and canals create the city's trademark images, and buildings from the 14th to the 18th centuries add enormous character. Flanked by a palace and churches, Amsterdam Square is busy, surrounded by historical streets laced with markets, shops and trendy cafés.
GETTING AROUND AMSTERDAM VIDEO
Central Station is the city's main transportation hub where you'll find detailed tourist information, making getting around way less intimidating. With 70 islands and 80 kilometers of canals connected by more than a thousand bridges, Amsterdam is scenic. Bikes & blades are ideal modes of transport here, and can be brought on the subway except at peak times. Trams & trains round out the many traveling options.
HEMP, SOFT DRUGS AND "COFFEE SHOPS" VIDEO
Limited marijuana consumption is legal in Holland and is served at hundreds of coffee shops in the country, listed on the menu along with beverages and snacks. Drug related paraphernalia is widely available, and non-hallucinagetic hemp products have become popular also, especially manifested at the hemp Hotel, where everything is made from hemp.
THE RED LIGHT DISTRICT VIDEO
With origins in the 17th century when sailors that landed in the port here sought comfort at local brothels, the Red Light District is today still an enigma. It's quite a tourist attraction where travelers can feel safe, as long as they're not taking any pictures.
HOSTELS IN HOLLAND VIDEO
For youthful and budget conscious travelers, Holland offers many options. Some 38 youth hostels are open to anyone carrying a youth hostel card, and hundreds of campgrounds are sprinkled around the country. A campsite for tents, campervans and with cottages is located right in Amsterdam and does brisk business, with its own bus stop linking to Central Station.
DIAMONDS VIDEO
Known as "the City of Diamonds," Amsterdam has a proud history of diamond cutting that dates back to 1586. One million visitors annually tour various diamond factories to see how they're cut and polished, as well as selecting from the wondrous gemstones.
DUTCH CUISINE VIDEO
Locally grown produce dictates the choices of chefs in Holland. Some of the world's finest cheeses are produced here, and Dutch beer and gin are highly prized. A lovely sidewalk café ambiance prevails in warmer months, fast food chains are all present, and the famous Five Flies Restaurant offers authentic Dutch selections fashioned from local organic produce, while featuring original Rembrandt etchings on the walls.
LEEUWARDEN VIDEO
Located in the north of Holland just a one hour drive from Amsterdam, Leeuwarden is the capital city of the Dutch province of Friesland. The building of Leeuwarden started in the 13 century on 3 hills to protect it from the nearby sea. These days Leeuwarden is a modern city, but with a charming 16 century city centre, peppered with boat-lined canals, city walls and museums. The  ancient city’s culture includes its own Frisian language and typical sports and events. The business centre is growing fast as there is a large EXPO centre and a World Trade Centre. Tourists love to visit quaint shopper-friendly Leeuwarden with its regal and ornate architecture and seafaring ambiance.