The Netherlands became part of the official Eurozone in 1999 and its previous currency was replaced by the euro in 2002. This was the date at which the coins and banknotes were introduced to the country to use in general circulation.
You probably are familiar with the euro already because it is used in various different countries. This is a decimal currency that is split into 100 cents. These are officially eurocents but few people actually refer to them as such.
You can get cent-valued coins in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents. You can also get two euro coins valued at one and two euros respectively.
Of the seven euro bank notes that are available, only four are used frequently. These are denominated in €5, €10, €20 and €50 euros. The rarer ones are the €100, €200 and €500 euro notes.
You may already know the history of the euro, perhaps from reading some of our other articles or from remembering the series of events that brought it into being.
The currency originally came into being in 1999 but for the next three years it was only available as a so-called accounting currency. The coins and banknotes were introduced in each member country in 2002, on 1st January. The coins differ in each country as the reverse of each one is unique to the particular country that issued it. Therefore when you see the coins for the Netherlands you will see different designs on the reverse. Otherwise they are all the same as you would see in other countries.
As you might well imagine this is incredibly easy. You can get some euros prior to going to the Netherlands if you wish; you may even have a few left over from another holiday or trip to another European country. It doesn’t matter if the coins you have depict the reverse design of another country – you can still use them as legal tender when you go to the Netherlands.
You can also get hold of more cash when you get there. As you may expect from a modern European country, the Netherlands has a good network of cash machines you can rely on. You might find it challenging to try and cash traveller’s cheques so you may want to forget about taking any of these. With the opportunity to use the cash machines as well as paying for various things by card and so on, you won’t have any difficulties.
All you have to do is find a currency converter and use it to look up the rate of your own currency against the Euro. It changes all the time – literally minute by minute – and this means it is usually better to find the most up-to-date converter you can. You might want to check the rates when you are in the Netherlands so you know what kind of deal you are going to get when exchanging money.
The Netherlands has a lot to offer in terms of tourism. It is a good idea to find out more about the country before you go, and you can get started by visiting the official website of the Netherlands in London at http://unitedkingdom.nlembassy.org/.
Nearly two million people from Britain go to the Netherlands every single year and few experience any problems while they are there. The main thing you should be aware of is the potential problem posed by pickpocketing. Petty crime is the main concern for tourists although it is not hugely widespread. It is generally more of a problem in the major cities, but then you could say the same of many world cities.
If you come in via Schiphol Airport or via train service the main thing to be aware of is the need to hang onto your bags and protect your belongings in these areas. Aside from this make sure you don’t carry anything with you that is completely unnecessary, such as excessive valuables or wads of cash. Easy targets will always be more attractive so you might want to think about putting your wallet elsewhere instead of sliding it into your back pocket.
So where is the Netherlands? Most people are familiar with its location in Europe, which enjoys a large coastal border with the North Sea. It also has a border with Germany and Belgium.
You might also say the country has one of the most famous capital cities in Europe – Amsterdam. Indeed this city is a very popular choice among people in the UK and beyond when considering taking a long weekend. It has much to offer and it is famous for its plentiful canals. The canals are arranged in an orderly fashion and are crossed in many places by bridges. As such the city is quite spectacular and very pretty indeed. You should consider hiring a bicycle to get around on as they are very common in the city and you can cover more ground a lot faster than you would otherwise.
There is plenty to see and do in the city as well, such as visiting some of the many parks it is well-known for. One of these is Vondelpark, which receives millions of visitors every single year. There are lots of other tourist attractions in Amsterdam as well, such as the Van Gogh Museum and of course perhaps most famously the Anne Frank Museum, which is definitely worth a visit.
Of course Amsterdam has far more to offer than just its capital. It is well-known for its tulips and these can be seen in many places, although perhaps the most familiar of these is Keukenhof. This is a huge flower garden that can be found in South Holland, which is part of Amsterdam towards the south western corner. There are many flowers here and it is a wonderful place to spend a few hours in, exploring the areas that are displayed.
Each part of the Netherlands has something to offer. In fact while a trip to Amsterdam would be on most people’s itineraries, it would be a shame to miss out on other interesting areas. For example the eastern side of the country has cities and locations including Zwolle. It is a charming city and has many delightful streets to be discovered. If you look hard enough you might even discover some of the remains of medieval city walls that are still around.
Another thing that might come to mind when you think about the Netherlands is windmills, and there are plenty of opportunities to find them too. The best place to go is a village called Kinderdijk. The windmills you will find here have been standing since the mid-1700s and have been exceptionally well preserved. Many tourists head here to see them and to catch a glimpse of a classic sight of the Netherlands.
Another destination you may want to visit is Delft. This name may be familiar to you from the world of pottery, since this is where the famous Delft Blue pottery comes from. Royal Delft actually dates all the way back to the 1650s. While other pottery producers were around at that time too, this is the only one to last into the 21st century. There are many other delights in Delft you can see while you are there, and one of the best ways to see them is to go on a city walk. The historic walk through the city is perhaps the best way to become more familiar with the city and its surroundings. You could also opt for a guided tour that will reveal more about Delft and show you some of the outstanding highlights of the area.
As you can see there are many places to go in the Netherlands. To assume the only place you can see is Amsterdam is to miss out many other outstanding destinations the country has to offer. Take Utrecht for example, which is another great city with so much to offer. It has plenty of canals just as the capital city does, but it also boasts a charming botanical garden. You can also explore Oudegracht and its wharfs. This is an amazing place with quay areas that are accessible only to pedestrians. You’ll find many a charming café here to serve you a drink or a snack while you watch the locals go by.
As you can see Amsterdam is just the beginning when it comes to seeing the best the Netherlands has to offer. You can enjoy the very best in sights, attractions and experiences here and see a side to the country you may never have known was there. By all means treat yourself to a great long weekend in the capital, but don’t neglect the rest of the country.