One of the most popular activities among locals is cycling. And for good reason: the Netherlands has around 22,000 km of its own cycle paths criss-crossing the country, many of which are numbered. All you have to do is get a map, dial a number and go! Particularly picturesque areas suitable for cycling are the Green Heart, the Hoge Veluwe National Park, South Limburg and the Zaanstreek Waterland. Be aware that the wind can be strong (due to the flat terrain) and winters can be cold and rainy.
The Dutch coastline is 1,245 km long and has many beaches. The most popular activities are swimming and sunbathing, but these are mostly limited to hot summer days. Expect Scheveningen to be extremely crowded when temperatures rise to tropical levels. Milder, more family-friendly beaches include Zandvoort, Bloemendaal, Bergen and the West Frisian Islands.
Water sports are another activity mainly practised by the locals. Lakes can be found in all provinces, but the Frisian lakes are exceptional, especially during the annual Sneekweek, which marks the beginning of the boating season. Boating is possible without a permit, as long as the boat does not exceed a length of 15 m and/or a speed of 20 km/h. Other areas with a large number of lakes are Wijdemeren, Kaag and Aalsmeer. Most of these lakes are very calm, as parasailing and rafting are not possible.
The Netherlands has long been known for its great musicians and composers. Today it is no different, with top performances in a wide range of styles across the country. The Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam’s leading symphony orchestra, is considered by many connoisseurs to be one of the best, if not the best, in the world.