Lonely Planet ( Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Netherlands Tourism Board ( Attractions, cultural events and practical info.

Dutch News ( Daily news from the Netherlands in English.

Holland Cycling Routes ( Comprehensive cycling information, including maps, route descriptions, rental and repair outlets.

Dutch Review ( Well-written webzine covering Dutch culture, news, food, drink, travel et al.

Expatica ( Entertaining guide to life in the Netherlands, with daily news and listings.

Top Tips

  • Buy an OV-chipkaart upon arrival (the 'anonymous' rather than 'personalised' version costing €7.50) to ensure the cheapest train fares and easy travelling on public transport. Load the smart-card with credit, and always swipe it at card readers at the start and end of your journey.
  • In towns and cities, be careful not to step into or walk in cycling lanes and watch out for speeding cyclists.
  • If you can't beat them, join them: it is easy to rent a bike all over the Netherlands and the joy of pedalling the open road along silky-smooth, well-signposted cycling lanes is second-to-none. No one appears to wear a helmet; bring your own.
  • In rural parts of the country, many restaurants don't accept credit cards, only Dutch debit cards. To avoid embarrassment, always carry a small amount of cash too.

What to Take

  • Good comfortable shoes – Dutch towns and the countryside are best appreciated on foot or by bike
  • Umbrella and light rainproof jacket
  • Two-pin travel plug (electrical adapter)
  • A small day pack (the smaller the better to avoid having to check it in when visiting museums)

What to Wear

Locals dress stylishly, but practically – remember, locals (and quite possibly you) cycle everywhere so there's really no point packing your favourite stiletto shoes or bum-hugging mini skirt. The Dutch tend to wear jeans or casual trousers and boots or sneakers for an evening out.

Pack layers of clothing: the Dutch weather is notoriously fickle and there can be chilly spells even in summer. In spring, summer and autumn, a light trench coat or jacket and a small travel umbrella will mean you’re prepared for the weather, but will still blend in with the crowd. In winter, bring a proper heavy coat, woolly hat, scarf and gloves to ward off the often-freezing temperatures (and you'll still want that umbrella).

Pre-Departure Checklist

  • Check passport validity and visa requirements.
  • Arrange travel insurance.
  • Check airline baggage restrictions.
  • Book accommodation; reserve big-name restaurants.
  • Check with your mobile phone provider about roaming charges (abolished within the EU itself) or getting an international plan.
  • Download Netherlands-related travel apps, books and music.