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    Travel Guide Netherlands - maximise your trip

    A country of serene natural splendour, the Netherlands might be one of Europe's most populated countries but its timeless landscapes of windmills and peaceful waterways continue to woo an increasing number of visitors from all over the world. Equally famous for its cheese, most notably Edam and Gouda, it’s a road-tripper’s (and cyclist's) dream come true, especially when passing through the kaleidoscopic rainbow-coloured fields of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses that explode into life each spring and early summer. The purpose of this Travel Guide Netherlands section is to provide you with a preview of some the things you might not want to miss when visiting this very picturesque country.

    An excellent series of motorways makes Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Den Haag (The Hague) and Groningen a short day trip from anywhere you happen to be staying, allowing you to explore the beautiful North Sea coast and visit local fishing villages with their imaginatively-painted homes. Furthermore, with a car hire in the Netherlands you’ll also have quick and very direct access to nearby international destinations such as Brussels, Dusseldorf and Luxembourg.

    The Netherlands is a place where tradition and innovation go hand in hand. Exploring the country by car promises a fascinating journey through a country soaked in history and culture; a watery wonderland overflowing with cutting-edge design, artistic masterpieces, ground-breaking architecture and, of course, those much-loved canals. Many renowned locally-born artists such as Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh honed their astonishing skills in the heart of the Dutch hinterland, inspired by all the natural richness and picturesque landscapes that surrounded them.

    You will feel some of this inspiration yourself as you drive through the Dutch countryside experiencing the country’s many tourist attractions, including the Hoge Veluwe National Park (just 50 miles south-east of Amsterdam), the pottery town of Delft (close to The Hague), Keukenhof Gardens (the tulip capital of the world) and medieval Maastricht in the south, one of the oldest cities in western Europe. You’ll love the thrill of visiting the Netherlands’ bustling town markets and motoring along hundreds of miles of sandy shoreline through dozens of well-protected landscapes harbouring hundreds of old hermitages, farmsteads and windmill-dotted pastures.

    A world leader in car hire around the globe, Auto Europe has been assisting people with their travel plans for over 65 years, allowing them to book car rentals online in a few easy steps at more than 24,000 locations across all four continents. Auto Europe guarantees you the lowest rates in the market, always offering you the right vehicle in the right place at the right price. There’s no need to look anywhere else because we have the main airports, railway stations and downtown locations covered all over the Netherlands, plus we have a good choice of one-way options available for people looking for more flexibility during their trip.

    To help you plan your itinerary more effectively, you can find all the information you need in the following sections, with lots of different options available and the added bonus of our regular promotions offering free upgrades, additional drivers, winter tyres, GPS devices, child seats, etc. Furthermore, our award-winning rental specialists are on duty seven days a week on +44 123 3225 114 should you require any personal assistance with your booking or travel plans.

    Look over the Netherlands Travel Guide topics listed below and take a look at each page for information on a specific aspect of travelling in the Netherlands.

    Road Trips Attractions Travel FAQs

    Road trips with my car hire in the Netherlands

    It’s easy to plan the ultimate road-trip in the Netherlands with Auto Europe’s wide-ranging tips and recommendations thanks to the 65-plus years’ experience we have as a leading car hire broker. Drawing from the vast knowledge and feedback of our millions of customers, we’ve put together some interesting ideas on how best to enjoy your car rental in the Netherlands by discovering both the popular and lesser-known parts of the country, including the more remote North Holland region in the north. Get inspired by our road-trip recommendations before making your search in the Auto Europe booking engine to taking advantage of the cheapest rates in the market, guaranteed!

    From Amsterdam, take a short drive south-west of the city to the pretty town of Aalsmeer, home to the largest flower auction in the world. Flowers and plants of every shape, size and description can be found here and the early morning weekday auction is quite a spectacle for visitors. A similar distance north-east of the capital lies the enchanting cheese town of Edam, a name known the world over on the strength of its flavoursome semi-hard cheese made with partially-skimmed cow's milk. Other highlights close to Amsterdam include the open-air Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen and the charming seaside village of Monnickendam which was founded by Monks who constructed a dam there in the 14th century.

    A popular tour of the bulb fields involves a scenic drive through some of the most picturesque and strikingly floral parts of the Netherlands. Originally from Kazakhstan, the very first tulip was planted in a botanical garden in Leiden in 1593 to spawn a multi-billion-euro global industry. The trip starts in the enchanting city of Haarlem due west of Amsterdam, where some of the country's best monuments and museums can be found. The drive south to Lisse, Leiden, and Naaldwijk passes through mile after mile of flower fields, which burst into a vivid mass of colour at the first sign of spring. Take a good camera and enjoy plenty of pit-stops for one of the most memorable road-trips in Europe.

    The Hague - NetherlandsTo prove that a visit to the Netherlands is so much more than a few days' sightseeing in Amsterdam, we recommend our Dutch cities itinerary incorporating Utrecht, Leiden, The Hague, Delft, Gouda and Maastricht, seven of the most interesting and surprising places in the Netherlands. Dating back to Roman times, Utrecht retains much of its medieval charm with several churches, monasteries and a magnificent cathedral founded in 1254. Visitors to The Hague cannot miss a visit to the Binnenhof where the Dutch parliament now sits. Famous for its blue and white pottery, the lovely city of Delft offers plenty of tourist appeal with its well-preserved Old Town and integrated canal system. The ancient city of Maastricht in the country's deep south is the icing on the cake for many road-trippers travelling through the Netherlands. Located some 130 miles south of Amsterdam, about two hours on a clear road, it is popular for its many fine buildings and beautiful setting both banks of the River Maas.

    The Netherlands has a long sandy shoreline stretching all the way from Zeeland in the south to Groningen in the north, with many splendid seaside towns and beach resorts located in between, making it the perfect place for a relaxing road-trip along the idyllic North Sea coast. Some of the most attractive places to visit en route include Noordwijk, Zandvoort and Egmond aan Zee, all blessed with fantastic beaches and an extensive range of family-friendly facilities to match. An established holiday destination since the mid-18th century, Domburg is also popular for its long promenades and expansive beaches backed by mile after mile of golden sand-dunes.

    What to do in the Netherlands

    Compact, well organised and easily navigable, the Netherlands is the ideal place for an absorbing motoring holiday full of cultural interest and natural splendour, especially in springtime when the country’s famous flower fields are in full bloom. A wonderful land of dykes and windmills, there’s much to see when you rent a car in the Netherlands, so to get you started we’ve listed a few of the places you shouldn’t miss on your travels;

    • Amsterdam: Amsterdam revels in its reputation of being the care-free capital of the world. Admire the masterpieces at the Rijksmuseum before plunging into the post-impressionist world of Van Gogh at the museum in his name. If you need a reminder of the atrocities of war, then a visit to the House of Anne Frank will provide a sober memento of mankind’s ability to clean forget the gruesome lessons of the past, while at the opposite end of the emotional spectrum the ultra-modern NEMO Science Museum shapes the future with a thought-provoking collection of exhibits covering subjects as diverse as life in the universe and science through the ages.

    • Hoge Veluwe National Park: The heart of the country’s hinterland, Hoge Veluwe National Park is a mixture of marshes, lakes, forests and dunes barely an hour’s drive south-east of the capital. It was once a private hunting ground but today stands as one of the Netherlands’ most sought-after tourist attractions, with many key features to appreciate including the marvellous on-site Kröller-Müller Museum housing one of the richest Van Gogh collections in Europe with over 90 of his best paintings, most notably the mesmerising Country Road in Provence by Night. Don’t miss!

    • Delft: Heading out of Amsterdam to the south-west brings you to the evocative old town of Delft, a picturesque place blessed with a canvas of canals, churches and museums in close proximity to The Hague, parliamentary capital of The Netherlands. Delft is a town famous for its blue and white pottery known to collectors the world over as Delftware, which was first introduced by Italian potters in the 16th century. Besides its many other points of interest, the town houses the richly-decorated resting place of William of Orange who started the successful revolt against Spanish rule in 1568. Delft was also the home town of Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer, one of the world’s most revered 17th-century painters.

    • Keukenhof Gardens - NetherlandsKeukenhof Gardens: If you happen to be visiting the Netherlands in spring, take a trip to Keukenhof in the lovely town of Lisse, otherwise known as the Garden of Europe. Keukenhof cover some 32 hectares of gardens containing more than 7 million flower bulbs of over 800 different varieties, making it one of the largest attractions of its kind in the world. It’s also a good place to take the kids, who’ll love the treasure hunt, animal farm, maze and excellent children’s playground.

    • Maastricht: Surrounded by forests and often overlooked by the wandering tourist, medieval Maastricht is the oldest city in the country and a city that’s well worth an excursion with your car hire in the Netherlands. Sandwiched between Belgium and Germany some 200 miles south of Amsterdam, the city is notable for its cobbled old town (don’t miss the delightful Vrijthof Square) centred around the magnificent St Servaas Church with its 10th-century crypt containing the tomb of Maastricht’s patron saint.

    A bit of history

    Traces of human habitation in the Netherlands date back over 30,000 years, with Palaeolithic farming communities having left their mark around 4,500 BC. At about the same time the Celts were settling in the south, Germanic tribes began to occupy the same territory the Netherlands covers today, resulting in the Franks ruling the territory from 300-700 AD. It fell into the hands of the Habsburgs and later Philip II of Spain, thus triggering the successful Dutch Revolt of 1568 led by William I of Orange. Roughly spanning the 17th century, the country’s Golden Age saw it grow into the foremost maritime and economic super power with overseas territories all over the world. Strategically positioned at a crossing of the east-west and north-south trade routes, the Netherlands continued to prosper until French troops ousted William V of Orange in 1795, an occupancy that lasted almost 20 years, after which it has remained a constitutional monarchy ever since. Despite remaining neutral during World War I, the country was occupied by Germany throughout most of World War II, subsequently joining the United Nations in 1945, NATO in 1949 and the EU as a founder member in 1957.

    Frequently Asked Questions about travelling in the Netherlands

    Contact the Auto Europe Rental SpecialistsBelow we have compiled a list of the most commonly-asked questions to further assist you with your car hire in the Netherlands. These range from basic questions relating to the local currency and time zone to more profound issues such as whether or not you will require a visa and familiarising yourself with a little bit with the Dutch language. We also look at some of the things you need to take into account when selecting the best vehicle for your trip, be it a small, economical car for city sightseeing or a spacious SUV with a more powerful engine for road-trips along the North Sea coast. If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for in this section, you might find it in our travel tips section, if not then Auto Europe's dedicated team of rental specialists are on duty every day of the week on +44 123 3225 114 to assist you with your booking and travel plans.

    What type of car hire is best for your trip to the Netherlands?

    The Netherlands is a flat country with very few hills so most of the vehicles featured in our car categories should be more than sufficient for your travels. If you plan to stay in Amsterdam, then a Mini- or Economy-category car will get you around quickly and cheaply, while a trip out of the city to the bulb fields of Lisse and Lieden might call for something larger with a more spacious interior from our Midsize category. Getting away from the major cities for a trip along the coast to the more remote areas of the North Holland region, it’s best to choose a more powerful vehicle from the SUV and Luxury categories. And for families and groups of friends travelling together, there’s nothing better than the latest model from our Van category with enough seating and luggage space for everyone. Check out our in-depth car hire category guide for more information on each category's features and their advantages.


    What is the currency in the Netherlands?

    As part of the Eurozone, the Netherlands replaced the guilder with the euro on the 1st of January 2002. Nevertheless, please be advised that due to the growing number of counterfeit notes in circulation, it’s best not to carry €100, €200 and €500 denominations. Credit cards are widely accepted in the Netherlands but there’s an increasing need for tourists to know their 4-digit PIN code in order to finalise transactions. It’s always best to inform your bank or card provider that you intend to use your debit and credit cards whilst visiting the country.


    What time zone is the Netherlands in?

    As a small country, the Netherlands only needs one time-zone which is Central European Time (CET), an hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. The country’s abides by the use of daylight-saving, which means that the clock goes forward from late March until late October, so there’s more daylight in the evenings. In the Netherlands these time adjustments are known as ‘summertime’ and ‘wintertime’.


    Electricity – Do I need a power adapter in the Netherlands?

    Voltage in the Netherlands is 230 V at 50 Hz frequency. UK appliances will require an adaptor for use in the Netherlands, as the local sockets take C (Europlug) and F (German 'Schuko') plugs, which both have two pins.


    Do I need a visa to travel to the Netherlands?

    No visas are required for UK citizens visiting the Netherlands. Should you require its services during your trip, you’ll need to remember that the British Embassy is not located in Amsterdam but in The Hague, although the British Consulate is located in Amsterdam. Visit the UK government's travel website for up-to-date information and advice on visiting European countries after Brexit.

    British Embassy The Hague
    Lange Voorhout 10
    2514 ED The Hague, Netherlands
    Telephone: +31 (0)70 4270 427

    British Consulate Amsterdam
    Koningslaan 44
    1075 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Telephone: +31 (0)70 4270 427


    Which are the most common phrases in Dutch?

    There are two official languages in the Netherlands: Dutch and Frisian. Nowadays, Frisian is mostly limited to the Friesland province in the north of the country and very rarely spoken elsewhere. English is very widely spoken, especially by the young. In order to help you brush up on your Dutch before your trip, we’ve listed some of the key phrases below;

    Hello - Hallo
    Good morning - Goedemorgenbr
    Thank you - Dank je wel
    Goodbye - Tot ziens
    How much does this cost? - Hoeveel kost dit?
    Where is the closest police station? - Waar is het dichtstbijzijnde politiebureau?
    Where is the closest hospital? - Waar is het dichtstbijzijnde ziekenhuis?
    One-way street - Eenrichtingsstraat
    Motorway - Snelweg
    No parking - Verboden te parkeren
    Roadworks - Wegwerkzaamheden

    Useful Links

    Netherlands Airport Information

    Official Tourism Website of the Netherlands Netherlands Travel Advice