Netherlands Basic Information
Here’s a little fact for you – the people of the Netherlands are the tallest in the world with the average adult height of 186 centimetres. But, this epic growth is a 21st century thing – over 100 years ago one out of 4 men from Holland were not allowed to join the Dutch army because they were too short. Want to know more? Read on.
Click your clogs together with joy, because there’s good news for Aussies visiting the Netherlands. As the Netherlands is one of the Schengen Convention countries, Aussie passport holders can holiday for a total of 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. Make sure your passport has at least 6 months’ validity from your planned date of return to Australia. Please be aware that this information is only a guideline. For up-to-the-minute visa information, contact your local Consulate or Embassy of Netherlands.
The Netherlands is part of the European Union and uses the Euro as currency, which is super handy if you’re doing a European tour. Less money changing, more money! The exchange rate between the Australian Dollar and the Euro changes constantly, so keep an eye on the exchange rate and purchase Euros when the rate is at its best. For safe spending while overseas, consider using a credit card or a travel money card.
You could say the Dutch like their sweets. It’s totally acceptable to eat chocolate sprinkles for breakfast and eating waffles is national pastime. There’s also poffertjes and stroopwafel. Poffertjes are tiny,fluffy pancakes served with powdered sugar, syrup, whipped cream and strawberries. First made in Gouda (famous for its cheese), stroopwafels are a delicious, chewy waffle cookie with sticky syrup in the middle. But you can’t just eat sugar here. If you’re knocking back a few Dutch beers, order a side of bitterballen - deepfried crumbed balls of gooey beef dipped in mustard. Another traditional food is hollandse nieuwe haring – raw herring served with onions and fresh bread. Traditionally, it’s eaten by holding your head back, picking up the tail of the fish and dunking it into your mouth. Patat, the Dutch word for fries, deserves a special mention. Served in a paper cone with a generous helping of mayonnaise, try patatje oorlog – chips with peanut sauce, mayo and onions, or patat speciaal – chips served with curry ketchup, onions and mayonnaise.
This litle country sure has bred some pretty big talent including some of the world’s best DJs like Tiësto, Afrojack and Armin van Buuren. So if you’re into dance music, you’re going to have many killer nights out in the Netherlands. You’ll find most of the happening clubs in Amsterdam and Rotterdam where converted spaces seems to be a common theme. Party like there’s no tomorrow in converted milk factories, old newspaper headquarters and churches. There are a few places you should definitely check out: Escape (the biggest and most popular club), Paradiso (a converted church with a colourful history) and Bitterzoet. Another place that needs to be on your party itinerary is De Melweg (Milky Way). At this converted milk factory, you can see concerts, live theatre, exhibitions and bands. Of course, no trip to Holland would be complete without a little wander through Amsterdam’s Red Light district. If you’re a little sheepish, you can just peer in from the street or, if you’re feeling bold, why not check out a show or two? Maybe a little Dutch courage might help!