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The river Amstel is home to a compact, liberal and charming city of one million people and many tourists. Book a flight to Amsterdam and...
Ride a bike. Or take a boat.
More than 100 canals along the streets, thousands of bridges and boats compete with the façades of the buildings. The Dam Square is the place to be, before heading to the museums: from Rijksmuseum to Vang Gogh and the Hermitage. But there are also temples dedicated to beer, horror and cinema. Not to mention the commercial circuit of Nieuwendijk-Kalverstraat. And then, the coffeeshops!
Do the Nightwatch
Not only Rembrandt’s. The Red Light District is worldwide famous as a kind of amusement park for the sex industry. Rembrandtplein is also a place of gathering for young people looking for fun. But Leidseplein is the real nightlife centre, with a bar in every corner — besides theatres such as the Stadsschouwburg and the Boom Chicago, which display shows every night.
Culture and Business
Make sure you have your citizen’s card or passport and boarding pass with you. Depending on your country of origin, arrange your visa or other required documentation well in advance.
The climate is moderate, with temperatures ranging from 2°C to 6°C in winter and 17°C to 20°C in summer. Nevertheless, you should always have a coat and an umbrella because the weather can be unpredictable.
GMT + 1
Geography and Politics
The Netherlands are located between Belgium and Germany, with the North Sea to the north and west. It is a constitutional monarchy where the head of state is the king and the head of government is the prime minister.
Tips and Payment
The Netherlands is part of the Eurozone, so the currency used will be the Euro (EUR). It is not customary to leave a tip since the bill in restaurants already contains a service charge. However, if you are satisfied with the service you can leave some coins or round the total bill up.
Language and expressions to memorize
Most Dutch who live in major cities speak English, but learning a few Dutch phrases will help you: "Hallo" = hi; "Alsjeblieft" = please; "Dank u wel" = thank you very much; "Sorry" = sorry.
What to do
Be on time. Whether it is for a business meeting or a coffee with a colleague, the Dutch are not usually late. When going out for dinner or having a drink, it is considered normal to split the bill. The Dutch like straightforward and sincere people and they like to look in the eyes when talking to someone - do not be intimidated, it's normal.
What not to do
Do not call the Netherlands "Holland" because this name only refers to one region. If you are a smoker, do not assume public smoking is acceptable - always ask first. Do not mix business with personal matters, the Dutch like to separate these matters.
What to wear
Choose a more relaxed and unpretentious appearance. Wear a suit and tie for more formal situations, you do not have to be very formal in everyday situations. The expected style may be more or less informal, depending on the industry. For example, regular wear in the financial area is a suit and tie (and the female equivalent), while in the technological area you can opt for less formal clothing.
When meeting someone for the first time, greet him or her with a handshake. It is considered normal among close friends to give three kisses on the face. If you are invited to someone's house, bring a bottle of wine and a bouquet of flowers to show your appreciation.