February 21st, 1999 – by: Africancrab
My German issued multiple entry Schengen Visa
The Netherlands/ Holland is a land of fascination. Even though Holland is actually the western region of the Netherlands, the name Holland is commonly used to refer to the whole country. It is the only country in the world where illegal drugs are actually legal, so is prostitution. You probably know it only as Amsterdam since the name is synonymous with all mankind's evils, made legal and acceptable. The Capital city is Europe's play ground. The history of Holland intrigued me as a child, so I followed it through my history class and majored in history at university level. I remember it as the land of the windmills and land reclamation, the land where man defied nature. The Netherlands consist of three large international cities namely Amsterdam, Rotterdam (home to Europe's largest port), and The Hague (the seat of the International Court of Justice) and of the government.
Located right at the mouth of the Rhine and the Maas water bodies, it is the maritime region. It is popular for it's many canal systems and waterways. Holland for many years was below sea level and the historic windmills were used to drain water out. Currently the lowest point is near Rotterdam and is about seven meters below sea level. The people of the Netherlands started land reclamation, turning marshes and lakes into what they call Polders. A polder is a low lying land surrounded by dikes/ embankments that keep water off the land. The drainage has been improved since and machines do the job that the windmills so graciously did in the earlier centuries. The windmill is the symbol for Holland as you can imagine, rightfully so. Amsterdam is the formal capital city of the Netherlands. The formal language is Dutch, but you will find many Dutch people also speak English pretty well. An interesting historic city of the Netherlands is Maastricht located in southern Holland and has quite a few Universities which also render it and educational city.
I read a book once, about 1000 delights of the Dutch and I immediately thought of something to eat; wrong. It had a listing of the best attractions of the Netherlands, monuments, museums, waterlands, green landscapes, restaurants, galleries, Cathedrals, oh there are so many cathedrals, it's not funny. In Amsterdam there are cathedrals and churches on every corner you turn.