Venlo and the Floriade 2012
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First of all, I would like to say: welcome to Venlo and the Floriade 2012!
The Floriade is a world horticultural exposition that is held once every ten years in The Netherlands. This year, for the first time it takes place outside of the Randstad. To be exactly, it takes place in my home town Venlo, in the north of the province of Limburg.
You can find more information about the Floriade at their English website, which is http://www.floriade.com
How to arrive in Venlo?
Venlo can be reached by air plane, car and train very well.
There are highways in 5 directions that connect Venlo with the rest of Europe.
Trains arrive in Venlo from 4 directions (including one from Germany).
International train tickets can be very expensive. But there is a way to go from Venlo to every German city with a train station relatively cheap.
At the website of German Railways (http://www.bahn.de) you can book train tickets in advance. Tickets are for sale 90 days in advance. Some tickets are very cheap. The earlier you book, the better the chances to find a very cheap ticket (they start at 29 euro’s for a single ticket for one person for all destinations in Germany). You have to choose the station of Kaldenkirchen (in Germany) as starting point on this website, because the cheap tickets are only available for travels within Germany. Then, you can buy a ticket from Venlo to Kaldenkirchen at the station of Venlo which is only 2,50 euro’s and start your journey in Venlo.
From the train station to Floriade and back there are at least 2 busses every hour during the whole expo. Buses start at the bus station. You can not miss it when you take the only legal exit the station of Venlo has…
Closest airports are Weeze (Niederrhein), Düsseldorf, Eindhoven and Maastricht Aachen Airport. You can fly to Weeze Airport very cheap, but the public transport connections to and from this airport are very poor!
The airports of Amsterdam (Schiphol), Brussels, Köln-Bonn, Frankfurt, Dortmund and some other regional airports are also less than a two hour’s drive from Venlo.
When taking a taxi, be aware that the taxi’s in The Netherlands are among the most expensive in the world. Luckily, almost all legal taxi drivers are fair. You can recognize a legal taxi very fast: it has blue number plates.
You can also choose the ultimate Dutch way of transport and rent a bicycle at the bicycle shop of the station of Venlo to get around.
As long as you do not talk negative about Dutch football, it is pretty safe in The Netherlands. However, the usual crime of pickpockets at crowded places is not unknown in The Netherlands as well.
Attractions in and around Venlo.
There are many things to see and do in and around Venlo. I will mention some highlights, with their websites where you can find more information:
Maasboulevard, Venlo’s latest shopping zone, http://www.maasboulevard.nl
Limburgs Museum (museum about the history of the province of Limburg), http://www.limburgsmuseum.nl
Markt (market square with town hall) with many pubs. Don’t forget to drink a Venloosch Alt beer and eat a piece of Limburgs ‘vlaai’.
There are some old buildings in the town center that survived World War II, like Ald Weishoes, Romerhuis, Huis Schreurs and Huis Ottenheym (ask the tourist information point VVV http://www.vvvvenlo.nl).
Church of St. Martinus, specially the interior is very nice!
Castle gardens Arcen, http://www.kasteeltuinen.nl
Thermal baths, http://www.thermaalbad.nl
Hertog Jan beer brewery, http://www.hertogjan.nl/site
Distillery De Ijsvogel in a historic mill, http://www.ijsvogel.com/site/index.htm
The monastery village of Steyl, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steyl
(also take the ferry to Baarlo and back for a good sight of the village and the monastery)
The village also houses the Mission museum and the botanical garden Jochum Hof.
Thorn (the white village), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorn_(Netherlands)
Toverland (Europe’s largest indoor theme park, with also some outdoor attractions like the wooden rollercoaster Troy), http://www.toverland.nl
Aardbeienland (strawberry land), http://www.aardbeienland.nl
Designer Outlet Center Roermond, http://designer-outlet-roermond.com
The city of Düsseldorf, http://www.duesseldorf.de
Climb to the top of the Gasometer in Oberhausen for a nice view of the German Ruhr area, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasometer_Oberhausen
Or climb to the top of the Tetraeder in Bottrop, from where you can see the Gasometer, http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetraeder_(Bottrop)
Oud Limburgs Schuttersfeest (first weekend of July) http://www.olsfederatie.com
Zomerparkfeest in Venlo (2nd – 5th August), http://www.zomerparkfeest.nl
Kermis Weert (28th September – 3rd October), http://www.kermisweert.nl
There are many good places to walk and you can have a good day on or around the river.
I hope you are lucky with the weather!
If you have any questions left, just let me know and I will try to help you!