Visit The Netherlands by Mouse: Introduction

If you can ride mouseback, and we are sure that you can, you will be able to visit twelve wonderful places in the Netherlands on this web site.

Our main base in the Netherlands was Amsterdam where there are two campgrounds from which you can take public transit to any other place in the Netherlands.  Therefore most of the twelve places we visited were on day trips, often by bus or train, and sometimes in overnights by motorhome. The introduction to Amsterdam on this web site explains more about how we travelled around there.
 
We offer a great deal of information about Amsterdam.   Because of the fact that we did not spend as much time in the places other than Amsterdam, the links to those places from the list of short descriptions of each of them we visited in short trips are primarily to our letters about them and to photos.  And we include links to things that we found useful or interesting there.
 
The Netherlands is in many ways a miraculous country. There is a saying that "God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland." Strictly speaking, even though most people refer to The Netherlands as Holland, and vice versa, Holland is really only two of the twelve Provinces that make up The Netherlands--North Holland and South Holland. If you examine amap (scroll down to figure three in the link) showing how much of present day Netherlands has been reclaimed from the sea and marshes, you will see that reclaimed land makes up a substantial portion. Furthermore, most of the land area is only slightly higher than the sea that borders it and much is below sea level. The Dutch are perhaps the world’s greatest water and land engineers, building well-designed dikes, levees and dams all over the world. (On the right is a photo Ron took of part of the causeway holding back the sea across the Ijsselmeer Inland Sea. Should there be a breach in that causeway, most of Holland, including Amsterdam, would be flooded. The village of Enkhuizen where the Zuiderzee Museum , discussed on this website, is located,  was closed off from its livelihood by this causeway.
Click to enlarge
The sea and the commerce it made possible always has been part of Dutch history, which has influenced a great deal of the history of the rest of the world. The Dutch knew globalization before many other nations did due to their commercial activities all over the world. Indeed, these commercial activities helped create what perhaps was the world’s first multi-cultural society. Because commerce was so important, the Dutch accepted anyone who could contribute to commercial enterprise, no matter what their religion, color, ethnicity or social class background. This live-and-let-live attitude stretched to the New Amsterdam colony in what was to become the United States. The author Russell Shorto has argued that today’s socially liberal policies of the United States owe more to the heritage from the Dutch colony than it does to the culture of the Boston Colony. The settlers of Boston were straight-laced Puritans who set up a social class-structured theocracy. Nothing could be further from the culture of the Amsterdam colony, or from the present day culture of the United States. You can explore some of the ways that the Dutch have influenced the world during your visit and on this web site, by following the link below to historic places.
 
 Today’s Dutch also are as accepting of other cultures as were those earlier Dutch peoples. Like many other parts of Europe, today’s Netherlands consists of people from many other parts of the world, living  peacefully together. So, if you are travelers or would-be travelers from the United States to The Netherlands, realize that in many ways, you are going home. You will feel quite comfortable  and enjoy being with the Dutch,. That is because you share much with them. And if you like flowers and cheese and fish, especially Dutch herring, and if you are fans of the paintings of Rembrandt, Vermeer, Van Gogh, and Ruisdael and many other great artists, so much the better.
 
In our experience the percentage of Dutch people who can converse fluently in English is very high.  You will have no trouble communicating.
Tourist office
To lists of historic places and people
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To list of places visited in the Netherlands 
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