Holland or is it Netherlands??? Either way it’s not afraid of a little controversy
Ok, so lets set the record straight. It is officially the Netherlands and the name Holland as we know it has come from the province known as Holland. Back in the day it was the most powerful province that went to war against the Spanish and won. So winners are grinners and therefore the common name of Holland stuck.
The capital of Amsterdam is a city full of life and history, with its trams, bikes, cars and canal boats all co-existing in what seems to be an ordered chaos. Now of course Amsterdam is famous for its liberal views on marijuana and most backpackers or tourists travelling through are curious to see how these cafes function. It is quite surreal to be handed a menu listing the various types of marijuana on offer and having a choice of how you’d like to smoke it or eat it. It’s safe to say that it hasn’t led to the downfall of society or to more drug related issues so the stats say. Although the red light district like any other in the world turns quite seedy after midnight and if live sex shows aren’t your thing, best stick to many other areas full of music cafes and venues where you can find live music most evenings (and most people tend to be fully dressed).
So as far as firsts go it was a tick for my first visit to cafes legally selling marijuana. But another memorable moment that I can remember more clearly, was visiting the house where Anne Frank stowed away in, as this was one of the first books I read that wasn’t on a school book list. It is a haunting memorial to her and her family and a glimpse into what it would have been like to live through such terrible times. Worth a visit even if you haven’t read her life story.
Again not one to shy away from the big issues Amsterdam is home to the first monument to Homosexual people, but even with so many firsts I found the people to be patriotic yet humble, happy to understand and accept visitors from different cultures.
The sun shone for most of my visit to the land of tulips and clogs and wouldn’t have been complete without a bike ride out of the city into the countryside. I wasn’t disappointed, after tempting fate dodging trams and other bikes to get out of the city limits, I was soon surrounded by windmills, treated to a pit stop at a clog factory, and meet by very hairy large horned cows which seemed to just wonder around in the public parks.
I definitely look forward to a return visit to explore more of the countryside and the eclectic city of Amsterdam.
What was your experience of Holland or the Netherlands if you’re a stickler for the rules??