Holland is often a common name used for the Netherlands; however, Holland truly is only two providences of the Netherlands (North Holland and South Holland) that are located along the coastline of the country. A side note is that the Netherland’s national soccer team actually prefers to be referred to as being from Holland.
The Holland regions are the only ones I have actually explored in my travels:
Scheveningen (pictured above) is a seaside resort that surrounds The Hague (den Haag), which is known as the international city of peace and justice. Scheveningen provides recreation on the North Sea coast with sandy beaches … and casinos, for those inclined to gamble.
den Haag, in its native language – The Hague, in English (above).
Many international crimes are brought to trial in The Hague; it has also been the sight of many meetings of the United Nations. NATO also has a headquarters located here. The Dutch monarchy also reside and preside in their palace near The Hague.
Many people associate Holland with tulips – and rightly so! Tulips are a major industry in parts of the country. In the Spring, one can see fields upon fields of beautiful tulips in every color of the rainbow. Located between den Haag and Amsterdam, the Keukenhof garden is one of the largest and most well known displays of tulips and other botanical beauty. We visited there in May of 1997 with my in-laws (pic above).
Other things that are symbols of Holland are its dikes, canals, wooden shoes, and wind mills.
Leiden (pictured above, me and Daniel, 1997) is where the pilgrims who left England originally settled in their quest for religious freedom; however, they had to sail on to America starting in 1620 to truly find it.
Leiden is a pretty little town in South Holland with a university, and there is also a American Pilgrim Museum here!
Haarlem is the capital city of North Holland. For me, this city is most significant because of the home of the ten Boom family, the Beje (picture above). Cornelia “Corrie” ten Boom was the first female watchmaker in the Netherlands! She and her family are most known for being a Christian family who hid Jews during World War II. The book, The Hiding Place, tells their story best.
Another family affected during the persecution of the Jews in World War II was the Frank family. The office building where they hid in Amsterdam is above. The Diary of Anne Frank is, of course, one of the most insightful stories into what these families went through.
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. It was home to Rembrandt (me at his home above, in 1988)… and now the Rijks Museum holds many of his most famous paintings (among other Dutch art), to include The Night Watch:
Amsterdam can’t be described in a short blog post … but it is a city of canals and bicycles and diverse restaurants, culture and so much more!!
The last city I wanted to mention is Volendam (below, Daniel in 1997), a harbor town in North Holland. This quaint fishing village has salt-sea air and has retained many of its traditions, which make it a draw for tourists. Even the painters Renoir and Picasso spent some time in this picturesque village, seeking inspiration!
Thank you for joining me today on this short tour of North and South Holland. See you soon for “I”!
(source for much of this information: wikipedia)