Looking for the number one hockey destination? Well here it is. Watch the Dutch hockey sides and see why we recommend the Netherlands as the hockey destination of choice.
Holland also offers state of the art facilities with plenty to do and see during your free time. Cycling is civilised in the Netherlands. You can go off-road without worrying about getting a flat tyre because the cycle paths are surfaced. Amsterdam is charming with its tall narrow buildings lining the canals and the narrow streets. Almost everyone speaks English – and probably another couple of languages for good measure. The Netherlands is small and getting around is easy with short distances, allowing you to fit a great deal in your itinerary. If you are in the Netherlands in April make sure you make a turn to Keukenhof to see the most beautiful gardens in Europe. They are only open 6 weeks of the year and this is a must see!
A Schengen Visa is required for South Africans travelling to the Netherlands. Passport, valid for a period of at least 3 months after the applicant’s last day of stay in the Schengen states. Please ensure that the passport has 2 blank pages. Minors are also required to have an Unabridged birth certificate, as well as Certified copy of Parents passport or Identity document. Processing time varies from 5 business days to 3 weeks. It may take considerably longer if any documents are missing or if further information is required.
Visa Cost: €80 plus a visa service fee of approximately R504
Compulsory Vaccinations Required: No.
Please note: Visa and vaccination information is correct at time of publish and are subject to change
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
Winter Sports – March/April/September/October
Summer sports – June/July
Cultural – September/October is best due to weather and off peak season. June/July is their summer with peak rates
AREAS TO VISIT AND THEIR MAIN ATTRACTIONS
Of all the cities in Europe, Amsterdam is one of the most delightful, its bustling markets, magnificent art galleries, olive-green canals and gabled houses famous throughout the world. One of its special charms is its small-city feel with all the key attractions within easy walking distance. The hub of the city is its splendid train station, Centraal Station. From there it’s a hop and a jump to both Dam Square and the notorious Red Light District – with the picturesque canals that lattice the old centre beckoning as does the floating flower market, the Bloemenmarkt.
Dam Square is an ever-busy central square containing Amsterdam’s Royal Palace, the National Monument and the Nieuwe Kerk. With origins going back to the 13th century, Dam Square historically held a thriving marketplace, and today, Amsterdammers and tourists alike flock to its shops, cafés, bars and sights.
There are over 800,000 bicycles in Amsterdam. Cycling in Amsterdam is a way of life. No trip to Amsterdam could be complete without paying homage to Dutch impressionist Vincent Van Gogh as well as Anne Frank Museum.
Clara Maria Cheese and Clog Farm is fun, educational and tasty where you can experience the making of clogs and cheese with a wide range of souvenirs and cheese in the farm shop.
Another of Amsterdam’s fine museums, the Rijksmuseum has it all – A stunning building that has a similar design and style to the Centraal station, a huge collection of crafts, art and history dating back as far as the 1200’s and also the amazing I Amsterdam sign that stands outside on the art square.
Anne Frank House
A trip to Amsterdam is not complete without visiting this historic house. Anne Frank was a girl who hid from the Nazi’s during WWII and left an extensive diary that has been punished worldwide and provides a look at what it was like for the Jewish people during this troubled and dark period.
Canal Boat tour
This might be considered a clichéd touristic thing to do, but you simply cannot go to Amsterdam without taking a boat tour on the canal system. The canals are one of the main reasons that Amsterdam is so famous, so why not experience them first hand on a guided tour? The majestic waterway that runs through the Centrum ins Amsterdam stretches for miles and creates many stunning parts of the city such as the Emperor’s Canal and its beautiful architecture.
Van Gough Museum
Vincent Van Gough is one of the most renowned and intriguing artists in history and the museum that holds his namesake is a fantastic place to learn about the man and his works. The museum is located not far from Vondelpark on Paulus Potterstraat and in close proximity to the Rijksmuseum. Another of Amsterdam’s fine museums, the Rijksmuseum has it all – A stunning building that has a similar design and style to the Centraal station, a huge collection of crafts, art and history dating back as far as the 1200’s and also the amazing I Amsterdam sign that stands outside on the art square.
Aside from its fascinating port, Rotterdam also features some fantastic architecture like the modern cube buildings and the Euromast Tower, but also has a wonderful variety of museums, eateries and activities to enjoy.
Cube House Rotterdam – The cube house is as you would expect – A set of houses that are cuboid fashion.
This bizarre and eccentric housing block was designed by Piet Blom and the cubes that it is formed from are tilted at a 45 degree angle.
Markthal Rotterdam – The Markthal is a stunning piece of architecture that was constructed in 2009 and serves as both an office building and a marketplace. The market section of the Markthal contains a huge array of shops, stalls, restaurants and bars such as a Tea bar, a tapas bar, a “world of drinks” shop and over 70 other different businesses. It really is a cool and vibrant place to explore and sample some find food and drink.
Erasmus Bridge – This monumental bridge spans the Nieuwe Maas distributary of the Rhine and runs from the confluence of the Noord and Lek rivers. The length of this impressive bridge stretches to an immense 802m making it the second largest in the Netherlands. The bridge is nicknamed the Swan due to its large upright mast that resembles the neck of a swan.
Rotterdam Central Station – Rotterdam is a city that is full of modern and unique architecture and the central station is one such building.
In the centre of the oldest section of The Hague is the Binnenhof – the Inner Court – an irregular group of buildings constructed around a large central courtyard. Dating back to 1250 and tied to the building of a castle, it soon became the residence of the ruling aristocracy and today houses both chambers of Parliament.
The Hague’s Peace Palace has housed the International Court of Justice and several other important legal organisations since the early 20th century. Guided tours are available around the palace on certain days and there is a permanent visitor centre onsite.
Chilling out on Scheveningen Beach is a staple of Dutch summertime and legions of day trippers flock to this coastal resort during sunny spells. The beach is around five kilometres away from the Hague’s city centre and easily accessible via tram or bike.
Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands and serves as the capital of the Utrecht province in the centre of the country around 25 minutes south of Amsterdam. The city is an important religious centre in the Netherlands and has many historical churches and architecture dating as far back as the middle ages
The Dom Tower of Utrecht – This huge structure towers above the city and is one of Utrecht’s most iconic landmarks. The tower contains a set of 14 bells that weigh a total of 32,000, at certain times the bells are still rung by a group of dedicated ringers.
Railway Museum – This fascinating railway museum is actually housed in one of Utrecht’s old railway stations and is located in the eastern part of the town.
Domplein – The Domplein is one of the main squares in Utrecht and it has several important buildings and is one of the central tourist areas of the city.
Climb the Dom Tower. The Dom Tower has stood in Utrecht’s city centre since 1143 and was once attached to St. Martin’s Cathedral but has since become a free standing bell tower. It is possible to climb all of the Dom Tower’s steps and several other cities are visible from its highest peak including Amsterdam.
Travel to Snowworld Zoetermeer for the day to experience a day of fun with guided skiing, snowboarding and tubing.
ADD ON DESTINATIONS
The 2 add on cities we suggest would be Dusseldorf and Cologne.
The city of churches, beer and mustard. It may not be the most beautiful city in Germany, if chocolate-box cute is the standard, but it is certainly one of the most social and vibrant. Rhinelanders, and Cologners in particular, know how to have a good time. The best thing to do is a city tour to orientate yourself, chocolate Lindt Museum and Phantasialand Theme Park.
Dusseldorf has enough attractions and activities to fill several busy, happy days. For those pressed for time, there are certain sights in Dusseldorf that are absolute must-sees in order to get a feel of the city. This would include the Old Town, The Rhine embankment and farmers markets (Many of these markets have snacks or lunch options, which makes them an ideal half-day activity).
The cities we would suggest would be Antwerp, Brussels, Bruges and Ghent.
In each of the cities there is amazing walking tours to orientate yourself that will show you highlights of the city from The Grote Markt and Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp; peeing statues and Grand Palace in Brussels; Burg Square and Basilica of Holy Blood in Bruges; medieval quarters, ruins and cathedrals in Ghent.