Nijmegen is the oldest city in the Netherlands and carries a lot of culture within its walls and historic buildings. It is also the place of birth to local legends and myths, Mariken van Nieumeghen being the most renowned. Nijmegen's city centre, with its wide selection of high-quality shops, from modern shopping centres to cosy little boutiques, is popular with visitors. Nijmegen has the highest concentration of outdoor cafés in the Netherlands, and the many terraces offer great people-watching opportunities. For some pre trip sightseeing in Nijmegen, our Fresh Eire Adventures intern, and proud Dutchie, Mark Zwerus shares with you the best attractions, hotels and restaurants for you to enjoy.
Museum het Valkhof
An extensive collection of Roman art and implements plus ancient and modern art reflecting the rich history of Nijmegen are on exhibition in Museum het Valkhof. Not only does the museum display a large and important collection of Roman archaeology, and a special collection of modern art, it also exhibits an ancient art reflecting the rich history of Nijmegen.
The Africa Museum offers you an appealing combination: an indoor museum featuring a substantial collection of the African art and cultures. The museum also has an outdoor area which is highly educational on the culture of living in an African tribe.
This somewhat quirky museum lets you see through the eyes of a blind person or someone with limited visibilty. The tour guide literally guides you through all sorts of daily situations like walking through a living room. Furthermore, you can create your own message in braille and learn how to read it.
Hotel MANNA is one of the best around. This centrally located four star hotel offers large rooms furnished with contemporary interiors. It boasts an excellent buzzy restaurant which is as popular for lunch as it is for dinner.
Prikkels is a 2/3 star hotel located above the restaurant Prikkels. The hotel offers 5 rooms with a different theme in each room so you can book one you are comfortable with. The exterior is traditionally Dutch and is typical of the historic city centre. Be warned: there are steep stairs to climb.
The Sanadome is a four star hotel that boasts a wellness spa and is located just outside the city centre. The rooms are decorated in a contemporary style. Most rooms feature a balcony that overlooks the front driveway with the small fountain and the parkland in the background.
De Nieuwe Winkel
De Nieuwe Winkel is an organic and unique restaurant due to its originality in recipes and presentation. The restaurant is located in the historic city centre and adds a modern interior to this recipe to make it a fine establishment. Service here is particularly good.
Located very close to the river Waal, De Firma is a very atmospheric restaurant which prefers to use ingredients they make or grow themselves. The dishes make this restaurant stand out because of enticing presentation, a lot of diversity in flavour and generous portions. Padraic, founder and managing director of Fresh Eire Adventures, reviewed this restaurant on Tripadvisor:
Some serious thought went into the decor of this business; full of stylish period pieces, with more than a nod to Holland's design heritage, the bar and restaurant offers tapas style dining with some very original twists. A limited wine list with some excellent bottles. Service is fun and friendly. A great vegetarian and pescatarian selection choice.
Yes, there indeed is a difference. Holland is not the Netherlands. But why do people know Holland but have almost never heard of the Netherlands?
The Netherlands is the actual name of the country. Although people often refer to it as Holland because Holland has been, and still is, the buzzing west of the Netherlands. The Netherlands are divided into 12 provinces. The most known are North and South Holland. People often muddle them up and Holland becomes the name of the country instead.
History gives us another good reason. In the time of William of Orange and Philip the second, we see that William of Orange, also referred to as William the Silent, was not exactly on good terms with Philip the second. William inherited lands from his cousin. These lands are now known as the Netherlands and Belgium, but at that time they were called the Low Lands. Many different cultures lived there. When Philip got cross with William, William made Amsterdam his base of operations because he knew the area very well. At that time, the Low Lands were in the middle of revolution against the Catholic Church. Philip sent an army to the Low Lands to regain control. William united the people living in the Low Lands under the name of the Dutch Republic and reigned from the province of Holland. Eventually the Republic won the war and became independent with Amsterdam as its capital.
In the 17th century, which is the golden age for the Netherlands, ships of the Republic were seen all over the world. Whenever people asked where the captain of the ship was from, they would answer with the name of their province. This was almost always Holland. But things went sour for the Republic. The only important province was Holland. Holland took care of almost half of the income of the country. On top of that, the Republic was at war with England, France and the German Bishoprics. This year, 1672, is known as Rampjaar (Disaster Year).
Later on, the Netherlands was conquered by Napoleon and became part of France as a unitary state.
It was in the time of Napoleon that North and South Holland were born. Napoleon shaped the Netherlands and split Holland into two separate parts. These parts were reunited after Napoleon’s defeat but Holland was given two governors instead of one. And so, the Netherlands were divided as both governors did what was best for their respective part of Holland. And so, the people decided to split Holland back into two, South and North Holland.
Holland is indicated in red.
To sum it all up, Holland is a part of the Netherlands and consists of two parts. Holland was historically and economically the most known but that does not make all people in the Netherlands someone from Holland. So, people from Holland are part of the Dutch people who live in the Netherlands and not all Dutch people from the Netherlands are from Holland.
If you are considering or indeed have booked a Holland: Tullips and Windmills bike tour with Fresh Eire Adventures you will, no doubt, be interested in maximizing your time in the Netherlands. While most guests opt to visit the well-known West and cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague, there is so much more to this wonderful country known as Holland. Here, Fresh Eire Adventures intern, Mark Zwerus, who hails from Zwolle in the East, shares with us his top recommendations and insights to visiting and exploring the North-East of the country. Goede reis (have a good trip).
The Kröller Müller museum
The Kröller Müller museum is home to the second largest Van Gogh collection in the world. Moreover you can also see pieces of art from Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian for example. The sculpture garden has over 160 works - a true feast for the eyes. You can walk through the museum at your own pace. If that is not your thing or you would like additional information, an audio tour or a guided tour is available.
Before actually going on one of these fascinating WWII tours, check out the locations on the website. In these informative tours, you get to see the impact the second World War had on the locality. The guides are all locals with lots of knowledge of the surrounding area. During your trip, you will see the astonishing Dutch landscape or an old city with lots of stories to tell. Coffee and tea will be served as part of the trip.
Located in Lelystad, is the aircraft theme park of Aviodrome where one can visit the exhibition of over 100 aircraft. You can also experience being a captain in a flight simulator or actually take flight in a tour to see an aerial overview of the nearby vicinity.
The Dutch are famous for their battles with the water. In Giethoorn however, water is their best friend. This canal city is best navigated by boat and even affords the opportunity to visit one of the nearby lakes. De Oude Aarde Fossil Museum takes you back in time and shows the beauty of the earth through gems and fossils in shapes and colors that you would not think existed.
Bella Roma, Deventer
This Italian restaurant is small and picturesque in the buzzing city center of Deventer. This uniquely furnished restaurant is located within the Waag, a historically significant building which was used as a venue to weigh witches during the infamous trials. Everything is homemade to the highest standards. The restaurant itself is exceptionally atmospheric.
La Cubanita, Apeldoorn
La Cubanita is one of the most popular restaurants in the Netherlands at the moment. Their diverse menu features a variety of tapas. Magnificent food and excellent service make La Cubanita definitely one of the best and most unique restaurants the Netherlands has to offer. Plus their quirky ordering system will be memorable.
‘t Pannekoekenhuis, Olst
‘t Pannekoekenhuis Pannenkoek means pancake – the house specialty. The menu features unusual ingredients and is experimental in nature. The restaurant is situated on a dike and gives customers a wonderful view of the river Ijssel and the ferry.
De Olde Smidse, Giethoorn
Situated on one of the many canals Giethoorn has to offer, and within walking distance of most attractions, this authentic three star hotel is a real gem. The décor has a modern flair while the staff is especially welcoming and helpful.
Hotel Fidder, Zwolle
With a modern exterior which belies its traditional 18th century interior, this centrally located hotel in Zwolle features a unique whisky bar – perhaps one of the best in the east of the Netherlands.
Amsterdam is one of the most romantic and surprising cities in the world, with its history, canals, museums and cultural way of life. This is an city to spend some time in either before or after your Fresh Eire Adventure in Holland.
Here are our top attraction, hotel and restaurant recommendations in Amsterdam, as prepared by intern Mathieu
The Toren is a romantic, welcoming 4-star hotel in the middle of the Jordaan in Amsterdam, the most famous neighbourhood in the city. These charming rooms offers you a Spa Whirlpool bath. To relax, you must enjoy one of the cocktails, wines or champagnes in their sumptuous bar.
The 5 star Hilton is located in the city center. Its rooms are very spacious and comfortable. This Hotel was the location of John Lennon and Yoko Ono's famous "Bed-In for Peace".
The Vinkeles restaurant boasts a Michelin Star since 2009. In the heart of Amsterdam, this historical establishment offers you a contemporary and refined French cuisine. You will admire the setting - an old bakery, redesigned to create a chic and unique dining place in Amsterdam.
Hands down, the very best way to discover Amsterdam is from the many canals. I invite you to embark on a boat ride and be guided around the city. Indeed, floating down canals might be a memorable way to discover and understand best the beauty and the history of Amsterdam. Since 2010, the city’s canals were recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Brown cafés are institutions in Amsterdam. For over 300 years, they invite you into their authentic and warm atmosphere, where walls are scorched by centuries of smoke. It’s not only a bar, it’s a meeting place for locals. Simplicity, proximity and conviviality will charm you for sure.
Van Gogh Museum
Located in the middle of Amsterdam, this museum will let you discover the biggest collection of Van Gogh's paintings. Allow 2 hours for your visist and you shall be handsomely rewarded as you will travel with one of the greatest painters in history and appreciate his masterpieces like "Sunflowers" or "The Sower". If you are indeed a Van Gogh fan you should consider our Provence Bike Tour where we visit the asylum in St-Remy-de-Provence where he painted two of his most famous works "Starry Night" and "Vincent's Bedroom".