Netherlands


Amsterdam is a cool and vibrant city that doesn't really need a description: there's a whole lot to see and to do, including the world-famous Red Light District with its coffee shops and live attractions. Start with a boat ride on the canals for nice views of the main sights.

Close to Amsterdam, in Noordwijk, you'll find ESTEC, one of the most important centres of the European Space Agency. ESTEC hosts an open day event once a year (I went on 4 October) with tons of cool space stuff on display: presentations and models of ESA's most important missions (including the world famous Rosetta mission which included the Philae lander that landed on a comet); a view of ESTEC operations including a centrifuge experiment and the assembly of the actual BepiColombo mission that will launch to Mercury in 2017, a model of the IXV space plane or a cool experiment that showed cosmic rays in action.

If you can't make it to ESTEC's open day, you'll find the Space Expo nearby which is open year round and hosts more cool stuff, including a mockup of ESA's Columbus module on the ISS, models of missions and other assorted space gear.

The Netherlands is small and easy to explore. My recommendations outside of Amsterdam are the cities of Utrecht, Eindhoven and the Hague. Go for a scenic drive in the countryside as well, and visit the country's trademark windmills.

Additional info:
- country entry on Wikipedia
- country profile on Wikivoyage

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Netherlands

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