Barging and cruising down many of the rivers in the Netherlands provides a serene and tranquil way to see the country. Often, this can be combined with bike tours of the villages and towns along the route, providing an opportunity to experience Dutch at a leisurely pace. A trip through the waterways of the Netherlands offers a chance to see the charming landscape that keeps people flocking back. With most of the country lying below sea level, the country's history has always been linked to the water. The sailing and boating industry in the country is well established and offers travelers an opportunity to languidly meander though the countryside, taking in the landscape of tulip fields and windmills.
The Netherlands continues to be a popular tourist destination in Europe and is well known for its liberal attitudes, particularly in Amsterdam. Outside that city's hubbub, however, there is a more traditional air and the country is a dreamlike patchwork of fields interspersed with historic villages and towns.
The country offers a fast-paced, modern lifestyle in cities such as Amsterdam, the port city of Rotterdam, with its modern architecture, and the charming little capital city, The Hague. Amsterdam has a wealth of museums that account for every taste, from the outstanding Van Gogh museum to the somber atmosphere of the Anne Frank house. Elsewhere in the country, from the pottery town of Delft, the cheese towns of Alkmaar and Gouda, and the university town of Leiden, there are numerous delightful small cities and towns that confirm the country's historical place as a world center for trade and commerce.