Dutch River Cruises
In the Western part of the Netherlands is the region of Holland, made up of two Dutch provinces it is divided into Northern and Southern Holland. Laying in the North Sea, at the mouth of the River Rhine and the Meuse, Holland is renowned for its inland canal and waterway systems. To prevent the region from flooding continuous drainage is required, but in earlier centuries windmills were used for this task, which are still dotted around the landscape, becoming a symbol of Holland. Holland is 2,119 square miles and has a population of over 16.5 million. The climate in Holland is temperate and not all that dissimilar to the United Kingdom except for slightly sunnier summers!
Amsterdam is the capital city of Holland and is a starting and ending point of many Avalon itineraries. Amsterdam is a sophisticated and modern city with a rich and fascinating history. There is a distinct ambience surrounding the 700 year old city with its elegant and classic architecture, cafés, restaurants, and lively marketplace. The works of famous Dutch masters can be seen in world renowned museums such as the Rijksmuseum or the Van Gough Museum. Another highlight that Avalon passengers will experience in Amsterdam is a canal cruise along the elegant grachten lined by stately homes dating back to Amsterdam’s ‘Golden Age’.
Cruising along the Dutch Waterways will bring passengers to the city of Rotterdam, the second largest city in Holland, and home to Europe’s largest and busiest port. Today Rotterdam is a modern, high-tech city due to being revamped after it was levelled by German bombs in World War Two. Many of Rotterdam’s attractions have a strong connection to water with highlights including the Maritime Museum, with hundreds of maritime objects on display, information on the history of the port of Rotterdam and also the chance to visit a naval ship from 1868. Passengers will not miss the Euromast, known as the Eiffel Tower of Rotterdam: it is 607ft high and towers above the city. An automatic lift will speedily take passengers to the viewing platforms where views as far as The Hague and Antwerp in Belgium can be seen!
One of the most famous and visited places in Holland is the world renowned Keukenhof Gardens, they encompass over 70 acres of parkland dotted with lakes, glorious sculpted gardens, greenhouses and a windmill. Millions of flower bulbs are grown in the gardens annually and are presented in bright and spectacularly colourful displays throughout the year. The Keukenhof Gardens is the biggest flower park in the world and is without question the best place to see tulips in Holland.
Situated at the mouth of the River Rhine are the picturesque towns of Volendam and Edam. Volendam is a quaint fishing town with a unique open harbour and a small, timbered church dating back to 1658. Volendam is also known for its traditional clothing which Avalon passengers may be able to spot being worn by some of the residents. Just along from Volendam is the town of Edam, famous for the worldwide cheese of the same name and the cheese markets held there in the summer months. The old town centre still has lovely characteristic Waterland houses. Avalon passengers may also get the chance to visit the Edam Museum; it is Edam’s oldest brick house that was built around 1530, and converted to a museum in 1895. The museum will give passengers an insight into what a typical Dutch construction would be like from that period. Along with Amsterdam, Keukenhof Gardens, Rotterdam, Edam and many other attractions make Holland a place definitely worth visiting.