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Dates of visit:
April 27, 2005 -
May 12, 2005

We rate this trip a:

Trip Highlights:
 Many windmills
 Fortresses
 Manor houses
 Tulip Gardens
 North Sea coast
 Queen's Day
 Canal festivals
 The Hague
 Historic Churches
 Small Country
 Very Crowded
 

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South Holland Region
Go to first page - City of Amsterdam
Go to second page - North Holland, Groningen and Overijssel Regions
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Go to fifth page - Keukenhof Gardens (South Holland Region)
        Map of Holland
        Travel route in Holland
        Introduction to South Holland Region
            Oosterscheldekering
            Kinderdijk Windmills
            Location of Kinderdijk
            Town of Scheveningen
            Location of Scheveningen
            The Hague
            Location of The Hague
            The Hague (Madurodam)
            The Hague (Peace Palace)
            The Hague (Mauritshuis Museum)
            City of Delft
            Location of Delft
SOUTH HOLLAND

The HagueFor tourists South Holland is pure delight. Although densely populated, the province still has plenty of open space and offers a remarkable range of attractions for visitors of all kinds. The landscape is typically Dutch, with large areas of reclaimed land dotted with windmills and grazing cattle.

From Roman times on, South Holland was principally a low-lying swampy delta as the various courses of the river Rhine reached the sea. The influence of the counts of Holland (9th-13th centuries), who took up residence in The Hague, attracted trade with Flanders, Germany and England, and settlements became towns. Leiden's university, the oldest in the country, was founded as long ago as 1565. Peat extraction for fuel created lakes, reclaimed land was turned into productive farmland, and the Dutch dairy industry flourished. Other products in international demand included beer and textiles and, in more recent times, year-round flowers and the famous Dutch bulbs. Overseeing all this activity is the port of Rotterdam, one of the largest in the world, and The Hague, home of the Dutch government, the royal family, and the International Court of Justice.

Delft is famous for its exquisite hand-painted porcelain and china, while Gouda is renowned for its cheese. The North Sea coast has charming resorts, from busy Scheveningen, with its attractive pier, to the smaller seaside towns of Katwijk and Noordwijk, with long sandy beaches. It is an ideal region for family holidays and for children of all ages.

Visitors in spring are in for a treat when they tour the north of the province. Bulb fields erupt in a riot of color, and the Keukenhof's flower gardens are simply unforgettable.

Oosterscheldekering

On the way from Zeeland to South Holland one encounters the Oosterscheldekering. Throughout the centuries, the history of the Netherlands has been dominated by its people's struggle against the sea. After the disastrous floods of 1953, which hit Zeeland heavily, the battle to remove the danger of the sea once and for all was undertaken in earnest. Now the Dutch seem to have minimized the threat of flooding by building dykes and dams and closing off tidal inlets, all of which has had a major impact on the landscape. This is one such example.

Oosterscheldekering
Oosterscheldekering Oosterscheldekering Oosterscheldekering
Oosterscheldekering Oosterscheldekering Oosterscheldekering

Kinderdijk Windmills

Kinderdijk The famous 19 windmills which were used to drain the Alblasserwaard in the past are situated where the Noord and the Lek converge. New boezems (drainage pools) and windmills, however, were needed time and time again in order to span the height differences as the land settled. The group of windmills has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kinderdijk Windmills
Kinderdijk Kinderdijk Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk Kinderdijk Kinderdijk

Scheveningen

ScheveningenThe pleasant seaside resort of Scheveningen can be easily reached by tram from the centre of Den Haag in just 15 minutes. Like so many of the North Sea beach resorts, Scheveningen had its heyday in the 19th century. Nowadays it is a mixture of faded charm and modern garishness, though it remains a popular holiday resort because of its long sandy beach and the Pier.

The impressive Kurhaus, designed in the Empire style and now a luxurious hotel, was built in 1885, when Scheveningen was still a major spa town. Not far from the Kurhaus is Sea Life Scheveningen, where you can look through transparent tunnels at stingrays, sharks and many other fascinating sea creatures.

ScheveningenAlthough the seaside resort has all but swallowed up the original fishing village, there is still a harbor and a large fish market and fishing boat trips can be booked on the southern side of the harbor.

Annually there is a sand sculpture competition.

Scheveningen Beach
Scheveningen Scheveningen Scheveningen
Scheveningen Sand Sculptures
Scheveningen Scheveningen Scheveningen
Scheveningen Scheveningen Scheveningen
Scheveningen Scheveningen Scheveningen
Scheveningen Sculptures By The Sea
Scheveningen Scheveningen Scheveningen
Scheveningen Scheveningen Scheveningen

The Hague

The HagueThe Village of DIE HAGHE ("the hedge") grew around the Binnenhof (inner courtyard), which has been an important political centre since the 13th century. The princes of Orange, the upper classes and an extensive diplomatic corps gave instructions for palaces and mansion houses to be built, and a stroll across the Voorhout or along the Hofvijver will still evoke its aristocratic charm.

The Hague today is represented by the new Spuikwartier (Spui district), with the city hall by Richard Meier and the Lucent Danstheater by Rem Koolhaas. To the west, the dunes and many parks and woods are still reminiscent of the country estate it once was.

The Hague (City)
The Hague The Hague The Hague
The Hague The Hague The Hague
The Hague The Hague The Hague

Madurodam

MadurodamMadurodam depicts the Netherlands in miniature - it consists of replicas of historically significant buildings like the Binnenhof in The Hague, canalside houses in Amsterdam and the Euromast tower in Rotterdam, built to a scale of 1:25. Other models here include Schiphol Airport, windmills, polders, bulb fields and some intriguing examples of the country's modern architecture. At nighttime the streets and buildings are illuminated by 50,000 tiny lamps.

Madurodam was opened in 1952 by Queen Juliana. JML Maduro designed the town in memory of his son George, who died at Dachau concentration camp in 1945. Profits go to children's charities.

The Hague (Madurodam)
Madurodam Madurodam Madurodam
Madurodam Madurodam Madurodam

Peace Palace (Vredespalels)

Peace Palace In 1899, The Hague hosted the first international peace conference. Contributions from the court's members decorate the interior of the mock-Gothic Vredespaleis, designed by the French architect Louis Cordonnier and completed in 1913. The International Court of the United Nations, formed in 1946, is based here and has the largest international law library in the world.

The Hague (Peace Palace)
Peace Palace Peace Palace Peace Palace

Mauritshuis

Maurithuis After he was recalled as captain genera1 of Brazil, Johan Maurits of Nassau gave instructions for this house to be built. It was completed in 1644 by Pieter Post in the North Dutch Classical style with influences from the Italian Renaissance and has a marvelous view of the Hofvijver. After the death of Maurits in 1679, the house passed into state hands and, in 1822, became the home of the royal painting collection. Though the collection is not large, it contains almost exclusively superior works by old masters. This, combined with the imaginative presentation in elegant period rooms, makes Mauritshuis one of the country's finest museums.

The Hague (Mauritshuis Museum)
Mauritshuis Mauritshuis Mauritshuis
Mauritshuis Mauritshuis Mauritshuis
Mauritshuis Mauritshuis Mauritshuis
Mauritshuis Mauritshuis Mauritshuis

Delft

Delft Delft dates back to 1075, its prosperity based on the weaving and brewing industries. In October 1654, however, an enormous explosion at the national arsenal destroyed much of the medieval 19th century town. The centre was rebuilt at the end of the 17th century and has remained relatively unchanged since then - houses in Gothic and Renaissance styles still stand along the tree-lined canals. Town life is concentrated on the Markt, which has the town hall at one end and the Nieuwe Kerk at the other. Visitors can dip into the scores of shops selling expensive, hand-painted Delftware or take a tour of local factories, the shops of which are often reasonably priced.

Attractive Delft is world-famous for its blue-and-white pottery and is renowned in Holland as being the resting place of William of Orange (1533-84), the "father of the Netherlands". William led the resistance against Spanish rule in the 80 Years War from his Delft headquarters; his victory meant religious freedom and independence for the Dutch. Delft was the Republic's main arsenal in the 17th century; an explosion of gunowder destroyed a large part of the town in 1654. Artist Johannes Vermeer (1632-75) was born and lived in Delft.

Oude Kerk - The original 13th-century church on this site has been extended many times. The beautifully carved clock tower, with its eye-catching steeple, dates from the 14th century. The Gothic north transept was added at the beginning of the 16th century by architect Anthonis Keldermans from Brabant. Inside the church, the most striking feature is the wooden pulpit with canopy. The floor is studded with 17th-century gravestones, many of which are beautifully decorated, including those for Johannes Vermeer and admiral Piet Hein (1577-1629).

Nieuwe Kerk - The Nieuwe Kerk was built between 1383 and 1510 but needed large-scale restoration after the damaging fire of 1536 and again after the massive explosion of 1654 in the arsenal. In 1872, PJH Cuypers added the 100-m (328-ft) tower to the Gothic facade. The most noticeable feature of the church's interior is William of Orange's imposing mausoleum, designed in 1614 by Hendrick de Keyser, In the middle stands a statue of William, impressive in his battledress. Not far from him is the lonely figure of his dog, which died a few days after his master. The tombs of the royal family lie in the crypt.

City of Delft
Delft Delft Delft
Delft Delft Delft
Delft Delft Delft
Delft Delft Delft

Text extracted from guide book "Holland" published by Eyewitness Travel Guides,
DK Publishing, New York, Copyright 2005, Web site ... www.dk.com
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