Us Brits like to think of ourselves as a small nation that has punched well above its weight across history, but there's another (much) smaller country sitting just across the North Sea that gives us a real run for our money. Welcome to the Netherlands, a low country that has hit the heights in terms of all the stuff that really matters from art to architecture and finance to football. Our toe is being dipped into the dyke gently as we concentrate (to begin with) on the magnificent capital Amsterdam. Artist and thinker John Ruskin once said 'the measure of any great civilisation is in its cities'
and if small but perfectly formed Amsterdam is anything to go by then the Dutch civilisation is very civilised indeed. The reopened Rijksmuseum is the jewel in the city's crown but this is a city of museums and the Van Gogh Museum, as is so often the case just a few minutes walk away, is another must-see. Excellent shopping, a thriving restaurant scene determined to reach the quality in neighbouring Belgium and France, a vibrant nightlife and a growing list of top drawer boutique hotels in which to stay complete the Dutch master picture in this superb Big Short Break destination.

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The Netherlands Guide

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