Holland

Introduction

1994. The Netherlands, to use the proper name, needs little introduction being a nation of cyclists, it is ideal for cycling with a mass of cycle paths or cycle routes. Here the cyclist has more rights than the motorist. Being a small country one does not need to go far to find interesting places. Most of the Dutch people we met referred to their country as Holland.

Getting There

From the UK the easiest is by sea, with several routes. Being from the north of England our choice has always been via Hull-Rotterdam with North Sea Ferries. From Harwich it is shorter and quicker and with the new Stena high speed crossing, it may be the more attractive.

The Weather

We have always found it to be warmer than at home, but generally it is warmer in summer, and colder in winter than the UK. In June we had temperatures of 30 degrees. We have had rain as well, but that can be expected sometimes.

The Terrain

Flat everyone says, but certain areas are undulating and interesting, especially inland. The far south is quite hilly. Wind is often a factor to consider but we usually found it not too troublesome.

Maps

There is an abundance of maps showing cycle paths or scenic routes. These range from 1/50000 (2cm-1km) by VVV, very detailed but limited for long tours. A series of 1/100000 (1cm-1km) with 12 covering most of the country, by the ANWB the motoring organisation, but showing cycling routes and scenic roads is better. A whole country map at 1/300000 (1cm-3km) Euromap, is good for long tours but does not show cycle routes.

Food and Lodgings

Cafe’s, restaurants and shops are everywhere. Lodgings can be found in most areas. B&B is available via the VVV Tourist Information Offices. We are members of International Friends of Nature and they have a number of houses in Holland where self catering accomodation is available, and we use these if possible.

Costs

Compared to the UK, generally a little more expensive, but in the shops, many items are cheaper.

Other

There are some differences in the various provinces, but we found the people very friendly and helpful. Popular cycling areas are the Veluwe to the north of Arnhem, the heathland south of Groningen, and the coastal region although highly populated. Do not take your bike to Amsterdam, it is much easier staying somewhere close, like Haarlem, and using the frequent trains. Haarlem is also close to the airport, with reasonably priced B&B.