The Netherlands, known for its artists and lively cultural life, is an ideal location for student travelers. Offering flat landscapes dotted with windmills, the country is a popular tourist destination noteworthy for chocolate, cheese, porcelain Delftware and wooden shoes. Students looking for something beyond the stereotypes prize the Netherlands for its liberal outlook and laidback way of life.
Planning Your Trip
When planning a student trip to The Netherlands, it’s wise to use a tour operator or student tour company. This will provide the best possible way to get group discounts. With so much to see and do in the country, it’s smart to hit on the best sights and biggest cities. You’ll want to make a point of visiting Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Delft.
The Netherlands is located in Western Europe, with Germany on its eastern border and Belgium to the south. The North Sea lies to the north and west. Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is the international gateway to the Netherlands.
Student Performance Venues in The Netherlands
Many students visiting the country come to perform. The Netherlands is known for its love of music and the arts in general, so there are numerous facilities throughout the country willing to open their doors to the traveling student performance group. Outside of schools and public fair space, it is possible to find more professional performance venues.
For visitors to Amsterdam, options include Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ and Het Muziektheater. Concertgebouw dates back to 1888. For visitors to The Hague, a performance at Dr. Anton Phillips Hall may be the ideal choice. In Rotterdam, De Doelen is a performance venue that is large enough for up to 1,800 people. In Haarlem, Philharmonie Haarlem is the most popular option and is one of the oldest halls in the country. Any of these venues may allow for traveling groups to perform, but booking these experiences far in advance is required.
Amsterdam is one of the most eclectic cities in the world. You’ll find incredible artwork that’s a must-see even if you are not an art lover. You’ll find bars and fine dining. And let’s face it, many students come to Amsterdam because it is such a liberal city. The country’s largest city also is rich in history.
Sights to See in Amsterdam
Aside from spending some time at the local cafes, you’ll want to visit the Van Gogh Museum, where some of the Dutch master’s greatest works are on display. The Rijksmuseum (National Museum) houses Dutch art through the centuries, including works by Rembrandt and others who graced the Dutch Golden Age. Heineken Brewery and the Anne Frank House are major attractions as well. In Amsterdam, the “Venice of the North,” a canal cruise is an ideal introduction to the water-laced city. Catch a movie at Rialto Cinema if you like. There is a strong nightlife here, too, mostly made up of bars and a few dance halls.
Visiting The Hague
Home to more than 500,000 people, The Hague is an upscale, more formal location. It is the seat of various government buildings and home to more than 150 international organizations and foreign embassies. Tourism is important here, being the second largest tourism destination in the country.
Sights in The Hague
For the student traveler, there are various sites worth exploring in The Hague. The Beatrixikwartier is the financial district of the country. A walk down The Plein, or “square,” reveals various sidewalk cafes. You’ll also want to visit Paard van Troje, a large music venue in the center of the city. Be sure to visit the Nederlands Dans Theater, Royal Conservatory and Mauritshuis, a museum with Dutch paintings.
A third must-see city in The Netherlands is one of the largest ports in the world. Rotterdam is actually known for the dam constructed here in 1270. Even if you are not an architectural student, it’s a fabulous site to see. You’ll also like the city’s beautiful river setting, the nightlife and the vibrant cultural life.
Sights to See in Rotterdam
What’s interesting about Rotterdam is that the city recently has gone through a renaissance in that many of its infrastructure projects are very urban and designed to be upscale and virtually “cool.” Visit WORM, a venue that focuses on experimental music. Rotwon is fantastic for its pop-themed atmosphere and music. You’ll also want to experience Gabber, a type of hip-hop music that’s popular here. Museum-goers will enjoy Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and the Maritime Museum.
If you are looking for romantic European charm, Delft is the place to visit. This smaller city sits between The Hague and Amsterdam. It is a historically charming town with beautiful canals. It’s also known for the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer and the Delft University of Technology, one of the leading such schools in the region.
Sights to See in Delft
You’ll find monuments of all types throughout the city. As a student, though, you’ll want to visit Prinsenhof, which was once a court hall but is now an elaborate museum. Check out Oude Kerk, an old church where Johannes Vermeer and other famous people are buried. Delft City Hall is an impressive site, as is the architecture on The Eastern Gate, called Oostpoort.
Overall, a visit to The Netherlands as a student is more than just a pleasurable opportunity to enjoy a liberal lifestyle. It’s a country that’s easy to get around in (you’ll find public transportation here is an option, including trains that will take you from each of these large cities to the next) and one with plenty of nightlife to enjoy. See the history in the architecture and museums, but don’t forget that this city is also known for its shopping, fabulous countryside, and it’s happy, positive lifestyle.