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Recommended Spots in the Netherlands—From the Land of Tulips


* In this column, Marubeni Group staff members provide a glimpse of the cities in which they are living and working.

As an ex-pat staff member, I am still a relative newcomer to this place, so I will introduce Amsterdam, Netherlands from a tourist’s point of view. Though the country is not large in terms of scale, it is a beautiful and charming place with a high level of happiness. I think that when most people think of the Netherlands, they imagine the country’s iconic windmills, streetscapes with canals, tulips, and art (famous Dutch artists include Van Gogh, Vermeer and Rembrandt).

  • I The “I amsterdam ” letters at the Rijksmuseum (Outdoor skating rink in winter)
  • Kinderdijk (World Heritage Site) is famous for its windmills

The canal ring area of Amsterdam is listed as a World Heritage Site.

  • Draw bridge
  • West Church (Westerkerk)

Tulip fields in the suburbs

Masterpieces of art are on display in various art museums every day.

  • Vermeer’s masterpiece “Girl with a Pearl Earring”
  • “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt
  • “Café Terrace at Night” by Van Gogh

Even the street names here are saturated with art—our office is surrounded by Stravinsky Street and Beethoven Street, and I live on Mahler Street.

Here are some things that a person with an intermediate knowledge of the Netherlands may associate the country: the East India Company; Huis Ten Bosch; Philipp Franz von Siebold; Anne Frank; Delft; Keukenhof; clogs; Miffy; the red-light district; bicycles; the color orange; cheese; croquette; draw bridges; Amsterdam Centraal Station; the Legend of the Flying Dutchman; the movie “Two in the Amsterdam Rain”; Afsluitdijk; the Royal Concertgebouw; Mauritshuis, Sinterklaas; and the Maastricht Treaty. I think you will find that these elements of Dutch tourism, culture, and history are quite pervasive, even in Japan. As an additional piece of trivia, the origin of the EU is said to be the three Benelux countries, which includes the Netherlands.

  • Miffy’s traffic lights.
  • This is the spot where the borders of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany meet.

Keukenhof, famous for its tulips, is only open from mid-March through early May. The weather is still cold when the flowers start to bloom.

Sinterklaas is a Dutch legend said to be the origin of Santa Clause. As the legend goes, Sinterklaas arrives on a ship from Spain with his attendants in late November, and puts presents in shoes while riding on a horse.

A typical Dutch dish is croquettes. This Dutch staple is probably the origin of the Japanese version. In the Netherlands, they are sold in vending machines and even at McDonald’s!

[Trivia on the Netherlands]
  1. The character Maetel from the animated work, “Galaxy Express 999” is modeled after the beautiful granddaughter of Philipp Franz von Siebold, who he left behind in Japan.
  2. Scheveningen (a summer resort along the North Sea) is one of the most difficult Dutch words to pronounce. The Japanese pronounce it as “sukebe-ningen” (which means “pervert” in Japanese). There was a time when those who could not say it properly were considered to be foreign spies.
  3. Hakata Dontaku (a festival in Fukuoka, Japan) and han-don (a word that means “half-day vacation” in Japanese) are derived from the Dutch word for Sunday, “Zondag”.

For more information on the Netherlands, I recommend Ryotaro Shiba’s travelogue, “Orando Kiko” (written in Japanese). But, if you really want to know more, come and visit the Netherlands - Land of Tulips.

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