The Netherlands is a very big small country, and full of salutary surprises. A chief pleasure of the place is its lively contrast between pragmatic liberalism and the buttoned-up just-so primness of a culture founded on Calvinist principles. The Netherlands is easy to travel in and the locals are friendly and speak excellent English, but many towns are still surrounded by canals and castle walls. A visit to Amsterdam will leave travelers full from eating countless stroop waffles, smelling faintly of tulips, and looking both ways will crossing the street for fear of the bicycles that can appear around any turn. A quick stop in the Netherlands is a must for any European vacation.

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