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Holland's must-visit crown jewels

29 APRIL 2013

All eyes are on Holland as it prepares to welcome Crown Prince Willem-Alexander as King after he takes over from his mother, Queen Beatrix. With the world waiting for the Prince, 46, and his glamourous Argentinian-born wife Princess Maxima, 41, to become Europe's youngest king and queen, we explore the crown jewels that the country has to offer.

Explore the canals in Amsterdam, where the new King and Queen will be spotted for the first time as they take a boatride through the Dutch capital, or take a peek at the world's largest flower garden. Spot wildlife in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, and head to Maastricht to step into the oldest and most southern Dutch city...

amsterdam

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Amsterdam's canals
Prince WIllem-Alexander
and his wife Princess Maxima will be seen for the first time as the new Dutch King and Queen when they take a boatride through the capital's canals on their way to a celebratory gala dinner at the concert hall, Muziekgebouw. Amsterdam began building its famous canals in the 17th century during the Dutch Golden Age. The three main canals, Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht form concentric belts around the city, known as the grachtengordel. Today there more than 60 miles of canals and 1,500 bridges. Alongside the main canals are 1,550 monumental buildings.



The Hoge Veluwe National Park
One of the largest continuous nature reserves in the Netherlands, the park consists of heathlands, sand dunes, and woodlands and is home to hundreds of Red Deer, Roe and Mouflons and dozens of Wild Boar. The Kröller-Müller Museum, with its wonderful and extensive collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh, is located within the park. Embrace the Dutch spirit by picking up a bicycle - free to visitors - and cycling your way around.
 

holland


The world's largest flower garden
Approximately seven million flower bulbs are planted annually in Keukenhof Gardens. With acres of colour sprawling across the landscape, highlighting the patchwork rainbow of colourful flowers, not only tulips are grown here, but also hyacinths, daffodils and other spring flowers. Keukenhof is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the Netherlands. Head there from the last week in March to mid-May for rainbows of beautiful colours and flower scents filling the air.


netherlands


A thousand windmills
More than 1,000 old windmills make for the largest concentration of Dutch windmills and an outstanding man-made landscape, which can be found near the village of Kinderdijk in South Holland. To drain the excess water from the polders, which are situated below sea-level, 19 windmills were built around 1740. They remain in pristine condition even today and have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Maastricht, the oldest and most southern Dutch city
The oldest city in the Netherlands is inevitably home to a host of historical buildings and enchanting squares. The Vrijthof is the best-known square in the city, paved with old cobblestones and surrounded by trees and lovely cafés and restaurants. It also features the massive Saint Servatius Church and Saint Jan's Cathedral and often holds large music festivals throughout the year.

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