The Netherlands is a charming small country in the low-lying river delta of northwestern Europe. Its landscape of famously flat lands, much of it reclaimed from the sea, is dotted with windmills, blooming tulip fields and picturesque villages.
With over 17 million people living in a relatively small area, this is a densely populated modern European country. Still, even the largest of its cities have retained a rather laid-back small-town atmosphere and many are packed with historic heritage. Wandering through the magnificent city of Amsterdam, with its lovely canals and hundreds of 17th century monuments, is a delightful experience. For most people, a visit to the Netherlands would not be complete without a good day in its bustling capital. Nevertheless, it is only one of many towns in the country that offers a beautiful, historic centre. Before Amsterdam's rise to fame in the late 16th century, the fortified city of Utrecht was the country's most important town. Much of Utrecht's mediaeval structures remain, with canals flanked by wharf-based structures, lots of buildings from the Early Middle Ages and some impressive ancient churches. Maastricht is often claimed as the most beautiful city of the country. It is known for its romantic lanes, ancient monuments, and for what the Dutch call its 'Burgundian' atmosphere. (Picture © Credits to istock/KavalenkavaVolha)