One of the most popular activities among the locals is cycling. And for a reason — the Netherlands has about 22,000 km of dedicated bicycle paths, which criss-cross the country with many of them numbered. It's as easy as getting a map, picking a number, and start cycling! Particularly scenic areas well suited for cycling include the Green Heart, Hoge Veluwe National Park, South Limburg, and the Waterland and Zaan Region. Just be aware that winds can be strong because of the flat lands, and that winters can be cold and rainy.

The Dutch coastline measures 1,245 km of coastline with many beaches. Popular activities include swimming and sunbathing, but these are mostly restricted to warm summer days. Expect Scheveningen to be extremely crowded when temperatures rise towards tropical levels. More mellow and family friendly beaches include Zandvoort, Bloemendaal, Bergen, and the West Frisian Islands.

Water sports is another activity mostly undertaken by the locals. Lakes can be found in every province, but the Frisian Lakes are outstanding, especially during the annual Sneekweek that starts the boating season. Boating can be done without licence as long as the boat is not longer than 15m and/or faster that 20km/h. Other lake-rich areas include Wijdemeren, Kaag, and Aalsmeer. Most of these lakes are very calm, with parasailing and rafting impossible.

Local non-profit tourist information organizations are mostly called 'VVV', they can inform you about organized activities during your stay.

Work opportunities for those from outside the European Union are very restricted. Only when an employer can prove they've searched in the EU, they are allowed to hire a non-EU citizen. Official policy is to deter all non-EU immigration, unless there is an economic necessity.

Citizens of certain non-EU countries are permitted to work in the Netherlands without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay - for more information see the 'Get in' section above.

Students from other European countries are eligible for study financing only when they have a fixed 32 hour/month work contract or when they have lived in the Netherlands for five years.

Since 2005, the Dutch law enables what they call “knowledge immigration” the idea is to allow local companies to “import” foreign employees to work in the Netherlands. The process is straightforward and takes between 4 to 10 weeks.

The Netherlands has many universities. The country has recently converted their own titles into the bachelor/master system.There are two types of tertiary education:

Universities focussing more on theoretical knowledge, aka "Universiteit"

Universities of Applied Sciences focussing more on practical knowledge, aka "Hogeschool", despite the usual English name, not universities according to Dutch law

The Times Higher Education Supplement ranks 11 universities among the top 200 in the world.

English speaking students will have no problems finding suitable courses. A total of 1,456 courses are taught entirely in English.There is also the added advantage that most locals under the age of 30 are reasonably able in English.

For international students, several scholarships are available.They can be found on the Nuffic website ( Here you will also find information regarding courses, institutions, housing, formalities, culture, traineeships and possible difficulties.


Mystery Land

( - dance festival with a flower-power theme. in the last week of august near schiphol airport. most dance genres are present, including even electro. also has activities such as workshops and theatre, which are usually uncommon with dance festivals.

Heineken Dance Parade

(http://www.ffwdheinekenda...) - a big dance parade through rotterdam. much in the spirit of the popular love parade in germany.


In the Southern Netherlands North Brabant, Limburg and to a smaller extent also in Twente, Overijssel and the south of Gelderland, the Catholic celebration of Carnaval is held since mediaeval times. It occurs immediately before Lent; which is usually during February or March. Mainly in Limburg - where carnaval is called "vastelaovend" - carnaval is celebrated very traditionally. Every town get's a new name and is symbolically ruled by the local carnaval-association. It is expected that you dress up in a weird- or funny-looking costume. Parades can be seen in many towns on Sunday, sometimes also occurring on Monday. Parades can also be held in the evening, usually on Saturdays all the wagons are then lit up by numerous small lights. The other days of the week, many activities can be found ranging from street painting stoepkrijten to beer drinking contests, some of the activities have their own dress-code like the farmer's wedding the "boerebroelof", a tradition in almost every town in Limburg and some of North Brabant. The cities of Venlo Jocus Riék, 's-Hertogenbosch Oeteldonk and Maastricht Mestreech are advisable for attending Carnival.

King's Day

koningsdag is held every year at april 27th all over the country except if this day is a sunday, then it will be held at the saturday before. in every village and town, you will find frolicking dutch, free markets and authentic dutch games. nowadays king's day much more becomes a day of festivals and parties. it is advised to wear orange clothing, as most dutch people walk around in their national colour. an advisable city to attend at this day is amsterdam, because it's one of the largest events of the year there. in several larger cities most notably the hague and utrecht, the festivities start in the evening of the 26th of april. this day used to be queens day koninginnedag, which was held on the 30th of april.


( is a three-day pop festival every year with pentecost "pinksteren" in landgraaf, limburg.


( popfestival - every last weekend of august at biddinghuizen, flevoland. this festival has pop, rock and alternative live music as well as theatre performances.


(http://www.zomercarnaval....) - a big parade through the center of rotterdam. one of the largest events in the netherlands.

football crazy

Every two years, the country goes football crazy as either the European Championship or the World Cup is held. Complete streets will be decorated with orange flags, the country's national colour. It's not uncommon for literally fifty percent of the population to be watching a game if it's a particularly important one. Often bigger cities will put up large TV screens for the general public, like on the Rembrandtplein in Amsterdam. Likewise, cafes and bars are another popular place to watch games.

Northsea Jazz Festival

( - big summer jazz festival, held in the ahoy stadium, rotterdam since 2006 as it moved there from the hague. around 1,800 jazz, blues, funk, soul, hip hop, latin and r&b acts play during this 3 day event.


(http://www.vierdaagsefees...) - summer festival in nijmegen lasting seven days, during the nijmeegse vierdaagse, which always starts on the 3rd tuesday in july. the nijmeegse vierdaagse is a walking event where people walk a route of 30-50 km for four days in a row. you only can join the walk if you have registered yourself ( the celebrations that are mostly not attended by the walkers start already the weekend before until the weekend after and over 1 million people attend. during the festival, there is a section for all the top dutch bands, pop, alternative and rock, electronic dance music and of course the numerous terraces and bars.


( - formerly known as 'sensation white' one of the best-known parties in the world organized by id&t. (http:// 40,000 people all dressed in white gather to hear some big and upcoming house music djs. several international editions are being organized several times a year around the world with the main concert being held in amsterdam arena every summer. sensation black with hardstyle music was previously hosted annually in the same location but is now being held in belgium instead.

Dance Valley

( - the largest and oldest dance festival, with over 40,000 visitors. annually the first weekend of august in park spaarnwoude, near schiphol airport. the focus is on celebrating summer, and has circus tents in which every tent is a different genre in dance music.


The big organized festivals such as Lowlands, Dancevalley, Pinkpop and Sensation, usually sell out very fast. Advised is to buy tickets before you go to the festivals, to prevent disappointment buy them as quick as you can. For most free festivals such as Carnaval, Queens/Kings day and the Vierdaagsefeesten, you don't need to get a ticket.


( - dance festival focussing on the harder dance styles, such as hardstyle and hardcore. residing in flevoland, usually in mid june, but in 2009 is held in mid september.