Reassuringly laid-back

Look beyond the tulips and windmills and you’ll find the Netherlands’ reputation of laid-back friendliness is well deserved. With a heartening attention to pedestrians and cyclists, its towns and cities are all relaxed medieval squares, cobbled streets and leafy waterways – great places to watch life pass by. Whether you’re on foot or have gone native on a bicycle, Amsterdam’s charms are ample, from its iconic canals and old merchant houses, to the Anne Frank House and the Jordaan quarter, with its coffee shops and elegant boutiques. Further afield, you can discover works of art by Van Gogh at the Kröller-Müller art museum in Nijmegen; and explore the artistic harbour city of Rotterdam, pioneer of contemporary architecture.