Queen’s Day

By | Category: Travel destinations

Leiden

Today is a public holiday in the Netherlands. It is Queen’s Day – the last there will be for some while as next year it will be King’s Day. It is also the day that Queen Beatrix abdicates and her son, Prince Willem-Alexander, succeeds to the throne. Over a million people are expected to join in the festivities. If you though the Brits could make pageantry and the monarchy a big tourist draw then watch the events in the Netherlands!
We are lucky in both the UK and Ireland in that we have frequent flights to Amsterdam from many regional airports so it is an easy country to visit. KLM are the main provider of flights but British Airways and easyJet also provide strong links. These will take you to Schipol – a short and cheap train ride from Amsterdam with all the attractions that city has to offer including the newly re-opened Rijksmuseum. Having been closed for ten years, the Rijksmuseum is one of the great museums of the world housing the works of many famous painters but it also has lots of new features which we will present to readers later this year. There is also an “outdoor museum – the new gardens – and, in June, a Henry Moore exhibition will open the first in a series of international sculpture exhibitions to be held each year.

Utrecht Domkerk


But whilst most people think of Schipol as a hub airport allowing you to travel to all parts of the world, it is also a hub railway station to visit other parts of the Netherlands. Easily visited in a day, if you wanted to, would be Leiden, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, Utrecht, The Hague and Lisse where the Keukenhof gardens are. The ticket machines allow you to select in English and the humans selling tickets also speak good English as do most of the Dutch inhabitants I have asked directions from over the years. The trains are fast, punctual to a degree we can only marvel at and usually have interchanges with bus stations at their stops.

sculpture at the Keukenhof Garden


So for example if you go to Leiden, a shopping centre greets you as does the bus station. Step outside and the very large tourist office greets you on the left and a windmill is straight ahead. It’s as though it has all been put together with the visitor in mind.

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