​ A small country with a big profile, the Netherlands offers a beguiling blend of rural, traditional beauty and vibrant culture. Occupying a delta at the confluence of three major rivers where they empty into the North Sea, it is truly a water world: canals, coast and lakes are never far from view. it also makes an ideal destination for cycling, an integral mode of transport among the Dutch themselves, and many visitors plan their trips around the extensive infrastructure for two-wheeled travel.

Almost 20% of the total area of the Netherlands is water, and much of the land has been reclaimed from the North Sea in efforts which date back to medieval times and have spawned an extensive system of dykes. Amsterdam Much of the city lies at, or below, sea levelIt is one of the world's most densely populated nations. As in many European countries, over-65s make up an increasing percentage of that population, leading to greater demands on the welfare system.

Holland is also a deeply cosmopolitan place where museums overflow with paintings from its Golden Age and a cavalcade of festivals showcase performing artists from within and beyond its borders. Added to this is an eye-opening nightlife scene in cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam.