Crossing Belgium international border and beyond the Diamond City Antwerp, beautiful Dutch City of Rotterdam, our next stop was The Hague or Dan Haag. The Hague offers a unique combination of city life and beach life. The city's two seaside resorts - Scheveningen and Kijkduin - both boast lovely wide sandy beaches that attract locals and tourists alike. The Hague oozes culture and history.
The Peace Palace is the seat of the International Court of Justice, the only judicial organ of the United Nations not located in New York, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Its beautiful Neo-Renaissance style building, and the organisations it houses have given The Hague worldwide recognition as the ‘Internationale City of Peace and Justice'.
The Eternal Peace Flame burns beside the entrance to the Peace Palace. The monument bears the inscription: "May all beings find peace". The Monument is surrounded by the World Peace Path, which consists of a path of 196 large and small stones from 196 countries. Some of these stones are unique: they include, for example, a piece of stone from the Berlin Wall and a stone from Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for many years.
Binnenhof (Inner Court), the location of meetings of the Dutch parliament, the Staten-Generaal, is the heart of Dutch democracy, the place where the most important events in the nation's history took place. It is also where the future is created. The Inner Court in The Hague is studded with monumental old buildings testifying of eight centuries of governing, but it also has several ample open spaces, all freely open to the public. The Binnenhof is a must-see if you're in The Hague. Take a stroll through the courtyard and admire the fairytale-like splendour. Het Torentje - 'the Little Tower', is the office of the Prime Minister of Holland.
Next, we visited ‘Madurodam' where we got an excellent overall impression and a unique Holland experience within two hours time. This miniature theme park, situated in The Hague is less than one hour from Amsterdam and nearby the Tulip field region. It is home to a range of 1:25 scale model replicas of famous Dutch landmarks, historical cities and large developments. The interactive miniature park is the ultimate place to discover what makes Holland so unique within a short period of time. Madurodam presents you all the relevant Dutch stories behind the miniature buildings which have numerous interactive installations. Canal houses, tulip fields, cheese market, wooden-shoe factory, wind-mills, the Peace Palace, the Delta Works, the Port of Rotterdam, the Schiphol Airport et al. Just in front of the entrance to the theme park is a statue of Hansje Brinker, a boy who prevented a flood by putting his finger in a hole in the dyke (an embankment wall protecting the city from the sea). You can take your souvenir picture with Hansje leaning against the dike. Inside the miniature park you learn more about Hansje and his famous act of bravery, through an interactive story.
Then on half an hour drive to Lisse was the awesome Keukenhof Tulip Gardens, the famed National Flower Exhibition. A million visitors visit here annually. You will be spellbound at the sight of beautiful displays of over seven million Tulips, Daffodils, Narcissi and other flowers, spread over 80 acres. The Tulip Garden is open from March to May every year.
We stayed in NH Naarden Hotel situated not far from the Schiphol Airport in Frankfurt. In the morning we checked out after a continental breakfast and proceeded to downtown Amsterdam for the Canal Cruise. We discovered Amsterdam in a novel manner as we enjoyed on the cruise along its canals, the best way to see this captivating city.
After the canal cruise we had a photo-stop at a windmill, enjoyed a demonstration on the art of making clogs (wooden-shoes) and cheese. It offered us an opportunity to shop for clogs and other Dutch souvenirs. Then the moment came to say goodbye to The Netherlands.