Weekend trips and long vacations to the Netherlands

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The Beach Scene--forgot about that! Hilarious. If sand actually touches a Dutch person they couldn't handle it. Lying on sand is like announcing to the world that you are an African refugee trying to reach the shores of Europe. No, you've got to pay for a lounge chair in a crowded "tent." Ha ha. And don't forget the hair gel and way, way too much aftershave on your day at the beach "chillin'."

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... The entire highway system seems to be under construction! I've never seen anything like it! Staus everywhere and even with a GPS, it wasn't all that easy getting around detours and construction zones ...

Randstad

 

 

... The Randstad has various motorways, most of them starting around Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Many international corridors start in the Randstad, including the A1, A2, A4, A7, A12, A15, A16 and A20 motorways, as well as various commuter routes.

 

Most motorways suffer from severe congestion, and are home to many bottlenecks, mostly outdated tunnels, viaducts and bridges. The Randstad, like much of the Netherlands, has a large number of waterways, and motorway tunnels and bridges are usually the only way to cross major bodies of water. Additionally, the canals in the Randstad are often spanned by raising briges, including bridges carrying major roads and motorways. Problems are commonly found at the Coentunnel, Ringvaart Aqueduct, Vechtbridge, Moerdijkbridge, Heinenoordtunnel, Beneluxtunnel and Brienenoordbridge.

 

Traffic jams can occur at any time of the day; however rush hour lasts from 6.00 am to 10.00 am and from 3.00 pm to 7.00 pm.

 

Major bottlenecks can create traffic jams up to 20 kilometers in length. Most motorways are no wider than 2x2 or 2x3 lanes, despite having some of the highest traffic volumes in Europe. Some hard shoulders are in use as peak hour lanes - traffic is allowed to use the hard shoulder as a 3rd lane during periods of congestion, when signs indicate. Because of the lack of sufficient minor roads, a lot of local traffic also uses the motorways.

 

There are a few missing links in the motorway network of the Randstad, especially on the A4 motorway, where construction has been a topic of debate since the 1960s.

 

Another growing issue is the number of trucks on the radiating motorways from the Randstad: truck volumes can be as high as 20,000 trucks per day, occupying the entire right lane on some motorways ...

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We're doing our summer holiday this year in Holland, having booked a beach house at the end of our 2 weeks in Ooghduyn (north of Alkmaar). We'd like to spend the first part of our trip (about a week) exploring southern Holland, camping if possible. Would you have any recommendations or suggestions? I know there is a national park, Hoge Veluwe, but haven't seen too much (yet) in the way of long-term camping. We're not adverse to holidays parks with camp sites..

 

Also, towards the end of our stay, we're picking up my mom, she'll spend a day or 2 with us on the beach, and then we plan to site see Amsterdam and perhaps elsewhere on the way back home. We've got a 4-year-old with us.

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I just returned from Holland and am leaving a few tips here. It was me and my hubs and our 4 year old. 

 

We started in Arnheim, stayed at the StayOK Hostel, visited the Zoo and the Hoge Veluwe national park. The StayOK was a decent hostel and had a cute playground out front so we could enjoy our beer while the wee one played (but finding it wasn't easy). We should have gone to the Freilichtmuseum instead of the zoo, but we only had 2 days, although the zoo had a great playground. The national park was fantastic for cycling (very flat, loads of trails) and had a great playground.

 

Then we drove up to Den Helder to Texel along the east side of the the Markemeer/IJsselmeer.. That was a HUGE mistake! So many drawbridges (though the wee one liked this a lot, it anoyed us drivers)! It took forever. We also hadn't counted on such a long wait to get the ferry to Texel (we headed over mid-day on a Wednesday). The same for leaving the island. Glad we didn't try to get over on a Friday, but to leave, it took us also about 2 hours. We stayed for 2 days.

 

Then we spent a week in Julianadorp at a beach house run by the Landal vacation parks (pricey, but so worth it!). Then we drove to Amsterdam where we stayed for 4 nights at an AirBnB. Holland is super kid-friendly. Glad we chose to go.

 

What I am glad I knew ahead of time  --> Packed a neoprene suit for the wee one. It meant he could enjoy the water longer. Also brought rain boots, "matchhose", plenty of raingear, and a beach tent. It was at times so windy I didn't need to exfoliate! But with no wind in the sun, it was very intense. We needed such a variety of clothes it was crazy!

 

What I didn't bring --> My EC card. Amsterdam was ok about accepting credit cards, everywhere else used Maestro.

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