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Curious Camping Part 3 - Nifty Netherlands

If you want to visit the home of camping, then Holland is the place to go! The Dutch love camping and are experts at it. This country boasts some of the best campsites and camping facilities that Europe has to offer.

If the Dutch's love of camping wasn't enough, then it's also worth noting just how beautiful and exciting this country is. Whether you are travelling through the flower fields or strolling around Amsterdam, there is something intriguing, unusual or downright weird and wonderful to see at every turn. 

It's hard to choose a select few places for curious campers to explore, but we have had a good go, and this is a list of just a few of the most interesting, unusual and different places you can visit on a camping trip in the Netherlands.

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Give your eyes a treat of colour and light at Electric Ladyland

It is no surprise that Amsterdam holds within its city a host of the most intriguing attractions you could possibly want to find. This museum is solely dedicated to colour and fluorescent lighting. It is one sight you will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the world. In between visiting the must-see Anne Frank's House and the delicious-sounding cheese museum, you can visit this psychedelic wonder. Here, you can spend an hour or two wandering through the maze of fascinating shapes and bright colours.

Named Electric Ladyland this exhibition is a mixture of art, history and even natural wonders all lit up and themed around magical fluorescent lighting. It is the brainchild of artist Nick Padalino and sits beneath an art gallery which you can also take a trip through while in the area. You need to book in advance, but it is worth it to be one of the few that have seen this bright and unusual display.

Amsterdam is a wonderful place to go camping. No matter your interests, you will find something to keep you occupied every day on your holiday! The campsites in the area provide a fantastic base for you to explore Amsterdam and the wider region. 

Visit 'Venice of the North'

If you are looking for a slower pace of life on your camping holiday in The Netherlands, then a trip to Giethoorn is in order. This quaint settlement is known as the Venice of the North due to its network of waterways and canals and the lack of roads. If you want to traverse this small town then by foot or by boat are your only options. 

It's idyllic to look at, and a trip in a gondola through the waterways certainly provides a relaxing experience and is the perfect way to take in the quaint homes and quiet scenery. 

Although this is a quiet town, it still has a long and exciting history to explore. The town was first inhabited by mercenaries and outlaws who had fled the Mediterranean to make their home here. After this, monks in the region moved in and dug out the trenches to form the shallow waterways built to carry peat. It is a wonder how this quiet town survived through the centuries, but it still boasts a small population who live in homes on islands separated by these ancient canals with access only via bridge and boat.

Giethoorn, known as the 'Venice of the North'
Giethoorn, known as the 'Venice of the North'

Travel on a road inspired by Vincent Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh is considered one of the greatest, yet one of the most misunderstood artists in history. His view of colour and his imagination inspired some of the most famous artwork known and has inspired generations of artists ever since. One of his more famous pieces is Starry Night, and this painting is the inspiration for part of the smart highway in Eindhoven. 

The smart highway is a roadway where experimentation and technology are used to promote new energy solutions. The cycle path inspired by Van Gogh is the work of local artist Daan Roosegaarde who used stones treated in a smart coating that takes energy from the sun during the day and then light up to provide a beautiful blue and green display at night. The stones have been cemented to form a pathway reminiscent of the natural swirls of light depicted in Van Gogh's Starry Night. 

This is a spectacle worth seeing whether your interest is in art, culture or innovative smart solutions to ongoing and future energy problems. 

Micropia, the zoo of microscopic creatures [Photo credit: Yann Caradec - CC BY-SA 2.0]

Visit Micropia - a zoo with a difference

We are back in Amsterdam for this next curiosity, and it's time to head to a zoo with a difference. Instead of viewing lions, tigers, elephants, and monkeys, you get to explore the world on a much smaller scale in this zoo. This is a zoo that focuses on the tiny and captivating world of microbes.

Aptly named, Micropia this is an attraction that allows you to fully explore the weird, wonderful and occasionally beautiful world of the tiny and invisible creatures that surround us at all times. Step into the scanner and see your own body lit up with microbes and view the many Petri dishes where tiny cultures are grown. This is an opportunity to learn about the hidden world that surrounds us, but we rarely acknowledge.

Tulip field
Holland's most famous export - tulips!

Experience tulip mania in the flower fields

A visit to Holland wouldn't be complete without experiencing the Bloemen Route, otherwise known as the Flower Route. This is the stretch of road where the famous Dutch tulips are grown, and it's 25 miles long! 

Holland's floral culture dates back to 1593 when the first tulip was planted, and tulip mania began. Since then, the tulip economy has had its ups and downs, but it is still going strong, bulbs are still grown and then shipped worldwide. 

If you take a trip through the tulip fields, then you will be rewarded with a feast of colour, and rainbow fields that stretch for miles and miles each field arranged with blankets of carefully selected hues. Undoubtedly worth a drive and a stop to grab yourself that iconic photo. 

Hotel Inntel Zaandam
Hotel Inntel Zaandam, straight from the pages of a Dr Seuss book!

Visit a spa or restaurant in a hotel like no other

Take a journey into the whimsical and take a break from your camping to stay or visit Hotel Inntel Zaandam. Some see this hotel as an architectural disaster, and others find it's chaotic and colourful structure feeds their imagination. It certainly is a house that wouldn't look out of place in a Dr Seuss book!

This hotel is inspired by the iconic Dutch homes built in the region and the blue house painted by Monet, and it has all the architectural flair you would expect from these classic designs, but used in an entirely different way. Innovative, exciting and certainly a sight for the curious to explore! 

Check-in for a relaxing visit to the spa, have a drink or take a stroll past this intriguing hotel and see for yourself. It might not be a place you want to stay, but camping in the area is a great option. You can see the creative chaos for yourself then head back to your campsite for a relaxing evening with your friends or family. The city of Zaandam is situated North of Amsterdam and is an easy day trip from any of the beautiful campsites nearby.

Drielandenpunt - a visitor attraction located at the point where three countries meet

Located on the very spot where three countries meet is this maze built by British landscaper, Adrien Fisher. Of course, the countries in question are The Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, and we are unsure exactly why this has been celebrated with a labyrinth. 

Whether or not we can work out the meaning behind the maze, it is still a fantastic trip to take, and when you finally arrive at the middle, you can enjoy a viewing platform built so you can view all three countries at once.

This isn't the only attraction, and the visitor attraction boasts many things for the whole family to enjoy. There are different activities arranged at different times of the year. These include scavenger hunts and quests that allow the perfect opportunity for a day out to create memories that last a lifetime.

Drielandenpunt labyrinth
Drielandenpunt labyrinth

Sample cheese in The Cheese Museum, Amsterdam

For our last must-see attraction, we are heading back to Amsterdam and taking a visit to the Cheese Museum.  The Dutch have a history with cheese that can rival any European country (even France!). Their most famous cheeses of Gouda and Edam being a firm favourite all over the world. 

In Amsterdam, you can learn the Dutch cheese industry's secrets and answer the questions you never thought you had about cheese. Cheese fans can enjoy sampling some of the best cheeses available and marvel at the old machinery and cheese making equipment. You can even take a look at how Gouda cheese is made and marketed. 

The best thing about this museum is that entrance is free, and so are many of the samples! YUM.