The Dutch climate is strongly influenced by the wet wind coming from the North Sea. This means that winters are normally not very cold and summers are not very warm. The sea also brings wind and rain. In the western part summers are colder and there is more wind and rain than in the eastern part of the country.
Best time to visit Holland is in June. This is just before the summer holidays, so it is nice and quiet, the weather is good and you have long daytime.
In summer it may happen that you have a period of 10 days with temperatures in the range 25-30 deg C. It also may happen that temperatures does not exceed 18 deg C with rain and clouds every day.
So, make sure you have both warm clothes and summer clothes. You need to take precautions to keep your luggage dry. (I use the large grey garbage bags, you can buy in any super market. for this purpose).
Shopping isn't exactly a topic you would expect on a site about hiking. But, you still have your needs so I thought it might be useful to give some information.
Opening hours vary. In tourist centers and large cities, shops may be open every day and on Sunday as well. The normal situation is that shops are closed on Sunday. On other days supermarkets are usually open from 8:00 till at least 18:00, but often till 20:00. Other shops have opening hours from 10:00 till 17:30, depending on market cicumstances.
Credit cards are not very popular in Holland. ATMs work well using a Maestro card, which also will be accepted in most shops. By the way, Dutch currency unit is the Euro.
In most towns and villages you will find a supermarket. Very large supermarkets are not very popular in Holland. Good but not very cheap are supermarkets like Albert Heijn (AH), Jumbo and Super de Boer. Lidl, Dirk and Aldi are budget supermarkets with lower prices (10-15% cheaper) but less quality for some products.
TIp: if you go shopping in Alberet Heijn (AH) supermarkets, ask for a "bonus card". They will ask you to provide name and address information, but you are not required to do so. The bonus card will give you discounts on some articles. You also may look for "Euroshopper" articles. Most of them have a good quality and are significantly cheaper than other stuff.
In every town you may find a bike shop. They always will have a repair shop. For the repair shop never enter the shop with your bike, in most cases you need to find the back door. My experience is that they are quite willing to help you right away if you have a small problem, like broken cable or flat tyre. More extensive repairs take normally one or two days.
For parts you also can go to Halfords. Halfords shops you will find in town centers. They also sell and repair bikes, but other bike shops will normally not repair a bike if you bought it with Halfords.
For outdoor stuff Holland has some excellent shops. In the top segment you find Bever Zwerfsport, Carl Denig and De Zwerfkei (only in the town Woerden). They all provide excellent service and good products, though not cheap. In The Hage just behind the station Den Haag HS you find a Bever Zwerfsport megastore. You can buy there anything you might need for your bike, shoes, clothes, tents, and other equipment. If you want to buy new hiking shoes, they will offer you new shoes just till you find a perfect match. I remember I tried at least 20 different ones and it took me one hour to choose. This is considered perfectly normal.
In the cheaper segment you will find Perry Sport in most tows in the center. Cheaper, but less quality.
December 31st, and January 1st: Old year's eve and New year
On Old year's eve, public transport stops at 8:00 PM, so make sure to arrive at your destination in time! Cab's will be very hard to get and must be reserved a long time before. On New Year's day most shops and restaurants will be closed, but in general Chinese restaurants will be open. The Dutch celebrate Old Year's eve normally at home, but the number of people going out is increasing. Traditionally we eat "Oliebollen" a bit like donuts but much better. Always ask for Oliebollen with raisins, they simply taste better. You can buy them everywhere in shops and special stands, but quality is very diverse. Best is to buy them at a baker's shop.
At midnight many Dutch will celebrate with private fire works. Normally its use will be allowed from 10:00 AM till 3:00 AM January 1st. Use outside these hours will result in a fine.
Dutch people celebrate Christian Easter. We have a day off on monday as well. Then many shops will be closed, except large furniture shops, which form a public attraction for the second Easter day Large crowds will go shopping for new furniture then.
April 30th: Queens day
This day we celebrate being a kingdom. Originally people went to the royal palace in Soestdijk to bring flowers and gifts to our former queen Juliana for her birthday. When Beatrix got the throne, she decided to celebrate on this day (maybe because her birthday is January 31st, which is not known for good weather), but change the program. On this day the royal family visits a large town and a village in one of the provinces. In may towns people are allowed to sell stuff on "free markets" (in fact flea markets) and you may see a large number of more or less folklorist activities. Amsterdam is the centre of the party and will be very crowded, with over half a million visitors typically. Many will come by train, so be aware that trains for Amsterdam will be over crowded.
Shop, including supermarkets will be closed in the afternoon.
May 1st: Labour Day
Dutch people don't celebrate labour day.
May 4th: Memorial day
On May 4th the Dutch will remember the death of the second world war and other wars Dutch were involved. At 8:00 PM 2 minutes of silence should be respected.
May 5th: Liberation day
On may the fifth the Dutch celebrate freedom. It is the day the German capitulation was signed in Wageningen. Strangely, Dutch people do not get a day of, but every five years government institutes will be closed. Shops will be open. Ever the country there will be freedom festivals organized. I can recommend to visit Wageningen that day (take a train to Ede-Wageningen, then a bus ride of 15 minutes with bus 88 to Wageningen bus station. The bus leaves at the back side of the station). In Wageningen in the afternoon there is a veteran show, with many guests from all over the world and a large festival.
Ascension day is a day off for the Dutch. All shops are closed, restaurants will be open but busy. Ascension day always is celebrated on Thursday, so many people take a day off on Friday for a short holiday. A tradition for Ascension day "Dauwtrappen" (Dew treading). People get up very early at sun rise and go for a hiking or biking tour, which normally ends with breakfast.
Warning: campings will be very crowded if the weather is good, reservation is strongly recommended!
As with Eastern, we celebrate both on Sunday and Monday. Nothing special happens, but all shops will be closed and camping sites will be very crowded.
December 5th, Saint Nicolas
Shops will close a bit early. For more information on Saint Nicolas see the Sinterklaas page on this site.
December 25th, 26th Christmas
Please be aware that on Boxing day, shops will be closed. Christmas is celebrated at home with a Christmas tree and Christmas dinner. Restaurants may be crowded, reservation is absolutely required. Hotels will be expensive due to special Xmas arrangements.
This is new development. Places where you can take a break. Normally near farm houses. You may find a bench, a loading facility for electric bikes, all you need to make some coffee and may even fresh apple pie or yoghurt in a freeze... You cannot sleep there. It just started, so now only in Overijssel and Gelderland.
You can recognise them with this logo:
This page is in Dutch, but you can click a region at the map and will be forwared to a map with all resting points in that area.
Alternatively, you can select resting points based on a region ("Kies een categorie") or a town ("Kies een plaats"). I do not think the latter option has any practical use.
On your mobile phone
You can go the site https://www.rustpunt.nu/rustpunten and you will see nearby resting points.
Here you find the details about Nature camping sites in the Netherlands. Only sites I visited personally are included right now. I will focus on three important aspects:
- How to find the location
- Contact details
Please remember, You must have a Nature Camping card for most of the sites mentioned here. Sites are arranged by province on separate pages below: