Stephen Travels

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Big or Small, Amsterdam’s Museums Are Among the World’s Finest

Tulip Museum, Amsterdam, the NetherlandsWhen I found myself finally able to turn away from Amsterdam’s irresistible canals and canal houses, gorgeous churches, inviting parks, and romantic bridges, or when I was simply faced with a rainy Dutch day, I turned my attention to the city’s museums. About 75 museums scattered around the capital of the Netherlands appeal to a very broad audience, no matter what your interest. From major art and history museums to those with a very specialized focus (say, for instance, diamonds, Heineken, or hash, marijuana, and hemp), these cultural institutions should play a major role in your visit here, but with so many choices, you’ll have to select carefully. Read about the top five museums in Amsterdam >

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Tulip Mania at Keukenhof

Keukenhof, Lisse, NetherlandsI’ve booked vacations around available time off from my job, around seasonal weather in my destinations, around fluctuating airfares and hotel rates. But only once did I plan a vacation around a flower.

Spring in the Netherlands is all about the tulip. Given the fairly short lifespan of this iconic flower in the country that sparked the “Tulipomania” in the 1630s that nearly ruined it, I had little leeway in the weeks I wanted to spend here. So, with some careful planning, I arrived at the best time of year, when tulips of all varieties and colors greeted me wherever I went — in parks, markets, planters, and shop windows. But it wasn’t until I visited Europe’s largest garden, Keukenhof, and its seven million flowers that I truly appreciated my good timing. Read more >