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The Netherlands - Living the Eco-tourism Dream

The Netherlands is renowned as a flat place, full of poppy fields, windmills and endless canals or waterways for artists to paint and wildlife to enjoy. It is easy to walk and cycle around without many gradients, a perfect destination for the eco-traveller who doesn't want to get too out of breath. The Dutch are famously tolerant, have a sociable relaxed air to themselves and a hospitable nature. Their cities are exciting dens of iniquity and intrigue where these tolerances extend into the realms of entertainment.

Green politics, eco-tourism and responsible travel are at the heart of the Dutch culture. People are just naturally conscientious and thoughtful about their countryside and the planet. They have built much of the country by carefully reclaiming it from the sea and generations of managing the landscape has made them very aware of environmental issues. The Dutch aren't just eco aware, they live eco daily.

Accommodations range from the internationally famous hotel brands to the more eco-tourist friendly and individualistic farm homes, converted canal barges and traditionally built houses. Throughout the country there are eco apartments, campsites and green country cottages for visitors to rent, responsible travelling is not a problem in the Netherlands.

Like many countries Holland has developed a network of farm cottages, countryside retreats, full of natural goodness and healthy alternatives on a small scale. Campsites also have come a long way with great amenities, shower blocks and site shops are a regular sight. Many of the larger cities also have a "homestay" option, where people in the centre of town, rent out a room by the night as a "crashpad" while people tour the city. This represents a great form of sustainable tourism, cheap and definitely a viable option, especially for those travelling on a budget.

Travelling around the country without heavy impact is also easy, apart from being an idyllic and exertion free landscape through which you can cycle. Surveys believe that 1-10 of the population own boats, so river transport is a popular activity; there is also an extensive fast and efficient rail network and excellent coach connections between major destinations.

Amsterdam itself was nominated in 2010 for the European Green Capitol of the Year and this is a city that you can accomplish a lot in without making a big carbon stamp as you sightsee. There is plenty of green space for picnics and equally as many enlightened stores in which to shop. Travelling around the city is a must on a cycle and there are canal boats that make it easy to explore the city districts as well. There are also many ethical and ecological restaurants and snack bars aimed specifically at the eco-tourist, so you can even eat responsibly.

Amsterdam proves to be a hidden treasure trove of delights for responsible travellers who care and the Netherlands on the whole will impress with its many ways directed towards sustainable and eco-friendly tourism. Once you're sold on its eco-credentials then just consider the mass of cultural and artistic joys you will be able to experience throughout this country that has a rich heritage and diverse artistic archive.

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