Visit Holland - The Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, administratively divided into 12 provinces (provincies). Even though the Netherlands is a small country, these provinces are quite diverse and have plenty of cultural and linguistic differences.
They can be divided in four regions:
* Western Netherlands (Flevoland, North Holland, South Holland, Utrecht)
Commonly called the Randstad, this is the heart of the Netherlands with its four biggest cities as well as typical Dutch countryside.
* Northern Netherlands (Drenthe, Friesland, Groningen)
The least densely populated area, mostly unexplored by foreigners, but popular among the locals. The West Frisian Islands are excellent destinations for a few days out, as are the Frisian Lakes.
* Eastern Netherlands (Gelderland, Overijssel)
Home to the largest national park of the Netherlands, Hoge Veluwe National Park, as well as the beautiful Hanzesteden, seven mediaeval cities along the IJssel River with a traditional historic centre, such as Zutphen, Zwolle, Doesburg, among others.
* Southern Netherlands (Limburg, North Brabant, Zeeland)
Divided from the rest by its Catholic history, carnival celebrations and its "Burgundian way of life".
This article describes the European part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Caribbean islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are "special municipalities" fully integrated in the Netherlands proper. Beside the Netherlands proper, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.