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  1. #1
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    Netherlands vs Belgium

    We're touring next year in the low countries, but we're debating whether to do Holland or Belgium. Originally it was Holland now we're leaning to Belgium. We're going for a week in May/june 2008 - can anyone give us the pros and cons of each country. Many thanks

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    very personal view and just generalized impressions -> I don't feel up to being able to justify a full tilt pros/cons...

    -slightly more varied countryside in belgium (in terms of hills etc.) although the dutch would prob. love to argue that point
    -more water/coast etc. in (literally!) the netherlands if you like that (like me), a tour around the Ijselmeer through all the quaint towns is real nice
    -very interesting historical towns & cities & architecture in both so no advantage to either imho
    -urban city flair: on that one note, the dutch beat belgium with "the 'dam" hands down, sorry
    -how's your french or flemish? Belgium leans more towards those while the Dutch are often near accent free

    -great time of the year to go btw
    I've been to both repeatedly, and like both very much. Hard to call, sorry

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    From my very limited experience with Belgium, Holland has a better, much more widespread system of bicycle paths (smooth, paved ones) than Belgium. If you enjoy riding on cobblestones and/or on the street shoulders then Belgium is you choice. Belgium is very beautiful in its own way and you can't go wrong with either choice as far as scenery, culture, history, etc.

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    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bummel
    We're touring next year in the low countries, but we're debating whether to do Holland or Belgium. Originally it was Holland now we're leaning to Belgium. We're going for a week in May/june 2008 - can anyone give us the pros and cons of each country. Many thanks
    my vote: Belgium.

    pros:

    better food.
    better beer.
    better terrain.
    more to see.
    weather is marginally better.

    cons:

    the roads are a tad rougher.

  5. #5
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by automatic_sheep
    very personal view and just generalized impressions -> I don't feel up to being able to justify a full tilt pros/cons...

    -slightly more varied countryside in belgium (in terms of hills etc.) although the dutch would prob. love to argue that point
    correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by automatic_sheep
    -more water/coast etc. in (literally!) the netherlands if you like that (like me), a tour around the Ijselmeer through all the quaint towns is real nice
    the Ijslemeer is only interesting from Enkhuizen to A'dam. The rest is relentlessly boring.

    Quote Originally Posted by automatic_sheep
    -very interesting historical towns & cities & architecture in both so no advantage to either imho
    -urban city flair: on that one note, the dutch beat belgium with "the 'dam" hands down, sorry
    A'dam is a collection of villages, Brussels and Antwerp are cities.

    Quote Originally Posted by automatic_sheep
    -how's your french or flemish? Belgium leans more towards those while the Dutch are often near accent free.

    -great time of the year to go btw
    I've been to both repeatedly, and like both very much. Hard to call, sorry
    Just because they have a more pronounced accent does not mean that they don't speak English.

    IME You won't have a problem finding people who speak fluent English in Belgium (at least not in Flanders).

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    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by automatic_sheep
    _well I said "lean to" in language didnt I?
    _ijselmeer is personal taste
    _brussels at least left me wanting in terms of exciting city life. Appart from the great historical parts, it has big office buildings filled with boring eurocrats who leave the city asap
    nope.

    you wrote it.

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    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by automatic_sheep
    err, am I not getting you or you not reading me? anyway, it's just my experience and I certainly DIDNT say there would be noone speaking english
    OK I realize that you're in Germany, and there's not much humor to be found there, so I'll try this again:

    Quote Originally Posted by automatic_sheep
    _well I said "lean to" in language didnt I?

    nope.

    you wrote it.





    got it this time?

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    Je pose, donc je suis. gcl8a's Avatar
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    Poor Luxembourg...

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    I compared the pros and cons of some countries and the results are in ariezone.volkskrantblog.nl/132465.
    Belgium is 7, Netherlands 8.
    I agree to the first reactions (automatic sheep & Estrmnky).
    Adding some experiences after much cycling in both countries (born in Belgium, living in the Netherlands!).
    Belgians are sligtly nicer and more helpful, finding your way.
    In the Frenchspeaking part hardly anyone speaks English.
    The scenery is nicer (such as has been said) but
    - that's only in the south east, the hilly Ardennen;
    - and it's more an adventure to enjoy it because it's pretty dangerous on many through-roads. Because of the excellent cycle-path system you'll ride nuch more relaxed in the Netherlands.

    Actually I should advice you to ride the Vlaanderen Fiets (= bicycle) route. Together 800 km. but the itinerary along the language-border is very interesting.
    Roughly from Tongeren via Leuven, Brussels, Geraardsbergen, Kortrijk and Ieper to the coast.
    Or the other way round, depending on wind and next plans/airport to leave etc.
    Startinbg in Brussels you may ride the western loop. Then you can also visit Brugge, Gent and Mechelen.
    Hae a nice trip.
    Arie
    Geraardsbergen (B)/Borne (NL)

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    WAARRGH! silver bullet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bummel View Post
    We're touring next year in the low countries, but we're debating whether to do Holland or Belgium. Originally it was Holland now we're leaning to Belgium. We're going for a week in May/june 2008 - can anyone give us the pros and cons of each country. Many thanks
    Holland is easier cycling (and general traveling) than Belgium, particularly if you plan to visit the larger cities. Belgium has better beer and hills.

  11. #11
    Isohumulone Huvi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    my vote: Belgium.

    pros:

    better food.
    better beer.
    better terrain.
    more to see.
    weather is marginally better.

    cons:

    the roads are a tad rougher.
    Rough roads are nice too!!! It should be under pros...

  12. #12
    Isohumulone Huvi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bummel View Post
    We're touring next year in the low countries, but we're debating whether to do Holland or Belgium. Originally it was Holland now we're leaning to Belgium. We're going for a week in May/june 2008 - can anyone give us the pros and cons of each country. Many thanks

    Don't want to be predisposed, but Belgian roads have a lot more to offer... Unless you want to see polder and water for 10 days. Some of the bad roads are just part of experience, they are part of the myths and legends of some of the nicest one day races in cycling. If you go to sites with touristic information, you should be able to find places with exclusive arrangements for cyclists. The advantage is that next to the cycling, you will be able to enjoy great food and, if interested but certainly a must, the luxury beers. Also, even the smallest town should have its own bike shop (can be very useful in case of bad luck), but that is probably also the case in Holland.

    Quote Originally Posted by automatic_sheep View Post
    -how's your french or flemish? Belgium leans more towards those while the Dutch are often near accent free
    You must be joking, right...

  13. #13
    RMW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huvi View Post
    Also, even the smallest town should have its own bike shop (can be very useful in case of bad luck), but that is probably also the case in Holland.

    Yes you will find at least one small LBS in every town (dorp) and usually more. And I'm going with you on the food point too.

    You must be joking, right...
    I wanted to say the same. Maybe he meant to say, the Dutch consider themselves to speak without an accent

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    Bummel did our answers help you in your debating-session?
    E.g. it helps me a lot because there are some new views after cycling then and when in both the Netherlands and Belgium ( and France + Germany)

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    Holland has no hills .. so much for thier "varied terrain" as someone stated. The French speaking/cultured part of Belgium, Wallonia,is mountainous, it's the southern quarter of the country. Many great cyclists hail from there. Actually though, many cyclists come out of the the Dutch speaking/ Femmish part of Belgium as well, that's flat too. Great cyclists including great climbers from terrain as flat as the Mississippi Delta, go figure.

  16. #16
    Si se Puede!!!....Ahuevo! gr23932's Avatar
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    I would lean towards Belgium just because of the Ardennes. There are some beautiful rides through out the Ardennes linking many beautiful cities. Also, if you like Beer (who doesn't) there are some very famous and great Breweries to visit.
    The only drawbacks to Belgium I would say are the weather and the lack of English or willingness to speak English here in Wallonia (No offense to anyone).

  17. #17
    . botto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by old and new View Post
    Holland has no hills .. so much for thier "varied terrain" as someone stated. The French speaking/cultured part of Belgium, Wallonia,is mountainous, it's the southern quarter of the country. Many great cyclists hail from there. Actually though, many cyclists come out of the the Dutch speaking/ Femmish part of Belgium as well, that's flat too. Great cyclists including great climbers from terrain as flat as the Mississippi Delta, go figure.
    incorrect.

  18. #18
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    I would advise you to go to Belgium!

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    Luxembourg is great fir touring albeit small.

    Richard

  20. #20
    daily commuter speed demon's Avatar
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    Hello there, just out of curiosity, Bummel, have you decided yet ? Maybe you should post an idea of the route you visioned , so we can comment and add places or routes .I was born in Holland( which is a very nice country) ,but i live in Belgium for a long time now (which is nice too)
    Since we all can access google-maps ,maybe i can give you a few nice places to visit.
    Hopefully this thread doesn't mess up your ideas.

  21. #21
    Si se Puede!!!....Ahuevo! gr23932's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by speed demon View Post
    Hello there, just out of curiosity, Bummel, have you decided yet ? Maybe you should post an idea of the route you visioned , so we can comment and add places or routes .I was born in Holland( which is a very nice country) ,but i live in Belgium for a long time now (which is nice too)
    Since we all can access google-maps ,maybe i can give you a few nice places to visit.
    Hopefully this thread doesn't mess up your ideas.
    Perfect idea! I currently live in Belgium and I can give you an "American" perspective if that's possible since I was born in Mexico, but lived in the U.S for a long time.

  22. #22
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    Well Bummel how 're you doing?
    Please choose for Antarctica, we like people who also like to communicate, in Belgium and the Netherlands.
    Antarctica is wonderful.
    Happy New Year, Feliz Navidad.

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