If you are a looking for a super fast way to experience the Netherlands, THIS IS HOLLAND is it!
My visit was a Thursday in March just before noon time. The venue was rather crowded with tourists shuffling, looking to board a certain bus to Keukenhof. Yes, it is now the season!
After settling my ticket, I was told to wait for the next scheduled time slot starting in 10 minutes. I waited around comfortably but there was no roll call as promised. Minutes passed.
I noticed a staff had gathered up a group of people, forming a line on the other side of the waiting area. He had started the tour without any announcement.
I was annoyed being left behind. I would have to wait another 10-15 minutes for the next group. Another staff had allowed me to join in the queue immediately. It was a 5-minute wait before I was first in line.
The start of THIS IS HOLLAND was posing for a green screen photo. Apparently!
That particular staff did not offer any explanation. He merely signaled me to sit here, looked into the camera there and stretched out my hand. There were no tv screen to look at or background to choose from. Probably just my luck that (maybe) it was out of order.
“Done!”, he said as he handed me a piece of paper with numbers on it. He was clearly distracted on the job. Nothing else was said.
He ushered me to exit and mumbled something fast sounding like turn left around the corner and up the stairs. Everything was over in a minute. I was not impressed!
Up the stairs, I was greeted with a bluish mural and multiple media screens. I could scan the wall with my smartphone camera to spot the cow. I saw no cow! I played on a few media screens answering trivia questions about the Netherlands. Naturally, a local tourist like me scored pretty well. I waited around at this section for a good 10 minutes. There were about 9 of us in line.
Finally, a door swung open. It was a small theatre with seating capacity for 20 people. All of us hurdled in and waited with high anticipation. We waited. And waited longer. The staff was looking for more visitors to fill up the theatre.
When the theatre was filled, we were given a quick introduction in Dutch and English. We were also warned about the no video or photo policy from this point onwards.
The short informative video shown was entitled “Nederland van Toen”, which translated to “Netherlands From Then”. It was in Dutch but with English subtitles and lasted 7-8 minutes.
We were led out of the theatre towards a lift to proceed two floors up. We entered yet another theatre featuring a film show with additional video projection. This time, it was about “Nederland van Nu”, which translated to “Netherlands From Now”. The duration of this film was 6-7 minutes.
Next stop, the presentation that I have been waiting for … “The Ultimate 5D Flight Experience”!
A staff guided each one of us to a roller-coaster type of seats. All bags and any loose items must be stored under and seat belts must be fasten properly for safety issues. Then, there was more waiting. We were waiting for seats to be filled up on the upper deck of the theatre.
The motion picture finally came on and we lifted off towards a spherical screen. Suddenly, I was flying in the air! My feet was dangling free 10-meter high, I was swayed left and right, strong wind was blowing my hair, mist and scents were hitting my face, while I journeyed breathtaking Dutch landscapes; crossing dikes, soaring over palaces, cruising along Port of Rotterdam, hovering above Schiphol Airport, drifting from windmill to windmill and gliding on Amsterdam canal. I visited all the highlights of the Netherlands from an aerial view in just 9 minutes. It was absolutely thrilling!! I would love to do that again.
After that, it was the last stop at Holland Lounge, one level down. I was able to locate further information on all the sights that were featured during the flight. I browsed swiftly for 5 minutes. The souvenir desk up ahead was selling a small selection of memorabilia. It was also the place to view that photo moment at the start of this tour. I did not even bother.
In my opinion, THIS IS HOLLAND is absolutely for tourists! A crash course to learn about Dutch past, present and experience every iconic sights, all under 60 minutes. For that, you will need to pay €17.50 for an adult ticket and €10.00 for children under 13 years old. To me, that is simply exorbitant! If you must, always scout for cheaper tickets online or the possibility of combination tickets on their website to make it worth your while. Furthermore, if you are visiting with kids, do note that person shorter than 102 cm and/or younger than 4 years old are not allowed on the Flight Experience. Pregnant women are not allowed too. Last but not least, have patience when waiting.
Opening Hours: Opens daily from 10am – 8pm (29 March 2019 – 29 Sep 2019). Shorter opening hours from 10am – 7pm during off season months.
Admission Fees: €17.50 for adults ticket and €10.00 for children under 13 years old. Less €1.50 when you purchase you purchase adult tickets online. Check the website for combi or weekdays tickets.
Getting There: Take the free ferry service from the back of Amsterdam Central Station to Buiksloterweg. The ferry ride takes about 3 minutes.