History, recreation, and attractive scenery are abundant in the southern Netherlands. The locals share a relaxed view of the world and place emphasis on life's pleasures. They lump Amsterdammers together with the other "cold-blooded" northerners as people too straitlaced to know how to have a good time.

Zeeland's three-part harmony of sea, land, and sky is so smooth that it's sometimes hard to say where one begins and another ends. The province's islands have been stitched together by a succession of great dams and barriers that bring a measure of security to the inhabitants of this low-lying delta, where the Rhine, Waal, Maas, and Scheldt rivers drain into the North Sea. Elegant harbor towns like Zierikzee and Veere retain the character of past centuries, when Zeeland's seafarers plied the world's oceans.