For an almost entirely man-made country, The Netherlands is a highly versatile nation. Its fertile, pancake-flat landscape is a lacework of drainage canals under huge open skies. The Dutch towns and villages are pristine places of gabled townhouses, pretty canals and church spires. Despite the country’s diminutive size, it is one of the most advanced and populated places in the world. In spring and summer the famous tulip fields provide bold splashes of colour, and in the west and north, the unbroken coastline is marked by endless protective dunes, backing onto wide stretches of perfect sandy beach.