The Netherlands - also called Holland - is known for its treadmills, tulips and legal drug and prostitution policy. However, the country is so much more than this. You don’t see everyone in a treadmill, smoking weed while holding some tulips. One thing is true, you’ll see every Dutch person on a bike! The most popular city is Amsterdam, but there are many beautiful places in Holland. Fortunately, the country is not that big so traveling doesn’t take too much time. This way you can see the whole country in a couple of weeks. Here are ten of the best places you can visit in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. It’s famous for its many (legal) coffee shops and the Red Light District where the prostitutes sell themselves behind glass. However, the city has much more to it. There’s a lot to do, popular sights include the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Begijnhof. While walking through the city, you’ll see the most beautiful canals and bridges. Just watch out for the cyclists!
Travel all the way to the south of Holland, where you’ll find beautiful Maastricht. The atmosphere and people are very different. You’ll probably think you’re not in Holland anymore, it’s unexplainable. In the city you’ll find magnificent churches, basilica and museums. After a long day of exploring, get a drink at one of the cosy bars or cafes on the Vrijthof - the square of the inner city. Don’t miss out on the famous “Flan” (Dutch: vlaai), a delicious pie consisting of pastry and filling. So good!
The Hague is also known as the government city of Holland. The city has many monuments and beautiful districts. Plus, it’s located near the coastline of the North Sea. So when you’re visiting on warm days, you can take a dive in the ocean. Other things you can do and see in The Hague are The Peace Palace, Palace Noordeinde, shopping, visiting Madurodam - a miniature version of Holland -, Sealife in the nearby Scheveningen or the Omniversum. The last three are especially fun for children.
Thanks to the impressive architecture, Rotterdam might just be one of the most attractive cities in our top 10. Among the modern high rise there are lots of fun places to discover. If you tired from walking, take a cruise or water taxi and see the metropolis in a different light. Rotterdam is perfect if you want something else than your regular city trip.
In the center of the country you’ll find Utrecht. It’s Holland’s crucial point when it comes to the railroads, high-end waterways. Utrecht’s history goes way back, which can be seen in the buildings and the city center. Popular sights here are the Domtoren and associated church, museum Catherijneconvent (medieval religious art), Rietveld-Schröderhouse and the castle (De Haar). In the evening you can get a drink at one of the bars near the canal for a perfect view.
For Groningen you need to go all the way up to the North. It’s not that far in comparison with traveling in other countries, though Dutch people might disagree. They are not used to travel for more than an hour within their own country. Unfortunately - depending on where you’re coming from - a trip to Groningen can take up to 4 hours. Groningen is known for the many students that reside here. They bring a little extra spark to the city with their events and enthusiastic lifestyle. This city is definitely worth a visit.
Amsterdam may be the capital of the city, but Haarlem is the capital of the province North Holland. This historic city is known to have one of the most beautiful stations. Thanks to the combination of historical buildings, waterside views, windmills - windmill De Adriaan can be found in central Haarlem - and many options to grab a drink, it’s a unique city which is sometimes overlooked.
‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch)
Den Bosch has two main sights: the St. Jan Church and the Jheronimus Bosch museum. Furthermore the city also has some unique canals. Are you visiting Den Bosch in February? Chances are you’ll find a crowded city packed with dressed up people who are celebrating a festival called Carnaval. This festival is also celebrated at the same time in the rest of the province (Breda) and in the whole province of Limburg (Maastricht).
Nijmegen is known as the oldest city of the Netherlands. It was already here as a part of the Roman Empire and during this time the Roman soldiers of the tenth legion were settled here. On the Waal’s hill you can still find a big fort they built in that time. What not to miss in Nijmegen? The historic parcs, the Valkhof Museum, restaurants and bars at the Waalkade and open air festivals. Are you visiting in July? Every year the greatest walking event in the world takes place in Nijmegen. Next years marks the 100th edition of the The Four Days Marches. Thousands of people walk 30, 40 or 50 km a day. And if you don’t like walking, you can party for a week long during the Four Days Festival.
Breda is a combination of a historic and modern city. Many medieval buildings are still intact, such as the Castle of Breda or the church, but you’ll see many modern touches to the city. In the center you’ll find most of the bars and pubs and while strolling through the city center, especially the historic feeling is tangible. Take a look for yourself! Fun fact: famous DJ Tiësto is born in Breda.
Tip: when you are traveling a lot, it could be wise to take a (cheap) prepaid phone with you. This way you are in control of your expenses. You can easily top up your prepaid credit online at Recharge.com.