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Best places to visit in The Netherlands
April 17, 2018, 9:58 am

The Netherlands may be small, but it is big on amazing destinations.  If you can picture tulip fields, historic windmills, beautiful countryside, wildlife, and world-famous art collections then you are just scratching the surface of this incredible country.

The Wadden Islands: Off the north coast are five islands collectively known as the Wadden Islands. They are part of a larger chain of 50 that are dotted along the Wadden Sea between Denmark and the Netherlands. Each is unique and a great place for outdoor adventurers. Bird watchers will want to head straight to Terschelling, beach lovers will want to make Texel their first stop, and for those that want a remote trek through the woods, Vlieland is perfect.


With two colleges, this culturally diverse town is a major destination for those interested in arts, education, and business. The Groningen Museum is one of the most popular in all of the Netherlands but you will also find a comics museum, graphic museum, university museum, and a maritime museum. Live entertainment at the cafes, as well as fantastic theatre, round out the cultural aspects of this small but vibrant city.


Right in the heart of the tulip region is charming Haarlem, a testament to the Dutch Golden Age.  Because it is largely unchanged, it is easy to imagine the city as it was in the 17th century as you stroll down cobbled streets.  Known as Bloemenstad, or flower city, Haarlem sits alongside the Spaarne River and still has many of its medieval buildings.  Tourists come for the museums, shopping, and architecture; much of which can be found in Grote Markt Centre.


This is your typical Dutch province, but with a few twists.  Not only do they have their own language here, but the locals are a hardy, self-reliant group – even by Dutch standards. This place is incredible to explore and UNESCO designated.  Visitors love Leeuwarden and Hindeloopen two charming villages that cater to tourists and have lots of tradition to soak up. 


This large city has about 60 miles of canals to explore and over 1500 monumental buildings and bridges.  Fantastic museums and endless small eccentricities make Amsterdam a delightful city to discover.  You will want to include the Rijksmuseum Museum, the Anne Frank House, and the Prinsengracht district for shopping, pub crawling, and coffee drinking. The Canal Ring has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is wonderful to walk or bike around.


Just 20km from The Hague is the perfect place for a canal ride on the Old Rhine.  Leiden, Rembrandt’s birthplace, has been a university town since the 16th century and a mecca for culture lovers.  The many museums in town are all within walking distance of each other and make for a fabulous few days of exploring.  Though the university is the country’s oldest and most prestigious, the modern batch of students helps to invigorate a lively night life.


Considered to be the religious heart of Holland, Utrecht is an ancient town. The most famous landmarks are the 8th century Gothic Dom Tower and the Gothic Cathedral of Saint Martin (13th century). There is also the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rietveld Schroder House, the Dick Bruna House, and the Miffy Museum.


Because it is easily accessible by rail and car, Gouda is an extremely popular day trip from Amsterdam.  Famous for its cheese and stroopwafels (syrup waffles) this is a traditional Dutch town that is full of charm.  Visit St. Janskerk with its colorful and incredible stained glass windows, and the Waag, an old cheese weighing house built in the 17th century and which is now home to the Kaaswaag, Holland’s cheese museum.

The Hague:

Perhaps the most astounding place to visit in The Netherlands, The Hague is a place of huge sophistication and world-class art.  Nicknamed the Royal City by the Sea thanks to the royals who live there, The Hague is best known for the exhibits at the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.


Once little more than a fishing village dating from the 13th century, Rotterdam is now a thoroughly modern city. Check out the Erasmus Bridge, the Cube Houses, and Kunsthal Museum for some interesting examples. And for something truly unique, visit Market Hall with its ceiling-mural that covers the farmer’s stalls. 


If the Netherlands had an icon, it would be the windmills.  And if windmills had a not-to-be-missed spot, it would be Kinderdijk. Because the country is at or below sea-level, windmills have been a crucial part of water management put in place to prevent flooding. Just a short excursion outside of Rotterdam, Kinderdijk, is where you will find 19 fully functioning and phenomenal windmills.  Built in the 18th century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they are truly something to see. 


This is a city with a diverse cultural history, which makes it seem a bit of an outsider in this Dutch country.  You will see Roman and Spanish ruins as well as French architecture throughout town.  There are even hills here! Sitting on both sides of the Meuse River, Maastricht is beautiful and full of historic churches and squares.  Popular attractions include het Vrijthof square, the Caves of St Pieter and the Casement, Saint Servatius Church, and Vestigingswerkens. 


As one of the oldest towns in the Netherlands it is home to two history museums that highlight Roman artefacts and traditional life. Take a walk along the Waalbrug (the bridge that crosses the Waal River) in order to catch an awe-inspiring sunset, complete with boats below. In the centre of Nijmegan is the historical quarter and not far from that you will find the National Fietsmuseum Velorama that showcases over 250 bikes. 


Just like Amsterdam, Delft is built on a series of canals that were originally designed to defend the city. An entire weekend can easily be spent strolling through the historic quarter and exploring the markets.  You will find it to be a progressive town that has worked hard to restore its historical feel.  Popular sites include Renaissance styled City Hall, the Prinsenhof Museum, the Vermeer Centrum, and several lovely churches.

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