The Netherlands is a small country with a lot to see and do. It is not for nothing that millions of Dutch people choose a holiday in their own country every year. The contrasts within the Netherlands are great, the country is bursting with museums and sights that are worth a visit and for nature lovers there are still beautiful nature reserves to discover in our own little frog country. In addition, cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam offer an enormous amount of culture, history and architecture. The Netherlands is also the country where you will find a high concentration of fun amusement parks. The Efteling is of course a textbook example of this, but there are also a number of smaller theme parks that are definitely worth a day trip. The only unstable factor that you will always have to deal with in the Netherlands is the weather. Sun security is something we do not know in the Netherlands. That is why our top ten sights in the Netherlands also contain a number of sights that are also worth a visit when the weather is not so good. Check topmbadirectory for how to get to Netherlands.
A top ten is always very limited. We have already left out express events such as the Elfstedentocht, the carnival and Amsterdam Pride from the overview. In the left column are the top 10’s of provinces and cities in the Netherlands for more inspiration of what to see and do in the Netherlands.
Top 10 places of interest in the Netherlands
#1. The 3 big cities
The Netherlands has many cities that are worth visiting. If you just look at the Hanseatic cities and the provincial capitals, you end up with a nice list of fascinating places where you can make a great city trip. The three largest cities in the Netherlands, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, are the most popular city trip destinations in the Netherlands. The nice thing is that each of these cities has its own culture. We will not be so quick to say that one of these cities is better or more beautiful than the other. Each one of them is more than worth it.
Amsterdam has the most inhabitants and is the capital of the Netherlands. There is hardly anything more Dutch than Amsterdam. At least, at its core, Amsterdam is of course typically Dutch. Much of Dutch history can be traced back to our capital. Nowadays, the center of Amsterdam has been transformed into an open-air museum where you see more tourists than Amsterdammers. The city has a huge number of sights such as the canals, the classic facades, leading museums such as the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh museum and of course the Amsterdam red light district. The nice thing about Amsterdam is that even as a Dutch person you really feel on vacation when you visit Amsterdam. That is how much the capital differs from the average living environment of Dutch people living elsewhere. Check simplyyellowpages for mass media and culture of Netherlands.
The port city of Rotterdam has developed into a popular international tourist destination in recent years. Due to the bombings in 1940 and the port of Rotterdam, Rotterdam cannot be compared to Amsterdam at all. The skyline of Rotterdam, which lies mainly along the Nieuwe Maas, is mainly dominated by modern architecture. Rotterdam is in that area a textbook example of twentieth-century and contemporary architecture. It is nice to see how modern elements work together with old buildings that can still be found in Rotterdam. A good example of this is, for example, the Kop van Zuid, where the old port area merges with many modern new buildings.
Residential city The Haguehas the great advantage of being on the coast. The coastal towns of Scheveningen and Kijkduin belong to the city. With a total of 11 kilometers of coastline, you can combine a trip to The Hague with a visit to the beach. If it is not beach weather, you can enjoy yourself in the center of The Hague. Numerous nice shops and sights ensure that a day or weekend in The Hague will rarely bore you. Notable sights within The Hague are the Binnenhof, the Gevangenpoort, the Grote Kerk and the Mauritshuis. Fun attractions for those visiting The Hague with children are Madurodam, Sea Life and Familiepark Drievliet.
#2. Dutch museums
Museum lovers will get their money’s worth in the Netherlands. The Netherlands has a few hundred registered museums, which vary widely in character and size. The Rijksmuseum, the Anne Frank House and the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are the most visited museums in the Netherlands. The capital alone has more than a hundred museums. Fun museums for children include the Dutch Railway Museum in Utrecht, NEMO in Amsterdam, Naturalis in Leiden and the Archeon in Alphen aan den Rijn.
If you want to visit several museums in the Netherlands within a year, purchasing a Museum Year Card is worth considering. With this personal pass you can visit a large part of the Dutch museums for an unlimited period of one year. If you visit roughly five to ten museums in a whole year, the Museum Year Card will often be cheaper than buying separate tickets. Museum cards with a reduced rate are available for young people and children.
#3. The North Sea beaches
The Netherlands has many kilometers of beautiful beaches. These North Sea beaches often consist of long sandy beaches with dunes or dikes behind them. Together they form primary flood defenses that must protect us against the sea. The beaches mainly have an important recreational function. During pleasant summer weather, the Dutch flock to the beaches en masse. The moment there are tropical temperatures in the Netherlands, this will almost certainly result in many kilometers of traffic jams towards the coast. Popular seaside resorts are Domburg, Renesse, Ouddorp, Scheveningen, Zandvoort, Bloemendaal, Noordwijk and Katwijk. Tranquility seekers like to go to the Wadden Islandsto enjoy the beaches there.
Many of the Dutch North Sea beaches have numerous facilities such as beach clubs, toilets and showers. You can also rent beach houses in more and more places for day use or even spend the night on the beach.
#4. Beautiful villages and small towns
The Netherlands has a lot of nice villages and small towns. These range from old fortified towns, authentic centers of life with a unique culture to lively seaside resorts. If you were to dedicate a holiday to the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands, a three-week holiday would most likely not be enough. What about the Venice of the North: Giethoorn? Or from old fishing villages such as Urk? The Netherlands has so many beautiful villages and small towns that even books are devoted to them. The nice thing is that each province has its own unique mix of beautiful villages. You can view per Dutch province on the site bestedorpjes.nlwhat are the most beautiful villages and small towns there.
#5. The Efteling
The Efteling, centrally located in Brabant, is for the Dutch the theme park in the Netherlands. Once started as a fairytale park, it has grown over the years to become the most visited theme park in the Low Countries. This fairytale park in Kaatsheuvel has been open to the public since 1952. The fairytale forest with, among other things, the castle of Sleeping Beauty is still very popular. The park has slowly expanded from there to a very large amusement park where you can take a ride in the Python while screaming. The magic jester and park mascot Pardoes is the face of the Efteling. His job is to keep the fantasy and belief in fairy tales alive. And since 2005 he has been accompanied by Princess Pardijntje.
The Efteling is now open all year round and offers several options for overnight stays. This once started with the Efteling Hotel, but nowadays you can also sleep in beautiful holiday parks such as Efteling Bosrijk. That way you will get even more out of your visit to the Efteling. As an overnight guest you can enter the park half an hour earlier in the morning than the day tourists.
For foreign tourists, the Netherlands mainly means clogs, tulips, cheese and windmills. That image is virtually indelible among foreigners who have not yet visited the Netherlands. Fewer people know that the Netherlands is a globally significant country, mainly on the basis of entrepreneurial spirit and innovations. For tourists who come to the Netherlands, visiting windmills is high on the wish list. There are two places that are often visited because of the windmills: the Zaanse Schans and Kinderdijk. The Kinderdijk windmills are on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which means that these polder mills deserve a place in this top ten.
The Zaanse Schans in North Holland is less authentic, because the mills have moved to this place from elsewhere. That does not make the Zaanse Schans any less interesting. Because the mills here have been merged with a number of nationally listed wooden buildings, a place has been created that is perhaps the most Dutch of all the places in the Netherlands. This makes the Zaanse Schans an absolute top sight for foreign tourists, but also for Dutch visitors who want to discover a piece of folklore from their own country.
#7. De Hoge Veluwe National Park
The Netherlands has several beautiful nature reserves. Nobody will deny that the Netherlands is densely populated and that you should not expect nature parks of enormous size here. Fortunately, people in the Netherlands are aware of how valuable and unique nature reserves are. Several areas have therefore been declared national parks over the years. Think of the Biesbosch, Weerribben-Wieden and the Loonse and Drunense Duinen.
The Hoge Veluweis the best known and most visited national park in the Netherlands. The nature reserve is located in the province of Gelderland. It is striking that the park is not subsidized. As a visitor, this means that you have to pay to enter the park. In addition to a beautiful nature reserve, you can also see a number of beautiful monuments such as the Jachthuis Sint-Hubertus. The Kröller-Müller Museum, located in the park, is very well known. Especially the sculpture park that belongs to the museum is worth a visit. The most popular means of transport within the Hoge Veluwe are the white bicycles that can be used free of charge.
If you want to spot wild animals in the Veluwe, the chances are greatest just after sunrise or in the hour before sunset. Early in the morning you have the best chance of seeing roe deer, foxes, wild boars or red deer. If you want, you can go on a safari with the forester for a fee.
#8. Zoos & Parks
Animal lovers can visit various zoos and parks in the Netherlands. The largest Dutch zoos are among the European top. Good examples of this are Diergaarde Blijdorp in Rotterdam, Artis in Amsterdam and Burgers Zoo in Arnhem. Some parks are limited to a number of animal species, such as the Dolfinarium in Harderwijk, which only houses sea animals, and the Apenheul in Apeldoorn, where only monkeys roam. In total, approximately ten million paying visitors pass through the cash registers of the joint zoos in the Netherlands.
A different animal park is Safari Park Beekse Bergen. In addition to walking, you can also view the animals from a safari bus or boat. People often like to drive through the park with their own car. You then drive slowly through the savannas where all kinds of ‘wild’ animals such as lions, giraffes and zebras live. Just like when you go on safari in Africa, you should stay in the car here for your own safety on the autoroute.
The Keukenhof is an absolute top attraction in the Netherlands. When you realize that this beautiful park is open about two months a year and usually receives more than a million visitors in that short period of time, then you know that you are dealing with one of the most important sights of the Netherlands. The Keukenhof is a flower garden located near Lisse, in South Holland. This makes Keukenhof in the heart of the famous Dutch bulb region. In the spring you can ride a so-called flower bulb route by bike, car or motorcycle. Due to the limited parking and stopping options, it is sometimes difficult to get a closer look at the flowers or to take a nice picture of the bulb fields.
Thanks to Keukenhof, you don’t have to make any effort. The Keukenhof gardeners do their utmost every year to allow visitors to enjoy a colorful flower park here in the spring. The park usually opens its doors in the second half of March and then stays open until May. When the park is open, you can enjoy flower gardens laid out with more than seven million bulbous flowers such as crocuses, tulips and daffodils.
Although people drive more kilometers by car than by bicycle in the Netherlands, the bicycle is regarded as the national means of transport in the Netherlands. On average, a Dutch person owns more than 1.3 bicycles, putting the Netherlands in first place worldwide in terms of bicycle ownership. For the Dutch, cycling is almost as self-evident. We cycle to work, take the children to school by bicycle and do some of our shopping by bicycle. In our spare time we like to go cycling recreationally or sportingly. Our country is perfect for this. The Netherlands is compact and largely flat. The distances are limited.
The bicycle is an ideal way to explore our country. There are many exciting cycling tours. Thanks to the huge network of cycling nodes, you can simply compose your own route. This can be done, for example, via this bicycle junction planner. The high number of cycle paths ensures that you as a cyclist can travel safely.
If you don’t have your own bicycle with you, you can rent a bicycle at hundreds of places in the Netherlands. There is no country in the world with such a high penetration of bicycle rental companies. Bicycles with pedal assistance (e-bikes) are increasingly available for those who want it. You can go out into nature by bike to enjoy the beautiful landscape and the fantastic views that the Netherlands has to offer. The bicycle is also an ideal means of transport to discover cities. In recent years, the number of bicycle tours booked through Dutch cities has exploded. In a small group you can discover nice cities such as Breda, Rotterdam, Maastricht or Leeuwarden with an experienced guide.