It’s easy to see what attracts so many people to this small, flat country in northern Europe: visitors are drawn in droves to glimpse the tulips, the gouda, and those wonderful windmills. But if these iconic emblems are all that you see when you visit Holland, then you’re missing out on the Netherlands’ beating heart.
There are so many other fascinating aspects to Dutch life and culture, they’re just easy to miss when one’s attention is caught by giant clogs or vibrant flowers.
So we decided to compile a little overview of some Dutch destinations that we think are as worthy of attention as the Netherlands’ biggest drawcards. You won’t be disappointed!
So much history
The Netherlands has a long and interesting past, and you can see it in the nation’s historic towns and cities. Many cities have an age-old center and several specialized museums. Sure, you know that Amsterdam was important back in the day, but do you know what made Haarlem, Delft, Leiden or Utrecht historic hives of activity?
Step into the future
Maybe modern is more your jam? Then head to Rotterdam! After being heavily bombed in World War II, Rotterdam totally reinvented itself as a modern city — the total opposite to Amsterdam. Or, for a taste of the future, try Eindhoven, the Netherlands’ design capital. It’s a city humming with energy, creativity and innovation, especially during Dutch Design Week in October.
All the art
They don’t call them the Dutch Masters for nothing. Where else can you see so many Rembrandts, Van Goghs and Vermeers? Dutch museums house some of the world’s great masterpieces. They are also home to countless delightful gems from all art eras – if you take the time to enjoy them. So, if you love art, don’t miss these world-class museums:
- Museum de Lakenhal in Leiden
- The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
- The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam
- The Mauritshuis in The Hague
- The Kröller-Müller Museum at National Park De Hoge Veluwe
In Amsterdam’s Rembrandtplein, you can even see a 3D sculpture version of Rembrandt’s Night Watch.
Fun at the museum
Let’s admit it, museums can often be… boring. But the Netherlands has some incredibly innovative and interactive institutions that are not your typical art or windmill museums.
If you want a different museum experience we highly recommend these destinations:
- NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam
- Corpus in Leiden (an interactive museum about human biology)
- The Maritime Museum in Rotterdam
- The Railway Museum in Utrecht.
We hope this overview has introduced you to some new places that have piqued your interest. Our boat and bike tours in the Netherlands include many of the top stops we recommend above. There’s so much more to the Netherlands than just windmills, flowers and cheese!