Since so much of the land in the Netherlands today was previously ocean, it is unusual in Europe. The windmill is the most recognizable landmark of the Netherlands, which was created during the process of raising land from the sea. Windmills, which were originally built to pump water out of dikes-protected areas, are now one of Holland’s most famous tourist attractions.
With enormous fields of beautiful tulips, canals that replace city streets, and dikes that now serve as bike lanes, the Netherlands is rich in iconic attractions.
Tourists find all of these things in this little country fascinating. This distinctive terrain has resulted in an equally distinctive culture, which the Dutch are proud to share with tourists to their numerous museums and old towns.
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Table of Contents
Here are 7 amazing places to visit in the Netherlands:
1. Hoge Veluwe National Park
De Hoge Veluwe National Park is a Dutch national park located between the cities of Ede, Wageningen, Arnhem, and Apeldoorn in the province of Gelderland. It covers about 55 km2 (14,000 acres; 21 square miles) and is made up of heathlands, sand dunes, and woods.
It is located in the Veluwe, which is home to the Netherlands’ largest terminal moraine. During the last ice age, the park’s and Veluwe’s landscapes were largely formed.
Human use of the surrounding lands may have generated the alternating sand dune areas and heathlands. The park is one of the Netherlands’ largest continuous nature reserves.
On foot or by bicycle, visitors can easily explore the park’s vast network of trails and paths. The paths in the park are well-marked and mainly flat, allowing for easy navigation. The Kröller-Müller Museum, which includes an art gallery and a sculpture park, is also located in the park.
Oostvaardersplassen, a very attractive park around 50 kilometers from Amsterdam, is another popular nature reserve. The Konik Horses, a wild breed that originated in Poland and currently roams the area, are one of the top attractions here. Tourists come to see the egrets, black storks, cormorants, and other birds that make their home in the marsh region.
2. Gothic Churches
The steeples and belfries of churches highlight the skylines of many Dutch cities, and the Gothic churches’ towers are among the most spectacular. The Groke Kerk (Great Church) in Breda was erected in the classic Gothic style around 1290 and features Late Gothic carved choir stalls.
The 97-meter tower, completed in 1509, is its most notable feature; various extensions erected in subsequent years exhibit strong Renaissance influences.
Two magnificent Gothic churches can be found in Delft: Built-in 1250, the Oude Kerk (Old Church) has a 75-meter Coastal Gothic tower that was added in 1450. It is best recognized for its slightly slanted tower and pyramid-shaped top with four turrets on each corner.
The construction of the Nieuwe Kerk (New Church) began in 1396 and lasted until 1486. The 108-meter Gothic tower of the church, which overlooks Market Square (Markt), gives a wonderful vantage point for tourists and photographers who can make it up the 376 steps.
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3. Keukenhof Gardens
The Keukenhof Gardens, also known as “The Garden of Europe,” is the world’s second-largest flower garden, after Dubai Miracle Garden, and a must-see for anybody visiting the Netherlands.
Keukenhof, located in the Bulb area between Amsterdam and The Hague, is a spectacular display of colors and scents each autumn, with over seven million bulbs planted.
Visitors can enjoy different flower exhibitions, fairs, and parades conducted here throughout the year; take a spectacular flight, bike tour, or boat ride over the bulb fields; or eat lunch in one of the onsite restaurants, in addition to appreciating the beautiful floral scenery.
Spring is the greatest season to visit the Keukenhof Gardens because the fields are in full bloom and can be appreciated in all their grandeur.
Rotterdam, Amsterdam’s main rival, is the Netherlands’ second-biggest city and home to one of the world’s largest and busiest ports. The city, which is located in the province of South Holland in the Western Netherlands, is known for its beautiful waterside location, cutting-edge architecture, and great commercial importance.
Nonetheless, Rotterdam’s vibrant nightlife, busy cultural calendar, and youthful university culture make it one of Europe’s most dynamic and livable towns.
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5. Historic Haarlem
Haarlem, which is only a short distance from Amsterdam, is a wonderful day excursion from the city. The Grote Markt, Haarlem’s principal market square, is the historic hub of the city. One of the most impressive buildings is the Old City Hall, which was built in the 13th century.
St. Bavokerk, a 14th-century Gothic church, is nearby (Grote Kerk). Both structures have gorgeous interiors and towers to match. The Vleeshal (Meat Hall), erected in the Northern Renaissance style and currently part of the Frans Halls Museum, is one of the most well-known structures.
6. Dutch Windmills
The village of Kinderdijk, located near Rotterdam and along the River Noord, is one of the most photographed destinations in the Netherlands. Visitors may see the country’s biggest collection of historic windmills, which number 19 and were built between 1722 and 1761.
These were erected as part of a water management system to keep the hamlet from flooding, unlike many other surviving windmills that were designed to process grain and other resources. Each is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and on rare “Mill Days,” visitors may see the massive sails spin.
A seven-story windmill that was once used as a flour mill sits atop a hill near Leiden. The Windmill Museum is housed in this magnificent monument, which was built in 1743. (Molen de Valk).
Tourists can learn about how the mill was worked and maintained by seeing the miller’s quarters and the tools he formerly used at the museum. The museum also covers the history and significance of windmills in the Netherlands in great detail.
More windmills in excellent shape can be found in Zaanse, a picturesque medieval village readily reachable by day trip from Amsterdam. The Cat (De Kat), the city’s most famous windmill, was built in 1646 to process dyes and is the only one of its kind still in service.
Visit some of Zaanse’s distinctive museums, such as the Gecroonde Duyvelzater baking museum, the Zaan Time Museum, and the local legacy museum (Zaans Museum), among others.
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7. Traditional Fishing Villages of the Zuiderzee Inlet
Enkhuizen, a medieval fishing community, is located on the shores of Ijsselmeer (Lake Ijssel), a lake that occupies the inlet’s central half. Waterside residences, two 15th-century churches, and medieval defenses may all be found in the town.
The biggest tourist attraction is the open-air Zuiderzee Museum, which is located near the harbor. Visitors can examine exhibits of old boats and equipment at the museum, which explores the area’s prominence as a fishing port and hub of maritime trade. Many renovated buildings, some dating back to the 1600s, may be found at the museum.
Volendam, about 20 kilometers south of Amsterdam on the Markermeer, is another excellent example of a historic fishing community. Brightly colored row buildings, the small but interesting Volendams Museum, and antique ships in the port make this town beautiful.
Marken, a smaller but picturesque village on a peninsula nearby, provides an even more realistic experience. Both of these villages are reasonably accessible from Amsterdam and may be visited in a single day.