10 Best Places to Visit in the Netherlands

Martina Rosado
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Gouda

Many places in the world claim to be the home of Gouda cheese. However, Gouda was actually the first Dutch cheese on record. Now, they only make it from milk brought in by trains as they pass through Gouda. It’s the oldest surviving trade, by the way.

To visit the birthplace of the famed Gouda, be sure to take a guided tour. You’ll visit the Gouda Van der Bilt Halle, a cheese museum and factory. Upon entering, you can see the reconstructed cheese processing plant before stepping into the dairy itself. The museum teaches you about the history of Gouda, including the origins of the process, from the first cheese making recipe to how Gouda is made today.

You can also find places to eat on your trip to Gouda if you’re busy shopping. Or, you can just pick up a loaf of Gouda at the Gouda trader’s hut for the better part of your trip.

As a side note, a tour de force is a must in Gouda because you can only take one and the Cheese Museum doesn’t have tours of every room. You shouldn’t miss this opportunity.

Rotterdam

There are so many fun places to visit in Rotterdam. You can walk the quays, visit a museum, or eat a delicious traditional meal.

Red Light District

Yep, we don’t need to say anything else about this. The city of Rotterdam has nothing to hide, and they love the red light district. You can even hire a hotel room that includes a personal valet (weird, right?) and your own butler (also weird, right?). At this place, you’re able to see the ladies and enjoy some snacks (or beer) as you watch.

Groningen

Nestled in the green, rolling hills of the northeast of the Netherlands, this great city is not only one of the most beautiful and ancient cities in the country, but an important trade hub in the current world economy. Groningen translates to “Green Town” and is not short for Gillanders, as the locals proverbially claim, but rather for the local green fields. Groningen is the oldest town in the Netherlands, with its roots dating back to the Roman Period, originally under the name of Gravisant.

Despite being a town of only 284,000 people, it’s still a valuable stop on the tour for its fascinating history and romantic ruins, punctuated by ancient buildings, including the city hall, which was built as early as the Roman Period, and the cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century. After the onset of the Enlightenment, the city started to lose its influence and became a provincial backwater, but it was during the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century that the city saw economic growth as a great number of companies started to set up shop in the city’s modern and efficient industrial zones. This growth continued through the Cold War, but was cut short as the local underground pilot project began in August of 1957, which gave the local economy a severe blow.

Haarlem

One easy train trip from Amsterdam, Haarlem is a beautiful small city that is perfect for people looking to relax. It is home to the Rijksmuseum, one of the most famous art museums in the world. The park that surrounds the museum is a great place to get some quiet grub and a drink.

Friesland

Need things that are a little off the beaten path? Friesland has it! This area of the Netherlands is perfect for people who like to get off the beaten path for a little bit. Friesland is home to some excellent bars where you can have a drink and listen to some live music.

Enkhuizen

This charming little town is home to the world’s oldest windmill. It is also located on the coast, so whether you are looking to do some explorations or just sit back and relax, you will love the beaches here.

Badhoevedorp

This is one of the best places to see the Amstel River if you are looking to explore some of the surrounding areas. The area is perfect for people who want to get out and explore some of the nature around the area.

Utrecht

Maastricht

(Netherlands)

The Netherlands are known for their beautiful sandy beaches and wooden canals. Much of the country is mostly flat and you don't need a hill for a great view or an adventurous outdoor experience.

Ever since Gertrude and her family visited Maastricht, which is just an hour and a half from Amsterdam, two hundred years ago, this city has become the perfect blend of these two.

It may not be the most beautiful place in the Netherlands – although it was voted one of the best places in the world to visit – but with all the right things, it has become one of the most happening places.

It is a city that knows no rest in its endeavor to be one of the most attractive places for visitors, who come here to experience the fun and excitement that Maastricht gives.

More than just the city itself, being a part of the Maastricht area also means you will never be too far away from the Dutch countryside, known for its rolling hills and picturesque views of the valleys.

There is a wide range of things for visitors to do in this area of the province of Limburg, and if you have forgotten what to do to keep yourself entertained, make sure to book your trip to Maastricht and let your souvenir shopping commence.

5 best things to do in Maastricht:

The Hague

Delft

Delft is one of the smaller cities on this list because it is just so darn cute and quaint. Although it is only a small city, it boasts an impressive collection of 17th-century residences that remain open to the public.

Delft gets its name from the fact that it was at one point in history a center for glass (furnaces are actually located in Delft). This heritage is more than evident today, as several glass-producing companies still utilize Delft’s facilities, giving the city an ethereal, otherworldly feel.

The Dutch are known for their architecture, and Delft does nothing to deter this reputation. The locals are also known for their peaceful approach to life, and Delft is no exception. The streets and museums are still traffic-free, and many of the buildings have remained untouched since they were constructed.

Those interested in visiting the original glass-producing buildings today should be forewarned that these buildings require an appointment to tour them. In fact, we strongly recommend that if you enjoy museums or historical homes, make a hold of these tour appointments as soon as you have the opportunity.

Leiden

Leiden is situated in the Holland province which is just a stone’s throw away from the Dutch capital of the city of Amsterdam. Other nearby cities include Alkmaar and Haarlem.

You can get most of the attractions in Leiden in a day including Leiden University, Old Town and award winning architecture, and the Berg en Dijnen Hiking Track from the city centre to the Leidenwood.

The Leiden University and the grandeur of its buildings makes it a very attractive place to visit.

The education of Leiden University dates as far back as 1275. The academic pursuit of students was only limited to the Latin language, which is why the students were referred to as “minores linguistici”.

The university changed direction in 1811 after the Dutch municipal council decided to open the university to the undergraduates. It was again at this time that the university gained its present form.

There is a mixture of beautiful architecture in Leiden. You will notice the classical Baroque style of the University, the western European architecture of the Low Countries and the Gothic style of the churches.

Amsterdam

Known around the world for its canals, gabled buildings and traditional Dutch doorways, Amsterdam is the leading candidate for the “Coolest European City”. Its position as a global leading city reflects the cultural, economic and social advancement it’s achieved over the course of a thousand years.

The city’s streets are filled with great museums, artists’ galleries, and grand temples, such as the “Van Gogh‒s” Museum and the “Rembrandt” House Museum.

It’s also home to the Nyenrode Business University and the Netherlands’ higher education institutions.

With canals that run through the city center, beautiful architecture, and the old names of many of the historic buildings, these names also have a special meaning.

The Haarlemmer-Parijs canals make Amsterdam one of the oldest cities in Europe. Amsterdam’s history dates back to the 11th century.

Map of the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a land of diversity, from the impressive, ancient buildings to the beautiful natural landscapes of the open country, which is the largest expanse of lowland in Europe. Here you will find many different faces as the country covers a large area but a small population. The Netherlands is one of the world’s least populated countries with about 17 million inhabitants and clearly defined borders. These well-ordered borders give the visitor ample opportunities for travel and discovery.

The Netherlands can be divided into two large parts: the Low lands and the lands of Flevoland and North Holland. These two parts are connected by a long and narrow strip of water: the IJsselmeer, which is a part of the North Sea. This encircles the country, like a moat. By itself, this lake is larger than the Netherlands. At its lowest level it is lower than sea level. Surrounded by large forests, lakes, and waterways, it creates a beautiful tourist area with several important cultural sites, numerous historic buildings, beautiful landscapes, and the many castles that date back to the Middle Ages. In the center of the country you find the large city of Amsterdam, which is the cultural center of the country after the capital. The city is known for its amazing architecture, especially for the many canals that run throughout the entire city center.