13 places you should visit in The Netherlands

Three days ago my amazing experience in The Netherlands finished after six months in this amazing country. During this time I’ve learned a lot, I’ve met incredible people, I’m taking lots of moments and experiences with me and, of course, I’ve travelled as much as I could.

Luckily, I could go to many different places around The Netherlands and it would be a pity if I didn’t share them with you. So today, as a farewell, I’ll show you all the places, towns and cities I’ve been to, then you can get to know them, choose the ones that you like most and go to visit them.

All the cities in The Netherlands are quite the same: small and narrow houses one next to the other, lots of canals and boat houses and some windmills here and there. I’m sure some day you’ll hear “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all”, but don’t believe them. Each city and each town has its own history, its own charm and its own cute places.

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1. Dordrecht

Dordrecht is the oldest city in The Netherlands. In 1008, Dirk III founded this town and in 1200 it became a city where the Counts of Holland lived.

The city center is not that big and there are not many things to visit so it’s very nice to walk around, climb to the top of Grote Kerk at sunset and sit on some of the terrace that you can find in some of the squares around the city. It’s a perfect place to spend the morning or the afternoon If you’re in Rotterdam. If you don’t want to miss anything in Dordrecht check this post.

2. Delft

Just 15km west of Rotterdam there’s this other city. Delft is known as the ceramics city because between 1600 and 1800 the city became one of the most important ceramic producers in Europe. Moreover, in Delft you’ll find one of the biggest squares in Europe and the people there used to make the executions in that place. Nowadays you can find a traditional market every Wednesday. I recommend you to walk around and enjoy all the small shops and cute cafes.

3. Den Haag

A few kilometers west of Delft is The Hague, the third largest city in The Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Although many people think so, The Hague is not the capital of the country, but there you can find all the administrative headquarters, it’s the place where the King and the Queen live and it’s also the capital of the international justice. This city is a bit different than the others because there aren’t small houses one next to the other and thousands of canals close by. I recommend you to visit the City Hall, a really amazing building, and drink something in the square next to the City Hall: Plein.

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4. Utrecht

In the middle of The Netherlands you will find Utrecht, one of the most important cities in this country. Utrecht is famous for being a student city, so it’s a lively city, always full of people. I recommend you to walk around the city center, drink something in Oliver Café that is an old Belgian brewery with a big organ inside; visit the most famous monument in the city, Dom tower; and enjoy the music and the environment in the bars you can find next to the canals.

5. Gouda

The next city on the list is Gouda, famous in the whole world for the Gouda cheese. You can buy this kind of cheese all Thursdays in the traditional market that you’ll find in the main square (there are also other shops where you can buy all kind of cheese).

This is a very small city, so you won’t need more than few hours to visit it, but still, I think is a very nice place that will impress you. The City Hall is very big and is one of the oldest gothic-style ones in the country. The main church is the largest church in The Netherlands, it’s 123 meters long.

If you don’t want to miss anything about the city, check this post.

6. Zwolle

Zwolle is about 100km northeast of Amsterdam and it’s a beautiful star-shaped city. It’s a modern city where you can go shopping and you can find lots of restaurants and bars, but the old town has kept its traditional Dutch style and it’s very easy to visit all the city on foot. It’s possible to climb the Peperbus a 75 meters high tower from where you can see the whole city. If you so on Saturday morning, don’t forget to go to the main square because there will be a traditional market.

If you don’t want to miss anything in Zwolle, check this post.

7. Giethoorn

It’s known as the Dutch Venice and this small village is half hour drive north from Zwolle. This place is full of canals and you may think I’m stupid because there are canals in most cities in The Netherlands. The funny thing is that here are only canals so the people that live in Giethoorn have to go from one place to the other with their boats. The usual thing that you should you if you go to Gierhoorn is to rent a boat and do one of the possible routes (1 hour, 2 hours or 3 hours) through the canals.

 

8. Amersfoort

This city is 20km away from Utrecht. Maybe you’ve read that it’s an industrial city full of factories but the truth is that the old town is from the medieval ages. There are about 400 national monuments, like old walls, churches, museums, etc., so you won’t have time to get bored in Amersfoort. Near the city there is one of the three camps that the Nazis built after the occupation of The Netherlands (Nationaal Monument Kamp Amersfoort).

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9. Leiden

Leiden, like Utrecht, is a student city (the first Dutch university was founded here) and it’s known for being the place where Rembrandt was born. It’s a small town that seems to come from a fairy-tale and it’s perfect if you want to visit museums and walk around. On Saturday morning there is a typical market all along the canals and there is a windmill where you can go in for free.

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10. Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a very modern city, really different than all the other cities in The Netherlands, but still with lots of things to do and see. It’s the second largest city in the country and here you can find the largest port in Europe. There are also many interesting buildings like the Cube Houses, the Markthal, Hotel New York, etc.

If you want to visit the city like a Dutch, check this post.

11. Maastricht

Maastricht is one of the oldest cities and most southern one in The Netherlands. In this city you’ll find a great atmosphere with people everywhere, and lots of bars, restaurants, shops and music in the street. There are quite some things to see in this city like a library inside a church, a huge square with two churches, one of them in red, and the St. Pietersberg caves.

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12. Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk is a small village half an hour from Rotterdam and it’s very famous because of its 19 windmills. It’s the only place in the world where you can see that many windmills concentrated in one place, so if you want to see the Dutch windmills I think it’s the perfect place. You can walk along the paths and see the landscape for free but if you want to go to the museum you’ll have to pay a ticket.

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13. Amsterdam

I think everybody knows something about this city so maybe I don’t have to say a lot about it. Amsterdam is a very famous city and it’s always full of tourists, despite that it’s a beautiful city. I recommend you to walk around the 9 Streets area (Negen Straatjes), because it’s not a very touristic place and there are lots of cute shops and bars.

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Here you have a map with all the places I’ve explained:

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Now it’s your turn. Which other Dutch cities do you know? Which one is the one that you like the most?

 

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