If you ask a random traveler about the Netherlands they would automatically think about Amsterdam. Although, it appears that most of people have no desire to visit any other place in Holland apart from Amsterdam. With its many museums such as the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh, Anne Frank house or the Heineken museum, cozy streets with plenty of bars, big parks and festivals, Amsterdam can indeed attract tourists.
This is why a lot of tourists start and finish their trip in the Netherlands in Amsterdam and often overlook visiting other interesting places in the country. This is why I wanted to show travelers that Holland is not only cheese, weed and canals in Amsterdam. What else is in the Netherlands?
Keukenhof is often known as ‘The Garden of Europe’ as it’s the largest flower garden in the world and not to miss when visiting the Netherlands. Located near the small town of Lisse between Amsterdam and Leiden, this spectacular place offers over 7 millions of colorful flowers. Not only that, there are many activities such as flower markets, boat tours, bike tours, and parades to be enjoyed. You’ll be amazed by the beauty of the flowers and that won’t be only the Dutch tulips. I’d recommend biking to Keukenhof from Leiden instead of taking the bus. That way you can enjoy not only the garden, but also gigantic tulip fields around it.
Remember that Keukenhof is only open for a few months each year between March and May when the flowers are blooming.
Since I’ve studies and lived here it’s impossible for me not to mention this student town, located just thirty minutes south of Amsterdam. Leiden is one of the most important cities of the Dutch Golden Age – it’s here where the oldest university in the Netherlands (1575) was built. Nowadays the town has a large student population, including many international students who come here for an exchange or obtain their Master degree. For tourists Leiden offers a lot of cafes, bars, and landmarks like the houses of painters Rembrandt van Rijn and Jan Steen. It also features a thousand-year-old historic citadel and plenty of medieval churches.
The picturesque city of Delft is less than an hour away from Amsterdam. This beautiful place is mostly known for its history that leads back to the time of royal family and its founder, William of Orange who notabene was shot in Delft. Delft was also the birthplace of one of the most famous and also one of my favorites Dutch Golden Age painters – Jan Vermeer, who can be recognized by his famous painting A Girl With a Pearl Earring. Visitors can see the streets, canals and churches that Vermeer portrayed in his masterpieces, or even take a tasting tour to one of the town’s breweries. Delft is also known for its famous blue and white china that became well-known on the international level.
4. Hoge Veluwe National Park
Hoge Veluwe National Park is one of the biggest nature reserves in Holland. Located up north in Gelderland province this national park can give you a chance to spot wildlife, hike among different types of botanical species, or simply spend the night camping in the sand dunes. Hoge Veluwe attracts groups of Dutchmen of all ages as well as any kind of nature lovers.
5. The Hague
The Hague (often wrongly called just ‘Hague’) cannot be missed as it’s one of the most important cities not only in the Netherlands, but also Europe. This judicial city of the world hosts various international institutions, such as the Peace Palace, International Court of Justice and OPCW. When visiting The Hague I would also recommend a visit to Madurodam, a miniature version of Europe and a stroll around the beach in Scheveningen district. Despite bad weather Holland and maybe not many days that offers some nice beaches and Scheveningen is definitely one of them. The Hague also offers a great Kingsday night – a festival that happens the night before Kingsday (Dutch most important event), with a lot of concerts.