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7 Amazing Dutch Places to Visit on Your Vacation to The Netherlands!

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With its scenic countryside, relaxed villages and handsome cities, the Dutch offer travelers a fabulous contrast between traditional and modern, rustic and stylish. In the Netherlands, you’ll find exciting but laid-back cities, cobblestones, and culture, with stunning architecture and some of Europe’s best galleries and museums. The best way to experience the Netherlands is to meet up with the people and share some of the amazing things they do.
With its strikingly lovely canals, bicycle-happy locals, and cheery flower markets, it’s no surprise that Amsterdam attracts so many visitors year after year, but there is way more besides Amsterdam.
Here is a list of 7 other wonderful Dutch cities and towns to consider visiting.

Bodiam castle Haarlem
Photo credit: Antony McCallum / wikimedia

Haarlem

Haarlem is a city, located just 27 minutes by train outside of Amsterdam in the northwest Netherlands. Once a major North Sea trading port surrounded by a defensive wall, it retains its medieval character of cobblestone streets and gabled houses.

Over 1000 years old, this smaller city is beautiful and offers visitors less-touristy and less-crowded experience.

Haarlem is also a great place to take a canal boat cruise using one of the many offers for specialty cruises that take you outside the city by boat.  Some of the city attractions are the 14th-century Town Hall, the magnificent St. Bavo’s Church, and the outstanding art collection inside the Frans Hals Museum, Corrie Ten Boom Museum.
If you want to see the Dutch countryside, visit the neighborhood of Zaanse Schans (30 minutes by car), where you’ll find authentic, typically-Dutch windmills and shops showcasing the traditional crafts

Utrecht Netherlands
Photo credit: Pepijntje / wikimedia

Utrecht

The Netherlands’ fourth-largest city, Utrecht was founded as a Roman fortress almost 2000 years ago! Its original Roman name, Trajectum ad Rhenum (Ford on the Rhine).
The city is just 20 minutes away by train and the trains depart quite frequently.

The Dom, the yards along the Oude Gracht, the Hoog Catharijne shopping center and the Neude are just a few famous places in Utrecht. The province of Utrecht is home to a number of nature preserves, castles and bustling cities. With the region having such a rich and long history, there are many old cities and ancient buildings to explore. The city of Utrecht features a historic center with an old cathedral tower that dates back to the Middle Ages.

The lush Botanical Gardens can be found very close to the Utrecht Science Park. The garden is home to lots of buzzing insects and hundreds of flowers and plants. The gardens are among the oldest university gardens in the Netherlands.

Hague Holland
Photo credit: Rene Mensen/Flickr

The Hague

The Hague is a city on the North Sea coast of the western Netherlands. Its Gothic-style Binnenhof complex is the seat of the Dutch parliament, and 16th-century Noordeinde Palace is the king’s workplace.
The Hague hosted two international peace conferences in 1899 and 1907 – known as the Hague Conventions.

Organizations such as Europol, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism are all based in The Hague.
With 30 theatres and more than 40 museums to visit, The Hague is regarded as one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the Netherlands.

The Mauritshuis, an art museum that houses the Royal Cabinet of Paintings, houses the works of renowned artists such as Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt, while the Louwman Museum features the world’s largest collection of historic cars.

The modern seaside resort of Scheveningen is also a favorite holiday spot for locals and tourists.

Treasury of the Basilica of Saint Servatius
Photo credit: Wikimedia

Maastricht

No visit to the Netherlands is complete without a visit to this city. Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in Holland. The city has plenty to offer with its Churches, city walls, monumental merchant houses and big squares merge seamlessly with a comprehensive and varied range of shops.

You can find rich architecture here ranging from Roman excavations to the modern design of the Bonnefantenmuseum. The Sint-Servaasbrug is one of the most characteristic structures in Maastricht.
The city is home to 120.000 people and is known as a city of history, attractions, culture, local folklore and education.

Maastricht is also known as a city of indulgence and culinary highlights. The city’s celebration of Carnival is among the biggest and most festive in all of the Netherlands.

Delft

Delft

This is one of the most charming towns in all of The Netherlands and the town’s world-renown export – is known as the manufacturing base for Delftware, beautifully-crafted hand-painted blue-and-white pottery.
Delft enjoys a worldwide reputation due to its connection with Johannes Vermeer, Delft Blue earthenware and the Royal House.

This small university town offers canal tours, museums, markets and many pubs, walks along canals, churches, mansions and courtyards. Delft’s inner city is dominated by two big churches: the Oude Kerk or Old Church and the Nieuwe Kerk or New Church with its rich history and connection to the Royal Family. The churches are within easy walking distance of each other and can be visited on the same ticket.

Leiden
Photo credit: Wikimedia

Leiden

The Dutch city of Leiden Holland (Leyden in Dutch) is a picturesque community located in the tulip-growing district in the Netherlands. Home to the oldest university in the country, Leiden features spectacular landmarks, interesting tourist attractions and a variety of museums.

In the seventeenth century, Leiden was one of the most important and richest cities in Holland.

Leiden also has its own Hortus Botanicus, an impressive university garden filled with plants from around the world. There are also several museums with great collections of art (De Lakenhal), history (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden), nature (Naturalis).

Gouda
Photo credit: Wikimedia

Gouda

Gouda is a Dutch city south of Amsterdam in the province of South Holland. It’s known for its namesake cheese and seasonal cheese market, regularly held on the medieval Markt square.
The city itself is a wonderland of monumental architecture, from its 15th century Stadhuis (City Hall) to its cruciform Sint Janskerk. The city is located just 55 minutes from Amsterdam by train, historic Gouda is a great choice for travelers looking for a convenient, day-trip destination outside the capital.

A superlative church in so many ways, the late Gothic basilica Sint Janskerk is an icon of Gouda. Museum Gouda, located in the “Catharina Gasthuis,” is home to a large collection of paintings from the Barbizon and Hague schools of the 19th century.

Spend an hour or two walking through Gouda’s historic city center and learning about some of the city’s most interesting buildings.

Want to find more sustainable destinations? Check our other posts.

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