Famous for its beautiful canals, rich historical signficance, and overall sophistication, Netherlands remains a fixture on any tourist’s European destination list. Whether you’ve got a few days or a whole week to go exploring, here are the top five tourist spots to check out when you find yourself walking through their undeniably European cobbled streets.
1. Canals of Amsterdam
Located in the capital, the iconic Canals of Amsterdam came into being in the Dutch Golden Age, around the 17th century. Amsterdam boasts approximately 10 kilometers’ worth of canals, interspersing 90 islands connected by 1,281 bridges. For this reason, Amsterdam is known as the “Venice of the North.” Go on a river cruise along one of its three main canals: Herengracht, Prinsengraht, or Keizersgracht. The cruise includes stopovers at museums and other places of interest, and includes a helpful audio commentary as you float steadily along the water. Many of the best hotels in Amsterdam are also located close to the canals, giving you easy and convenient access to this quintessential tourist destination.
Also known as the Dutch National Museum, the Rijksmuseum is a notable place of interest in the Netherlands — whether or not you are a history buff. The museum has housed rare antiques since 1809, and contains a spectacular collection of 5,000 paintings in more than 200 rooms acquired from the Dutch Golden Age. (Look our Vermeer and Rembrandt fans!) The museum is also a home to 35,000 books, as well as medieval sculpture and crafts. If you want to soak in Dutch history, the Rijksmuseum is an absolute must on your list of places to go.
One of nature’s most breathtaking views, the Northern lights is a sight that anyone can hope to witness first-hand during their lifetime. They are, however, quite unpredictable and require a trek up into sub-zero temperatures in the Arctic. In the Netherlands however, people get the chance to witness the aurora borealis via an innovative art installation by Daan Roosegarde. Located near Westervoort in east Amsterdam, the installation was created with state-of-the-art LED technology to look like a virtual flood over four acres. Go for an evening walk along the bordering dykes and enjoy the Northern lights from Amsterdam up close.
Kinderdjik, translated “Children’s Dike”, is a village between Rotterdam and Dordrecht famous for its windmills. The village has been around for hundreds of years, and its 19 windmills (which were built in the 1700s) have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites. Kinderdjik boasts stunning architecture. Visitors can appreciate this more on special days throughout the year when the windmills are actually set in motion. It’s a good place to take a leisurely stroll, especially if you would like a change of scenery — from the bustling capital of Amsterdam to the more quaint views of this Dutch village. The best time to visit Kinderdjik would be between April and October.
5. Keukenh of Gardens
Lose yourself in the beauty of the Keukenhof Gardens. The Dutch take their flowers quite seriously, and the seven million flowers planted in the gardens every year are a testament to that. Located in Amsterdam, this is the largest flower garden in the world and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Netherlands, especially from the end of March to mid-May, when the blooms are at their peak. The gardens are home to tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other flowers that grow best during spring.
Dearsley, B. (n.d.). 10 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in the Netherlands. Retrieved from: http://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/netherlands-nl.htm
10 Top Tourist Attractions in the Netherlands. (November 7, 2016). Retrieved from: http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-the-netherlands/