Even as a Dutchie there is so much left to see in The Netherlands. When I walk through the city, I can be amazed by all the gorgeous things I see. I became curious: are there beautiful places in the Netherlands still to be seen? (The answer to that question is probably always “yes”). There is power in exploring the beauty in your own country instead of always wanting to travel (during the pandemic it was not even possible to travel by plane). It is something that can get you excited and a it’s nice to look forward to fun plans with friends, partner or family. Do you want to know what we’ve done and where we’ve been? Read on!
An obvious city on this list is Amsterdam. As the capital of the Netherlands, this city has plenty to offer: the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, countless shops (including nice vintage or thrift stores) and admirable canals. Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, is known for its artistic heritage, extensive canal network and narrow gabled houses, a legacy of the Golden Age. In the Museum Quarter are the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum with modern art. Cycling is inextricably linked to the character of the city and there are many cycle paths. There is enough to do in Amsterdam. We visited lots of times, but lost month we visited briefly. We saw the cute rows of houses near the Central Station (the ones in the photo), ate our food and then caught our train to Zaandam. Amsterdam is a very vibrant city. If you want to feel worldly, you should visit.
2. Zaanse Schans (a historic Zaan village near Amsterdam)
If you want to feel like a tourist and want to have the feeling that you’re immersed in the rural old Dutch life, we highly recommend going to the Zaanse Schans! The Zaanse Schans is a unique village in the Netherlands, full of wooden houses, windmills, barns and workshops. The Zaan neighborhood was founded in 1963, with nationally listed wooden buildings and industrial mills from the Zaan region relocated there.
At the Zaanse Schans you can stroll past the bakery museum and enjoy the smell of fresh cakes, or take a look inside the warehouse where clogs are made. The cheese factory, tin foundry and the various mills should not be missed either. Take a bicycle or boat trip, browse the shops or enjoy the pancake restaurant. A day out at the Zaanse Schans in North Holland is fun and educational. It’s a fairly small area and usually full of tourists, so we recommend visiting Zaanse Schans when it’s not so crowded. Find out everything about the special buildings at the Zaanse Schans. You can download or view the interactive map here.
You probably have heard of Gouda. Gouda is known in the world for it’s cheese, waffles and pottery. The compact historic city center with its many sights, authentic shops, small medieval streets, the canals and the many courtyards is more than worth a visit. So we did. A friend of mine lives in Gouda and we went there to have dinner and catch a movie ‘Cruella’. The city of Gouda is not as big as some cities in the ‘Randstad’, but there is plenty to see and do in Gouda. We went to get ‘Stroopwafels’ in a store without employees, had drinks on the historic square with town hall and walked along the cute canals.
Me and Kirs wanted to visit another legendary village. So we looked and remembered there being a Venice of The Netherlands: Giethoorn! We visited Giethoorn at a quiet time (we were one of the few visitors) and it was wonderful to enjoy nature around the canals. That day we learned that the name Giethoorn originated after the Italians founding horns of goats buried in the ground (hence Giet-horn). In addition, the canals themselves were dug, creating the iconic straight canals. You can plan the best sights in advance: rent a boat, map out a route along museums, shops or terraces, or choose a beautiful walking route.
5. Den Bosch (or ’s-Hertogenbosch)
Den Bosch was high on the list of cities we wanted to visit. Why? We were curious what the city had to offer besides the well-known Bossche Bol. We read that there’s so much to do and experience in Den Bosch. Due to its versatility, the city does not disappoint anyone and there is something for everyone. For the fanatic culture buffs, the shopaholics, the nature lovers and the Burgundian bon vivants. From the ‘Sint-Jan’ and the ‘Binnendieze’ to ‘Het Bossche Broek’ and ‘De Moerputten’.
Finally, we went sightseeing in the heart of Brabant. And we had a blast. We visited the Market (a square in the city centre), bakery ‘Jan de Groot’, the St-Jans Cathedral and Castle Ammersoyen. We ate a Bossche Bol, enjoyed the sights and went shopping. We highly recommend visiting. Den Bosch is fun to visit when you want to visit a lovely city you wouldn’t think of in the first place.