Big increase in tourists coming to see the Dutch ‘way of life’

The number of visits by foreign tourists to Dutch cities increased by 100.000 last year, from 2,3 to 2,4 million, according to Dutch tourist board NBTC.

NBTC is taking credit for the increase, saying the jump in numbers is due to its new campaign focusing on nine Dutch cities. Their research shows that more than 660.000 of the foreign tourists who came here last year saw the campaign.

"We know from research that city tourists especially want to experience the Dutch way of life," said a spokesperson for NBTC. "Of course, they visit the highlights of a city, but they still want to experience above all the atmosphere and part of the life in our cities. That’s where we focused the new campaign."

These figures are only part of the picture, as last year saw record numbers of tourists to the Netherlands for the second year in a row.

Dutch cities more popular

In the campaign, nine Dutch cities, Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Arnhem, Apeldoorn, Groningen, Maastricht and Nijmegen, are promoted in eight European countries.

NBTC’s aim in encouraging tourists from the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Norway to visit Dutch cities specifically is because city visitors tend to spend a relatively large amount of money. This year, that tourist spend was altogether 1,15 billion euros.

Easter saw large tourist numbers

Tourist numbers for this Easter showed that the Netherlands’ popularity is holding. NBTC called it "a very good start to the tourist season," as about 900.000 foreign tourists visited the Netherlands over the long weekend. The vast majority of tourists came from Germany (575.000), with Belgians next (225.000). There were also many visitors from France and Britain.

While many tourists did come to visit the major cities, the flowering tulips and the beaches also proved strong drawcards. Accommodation on the coast was popular, while holiday bungalows, cottages and campsites across the country were all well occupied.

Dutch holiday at home

Around 600.000 Dutch people also went on holiday during Easter, over half of whom stayed within the Netherlands. According to NBTC, lots of people went on day trips, cycling and walking tours, or went to a beach.

Joining an event or festival was also very popular, as was visiting one of the Netherlands’s many museums. There were also many peopple who took shopping trips to furniture malls and garden centres, which is something of a Dutch tradition for Easter Monday.

All in all, nearly 700 million euros was spent during the Easter weekend in the Netherlands on transportation, accommodation and entertainment.

Sources:, NBTC

Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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