What to do for Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands

What to do for Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands

Love is in the air! Valentine’s day is almost here, so if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to get planning to ensure that you and your other half (if you have one) have a special day.

Love is in the air

Now, we know, Valentine’s Day has gotten pretty commercial and not everyone has a significant other to share it with. But what about making Valentine’s Day not only a celebration of your love for someone else, but also of your love for yourself? Why not treat yourself to a fun day out or night in? And if you have someone to share it with, well, even better!

Racking your brain for a good way to spend Valentine’s Day? Here are a few ways you can spend the day, whether you are sharing it with someone special or just chilling out by yourself.

Going out for Valentine’s Day

Fancy venturing out of the house? Take a look at the next four ways you could spend Valentine’s Day in the Netherlands.

1. Take a romantic boat ride in Giethoorn

Giethoorn is simply beautiful! The village is unique, as it doesn’t have any cars (or any roads either, for that matter). To get around, you’ll need to travel by boat. Sounds romantic right? Well, it is. The scenery is just gorgeous.

It’s February, so let’s not go too crazy and hop on an open boat - it is still winter, after all. A closed-top boat prevents you from getting too cold but also allows you to enjoy the landscape. There are plenty of companies offering boat tours and the prices are pretty darn good too. ‘t Zwaantje offers trips lasting an hour for just 7,50 euros (adult ticket).

Fun fact about Giethoorn: the village earned a spot on the international Monopoly board after the local authorities and several tourists launched a successful lobbying campaign. The board contains other world cities like Amsterdam, New York and London.

2. Satisfy your sweet tooth with high tea

How is this high tea different from high tea anywhere else, we hear you ask? Well, if you travel to Rotterdam, you’ll be able to get the highest high tea in the city! Where? Where else but the Euromast

Taste culinary delights in the tallest building in the Netherlands, while looking out at the spectacular landscape Rotterdam has to offer. High tea is served every day of the week until 4pm, so if you don’t fancy going on Valentine’s Day, you can always pick another day to celebrate.

Not a sweet tooth kind of person? Opt for high wine instead! It is served between 3pm and 5.30pm with savoury snacks. We feel fancy already ;).

3. Visit a Dutch castle

The Netherlands is full of amazing castles, so you’ll have plenty of choice of where to go. And hey, who knows, you might just find your knight / knightess in shining armour while you’re there (if they aren’t already along for the ride). One of the most popular castles is De Haar Castle, and for good reason.

It’s the largest and quite possibly most luxurious castle in the Netherlands. It will definitely impress with its towers, ramparts, moats, gates and drawbridges: the perfect medieval fortress. It’s pretty easy to reach too, as it is located in the centre of the Netherlands, close to Utrecht.

Another famed castle is Muiderslot in Muiden, close to Amsterdam. Muiderslot is another medieval castle, built in 1370. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage monument and a pretty marvellous one at that. It’s only open during the weekend in the winter season, so if you have your heart set on a visit for Valentine’s Day, you’ll have to move your celebrations to the weekend.

We could talk about castles forever, there are so many great ones. Wherever you visit, you’re sure to have a magical experience and be transported back in time.

4. Head on up into the clouds with a hot air balloon ride

We’ve all seen them flying through the sky, but how cool would it be to actually be in one? Definitely not something you do every day! So, why not tick this off of your bucket list on Valentine’s Day or at least reserve your tickets by then. This is something you could do as a couple, although the fewer people you have, the more expensive it is. Going as a big group of friends = much cheaper, so why not invite everyone you love?

There are various areas in the Netherlands from which you can take a ride in a hot air balloon, such as het Groene Hart or the Veluwe. You can also take a trip above Amsterdam, if you want. Hot air balloon tours usually last about an hour and end with a glass of champagne - very luxurious. You’ll also get a certificate after the balloon ride, which you can display with pride on your wall at home.

Tip: if this sounds like something you would like to do, but don’t want to break the bank, make sure you check sites like to get a better deal on tickets.

Staying in on Valentine’s Day

If you don’t feel like going out (zero judgement here), you can always stay in and make it a fun evening. Here are some ideas of what you could do.

1. Cook a three-course meal

Maybe you’re not a pro in the kitchen yet, but Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to experiment! Just don’t drink too much wine whilst you are preparing the meal…

There are tonnes of recipes online, suited for all different skill levels. You don’t have to pick the most difficult ones (unless you're looking for a challenge!) - just pick a few you like and get going. Create your perfect meal and then serve with lit candles and some nice music playing in the background.

Et voilà! A great way to spend Valentine’s Day without going out, and you’ll avoid packed restaurants and queues - bonus! An idea to get you going: try making a lava cake / melt-in-the-middle chocolate cupcake. It is sure to impress and, when done right, is heavenly.  

2. It’s all about the tulips

Roses are so 2018! Go Dutch and brighten up your home with tulips this year. Why should roses get all the glory on Valentine’s Day? Pretty unfair to all the other amazing flowers out there, if you ask us. So, go against the grain and go for tulips this V-Day.

Tulips come in all different colours; some are even multi-coloured, with shades of orange and yellow, purple and pink in one flower, creating a stunning specimen. And they mean love just as much as a bunch of roses. Did you know that a red tulip means perfect love?

There is an interesting Turkish legend behind this meaning: A prince named Farhad was in love with a maiden called Shirin. However, Shirin was killed and when Farhad learned of this, he was so overcome with grief that he rode his horse off a cliff. Where his blood fell, red tulips rose up, giving them the meaning perfect love.

Don’t feel odd if you are buying flowers for yourself. This editor does it all the time, and honestly, having flowers in your house is a great mood booster. They add a bit of life to the surroundings, not to mention that they also smell great.

3. Get your bake on – speculaas

Did you once enjoy baking and then when you got a full-time job, you just ditched it as a hobby? We understand where you’re coming from; it’s time-consuming and takes a great deal of care, even if the result is delicious. So, why not take some time out of your busy schedule and treat yourself by cooking up something amazing?

Add a Dutch twist by opting to bake speculaas cookies. Speculaas biscuits have a pretty unique taste, and yes, they are often baked for Sinterklaas, but considering the warm flavour they have, they are perfect all winter long. So, get those baking bits and bobs out of your cupboard and get your bake on!

Don’t fancy baking speculaas? You could also try your hand at making stroopwafels or poffertjes. Once you’re done, stand back and marvel at your creations. You’ll probably already be full from “tasting along the way”. Share your baking treats, or eat them all yourself, it’s your day!

What will you be doing this Valentine’s Day?

Cooking a meal, going out, taking a hot air balloon ride. There are so many options when it comes to how you could spend Valentine’s Day. So, what will you be doing for V-Day?

What will you be doing this Valentine’s Day? Do you have any other tips? Let us know in the comments below!

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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Cooper 17:15 | 5 February 2019

Something I've been looking into... is booking a Slow Cabin ( - A cute and cosy off - grid eco cabin in a secret location tucked away in nature, far away from the hustle and bustle of what I've come to know as crazy city life (< 2hr drive). What better way to really connect with your partner than to remove all other distractions. Bring out the board games, some saucy essentials ;) and really get in touch with that significant other. Get the fire burning literally and figuratively all the while knowing you're leaving less of a carbon footprint on mother nature. Love yourself, love each other and most of all love the planet x

JosephineAddington 13:53 | 10 February 2019

Choose. Talk. Met. Oh, ah, fk))> >