Things to do in the Netherlands: Your guide to must-see attractions
Whether you're an expat looking for a fun way to spend a weekend, have just landed for your weekend break or are only passing through, there are so many things to do in the Netherlands. Here are some top tips for some ways to spend your time in the Low Lands.
Must-see Netherlands: A checklist
Holland offers visitors and locals alike a wide variety of activities and sightseeing opportunities - but of course, some are more famous (and more popular) than others. If you're spending time in the Netherlands, these are some of the country's absolutely must-see attractions:
- Van Gogh Museum
- Anne Frank House
- Amsterdam canals
- Kinderdijk Windmills
- Cheese markets (i.e. in Alkmaar, Gouda or Edam)
This list barely scrapes the surface of everything the Netherlands has to offer. Share your favourite must-visit attractions in the comments below!
Fun things to do in Holland
Amsterdam, in particular, is renowned for its canals and it is exciting to see the city from the water. Get your canal cruise tickets and say hello to the beautiful Dutch capital from another point of view!
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Want to see a windmill in action? Sloten Windmill is the only functioning windmill in Amsterdam. For a trip farther afield, jump on the Volendam, Marken and Zaanse Schans windmills tour, which takes you from the Dutch capital to famous landmarks in the province of North Holland, where you can see how Dutch clogs, cheese and stroopwafels are made.
If you'd rather focus your visit on Zaanse Schans and its wonderful windmills, then you can have access to multiple extras in its surroundings when you buy the Zaanse Schans card.
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The Netherlands is famous for its cheese, especially Gouda cheese and Edam cheese. Fancy taking part in a cheese-tasting session? Book your tickets to the Cheese Tasting at Henri Willig for a tasty Dutch treat!
In beautiful Gouda - the city famous for its popular and delicious cheese - you can take a two-hour monument walking tour, which, of course, includes the picturesque old cheese weighing house. On the tour, you can also see how stroopwafels are made.
Gouda is also famous for its iconic cheese market - but it isn't the only town you can head to experience this extremely Dutch ritual. Real cheese fans can also check out Alkmaar Cheese Market and Edam Cheese Market.
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One of the things the Netherlands is most famous for is its tulips. Typically, tulip season kicks off in early March and lasts through to the end of May - but really it all depends on the weather.
One of the key highlights of tulip season is undoubtedly Keukenhof, but it isn't the only place in the Netherlands where you can enjoy flowers and gardens; check out our picks for the most beautiful gardens and the best botanical gardens in the Netherlands. If you want to see more tulips, then be sure to visit some of the country's tulip fields.
You can also take a bus tour to the world's largest flower auction Royal Flora Holland, coupled with a visit to Muiderslot Castle. The flower auction and castle tour is perfect for early risers who look forward to making the most out of their day!
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The Netherlands is a treasure trove of great art and its many amazing museums can attest to that: the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House Museum and so many more. For something more contemporary, Moco Museum is where you’ll find everything you always wanted to know about Banksy but were too afraid to ask.
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As the world knows, cannabis is tolerated in the Netherlands and has been for a long time, meaning that many come to the Dutch capital for this reason, even though there’s so much more to Amsterdam than cannabis! Nevertheless, there is a museum dedicated to the green stuff. The Hash, Marihuana and Hemp Museum will guide you through the past and present of cannabis culture.
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In Amsterdam, the Johan Cruijf Arena Stadium Tour takes place regularly and is well worth a visit for any football fanatics!
Dutch maritime heritage
If you're fascinated by the seafaring character of the Netherlands, then get yourself to the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam. You can even take a ferry to Pampus Fortress Island in Amsterdam which is part of the Defence Line, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Hop on a boat for the Rotterdam harbour cruise or the yellow amphibious bus for the exciting Rotterdam Sightseeing Splash tour. For a stirring coastal adventure, skim the waves on an inflatable boat with the Scheveningen Rib Experience.
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Dutch UNESCO World Heritage Sites
There are tour operators who organise group tours of Dutch UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from Schokland to the Beemster Polder, and from the Wouda Pumping Station to the majestic Afsluitdijk - not forgetting, of course, the stunning windmills at Kinderdijk.
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Fun stuff for kids
For a fun day out for families with kids, amazing attractions are in plentiful supply! For a day at the zoo, try out the Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam or Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam. Learn about our world at NEMO Science Museum. For thrill-seekers, check out the 5D Ultimate Flight Experience where you can virtually soar over the Netherlands with a birdseye view.
Wander around a mini version of the Netherlands at Madurodam and marvel at the beauty of the world's ocean life at Sea Life Scheveningen or - for the thrill-seekers out there - hop on a rollercoaster at one of the Netherlands' theme parks.
What to do in the Netherlands: Sorted!
The Netherlands has something for everyone, whether you prefer canal trips or windmill tours, or you're into art or cannabis. Get your tickets and enjoy what the Netherlands has to offer!