Whilst the Netherlands is not a big country, there are many things to see and do. From going sightseeing in one of the country’s many nature areas, to finding entertainment and thrills in an amusement park.
The Netherlands boasts a wide variety of museums. Here are some of the Netherlands' most famous museums:
Amsterdam is home to many great museums. If you only have time to visit one, make sure it’s the Rijksmuseum. The national museum features more than 8.000 objects of art and history, including famous painting The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn. Other well-known Dutch artists whose works you’ll be able to admire in the Rijksmuseum include Vincent van Gogh, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jan Steen and Karel Appel.
Teylers Museum, Haarlem
Another must-see museum is the first and oldest museum in the Netherlands; the Teylers Museum. It is located in charming Haarlem and its collection includes art, fossils and minerals, scientific instruments, books and coins. The building itself, especially the Oval Room, is also a sight to behold.
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in The Hague not only holds beautiful works of art, but it is a work of art itself. The art deco building was designed by prominent Dutch architect H.P. Berlage, who is considered to be the “father of modern architecture” in the Netherlands.
The museum is known for its large collection of modern art, and it houses the largest Mondrian collection in the world. Besides modern art, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag also has a print room with 19th- and 20th-century prints and posters, a fashion collection with jewellery and accessories and a large collection of musical instruments.
Amusement parks in the Netherlands
There are quite many amusement parks in the Netherlands, but they vary greatly in size and style. The following amusement parks are well worth a visit:
If you are a child growing up in the Netherlands, your favourite amusement park is most likely the Efteling. The Efteling is the largest amusement park in the Benelux, and it’s one of the oldest amusement parks in the world. It started out as a fairy tale forest (Sprookjesbos) for kids. Nowadays, the park features 62 different attractions for all ages, including six roller coasters, four dark rides and three water rides.
Located in Wassenaar, Duinrell is not just an amusement park, it’s also a tropical water park. And this is exactly why it’s on the list! There are more than 40 attractions in the amusement park, including three roller coasters. Tropical water park Tikibad boasts an impressive 16 unique water slides, which is more than 1,3 km of water slide fun combined. Most of these slides are indoors, since the Netherlands is not known for its tropical climate.
Walibi Holland, Biddinghuizen
Walibi Holland started out as De Flevohof in 1971. In the 90's, it became Walibi Flevo, followed by Six Flags Holland and Walibi World. Whilst the name has changed a lot over the years, the park has always been the amusement park in the Netherlands for daredevils. The fastest and tallest roller coaster in the Netherlands (106 km/h), Goliath, can be found in Walibi Holland. Other than Goliath, it has 11 other aptly named “thrill rides”, including roller coaster El Condor, which is a hanging roller coaster with five loops.
Dutch national parks
For hikers, birdwatchers and nature lovers, Dutch national parks make for great sightseeing trips, with their typical Dutch landscapes, such as dunes, woods, moorlands, bogs, valleys and swamps. Every park has its own local flora and fauna. The wildlife includes special species of birds, butterflies, reptiles and amphibians, as well as beavers, otters, seals and deer. If you are in the Netherlands and love nature, these three parks are a must-see:
National Park Hoge Veluwe, Gelderland
Located in the Dutch province of Gelderland, National Park Hoge Veluwe spans roughly 55 square kilometres. It is one of the largest nature parks in the Netherlands, and it features heathlands, sand dunes and woodlands. When it comes to wildlife, you won’t be disappointed. The park is home to many red deer, roe deer, wild boar, mouflon, foxes, badgers and European pine martens.
National Park Zuid-Kennemerland, North-Holland
Situated within the municipalities of Bloemendaal, Velsen and Zandvoort in the province of North Holland, National Park Zuid-Kennemerland was established in 1995. The park spans about 38 square kilometres and contains sand dunes, forests, country estates, and coastal beaches. Bird watchers will love this park as it is home to over 100 different bird species. Other animals you may encounter here include deer (fallow and roe), squirrels, hedgehogs, rabbits, foxes, highland cattle, Shetland ponies, Konik horses, and European bison (wisent).
Schiermonnikoog National Park, Schiermonnikoog
Schiermonnikoog National Park became the Netherlands’ first official national park in 1989. It covers 72 square kilometres, which is the majority of the island of Schiermonnikoog. The park is very popular amongst tourists because of its rich flora and fauna, which has flourished because the island is isolated and visitors are not allowed to use cars.
Zoos & Animal Parks
The Netherlands has numerous zoos or animal parks. Varying greatly in size, shape and popularity, these institutions can be found all around the Netherlands, both in remote nature areas and in the centres of big Dutch cities. Today, zoos no longer solely serve the purpose of entertainment. The parks educate visitors on the many animal species that roam our world, and form a platform for pursuing animal rights, preservation and welfare. Here are some of the best zoos in the Netherlands:
Safaripark Beekse Bergen, Hilvarenbeek
Safaripark Beekse Bergen is a somewhat unique zoo in the Netherlands. With more than 150 animal species, it’s the largest animal park of the Benelux. What makes the park so special is the way you can view the animals. You can explore the park with your own car, go on a “safari” if you will. Don’t have a car? No worries! You can also take a guided jeep, boat and bus tour/safari.
Koninklijke Burgers’ Zoo, Arnhem
Spanning 45 hectares, Koninklijke Burgers’ Zoo in Arnhem is one of the Netherlands’ biggest zoos. Per year, more than 1 million people visit the zoo, which is open all year round. Besides the more common park area, Burgers’ Zoo also features spacious and themed indoor ecosystems (eco-displays) that simulate the animals’ natural habitat. There is a safari park (Burgers’ Safari), a 1,5-hectare indoor tropical rainforest (Burgers’ Bush), a mangrove swamp (Burgers’ Mangrove), a 0,75-hectare indoor desert (Burgers’ Desert), a seawater aquarium (Burgers’ Ocean) and a Southeast Asian rainforest (Burgers’ Rimba).
Opened in 1971, Apenheul is the first zoo in the world where some of the monkeys are allowed to roam freely amongst the visitors. So, if you visit, make sure you keep an eye on your possessions! Over 35 different species of primate from Africa, South-America and Asia can be found in Apenheul. Large species, such as gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans, can’t roam freely but instead live on large, green islands. Thanks to the large enclosures, you can really observe the primates’ natural behaviour.