Want to see the real beauty of the Netherlands? Why not visit some of these great places throughout the Low Lands, and take in some of the best of what the Netherlands has to offer!
Places to visit in the NetherlandsThe Netherlands might not be known for having any world-famous mountains or deep golden canyons, but there are still so many great places to go for day trips. Some places are much easier to reach by driving, while others are perfectly accessible thanks to the Dutch public transport system. Here are a few of our favourites!
Oostvaardersplassen National ParkIf you live in the North of the Netherlands, then you’ve probably taken a train through the Oostvaardersplassen and wondered what this lovely nature reserve is. Home to hundreds of animals such as deer, foxes and wild horses, the Oostvaardersplassen is a fantastic place to walk or cycle and get up close and personal with nature.
The Oostvaardersplassen can be tricky to reach with public transport, so it might be better to drive here or, if you don’t have a Dutch driving licence, maybe you could ask a close friend with a car to join you on your trip. The national park is also a great place to do a little birdwatching, as it is home to a number of special birds including lots of different waterfowl and ducks.
The Delta Works (Afsluitdijk)Another great place to visit in the Netherlands is the Dutch Delta Works or the Afsluitdijk. The Delta Works in Zeeland feature three locks, six dams and six storm surge barriers that work together to protect the Netherlands from floods such as the deadly North Sea flood of 1953.
The dams, locks and storm surge barriers allow for the manipulation of water, meaning that fresh water can be allowed to flow into the Dutch water system, while releasing polluted water out into the sea.
The Afsluitdijk is also a real feat of engineering relating to the Dutch strategy of water management. The 32-kilometre-long dam was built for flood protection and land reclamation purposes and was officially opened in 1932. The dam can be cycled, driven or walked along, and there’s even a place to stop and get a little coffee.
The construction of the Afsluitdijk allowed the Dutch to enclose and reclaim the Zuiderzee and create the province of Flevoland out of reclaimed land. The province’s capital, Lelystad, is now named after the civil engineer who designed the Afsluitdijk.
The Railway Museum (Spoorwegmuseum)You might think trainspotting is just for hardcore enthusiasts, but the Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht really does have something for everyone. Here, you can discover the history of the Netherlands’ train system through games, shows, images and plenty of actual trains! From some of the oldest and coolest trains in the Netherlands to modern, familiar faces that we all know and love, the Railway Museum has lots of great train history that is fun for all the family!
Still not convinced? Well, the museum boasts more than 350.000 visitors annually and ranks as the 10th most popular tourist attraction in the whole country. The museum also has its own train station where special services connect you to the biggest train station in the Netherlands, Utrecht Centraal, where you can catch the train right home afterwards!
Image: Shutterstock.com / Vladimir Zhoga
Chinatown, The Hague Looking to see something a little different? Why not head on down to Chinatown! The area is one of the best places to visit in the Netherlands for food, fun and to experience another culture. The area is not only home to Chinese businesses founded by internationals from East Asia, but also has a mix of Japanese and Indonesian culture too.
The area was the former Jewish neighbourhood in The Hague, but after the Second World War it was left in disrepair. Over time, local authorities refurbished the area, paving the way for Asian migrants to set up new businesses. In 2009, the city erected a number of statues created by Chinese artists and using materials from China as a tribute to the local population and its contributions to culture in The Hague.
Image: Shutterstock.com / jan kranendonk
Delft’s pottery shops Some of the world’s most beautiful pottery is made right here in the Netherlands, namely in Delft! Delft Blue (Delfts blauw) pottery is a feast for the eyes, and thanks to the traditional preservation of the city of Delft, you really can spot it everywhere!
In the 17th century, there were more than 30 different pottery factories in Delft, but today only one survives: the Royal Delft pottery company. You can experience hand-crafted, high-quality products being made in front of your eyes at Royal Delft, watching the pottery painters perform their art in the same way they did hundreds of years ago.
While you’re in the city, Delft also has lots of great cafes and restaurants to keep you going if you want a snack or drink on your day out, and there are also many opportunities to buy souvenir Delft-like pots or trinkets of your own. The city is also the burial site of the esteemed Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, adding an extra sprinkle of art to this uber-creative city.
Dark Sky Park LauwersmeerThis one’s for the night owls: the Dark Sky Park at National Park Lauwersmeer! The national park is one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands, but since 2016 has also been designated as one of the darkest spots too. This makes it the perfect place to watch the stars at nighttime, or – even better – to view a meteor shower!
Since the Netherlands is one of the most light-polluted countries in the world, it can be really hard to find an opportunity to watch the night sky, let alone spot any shooting stars, but thankfully the national park has been keen to preserve its Dark Sky status so that more people can visit Lauwersmeer and explore the universe in the dark! This means that, on a clear night, visitors can pretty much always see the Milky Way and other astronomical phenomena!
Check out some of these great places to visit in the NetherlandsThe Netherlands is full of plenty of different interesting things to see and do, and when you have some free time, there are loads of places to visit. Since these are just a few of our favourites and we couldn’t include everything, make sure to keep on exploring new spots and let us know in the comments below if you find any hidden gems!