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Things to do in the Netherlands

Things to do in  Netherlands

Welcome to Netherlands

Known for its flowers, windmills, and sizeable cheese wheels—as well as Amsterdam's Red Light district and coffee shops—the Netherlands manages to mix decades of culture with a modern, socially liberal atmosphere. And this low-lying country continues to enchant with its artistic masterpieces, famous tulip fields, and well-known nightlife. Despite its small size, the Netherlands hosts endless surprises for visitors to discover—whether it's on a bicycle through the scenic flat landscapes or cruising a canal-boat in radiant Amsterdam. The city of Amsterdam is a legendary place for artists, and locations such as the Rijks and the Van Gogh museums allow visitors to marvel over masterpieces by Dutch masters including Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt, Vincent Van Gogh, and Frans Hals. From there, take a canal cruise, stroll through food markets, or have a drink in a laid-back café. On a sightseeing tour, you can spot all the unmissable sights such as the Anne Frank Museum and the Bloemenmarkt, the vibrant flower auction. To escape the hustle of the city, head to the famous windmill village of Zaanse Schans, where craftsmen create the country's well-known wooden clogs. A little farther away still sits the typical Dutch village of Edam, known for its classic cheeses.

Top 10 attractions in Netherlands

#1
Museum Gouda

Museum Gouda

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The Museum Gouda specializes in religious art from the 16th century, paintings from the 'Haagse School' of the 19th century and 20th-century Dutch pottery. Visitors will get to know the classical scholar Erasmus, who grew up in Gouda and played on the street where the museum is now located, and Dirck Crabeth, the master artist who created eight of the stained-glass windows in the nearby St John Church (leading to the church being placed on the UNESCO list of monuments).The museum has a large collection of smoking pipes, tiles, antique apothecary jars and a solid selection of works from artists such as Toorop and Redon. If this sounds like an eclectic mix, it is! But hundreds of years ago, beer, cheese, pipes and pottery were cornerstones of Gouda's economy, and the museum does a wonderful job of showcasing how the town developed over the years.More
#2
Teylers Museum

Teylers Museum

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Teylers Museum is an art, natural history, and science museum in Haarlem — it is the oldest museum in The Netherlands. Founded in 1778, and open to the public since 1784, the museum was once used for public demonstrations of scientific experiments. Today, it is known as the best-preserved 18th-century public knowledge institution for the arts and sciences in the world, and is slated to become a UNESCO world heritage site.Most of the museum’s exhibitions showcase natural history like rocks and minerals, fossils, and some of the very first equipment used by physicists and other scientists. There’s also something for the fine-art lover, including a selection of works by Dutch masters like Rembrandt van Rijn and some prints and drawings by Michelangelo and Raphael. Other exhibits include fossils that are millions of years old, machines that generate electricity, and historical books and coins. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions a few times each year.More
#3
Museum De Lakenhal

Museum De Lakenhal

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Leiden's Museum De Lakenhal and the building it is housed in (the Laecken-Halle) are considered to be one of the best examples of Dutch Golden Age architecture in the Netherlands. For centuries, the building served as the inspection hall and the bustling center for Leiden's famous fabric trade, the products of which were exported to all corners of the world. The original façade of the 17th-century palace remains intact, although the interior has undergone quite a few changes over the centuries.The site welcomed the Museum De Lakenhal in 1874, bringing in a diverse collection of works by Leiden-born master painters including Rembrandt van Rijn, Lucas van Leyden and Theo van Doesburg. With a focus on fine arts and Leiden history, the museum hosts visiting exhibitions in addition to its permanent collection. A mix of armaments, old tile, fabric, paintings and even an altarpiece from a 'hidden church' are tied together by the history of Leiden, allowing visitors to easily imagine what life in this historic city may have once been like.More
#4
Anne Frank House (Anne Frank Huis)

Anne Frank House (Anne Frank Huis)

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The bestselling book “Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl” brought to life one of the greatest horrors of the 20th century in a compelling, personal way. In the true story, a young Jewish girl, her family, and some friends are forced into hiding in Amsterdam to escape the Nazis during World War II. The house that served as the Frank family’s hiding place for two years survived the war and is now a moving museum, with the primary site being the achterhuis (rear house), also known as the secret annex. Here the Franks sat in silence during the day and ate food that was secretly brought to them before being mysteriously betrayed and sent to Nazi concentration camps. Otto Frank, the only Frank who survived the war, published Anne’s now-famous diary in 1947.More
#5
Rotterdam Zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp)

Rotterdam Zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp)

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Rotterdam Zoo (Diergaarde Blijdorp) is known for its successful conservation and breeding programs. Visit the zoo for the chance to see creatures from all around the globe, from African pygmy hippos to Asiatic lions, North American polar bears to Australian swamp wallabies. There’s even an on-site aquarium and butterfly garden.More
#6
Frans Hals Museum

Frans Hals Museum

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The Frans Hals Museum is known for its collection of paintings by the Dutch Golden Age masters. Nearly all the pieces date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, when Haarlem was known as the “City of Painters,” and as you make your way round the museum exhibits you’ll see works by the likes of Ruisdael, Jan Steen, Saenredam, Van Goyen, Heda, and of course, Frans Hals. Fifteen of Hals’ enormous civic guard pieces are showcased here and are a highlight of any visit. In particular, look out for Hals’ famous twin portraits, Regents and Regentesses of the Oudemannenhuis.Built in 1609, the attractive building changed purpose from almshouse (where Frans Hals lived out his final years) to orphanage before becoming the art museum you can see today in 1913.On a visit to the Frans Hals Museum, it’s worth looking out for the separate section containing a replica of a 17th-century Haarlem street.More
#7
Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge)

Erasmusbrug (Erasmus Bridge)

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Better known by its affectionate local nickname of “the Swan,” Erasmus Bridge crosses the River Nieuwe Maas with its elegant white spines, constructed in 1996 to link north and south Rotterdam across the harbor. Designed by Ben van Berkel, the bridge is an iconic landmark in Rotterdam, and its 456-foot (139-meter) single pylon supports 32 steel cables from which the half-mile (800 m) roadway is suspended. The southern side of the bridge includes Europe’s heaviest bascule, which lifts in order to let shipping transport through. It’s best seen at close quarters from the water on a harbor tour, from above on the viewing platform of Euromast or from the walking and cycling trails around the Port of Rotterdam.The Swan is beautifully illuminated at night and often provides an eerie backdrop for Rotterdam’s festivals and fireworks displays. In 2005, several planes flew beneath the bridge as part of the daring “Red Bull Air Race.”More
#8
Markthal (Market Hall)

Markthal (Market Hall)

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Rotterdam’s brand new market hall is more than just a place to shop for produce and grab a bite; it’s an attraction in its own right. It features over 100 food stalls, eight restaurants and 15 shops, all located underneath an imposing horseshoe-shaped structure with glass facades consisting of 4,000 small windows hanged by steel cables – it is, in fact, the largest glass-window cable structure in Europe, and as such, is considered an architectural masterpiece by many experts.Additionally, the inside of the market is covered by more than 4,000 colorful tiles that give the horseshoe-shaped arch a boost of color, making it the largest artwork in the Netherlands. A 10th-century farm was uncovered seven meters underground during construction of the market, and several foundations and artifacts are now on exhibit throughout the market hall in homage to Rotterdam’s agricultural past.More
#9
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

Gemeentemuseum Den Haag

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The building that houses Den Haag’s premier fine-art museum is almost as important as its collections. Built the 1930s by HP Berlage, Holland’s leading exponent of Art Deco, the structure is of honey-colored brick, while the inside is all yellow-and-white tiles and straight, harmonious lines. Nowadays, the building forms part of a complex that includes the science-themed Museon, the Den Haag Museum of Photography, the Omniversum 3D movie theater and the Museum of Contemporary Art. However, there is so much to see in the world-class Gemeentemuseum Den Haag alone that several hours are required to do the vast displays justice. There are even two onsite restaurants to choose from so you don’t have to leave once you get hungry.Top billing has to go to the world’s largest collection of abstract paintings by Piet Mondriaan; 50 of his works hang in the tranquil white galleries of Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, including his last, the unfinished Victory Boogie Woogie of 1944. Other permanent exhibitions are equally strong: “Discover the Modern” covers the very best of 20th-century art with artists ranging from Kandinsky and Schiele to Kirchner, Monet and Picasso.There is also a sublime collection of decorative arts that showcases tulip vases from Delft, intricate doll houses, an enormous display of antique musical instruments and a horde of some 50,000 prints by illustrious artists of the last two centuries. A new innovation is the wonderfully child-friendly interactive exhibition called Wonderkamers, in which kids effectively become part of a space-age computer game as they explore the gallery.More
#10
Amsterdam Red Light District (De Wallen)

Amsterdam Red Light District (De Wallen)

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Most famous for its streetside brothels, Amsterdam's Red Light District (De Wallen) also houses scenic canals, bustling restaurants, bars, and plenty of shopping opportunities. While this controversial neighborhood may not be for everyone, its winding cobblestone streets and narrow alleys evoke Amsterdam’s rich history and laid-back culture.More

Trip ideas

Experience Amsterdam with a Local Guide

Experience Amsterdam with a Local Guide

Heineken Experience Virtual Brewery Tour

Heineken Experience Virtual Brewery Tour

5 Must-See Amsterdam Museums

5 Must-See Amsterdam Museums

Van Gogh Museum Virtual Tours and Activities

Van Gogh Museum Virtual Tours and Activities

Top activities in Netherlands

Recent reviews from experiences in Netherlands

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Giethorn, shoe making, cheese factory...
Lucas_A, Jun 2021
Giethoorn and Zaanse Schans Windmills Small-Group Day Trip from Amsterdam
Great trip, Said was our tour guide and he was really good, explained a lot about the attractions and history of the places visited.
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Fun Day!
L123, Sep 2020
Volendam, Marken and Windmills Day Trip from Amsterdam
Great tour if you would like to see the countryside, windmills, see how the wooden shoes are made, as well as delicious regional cheese.
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Good guide and very informative.
Gordon L, Nov 2019
Giethoorn Small-Group Day Trip from Amsterdam
Fall) The sights were very nice and the homes were very well kept.
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Informative and interesting tour
sheilarbreen, Nov 2019
Bus tour to Volendam, Edam and the Windmills incl. Amsterdam Canal Cruise
They are so typical of what I expected to see in Holland!
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Fantastic. Great way to spend half day. And get so much in.
B4115TRjohn, Oct 2019
Volendam, Marken and Windmills Day Trip from Amsterdam
Great way to spend half day to see so much of Holland had a great guide Ian Very informative and knowledgeable.
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Good Value and Good Day Touring
HelmutG51, Oct 2019
Day Trip to Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam and Marken from Amsterdam
I thought this was a good way to see a lot of Holland in a short period of time.
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Worthwhile
David G, Sep 2019
Zaanse Schans Small-Group Half-Day Tour from Amsterdam
Would be crowded in summer.
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Great day
caitlinalvaro, Sep 2019
Giethoorn and Zaanse Schans Windmills Small-Group Day Trip from Amsterdam
This tour was a great combo getting to see the windmills and Giethoorn on the same trip.
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Ester is one of a kind !
strak2019, Aug 2019
Zaanse Schans Small-Group Half-Day Tour from Amsterdam
My girlfriend and I decided to see the wonderful windmills of Holland and were getting by Ester.
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Charming Dutch Countryside Tour is a photographer's paradise
jenafetalino, Aug 2019
Volendam, Edam and Windmills Guided Day Tour
This was a well-organized tour with an English speaking tour guide, giving you a glimpse of what is life in this part of Netherlands.
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Perfect Day Trip
MJR86, Jul 2019
Private tour to Rotterdam,The Hague and Delft From Amsterdam
It was very interesting to see this part of The Netherlands and to learn more and witness the history and culture.
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Excellent tour
MariaPras, Jun 2019
Bus tour to Volendam, Edam and the Windmills incl. Amsterdam Canal Cruise
We got to see extraordinary places of the Dutch country side and learn many interesting facts about the history of Holland and life of the Dutch people.
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This was a great small group...
Alex W., Jan 2018
Zaanse Schans Windmills and Volendam Small-Group Tour from Amsterdam
Going around North Holland was beautiful and all the stops were incredible to see and walk around, even in the freezing cold!
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Fantastic trip if you want to see...
Phillip M, Jul 2018
Half-Day Zaanse Schans Tour from Amsterdam including Boat Ride to Zaandam
Fantastic trip if you want to see some of the countryside of the Netherlands although only 20 mins from Amsterdam and short on time.
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Really fantastic day tour. Got to...
Dana H, Mar 2018
Volendam, Edam and Windmills Guided Day Tour
Got to see the countryside with a very professional guide.
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Last time I visited Madurodam was...
Martin D, Jul 2017
Madurodam entrance Ticket
Last time I visited Madurodam was maybe 50 plus years ago, still an amazing little park to visit, they've added the newer technologies, such as the wind turbines, oil platforms exhibits, more colorful flowers.
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Wonderful Place to Visit
Denise V, Sep 2019
Volendam, Marken and Windmills Day Trip from Amsterdam
Such a cute little area to visit.
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This may have been the coolest tour...
woerle4, Jan 2017
Zaanse Schans Windmills and Volendam Small-Group Tour from Amsterdam
I would highly recommend any of his tours and cannot wait to come back in the summer to see more of Holland with him.
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Tour Amsterdam like a local
Scott_K, Jul 2020
Amsterdam Private Bike Tour with a Local
He also has good recommendations on places to visit or restaurants to patronize.
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Perfect tour, amazing guide, great value!
Jake S, Jan 2020
Day Trip to Zaanse Schans, Edam, Volendam and Marken from Amsterdam
First we stopped at Zaanse Schans to see the windmills.
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