The Netherlands is a holiday destination for the masses. It is a paradise for cyclists, beach fanatics and all those who wish to surrender themselves to nature. Yet, the low countries have even more in store, and for everyone from culture vultures to foodies too.

Top places to visit

When on a visit in the Netherlands, many tourists lose themselves in the decadent beauty of its fabulous cities. Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Leiden, The Hague: all of them manage to combine the exquisite beauty they have inherited from the past with many modern and innovative additions. Yet, once outside those metropolitan bubbles, you can explore real Dutch life with all your senses. The country’s smaller cities and villages are what postcards are made of, and are the perfect spots in which to immerse yourself in the culture of cheese and clogs, or meet locals.

Delft blue - high_cmyk_117921620

Nature, history and culture

Many destinations, such as Nieuwkoop, Wassenaar and Heemskerk, will dazzle you with the best that Mother Nature has to offer. Both sweet and salty waters meander through and past the villages, inviting you to take a cold dip or – if you are lucky – ice skate on top of it. In Halderberge and Maastricht, you are welcome to enjoy some culture. You can bump into the biggest cultural prodigies at international art fairs or look back at the past through the rich pallet of protected patrimony, which towers above the iconically flat skyline. Meanwhile, Arnhem and Vught both have plenty to offer any fans of history.

Top art and culture spots

The Netherlands is drenched in culture from top to bottom. Amsterdam might be one of Europe’s leading cities when it comes to cultural activities, but there are also amazing alternative attractions outside of the metropole. On top of that, you avoid the long waiting lines, huge crowds and the high entrance fees.
Haarlem’s Ten Boom House, for example, confronts you with the horrors of the Second World War in a similar way to Anne Frank’s house in the capital. The family Ten Boom used to hide Jewish families from the Nazis as well, sometimes even in a secret compartment behind a fake wall. For art lovers, meanwhile, the Fries Museum, in the upper north of the country, is the way to go. There, globetrotter Eric Van Hove exhibits his work, which mixes traditional crafts with modern industry.
Those who like history will most probably enjoy witnessing the Benelux’ biggest dolmen. In the hunebedcentrum, you can learn about these mystical constructions and their brilliant builders. In all, the Netherlands offers so much more than just Amsterdam’s greatest hotspots. Dive into the cultural offerings from the rest of the country and enjoy a beautiful road trip through the countryside in one fell swoop.

Central Museum Utrecht - high_cmyk_70391620

Centraal Museum Utrecht.

Craving more culture?

These five exhibitions on Dutch soil are absolute must-sees!

Glorious Delft Blue

Royal Delft Experience, Delft
Until 30 June
While the colour of all the Netherlands is orange, the city of Delft is undoubtedly blue. The iconic blue and white china which has put the city on the map celebrates its 365th birthday this year. At the exposition, Glorious Delft Blue, cups and vases map out the unique, elegant and crafty grandeur of the Dutch golden age.

Architecture Biennale

Rotterdam
23 April – 10 July
This spring, the city of Rotterdam will be the biggest architectural hub in the world once again. During this biannual event of exhibitions, conferences and other activities, architects and architecture aficionados feed their passion with further knowledge and inspiration, with which they can sink their teeth into new and innovative projects for the upcoming two years.
For more cultural recommendations, peek at holland.com

Explore the versatility of the Dutch and their country this year and you may well be surprised at the undiscovered pearls which are just a stone’s throw from some of the country’s most iconic hotspots at discoverbenelux.com

TEXT: EVA MENGER | PHOTO © NBTC

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