Top 15 Cities You Must See in the Netherlands

It is said that if you get on a chair in any corner of the Netherlands, you can see an entire country from above that chair! The Netherlands has such flat geography. You can safely rent a bicycle in all the cities you visit and explore the city. Moreover, cycling in these peaceful cities with plenty of green is much more enjoyable than in big cities.

Transportation between cities is possible by train or bus. Moreover, many of the cities are close to each other. You can still choose to rent a car. You can make arrangements with many car rental companies around Amsterdam Central Train Station. Home of traditional windmills and colorful tulips, Holland has a rich culture, history, and beauty that is inversely proportional to its surface area. So don’t limit this country to just one city and explore other cities as well!

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1. Amsterdam

The capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is one of the most visited cities in the country. Undoubtedly, it deserves this popularity as well. With its canals, parks, magnificent architecture, and never-ending entertainment, Amsterdam is one of the must-see cities in Europe.

Amsterdam is also a city of tolerance and diversity. It has all the advantages of a big city: rich culture, lively Amsterdam nightlife, international restaurants, good transport – but is quiet, and largely thanks to its extensive canals, has a little road traffic. In this city, your destination is never far away, but get a bike for an authentic local experience. And if you are staying for longer, consider a day trip from Amsterdam to see also the surrounding towns and villages.

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2. Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans, one of the important regions of Zaandam city, is home to historical windmills and village houses. The houses were actually moved to this area from Zaanstreek Street between 1961-1974 and a new semi-artificial neighborhood was created in the area. Thus, a local village with windmills was presented to the visitors. Therefore, despite the fact that this region is not a real settlement, it is currently flooded by a lot of tourists. You can buy souvenirs and Dutch cheese varieties from various shops in the region. Likewise, you can see many of the symbolic structures of the Netherlands in the same region, or you can take pictures with them. Dutch wooden shoes and windmills are some of these symbols. From Amsterdam Central Station, you can reach Zaanse Schans in about 20 minutes.

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3. Volendam

Volendam, one of the fishing towns of the Netherlands, has become one of the places that are increasingly visited due to its proximity to Amsterdam. It is known that Picasso and Renoir also spent time here at the beginning of the 20th century and drew some of their paintings here.

We will be able to reach Amsterdam in less than 1 hour by public transport. Volendam is a typical fishing town and a place where many of the old traditions still live. The city, which also hosts a museum where you can get detailed information about the history and traditions of Volendam, conquers the hearts of tourists with its fish restaurants.

You should definitely visit the fish restaurants in the city where you can try the best fish varieties of the country. It is also a pleasure to set the sun down by the sea. Strong waves of sunshine create an unforgettable image of this small town. From Amsterdam Central Train Station, you can reach Volendam in about 35 minutes.

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4. Edam

This small town is where the famous Dutch Edam cheese was born. The cheese market in Edam is frequently visited by tourists; The market is set up on Wednesdays in July and August. The city of Edam, located in the north of Volendam, is about 10 minutes away from Volendam by train. You only need to spend half a day in this small town and shop for cheese.

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5. Zaandam

The city of Zaandam is also home to one of the most interesting hotels in the world. Even if you are not staying in this hotel, which was designed inspired by the architecture of the region, you should definitely plan a day trip to the city. The city, also known as “the food basket of the Netherlands”, is also famous for its restaurants serving Dutch dishes. Zaandam, one of the neighboring cities of Amsterdam, is only 12 minutes away by train.

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6. Keukenhof

Europe’s Garden Keukenhof!Keukenhof, one of the largest flower gardens in the world, is visited by millions of people in the spring when tulips bloom. Especially mid-April is the best time to visit the gardens.Getting to Keukenhof is very easy from Haarlem, Leiden, Den Haag, Schiphol and Amsterdam. It is 45 minutes away from Amsterdam by train.

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7. Kinderdjik

Windmills are one of the most important symbols of the Netherlands. You can go to the area close to Rotterdam by bus from the city. This region, which is frequently frequented by tourists as the place with the most mills in the Netherlands, is also about 2 hours away from Amsterdam. In fact, windmills are among the structures that should be seen as concrete evidence that the Netherlands has been transformed from a swamp to agricultural land. He can witness flour making by entering some of them; You can buy bread and bakery products made here.

The Netherlands also has a serious danger of being submerged. The Netherlands, severely affected by global warming and rising water levels, is frequently threatened by flooding, as parts of it are below sea level. In order to prevent this situation, water channels were opened in the 13th century, but when this was insufficient in time, windmills were established and the accumulated water was drained and used in natural energy and food production. Although the windmills successfully protected against flooding, the problems of the Netherlands such as drought, famine, and forest fires continued for centuries. Despite all these negativities, the solutions the Netherlands brought to the water problem reflect the country’s efforts and achievements in the field of engineering. Especially with the water sets, you can see in the cities on the ocean shores, the cities are tried to be protected from the danger of flood and tsunami.

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8. Giethoorn

There are more than 150 bridges in this small village of the Steenwijkerland municipality named Giethoorn. Sometimes referred to as “Little Venice” or “Venice of the Netherlands”, the village of Giethoorn is completely forbidden to enter by vehicles. You can explore on foot or take a small boat trip on the canals of the village.

Once you see this place, you will quickly start planning your retirement. You can be sure that you will have a calm and peaceful retirement life in one of the most beautiful houses in the village. You can reach the village by train from Amsterdam to the city of Steenwijk. After you get off the train, you can reach the village with a half-hour bus ride. The journey will take 2 hours in total.

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9. Utrecht

Being the 4th largest city in the Netherlands, Utrecht is also home to the Netherlands’ largest university, Utrecht University. The medieval city of Utrecht has been one of the religious centers of the Netherlands since the 8th century. The city, which was one of the most important cities of the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, has been overshadowed by Amsterdam in time. You can reach Utrecht in half an hour by train.

The main buildings that must be seen in this beautiful city are as follows:

  • Dom Tower and Dom Church

Netherlands’ tallest church tower is located in Utrecht. If you want, you can climb the tower belonging to the cathedral built in the 14th century and watch the city from high. On a clear day, the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam can be seen from the tower.

  • De Haar Castle

Rothschild family covered the expenses of the castle, which was built in 1892 in the Neo-Gothic style. The castle actually belongs to the De Haar family, a wealthy Dutch family. Consequently, it can be said that the castle is a historical monument and a private property that hosts both families and reveals the life of Europe’s wealthy families.

Only a few rooms on the ground floor of the 200-room castle are open to visitors. The interior decoration of the castle is gaudy enough to resemble a Catholic Church; The garden of the castle is at least as organized as the gardens of the Palace of Versailles in Paris.

  • Wilhelminapark

The historical park, one of the places preferred by the people of Utrecht, is located in the east of the city. Created in 1888, the park is home to many old trees and fountains. Utrecht, one of the most beautiful parks in the Netherlands, is one of the places that students often prefer for picnics. In the park you can also enjoy the EXbunker exhibition area; You can choose the restaurant in the park for lunch.

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10. Den Haag (The Hague)

Although the capital of the Netherlands is known as Amsterdam, many buildings and politicians are located in The Hague city. The Hague is only half an hour by train to Amsterdam; It is 1 hour away by car. The city of The Hague has the headquarters of the government, ministries, parliament, the Netherlands Supreme Court, and the Dutch State Council. The city of The Hague is also home to the International Court of Justice.

The most impressive feature of The Hague, which is one of the most popular but less visited cities in the Netherlands, is that there are very few cars on the streets and it is a very quiet city even in the most touristic periods. The main areas that must be seen in the city are as follows:

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11. Haarlem

The region has developed rapidly since it has been an important tulip trade center since the 1630s.In 1656, Leidsevaart, one of the oldest trade channels in the Netherlands and connecting the city of Leiden and Haarlem, was opened. Haarlem, which you can reach in 15 minutes by train from Amsterdam, attracts attention with its colorful tulip gardens, especially in spring. The Amsterdam Gate in Haarlem is located on the old road to Amsterdam and is one of the few historical monuments left behind from the old city.

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12. Gouda

Gouda: home of the iconic foods of the Netherlands. Here you can taste the special Dutch waffles similar to wafers called Stroopwafel and Gouda cheeses. A half-day trip will be enough for this small city. Gouda is only 1 hour away from Amsterdam. Especially if your trip coincides with a Thursday, Gouda’s famous cheese market continues every Thursday from 10 am to 12.30 noon. If you miss the grocery store in Edam, you can also choose this place.

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13. Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a major port city in the Dutch province of South Holland. The Maritime Museum’s vintage ships and exhibits trace the city’s seafaring history. The 17th-century Delfshaven neighborhood is home to canalside shopping and Pilgrim Fathers Church, where pilgrims worshiped before sailing to America. After being almost completely reconstructed following WWII, the city is now known for bold, modern architecture. There are many important places to visit in the city, which has the nickname “Europe’s Gate”.

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14. Leiden

Leiden is a city in the Southern Dutch province of the Netherlands. Leiden, one of the most important university cities of the Netherlands, along with Utrecht and Amsterdam, is approximately 24 minutes away from Amsterdam by train. It is known for its centuries-old architecture and the oldest Leiden University in the country dating from 1575. The university is home to Hortus botanicus Leiden Botanical Garden, founded in 1590, where the tulip was introduced to Western Europe.

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15. Delft

Home to the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the city displays the best examples of Dutch ceramics. The city, which rose during the Dutch Golden Age, made great contributions to the science of biology. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and Martinus Beijerinck, who discovered bacteria and are considered the founders of microbiology, were born and educated in this city.

Considered to be an important dynasty of the Netherlands, the Oranj-Nassau family has played an important role in the Dutch and European policies since the 16th century. The orange national color adopted by the Netherlands today also comes from this dynasty. The family-centered themselves on the city of Delft.

The city of Delft played an important role in the life of the Dutch Golden Age and the establishment of the Dutch Republic. In the city museum Prinsenhof you can discover the historical significance of the city for the Netherlands and Europe. The city is about 45 minutes away from Amsterdam by train.

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