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Best Cities to Visit in The Netherlands
April 19, 2019 | By: Taylor Randolph
If you are looking for your next vacation destination, then look no further than The Netherlands! It is a small country, about the size of Massachusetts, but this means that you can easily travel around and see many different areas. The Netherlands is so diverse and has so many different things to offer. Whether you are into art history, nature, or cuisine – there is something for everyone! Check out this blog post to find where to go in Netherlands. Many of these places are also great day trips from Amsterdam.
's-Hertogenbosch (or "Den Bosch")
Den Bosch was founded as a city in the south-central part of the Netherlands in 1185 AD. If you are looking for a quiet day surrounded by beautiful canals, then this is your place. Check out paddleboarding or canal tours through the city. Also, you can’t leave here without trying one of the famous Jan de Groot Bossche Bols. These are cream-filled pastries dipped in chocolate and they are absolutely divine. The line for the bakery is usually out the door, but most restaurants will also have them on their dessert menu.
Located in the south of the Netherlands is this beautiful Medieval city. You can see the original Medieval gate (Helpoort) and walk along the Medieval walls. Bookworms will want to live in the “Dominicanen Bookhandel,” which is an old cathedral that has been converted into a modern bookstore. Also, the North Caves in Maastricht are a must-see. The limestone used for the various cathedrals around Maastricht was mined in this hill, which made these caves. You will find incredible charcoal art on the walls (some dating back hundreds of years). Also, the Nazis used these caves as a hiding place for famous pieces of art, such as the Night Watch by Rembrandt. U.S. Military troops rescued these pieces during the war (as seen in the movie “Monuments Men”) and wrote their names on the walls. Maastricht is an incredibly beautiful city with lots of narrow, winding cobblestone streets. There is a great shopping district and plenty of delicious restaurants to try. If you are planning a visit to Maastricht, check out our itinerary for One Day in Maastricht.
Dutch water engineering is magnificently on display at the incredible windmill complex, called Kinderdijk. The windmills and pumping stations have been keeping the soil dry for nearly one thousand years. The Kinderdijk was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997. There are 19 windmills here, which has the most concentrated amount of old windmills in The Netherlands. There are walking and biking paths around the windmills that are free for all visitors. There are residents still living in some of the windmills and maintaining them. Two windmills have been opened as museums and you can pay to explore inside. This is a wonderful traditionally Dutch activity to experience when you are in The Netherlands.
The Hague is the second capital of The Netherlands. It is home to the judicial and political branches. The Binnenhof is the seat of the Dutch Parliament and it is one of the oldest Parliament buildings still in use. King Willem-Alexandar uses the Noordeinde Palace as his working office. The U.N.'s International Court of Justice is located in The Hague, as well. Art enthusiasts will love the Mauritshuis Museum, which includes mostly Dutch Golden Age Paintings. It's a small museum that will take just 1 - 2 hours to walk through, but it contains many incredible masterpieces. You can admire some of Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring and Rembrandt's The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp. If you want to relax from a day of sightseeing, you can go to Scheveningen Beach, located just outside of The Hague. There are many restaurants located on the beach and you can walk down the pier to the Ferris wheel. For more ideas, check out our list of the Best Things to Do in The Hague.
The founding of Utrecht is usually dated to 50 A.D, when a Roman fortification was built here. The city is a cultural and religious center for the Netherlands. You can go kayaking or take a boat tour to explore the city through its canals. Go for a bite or a drink and sit along the canals at one of the many restaurants with canal-side seating. Climb the Utrecht cathedral for a beautiful view from above. Also, explore just a bit outside of Utrecht and you will find the beautiful Castle de Haar. The grounds are extensive with huge gardens and even a hedge maze. You can take a tour inside of the castle and see where celebrities, such as Gregory Peck, have stayed.
Last but certainly not least, Amsterdam is the most well-known city in The Netherlands. There are many things to do in Amsterdam, so it's a great location to start your trip to The Netherlands. This canal city is such a picturesque place to walk around and enjoy a meal by the water. Take a boat cruise to learn the history of Amsterdam as well as see all that it has to offer. Some highlights of Amsterdam include the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank Museum. Of course, there is so much more to do here. We put together the Best Things to do in Amsterdam to help you figure out what to do on your vacation.
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