By Johanna Menzel
The Netherlands is known for bicycles, cheese, the color orange, windmills, French fries, and Amsterdam. The Dutch capital Amsterdam is definitely worth a visit. Its canals, historic buildings, wonderful museums and cozy atmosphere are a must see. But what lies beyond Amsterdam? If you are not a city person or already visited all other major cities like Rotterdam and Utrecht, you should venture the Netherlands outside the big cities. Hence to see a bit of culture and vibrant life in the rest of the Netherlands. Our intern Johanna just moved to the Netherlands half a year ago and will give you some tips for sightseeing in the Netherlands beyond Amsterdam! Be prepared for delicious food, spectacular nature and amazing beaches!
History Lesson: Holland or the Netherlands?
The Netherlands consists of 12 provinces. Besides “Noord-Holland” and “Zuid-Holland”, these are Utrecht, Gelderland, Noord-Brabant, Overijssel, Flevoland, Drenthe, Friesland, Groningen, Limburg and Zeeland. Formally speaking, the term Holland therefore covers only two provinces. This means that the name “Holland” does not do justice to the other ten provinces and not least the overseas territories. However, it is quite difficult to explain the real difference between Holland and the Netherlands. Check out this video which explains it pretty well!
Sightseeing in the Netherlands
Tulips, tulips, and more tulips
When you think of tulips, you usually automatically think of Holland. Because that is what the Netherlands is known for. And above all the “Keukenhof”, which is also often called the Garden of Europe. What the cherry blossom is in Japan, the tulip is in the Netherlands and every year at the beginning of spring the country shines in a sea of colors.
With over seven million tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, it is one of the most beautiful spring gardens in the world. Itis located near Lisse. Here you can not only enjoy the magnificent flowers in all their splendor, but also learn about their (Dutch) history and many legends around the tulip as a part of the “Tulipmania”. Keukenhof is not only a tulip paradise, it is also the largest sculpture park in the Netherlands, as 50 Dutch artists have built their sculptures here.
Another highlight at Keukenhof is a trip on an old wooden boat passing the impressive tulip fields, these boats were used by the gardeners in earlier times.
Since Keukenhof is well known all over the world, it is usually very crowded and therefore difficult to enjoy the beauty of nature in peace. Therefore, here are more insider tips to look at tulips away from the crowd:
The largest tulip fields in the country are located in the north of the Netherlands, more precisely in the northeast: Polder, which is a region located northeast of Amsterdam. With more than 2,000 hectares of cultivable land, you can really marvel at the wonderful colorfulness of the tulips at every corner. Walks, bicycle tours or road trips through the colorful fields themselves are especially beautiful. You can equally visit a tulip information center in Noordoostpolder.
Like at Noordoostpolder, at Den Helder you can go on an excursion on foot, by bike or even by car to go to the sea of flowers next to the real sea and wallow a little in the magnificent colors.
From the 1st of April to mid-May you can pick your own tulips in the tulip picking garden of “Floratuin”. The garden has an assortment of 100 tulip species, so make sure to pick some beautiful tulips during your sightseeing in the Netherlands!
In Den Helder itself, besides the atmospheric brick buildings and a pretty town center, a naval base including a museum is awaiting you, which you shouldn’t miss during your holiday there.
Cheese market in Alkmaar
Every year, thousands of cheese lovers from all over the world gather to Alkmaar on the “Waagplein”. You wonder why? Alkmaar in North Holland is an essential highlight for all cheese lovers as it is the city of cheese. Since 1622 the cheese market has been held in the town center.
Cheese merchants meet every Friday from 10 am between April and September at the market. It is one of the most popular attractions for sightseeing in the Netherlands, mainly due to the old traditions that are still being celebrated. Cheese carriers are dressed entirely in white, they carry the cheese on wooden stretchers, before the cheese is sold it is checked by the cheese masters and when it is sold, the best price is haggled over just like hundreds of years ago. And when a sale is completed it is still sealed by a handshake.
The cheese market also offers a lot to see for children: on Fridays in July and August children from 6 to 12 years can experience a guided tour. The guide will take them on a tour that is normally not open to the public.
Alkmaar also has the Cheese Museum, where visitors can get an insight into cheese production in Holland, which is mainly done with traditional tools. You will also find paintings about cheese production, trade, life in the countryside and much more information about cheese.
Windmills in Kinderdijk
Windmills can be found all over the Netherlands, but the most beautiful ones are in Kinderdijk. Kinderdijk is around 15 kilometers from Rotterdam and lies in the likely named village of Kinderdijk, where 19 historic windmills are located. The mills are used to pump water from the polders in order to make the soil usable for agriculture. The mills pump the water into the “Nieuwen Waterschap”, which flows into the river Lek. They were built in the 18th century after the older canal systems proved to be less effective.
Since 1997 the windmills of Kinderdijk have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Tourists from all over the world come to see how their long wings stretch towards the sky, turn and rattle in the wind.
The mills can be visited free of charge. Indeed, tickets are sold at the entrance of the foot/cycle path, but you only need them if you want to visit the museum mill.
The windmills of Kinderdijk are among the most beautiful attractions during a sightseeing in the Netherlands. And no matter what season, they are always fascinating. A special highlight is in winter, when the rivers are frozen and the Dutch skate in front of the windmills.
Holiday at the sea
Are you in need of a vacation by the sea, but you don’t want to drive or fly too far? Then go to the Netherlands! Whether on the Dutch mainland or on one of the islands, the coastal areas are popular destinations, especially in summer. Long walks along the beach, enjoying a beer in one of the many restaurants or extensive cycling tours make your seaside holiday an unforgettable time out. Due to its ideal location directly next the North Sea and the Ijsselmeer, the Netherlands have some beautiful places at the coast. That is why the Netherlands is perfect for a holiday by the sea while not having to travel far. Here are some tips with the best places to spend a day at the beach:
Let’s start with probably the most popular beach: Scheveningen. The seaside resort of Scheveningen offers a great beach with a huge range of leisure activities for young and old. On the quieter parts of the beach you can relax, enjoy long walks or simply sunbathe in peace. Looking for some more action? Than have a walk on the boulevard of Scheveningen.
Up to 18 million holidaymakers come here every year to relax on the beach. At the end of the 381-meter-long pier you will find an observation tower from which you have a breathtaking view: perfect for your sightseeing in the Netherlands. And if you like action, you can even do a bungee jump here. In any case it is never boring here, there is always something going on at the beach of Scheveningen.
Bergen aan Zee
One of the most popular beaches in Holland can be found in Bergen aan Zee. This place was founded as a seaside resort and attracts thousands of visitors every year.
Here you can do all kinds of water sports. Kitesurfing or sailing, at Bergen aan Zee you have the opportunity to learn it. The beach has also been awarded the blue flag for the 8th time, making it one of the cleanest and safest beaches.
There are various food pavilions where you can find everything your heart desires, from small snacks in between to candlelight dinners.
Schiermonnikoog is the smallest inhabited island of the West Frisian islands. It is one of the most beautiful islands in the Netherlands and is a popular holiday destination. Not least because of the many untouched nature. In 1989, parts of the island were declared as a national park. The highlight is the Wadden Sea which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Schiermonnikoog you can go on wonderful walks in the mudflats with local tour guides while discovering various creatures in the mudflats. A must do!
Another main attraction would be the beach of Schiermonnikoog. It is one kilometer wide and is the widest beach in Europe.
You could never offer your children or grandchildren enough “action”? Are the dear little ones already bored after the second day on holiday? Then it’s time for a holiday in in the largest theme park in the Netherlands. Which is also the fourth largest in Europe. The “Efteling” is the most popular daytime attraction in the Netherlands. It should come as no surprise that it is one of the top attractions of the Dutch province Brabant, the Netherlands and even Europe for families, young children, teenagers and grandparents.
Besides six roller coasters there are also water rides and dark rides. For the smaller ones there is the famous fairy tale forest. Even today you can still dive into the world of Red Riding Hood, Old Mother Frost and Sleeping Beauty. To ensure that the fun at the amusement park lasts even longer, you can stay overnight in the adjacent holiday park.
Are you a real adrenaline junkie? Then rather visit the Europapark in Germany (next to the Netherlands) and land with a Fly Aeolus air taxi in Lahr, the easiest and shortest way to Europapark!
Miniature Park Madurodam
You are only having a short sightseeing in the Netherlands but want to experience how a small country can be big? Then visit the Madurodam Miniature Park! It is one of the most visited attractions during a holiday in the Netherlands! The park is filled with miniature versions of recognizable, important and famous buildings in the Netherlands. So you can finish your sightseeing in the Netherlands in just one day! See for example the King’s Palace, the Rijksmuseum, Schiphol airport and the tulip fields. To make it even more enjoyable not everything stands still, there are many moving vehicles in the tiny city. At Madurodam, you don’t just look, the park is very interactive. You can help to keep the country dry by closing a surge barrier, loading containers in the port of Rotterdam, or mixing your own beats at the DJ table. Then, you will also learn more about Dutch history and see many sights and buildings that you would probably not see on a trip to the Netherlands. You will find Madurodam in The Hague, near the beach. It is very easy to combine a visit at Madurodam with a day in the city of The Hague.
Have we sparked your interest for sightseeing in the Netherlands? Would you like to taste the famous cheese yourself and immerse yourself in the colorful variety of the tulips? Then book your Fly Aeolus air taxi flight today! Fly Aeolus brings you closer to your desired destinations, as we can fly to smaller airports than commercial airlines do. Start your holiday in the Netherlands stress-free. With our price calculator you can calculate your individual air taxi flight price.
For further questions you can contact us: Please send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +32 (0)3 500 9082. We look forward to hearing from you.