14 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Netherlands
Home to iconic canals and castles, unique museums, and modern public art installations, Holland is an enchanting destination for tourists. Of course, history comes first here, with sites like the Anne Frank House, the Eurostar Rotterdam railway station, and the windmills of Bergen offering insight into the fascinating past of this small, densely populated country.
There's also plenty to see and do in Holland today. Whether you're eager to experience the nightlife scene of Rotterdam, trek through the tulip fields of The Hague, bike the country's many flat and isolated fjords, or hit the sandy beaches along the North Sea, you're sure to find your perfect spot with our list of the top attractions in the Netherlands.
Amsterdam is one of Europe's most remarkable cities, with the feel of a city that has been around for centuries and is continually evolving. Buildings from the city's Golden Age, between the 16th and 18th centuries, line the canals and peeling old quarters of the center, while in the Vondelpark and along the Hofplein lies a beautiful array of art galleries, theaters, cafés, and the city's best museums, most notably the Amsterdam Museum. Here is a selection of suggestions on what to do in Amsterdam and what to see and see where.
Read more 👉 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Amsterdam
Situated on the IJ River between the Amsterdam train station and the historic city center, the Rijksmuseum is the country's premier art museum. It has a collection of some 20,000 pieces, including the best part of the Museum's Dutch collection, where you can see masterpieces by Rembrandt, Jan Vermeer, and Pieter de Hooch. The Rijksmuseum also contains significant European painting from the Baroque period, including some of Francisco de Zurbaran's "Hanging Chapel," and over 2,000 pieces of art from the Renaissance and Dutch Golden Age. One of the Museum's newest acquisitions is Rembrandt's famous painting, "The Night Watch," with its accompanying seven-minute video presentation that describes the painting's intricate construction and magical atmosphere.
Anne Frank House
The little red house at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam is the sole remaining part of Anne Frank's Jewish family home. An annex of the hiding place where Anne and her family spent two years of almost unbearable terror from September 1944 until August 1945 is now a museum displaying a small part of Anne's diary and explaining the life of the Frank family in Amsterdam during this period. Anne's father Otto Frank, a successful accountant and businessman, and his second wife and Anne's mother, Otto's mother Henrietta Frank-van der Beek, had earlier decided to emigrate with their daughters to the United States because of the rising anti-Semitism and increasing social and financial problems. In August 1943 they were arrested by the German police on suspicion of hiding Jewish people. The Franks were deported to a secret interrogation and concentration camp at Ravensbrück, where they were among the group known as the "righteous thousand," people killed by the Germans for "good reasons."
Delft was founded in the mid-13th century, the first capital of the three most northern provinces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Originally called Thelo, the town was given its current name by order of the Prince of Orange in 1348. Delft is well known for its pottery, canals, and history, especially the very well preserved city wall. Visit the local clay works and see how these unique blue and white pieces of pottery are made. Another popular pastime is going on a shopping spree in the 700-year-old De Bieverijen (De Bie warehouses), with shops set in two centuries-old warehouses and covered in beautiful intricate tiles. There are a number of sightseeing spots to choose from, and a visit to the Royal Palace will give you an insight into the lives of Delft's former rulers.
Rotterdam is a bustling capital city which, despite its size, somehow manages to preserve a distinct identity. With regular cultural festivals, an interesting local art and music scene and plenty of theaters and concerts, this is a place to discover new music, see live theater and enjoy a fun and lively nightlife. It is also a big port city, home to Europe's busiest container port and Europe's largest container terminal, with links to many other countries in Europe and beyond. The city's interesting history is told at the distinctive Utrechtse Kruiskade area where the city grew up. It offers various opportunities to learn about Dutch architecture and the history of the Dutch East Indies, the East Indies Trading Company and how the city was developed and became one of Europe's most important port cities. Rotterdam has a number of notable sites, including the Kruiskade area, Europe's largest urban park, the Neutraal museum, the cathedral, city hall and the Euromast. In terms of shopping, the city is notable for its canals and lovely terraced buildings. It also has the biggest shopping mall in Europe, a colorful weekend market at the Euromarkt, the Royal Delft, a large flea market and, for those looking for a quiet and relaxing vacation, a couple of medieval towns, the Brielle islands.
The small, tight-knit university town of Haarlem was built around a large rectangular moat. In the 17th century, Dutch merchants built their houses here in a jumble of 17th century buildings known as the Oudegaard. However, the buildings and towns surrounding the moat were completely destroyed by the bombardment in the Netherlands during the Second World War and Haarlem has been rebuilt in a much more orderly, picturesque style. Activities in Haarlem include visiting the Steenbakkersmuseum, which is housed in the picturesque 14th-century house of two generations of painters, the House of Arentshuis and Schepenhuis in the Oudegaard and exploring the surrounding garden area. The Dutch, descendants of its founders, are a fiercely independent lot and never averse to venting their opinions over their 2,000-year history. Take time to reflect on what a difficult time it must have been to be Dutch!
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
The most famous museum in the Netherlands, Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is housed in a grand building that was once part of a Dutch trading post. Exhibitions spread over four floors bring together artworks by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), including more than 200 of his famous paintings and sketches. Among these are his famous Sunflowers painting, as well as his famous portraits of Paul Gauguin and Josephine Baker. The museum has extensive gardens containing thousands of works by the Dutch Renaissance artist Van Gogh and his contemporaries, which are open to the public.
One of the world's most popular theme parks, Heineken Experience is situated on a 1,300-year-old site overlooking the waterfront in Amsterdam. It's famous for its giant interactive bottle that allows visitors to discover the making of this famous beer and see a copy of the 17th-century painter Rembrandt's famous piece, The Night Watch. Guests can try their hand at a working windmill, watch a light display based on the “Heineken Lightcycle Race” or drive a replica of a 1937 Bentley along a track.
In Holland's favorite garden, you'll see more than 1000 tulips and daffodils on display in the half-kilometer long avenue in mid-April, when more than two million blooms are reflected in the glass roof of the Glass House. What is also breathtaking is the sight of more than 10,000 flower beds of 49 different species, divided into 48 clusters and an entire botanical garden on the outskirts of the park.
Royal Palace, Amsterdam
This city state's most elegant surviving palace was built in 1555 as a private home for stadholder Floris V, who took the title from his parents in 1528 and did nothing with it until his death. Voted Amsterdam's most elegant building on a Dutch street-by-street survey of 20,000 homes, the palace was formally opened to the public in 1965. It is now home to the Amsterdam City Museum, which offers a fascinating look at life in the 17th and 18th centuries. Its collection of armoires, spoons, and hats is particularly impressive. Travelers passing through Amsterdam can enjoy its many museums, including the Van Gogh Museum. Designed in 1874 by the architect of the Rijksmuseum, it is filled with works by the artist. As with the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions.
Maastricht, at the confluence of the Maas and Roer rivers, is situated 20 kilometers south of the Dutch capital Amsterdam. It is the capital of Limburg, an attractive province surrounded by lush green landscapes. The attractive city center of Old Town, situated around a moated moat, is filled with examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture, and many houses, including the 17th century Coudenberg, are lavishly decorated. Activities include horse riding, swimming, walking, and cycling along the banks of the Meuse and Maas rivers. Maastricht, home of the University of Limburg, boasts many fine educational establishments and medical facilities. The city has an international airport, connections to European cities, and train links to many other locations.
Best-known for its Dutch cheese, Edam (population 18,000) lies on the southern coast of the Netherlands and has no specific attractions. The main cultural point is the town of Krimpenerwaard, the last outpost of a large district (province) of the same name. As Edam's name is abbreviated and pronounced as Edam, it is sometimes used as a shorthand for the entire province. Edam is home to the Krimpenerwaard Museum, which displays many fine items of historical interest, including the famous historic iron windmill from which the cheese was named.
Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam
The name of the museum means Boijmans Van Beuningen van Groot Oude Collection, and it is located in a garden of cherry trees in a house where the businessman Joris Anthonie Boijmans was born in 1878. Today the building was restored to look like the 18th century. Art lovers will love the museum. Boijmans Van Beuningen has one of the world's most important collections of 19th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings and includes works by Vermeer, Ruisdael, Veron, Van Gogh, Renoir, and Rubens. The museum also has some Japanese art as well as Chinese and Egyptian pieces, along with some French Impressionist and English, German and Spanish paintings. The garden has a few interesting items too, including the original Braille-reading parrot of Dutch poet and philosopher Descartes, as well as an Arabic love story dating back to the 13th century. The museum's café is popular among visitors and offers a pleasant atmosphere and terrace views of the garden.
Located in the southern part of the Netherlands, Den Haag is the country's most liberal city. An immigration law, allowing non-Western migrants to enter the country as long as they have economic activity, was implemented in 2003. There are a variety of museums and churches worth checking out, including the grand and redbrick De Negentower Church, the Museumplein, which houses the Prince Bernhard Museum, and the Stadsdijk, a green area connecting seven neighborhoods and now the site of the notorious stock exchange. Among the cultural highlights are: the Rijksmuseum, which houses the famous collection of Dutch paintings; the International Center for the Arts, one of the most prestigious in the country; the Theater, home to the famous opera, ballet and theater productions; and the impressive Royal Palace and the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, which holds the largest collection of books in the country. Travel is most easily achieved by train or bus, and connecting by air to cities such as Amsterdam and Brussels. You will find Den Haag on a flight plan to, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich and Paris.