Top Places to Visit in Netherlands

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Also known as Holland, the Netherlands is among the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.  Sharing borders with Belgium and Germany and maritime borders with the UK and France, the Netherlands has innumerable scenic villages and lively cities that can ensure a memorable trip for you.

For a large number of people, the name of the country immediately evokes Amsterdam, the capital city which is home to Anne Frank House, Canal Belt, Heineken Brewery, Vondelpark, and more. As a traveller, however, you can find various famous places to visit in Netherlands here and beyond that.

Let’s put our tourist lens to use and check out the best places to visit in Netherlands.

An Overview of the Top Places to Visit in the Netherlands

Let’s explore some of the famous places to visit in the Netherlands that can make your visit worthwhile -

Best Places to Visit in Summer Best Places to Visit in Winter Best Places to Visit with Family
Amsterdam Utrecht Leiden
The Hague Maastricht The Hague
Haarlem Leiden Amsterdam
Maastricht Delft Haarlem

Buckle up! We will now take a closer look at the top places to visit in the Netherlands -

1. Amsterdam

Often called the ‘Venice of North’, Amsterdam is home to many magnificent landmarks, attractions, and historic buildings. The capital is among Netherlands’ best places to visit, as it is a melting pot of several cultures and traditions.

Amsterdam is also encircled by numerous canals that contribute to its legendary reputation worldwide. The city is full of paved streets and hidden gems you will enjoy exploring.

Given below are the must-see places in Amsterdam -

  • Anne Frank House: Anne Frank House is considered by many as one of the must-visit places in Amsterdam. This is the place where the family of Anne Frank went into hiding. Anne was a young Jewish girl who wrote a journal while hiding from the Nazis during World War II, outlining the hardships suffered by her community. The place is open all weekdays from 9 am to 7 pm, with the entrance fee for children below nine years being free.
  • Begijnhof: If you want to enjoy the calm and serenity of Amsterdam, you should certainly visit Begijnhof. It is one of the oldest hofjes, primarily lined with a row of old buildings. Currently the site of 2 churches, it was earlier a Beguinage. 
  • Vondelpark: Vondelpark, one of the largest parks in Amsterdam, attracts hundreds of residents and travellers on a daily basis. You can simply stroll and have a picnic or explore several cafes and eateries here - the popular ones include Groot Melkhuis, Blauwe Theehui, Vondelpark3, Café Vertigo, and De Vondeltuin. Note that entry to this park is free. 
  • Royal Palace of Amsterdam: The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is another top tourist attraction in Amsterdam. Located in Dam Square, it used to be a town hall but is now the government's property and used for Royal Dutch functions.

2. The Hague

The Hague is the administrative capital of the Netherlands. Situated on a coastal plain in the southwest corner of the Randstad conurbation, it is among the world’s biggest urban regions in the world.

It is among the most famous places to visit in the Netherlands, packed with beautiful parks and gardens. Regarded as the green lung of the Netherlands, it is certainly a great place to enjoy nature. The cornerstones of the Hague experience are its booming nightlife, delectable food, and rich heritage. Art galleries, sports centres, amusement parks, and museums are other things you can find in Hague.

Some well-known places to explore in Hague are -

  • Madurodam: A unique destination, Madurodam is suitable for tourists of all ages. You can have a giant’s view of the Netherlands here, as each section is painstakingly built to imitate the country’s most iconic landmarks. You can find miniatures displaying life in the Netherlands on a 1:25 scale.
  • Louwman Museum: This Dutch museum is among the top places to visit in Netherlands for car lovers. It showcases some of the most ancient collections of cars worldwide. Their vast collection includes the earliest model, which is the 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen.  You can find other vintage car models dating back to the 1890s. Besides a peek into the past, you can also explore the latest electric and hybrid models, and race cars here.
  • The Peace Palace: The Peace Palace, or Vredespaleis, is an awe-inspiring brick structure that was built between 1907 to 1913. Interestingly, Andrew Carnegie, the renowned philanthropist, invested around US $ 1.5 million in its construction. The list of trivia doesn’t end here - the place is also home to the International Court of Justice, the Academy of International Law, and the Permanent Court of Arbitration! You can take guided tours to explore the place’s interiors.
  • Landgoed Clingendael: This place is primarily renowned for the gardens around the manor house at this site, which date back to the sixteenth century and make a quiet urban oasis. The park, which has a large playground, picnic area, and tearoom besides the exquisitely intended English Garden, is open throughout the year and is free to the public.

3. Haarlem

Next on our list of famous places to visit in the Netherlands is Haarlem, the capital of the Dutch province Noord-Holland. It is only 7 kilometres from the coast of the River Spaarne and lies on the northern border of the Bollenstreek.

It is also home to many renowned painters, with the list counting Jacob van Ruisdael, Adriaen van Ostade, Frans Hals, and Philips Wouwerman. Haarlem's waterscapes, exquisite buildings, boats, and delicious food add to the city's charming aura. You should add this city to your list of places to visit in Netherlands if you want to catch some beautiful scenery, annual carnival, and laid-back atmosphere.

Some of the top sites to visit in Haarlem include -

  • Frans Hals Museum: Founded in 1913, the well-known Frans Hals Museum should be on your list of places to visit in Netherlands if you are a history buff. Among Haarlem’s most significant historic structures, the museum has a great collection of artworks by the renowned Dutch painter Frans Hals. These paintings showcase his genius for seizing a moment and infusing fine details into the faces.
  • Teylers Museum: The Teylers Museum is the oldest museum in the Netherlands. It was established in 1778 by a rich merchant of cloth and silk, who left his riches to build a place for tracking the advances in science and art. The museum comprises a large collection of artwork of artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, and more, as well as scientific research instruments and fossils. 
  • The Cathedral of St. Bavo: A three-aisle cruciform cathedral, the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Bavo represents how church building evolved from a conventional to a more modern style. The attractions to see around are a shrine with St. Bavo's remains and the Cathedral Treasury, which has silver religious utensils.
  • Proveniershuis: Proveniershuis is a cluster of fine ancient buildings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Throughout history, the area has served as a home to various city residents, which included businesspeople, old retired guildsmen, priests, and nuns. You can visit Proveniershuis to enjoy the ambience and discover the side streets branching off into many tranquil nooks and corners of the town.

4. Leiden

Among the oldest and most famous places to visit in the Netherlands is Leiden. The tulip, a well-known symbol of the Netherlands, was reportedly brought to Europe here. The starting days of spring during the month of May are the perfect time to visit this town.

A trip to Leiden during the cold months is also a great option, with the city often receiving a healthy amount of snow during Christmas time. Note that this place is also the birthplace of eminent painters like Jan Steen, Frans Van Mieris, Lucas van Leyden, and Rembrandt. Leiden is one of the top places to visit in Netherlands if you desire to witness the stunning tulip blooming.

Here are a few more places to visit in Leiden -

  • Naturalis Biodiversity Museum: Founded in the 1800s, the Naturalis Biodiversity Museum is a large museum with over 37 million specimens of animals and insects, as well as jewels, rocks, and minerals. It is also among the best places to visit in Netherlands with family, as it exhibits nature and provides details related to the specimens via experiments and games.
  • Museum Boerhaave: A fascinating glimpse into the evolution of science and healthcare throughout the ages can be caught at the wondrous Museum Boerhaave. You can also encounter a vast compilation of machinery used all around Europe for scientific research conducted at Leiden University. The museum was named after Herman Boerhaave, a renowned university professor and botanist. The list of his students includes names like Peter the Great, Voltaire, and more. 
  • Hortus Botanicus: Hortus Botanicus is a part of the University of Leiden’s Botanic Garden and is also one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. It houses over ten thousand distinct plant species and several bird species. When visiting this place, don’t miss the Clusiustuin, which is a replica of the earliest botanical garden, which was historically located behind the university building.
  • Burcht van Leiden: Burcht van Leiden is another place worth visiting in Leiden. You can get around this castle through one of the three ancient gates with the city’s coat of arms and a lion statue. This eleventh-century fortress is also renowned as the Fort of Leiden, which was previously reinforced by a circuit of walls that spanned 35 metres in diameter. From here, you can witness panoramic views extending over the neighbouring area.

5. Utrecht

The 4th largest city of the Netherlands, Utrecht is situated on the geographical divide in the middle of the fenlands and sandy heathlands. Among the top places to visit in the Netherlands, Utrecht has been popular for decades as one of the major political, financial, and cultural centres of the country.

This city is lovely for wandering around after nightfall, mainly during the KNUS Winter Market and Festival. It’s worth noting that Utrecht is also called the ‘Student Capital’ and has various highly affordable places to eat, drink, socialise, and explore the open markets, bars, and wonderful youthful atmosphere. The city also attracts art and architectural buffs.

Discussed below are some popular sites to discover in Utrecht -

  • De Haar Castle: Built by PJH Cuypers, a renowned Dutch architect, this castle is the biggest one in the country and is a magnificent one due to its unique design. The castle also houses a compilation of paintings, relics, furniture, and extravagant wall hangings.
  • Museum Speelklok: Talk about music automation! The Musical Clock Museum is a truly unique and quirky tourist place in Utrecht. This place is devoted to barrel organs, music boxes, and other devices. The exhibits displayed by the museum incorporate mechanical musical instruments from the eighteenth century to the current era that can play music on their own! It even entails domestic instruments such as tiny music boxes and massive fair organs.
  • Railway Museum: If you are a train fanatic, Utrecht's Railway Museum should definitely be on your list of places to visit in the Netherlands. The museum is situated in the old Maliebaan train station and is a big, well-stocked travel destination established in 1927. Exhibits related to workshops, the heyday of the 1900s, and a great collection of locomotives can be seen here.
  • The Kaiser's House: Also called Huis Doorn, the Kaiser's House is located in a fantastic park. It was opened as a museum for the public in 1956 and is the last house of Kaiser Wilhelm II. This museum contains his personal belongings, which include a collection of snuff boxes that belonged to Frederick the Great.

6. Maastricht

Maastricht is the capital of Limburg and one of the most gorgeous cities of the Netherlands. Lying along both sides of the river Maas, Maastricht is among the busiest commercial and tourist centres in the Netherlands.

You can enjoy wandering around this pedestrian-friendly town's various streets. And check out numerous travel attractions, which include art museums, churches, and galleries. You can also indulge your taste buds at any of the vibrant restaurants with a cuisine full of savoury pleasures here.

Check out the top places to see in Maastricht -

  • Basilica of Saint Servatius: The Roman Catholic Basilica of St. Servaaskerk is the oldest church in the country. It was erected in the 6th century atop the grave of St. Servatius, the earliest Bishop of Maastricht. The key highlights of the cathedral are the Imperial Hall, the Imperial Gallery, and the Bergportaal. Additional highlights of this place include the abbey and the fine vaulting of the nave.
  • Bonnefanten Museum: Holding a great art collection, this museum lies on the shores of the Maas in an ultra-modern building that resembles a rocket ship from the 1950s. Rich collections of the middle ages, comprising wooden sculptures from the thirteenth to sixteenth centuries, are also kept at the Bonnefanten Museum.
  • De Bisschopsmolen (Bishop’s Mill): Located in Maastricht's back alleys is this incredible 14th-century water mill that is still in operation today! You can check out this marvel and also savour the local speciality Limburgse vlaai, a lattice-topped pie filled with cherries, apricots, or plums, whilst relaxing in the bakery's café.
  • Fort Sint Pieter and the Caves of Maastricht: The popular Fort Sint Pieter from the 18th century should certainly be on the list of places to visit in Netherlands for history buffs.  The fort was constructed to safeguard the city from the French forces. It is in fine shape and is a fascinating place to tour from the top to the ground. Beneath this fort lie the famous Caves of Maastricht, which comprise an incredible network of tunnels.

7. Delft

The scenic city of Delft lies between The Hague and Rotterdam, on the River Schie. Its charming historic Old town, surrounded by canals, has a fine-looking market square, churches, and well-preserved homes from the mediaeval era.

The manufacturing of Delftware is what the city is mainly famous for. This type of pottery is popular worldwide and has existed since the seventeenth century. A majority of Delft’s integral architecture originates from the 1700s during the apex of pottery’s prominence.

Delft was also the residence of the renowned painter Jan Vermeer and the 17th-century scientist Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek.

Here are the must-visit places in Delft:

  • Stadhuis Delft: The Renaissance Delft City Hall is adorned with sculptures and pilasters alongside a tiny gable with a figurine of justice. The highlights displayed inside the hall include the attractively-ornamented rooms. You can have a guided tour of the building's former prison, which held the slayer of William the Silent and has a collection of antique torture weapons.
  • The Eastern Gate: The beautiful old Eastern Gate, or Oostpoort, is situated along the East End Canal (Oosteinde Canal). The building’s twin towers were built around the 1400s and expanded in the sixteenth century with octagonal upper floors and cone-shaped roofs. This site is situated at the southern end tip of the old town. Even though the property is privatised, you can tour its exterior and admire the magnificent canal vistas as a tourist.
  • The Old Canal: The Old Canal is just a short walking distance from the sites around the old city. This charming stretch of water, extending from north to south, was built around the 1100s. You can travel around this area riding a bike or simply take a stroll. The neighbouring Wijnhaven, Voorstraat, Hippolytusbuurt, and Koornmarkt feature several interesting old houses, most of which offer views of the Old Canal. 
  • The Lambert van Meerten Museum: A well-known tourist attraction in the city, this place was reopened in the year 2019 following a major restoration. It houses a unique collection of applied arts, antique furnishings, paintings, tiles, and a vast collection of Delftware.

How to Secure Your Trip with Policybazaar UAE?

As would be clear from our discussion, the Netherlands is a fabulous destination to visit. With our comprehensive list of famous places to visit in Netherlands, you can have ample sites to add to your bucket list and make your trip a memorable one.

To secure your next trip to the Netherlands, however, you should absolutely buy travel insurance. You can easily do this with Policybazaar.ae, where you can check out and compare the best travel insurance plans in the UAE in one place. With these plans, you can financially safeguard yourself and your loved ones against any unexpected incidents during your trip.

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