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Planning a trip to the Netherlands this year? Then, the most popular Dutch tourist attractions listed below are an absolute must on your itinerary!
Many visitors routinely associate Amsterdam with its shady coffee shops and infamous Red Light District. Which is actually a great shame, because this beautiful Dutch city has so much more to offer! Jump on a tram, rent a Dutch bike or simply explore the vibrant capital city by foot and take in the sights at the Dam, the Nieuwe Kerk and the Koninklijk Paleis, followed by a pleasant stroll in the pretty ‘grachtengordel’ (canal district) where you can admire eye-catching seventeenth-century townhouses, shop in trendy boutiques or enjoy a spot of lunch in the ‘Negen Straatjes’ (Nine Streets). Just a short walk from the canal district lies the bustling Jordaan, previously a working-class area that’s now predominantly populated by the city’s more up-and-coming urbanites. The Jordaan is best loved for its convivial cafes and numerous restaurants, as well as a number of highly individual shops … and of course, the world-renowned Anne Frank Museum is just a stone’s throw away!
Zaanse Schans, Volendam and Marken
Dutch traditions truly come alive at the Zaanse Schans, a charming Dutch village with striking green Zaanse houses, typical Dutch windmills and where many of the locals still dress in their traditional costume. Here you can purchase an array of Dutch souvenirs and other typical Dutch products including stroopwafels (syrup waffles) and authentic Hollandse Drop (Dutch liquorice) from the selection of quaint shops or have your own pair of Dutch clogs hand carved by a traditional Dutch clog maker. Pop to the nearby fishing villages of Volendam and Marken and you can even try on the colourful clothes for yourself and have the special moment captured for prosperity by a professional photographer!
The Keukenhof, open from late March to late May, is a favourite outdoor attraction, particularly for foreign tourists who come from all over the world to admire the spectacle of seven million Dutch tulips in all their glory. The park itself covers around 32 acres of beautifully landscaped flower gardens and the surrounding area, known as the ‘Duin en Bollenstreek’ (the Dune and Bulb region), is literally awash with colour in the spring, making it a memorable attraction in itself.
The celebrated row of traditional Dutch windmills at Kinderdijk have enjoyed UNESCO World Heritage status since 1997. In total there are 19 windmills at Kinderdijk, most of which date back to the eighteenth century and were originally used to pump water for the reclamation of land. Whilst the Kinderdijk windmills are no longer in active use, they are still kept in full working order and serve as an important backup to their modern counterparts.
Friesland and the Waddeneilanden (Wadden Islands)
Although Friesland lies far to the northeast of the Netherlands, this enchanting Dutch province is readily accessible via the Afsluitdijk (a major causeway that links Noord Holland to Friesland). Friesland offers breathtaking Dutch scenery including bewitching forests, magical castles and of course the famous Frisian lakes. From the coast you can take a ferry to the captivating islands, or if you’re feeling more energetic, join a ‘Wadlooptocht’ and allow an experienced guide to help you navigate the mudflats on foot… without getting your feet too wet, naturally!
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?