When you think of Holland, you typically think of windmills, tulips and Stroopwaffles – and though we love them, the country has so much more to offer! Why visit Holland? The people are open-minded and welcoming, and the villages are cozy and quaint. It is one of Europe’s favorite tourist destinations for its lively atmosphere and delicious food. Plus, it is easy to access from other European countries, so you can make it part of your European adventure next vacation!
The nation’s charming cities and stunning landscapes will soon draw you in. The Netherlands are a popular destination amongst tourists for its renowned museums and rich history. It made Lonely Planet’s list of best travel destinations back in 2020. The people’s welcoming attitude towards foreigners makes the country a dream to visit!
Read on to find out more about why you should visit Holland for your next vacation…
Before bikes dominated the Netherlands’ landscapes, boats were the primary mode of transport. The canals allowed merchants to move goods around city centers, which helped build the Dutch economy in later years. Nowadays, these canals are loved by tourists and locals alike. You can get a boat ride on the canals of Amsterdam. These boat rides for locals allow you to eat, drink and see the sights. There are also canal-based events, like Amsterdam Pride, which take place along the canal. It’s a strong part of their culture and their daily social life.
Though Amsterdam immediately springs to mind when you think of canals, Jordaan is the neighborhood if you want to admire the canal life. Based in the city center, the district was originally a poor area, becoming a home to refugees coming from France, Spain and England in the 17th century. This changed in the 1970’s when the buildings were demolished and replaced by big blocks of city flats. However, they were careful to protect the district’s character and history. You can also find houseboats that live on the water, as this is tradition in the Netherlands and specifically in Amsterdam.
One of the biggest reasons to visit Holland is for its rich history. Each city has its own cultural identity, and an intriguing past. Sassenpoort is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country because it is part of the top 100 Dutch heritage sites. Located in the city of Zwolle, it is a gatehouse built in 1409 and is a big part of the country’s cultural heritage.
Eijsden Castle is another must-see attraction. Based in Eijsden-Margraten, it was home to the Dutch royal family. You can visit the castle gardens, and admire the many, old farm buildings across its grounds. Near the River Maas, you can take in the stunning views of the castle and its moat.
Another intriguing monument is the equivalent of the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Rotterdam. It’s slowly but surely spreading over the entire city, and even has the footprints of artists such as Grace Jones! The walk of fame was opened in the 1990’s and called Sterrenboulevard (Avenue of Stars). It was inaugurated by Johnny Grant, the mayor of Hollywood at that time. Other celebrities have left their mark here such as Meatloaf, Nancy Sinatra and La Toya Jackson.
Nightlife in the Netherlands can be summed up in just one word… Vibrant! Whether you’re in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or The Hague, you’ll find fun and exciting places to go to at night time. In Holland, there’s something for everyone – for those who want to dance all night long, there are nightclubs with different varieties of music to suit everyone’s tastes, and jazz bars where you can dance the night away.
Though Amsterdam is known for being party central, that’s not all there is to the Netherlands. There are also comedy clubs to visit, with some even being in English, such as the Comedy Embassy in Amsterdam. They show 20 shows every month, and even have celebrity appearances from the likes of Seth Meyers for example.
If you want to enjoy a drink with your chosen travel companion, then the Netherlands have some amazing places to do just that! Café Pollux in Amsterdam is known for its quirky memorabilia and its delicious local beers. The vibe here is cozy and you’ll quickly feel at home here! In Amsterdam, the Waterhole Live Music Bar is the place to go to hear up-and-coming artists while enjoying a glass of wine. They also play popular music when there isn’t live music to ensure that you’re having a blast!
Its cycling culture
Another reason to visit Holland is because it is known as the ultimate biking country. If you love to cycle, you’ll sure feel at home here! 36% of the Dutch population have said that the bicycle is their most frequent method of transport. The flat landscapes make it a dream to cycle on, but still allow you to take in breath-taking views. The mild climate also helps to make your route that much more enjoyable. The country has over 32,000 kilometers of bike paths, giving you plenty of choice for your itinerary.
According to statistics, each Dutch person owns at least two bikes. You know you’ll make friends upon your travels! You can take rural or city trips on your bike, and it is considered quite normal for two cyclists to ride next to each other on the road. The acceptance towards cyclists compared to other countries is remarkable.
If you’re traveling to the Netherlands as a family, then everyone will enjoy the cycling day trips. It is the best way to discover the country all while keeping fit and enjoying the weather. There is so much to see in such short distances, so you’ll enjoy stopping off and seeing the sights. If you and your travel companion are at ease with trickier trails, then long distance cycling routes are also available to the more experienced. LF routes are national cycle routes that are ideal for multi-day cycle trips. If you complete the Ronde van Nederland trail, which spreads across 1,400km, you will get a certificate and even appear in the hall of fame!
For city routes, Amsterdam is the cycling capital. You can take beautiful routes around Amsterdam, enjoying the views of the canal and the stunning architecture. You can rent bikes once you’re there and make the most of the capital in an active way.
Its art and music scene
Fall in love with Holland for its strong art and music scene. Famous artists have been born in the country such as Vincent Van Gogh and Johannes Vermeer. You can see famous Dutch artwork in one of the many art museums in the country, and generally, if they collect old paintings, you’ll find classic Dutch painters there too! The Van Gogh Museum is in Amsterdam and is the perfect place to visit if you love his paintings. You can discover his masterpieces, and also discover other artists in a similar style.
The Rijksmuseum, also in Amsterdam, is another place to visit for all art lovers. You can view old and new masterpieces from artists from all over the world. Discover the Gallery of Honour and see pieces from famous artists such as Rembrandt and Frans Hals. You can also see doll’s houses and model ships and armory – there is something for all the family!
As we mentioned previously, the Dutch love to watch live music. The Waterhole in Amsterdam being the go-to place to watch up-and-coming artists perform live. AFAS Live is also a popular concert hall to watch your favorite brands perform live. Artists such as Tyler, The Creator and Tame Impala have performed here. It’s an amazing venue to watch your favorite bands perform!
We know we said that Holland wasn’t just about tulips, but the country’s floriculture is magnificent. It is the largest flower producing country in the world, participating in around 68% of the annual flower production. If there is one stop you need to make upon your travels, it’s to the famous Netherlands Flower Markets. Bloemenmarkt is a flower market on the Singel Canal, and the colors are spectacular! Here you can shop daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses as well as the popular tulips.
If you want to visit flowers in their organic environment, then Keukenhof botanical gardens will be a sight to behold. Located in Lisse, the floral park is covered with various types of flowers. This truly creates a kaleidoscope of colors, perfect for taking jaw-dropping souvenir photos. Across the 32 hectares of grounds you can find roses, lilies, irises and of course, tulips. There are over 7 million bulbs planted here, so you will be able to see every type imaginable! The park is only open for 8 weeks, in April and May, so make sure to book your trip during this period to ensure that you get to see this unique park.