The Greatest Cities To Visit In The Netherlands
The Netherlands is definitely one of the most unique countries in Europe! The Netherlands (a.k.a. ‘Holland’ or ‘the lower countries’), is geographically well known as a very flat country. Half of the country is actually below sea level. Did you know Amsterdam would not exist without the dikes and pumping stations to keep the capital waterproof?
Many international students would love to visit the Netherlands at least once in their lifetime. This small country has a lot to offer. It is also very easy to visit more cities at once, because it does not take a lot of time to travel from city to city. Here is a list of the greatest cities to visit in the Netherlands.
It would be a big mistake if you didn’t at least step foot in Amsterdam while you are in the Netherlands. This big city has a lot to offer. The center is filled with beautiful canals and bridges decorated with bikes. Almost every single corner has a coffee shop for all the fellas who want to go green and the shopaholics are able to shop till they drop in the expensive shopping street Kalverstraat. The die hard tourist goes to the Rijksmuseum to watch the greatest pieces of Rembrandt van Rijn and strikes a pose next to the “I Amsterdam” sign for an Instagram-approved picture.
Amsterdam is also well known as a gay-friendly capital. Did you know the first gay marriage of the world was in Amsterdam in 2001? It’s a beautiful milestone that caught the attention of many people internationally. Every year there is a beautiful Amsterdam Gay Pride to celebrate peace and equality. Also, there are plenty of places LGBT people can meet.
Amsterdam is the best city for a great night out! The most popular areas for a night out are Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein. Those places are filled with clubs and student cafés. The Leidseplein also offers some live music and Irish pubs. Warmoestraat is an example of a gay-friendly street.
And what about the Red Light District? People are always so curious about these beautiful girls in Amsterdam. That is the reason why the Red Light District has been a very touristic place ever since it was established, and gives Amsterdam an unique and interesting spark.
Right in the middle of the Netherlands there is a city called Utrecht, and it’s the fourth biggest city of the Netherlands. This city is the node of all the traffic in the country, which makes Utrecht an important city for fairs and conferences.
Utrecht has a beautiful historical center. Important features in Utrecht include the shipyard and the several towers. The most popular tower is the Dom Tower, which is the highest church of the Netherlands at 112.32 meters. Also, Utrecht offers a lot of shops (sorry, not sorry).
Utrecht is a city filled with cities thanks to the amount of universities there. You can find a lot of cafés at the Neude area, which is nearby the Utrecht Central train station.
The port city Rotterdam is the more “alternative” city of the Netherlands. Rotterdam is a modern city filled with culture. Almost half of the inhabitants are non-Dutch. This fact makes Rotterdam a very multicultural (but not to touristic) city.
Rotterdam is known for its modern and high buildings. Have a great look at the skyline of Rotterdam – it is actually the New York City of the Netherlands! The two bridges above the broad river Nieuwe Maas are some great eye catchers; Willemsbrug (Willems bridge) and the Erasmusbrug (Erasmus bridge). It is recommended to walk through both bridges to catch some fresh air and enjoy the view. If that is not enough, Rotterdam offers the Euromast, the highest tower of the Netherlands at 185 meters. Enjoy a beautiful view through Rotterdam with a glass of wine!
The center offers a lot of shops to fulfill your shopping heart. The Koopgoot is a pretty example of a detailed shopping area. Tired and feeling hungry after shopping? Then the Markthal is the perfect answer! Known as the foodwalhalla of the Netherlands, the Markthal is the best way to treat your feet and stomach. Do not forget to look up after entering the Markthal. The modern architecture is breathtaking!
The Hague / ‘s-Gravenhage
Would you dare to pronounce ‘s-Gravenhage correctly? Probably not! No worries, we will stick with the name The Hague. The Hague is well known as a political city. The historical Binnenhof has been used as the center of the Dutch politics for centuries. And don’t fret; there are no scenes a la Donald Trump going on there. Also, The Hague is the city where the Royal family lives and the city offers several kind of international courts, such as the courts of justice and the criminal courts. There is some serious business going on there!
Next to all the monuments, palaces and other beautiful (shopping) places, The Hague has the very touristic place, Madurodam. Madurodam is a cute miniature city in the middle of The Hague. It shows all the Dutch highlights and the Dutch society in 700 maquettes. It is very fun to watch and it gives a great overall impression of the Netherlands!
The Hague is the only large city which has a coast line. In fact, it has a coast line of 11 km! One part of this coast line is known as Scheveningen and the other part is known as Kijkduin; two of the most popular seaside resorts of the Netherlands. Every Dutch person with their milky legs goes to Scheveningen when the temperature reaches 20°C (yeah, 20°C = temperature goals in the Netherlands).
In the south of the Netherlands you will find Maastricht; one of the oldest cities of the country and in the province called Limburg. For your information: most of the Dutch people make jokes about people from Limburg and the province itself. This is due to their very old fashioned way of living and their very strong accent. Even I have a hard time to understand people from the very south of the Netherlands! It is like the American – British accent issue, basically.
Maastricht, which is nearly on the boarder of Belgium and Germany, is a pretty touristic place to be for those with too much free time. This city has a beautiful cultural center where you can walk and talk the whole day and find monuments and churches everywhere. The city has a lot of small streets with some cute local shops. You can also find the Sint-Servaasbrug, the oldest bridge of the Netherlands and above the broad river called ‘Maas’.
There are plenty of good restaurants and cafés in Maastricht. The Markt and Onze Lieve Vrouwenplein are examples of cozy areas which offer plenty of food and drinks. Maastricht is also filled with coffee shops, which makes Maastricht a beloved place for German and Belgian people (*wink*).
Eindhoven (my hometown) is a beautiful, modern city. The city is known as an innovative/technical city, thanks to Philips and the High Tech Campus, for example. Eindhoven has its focus in art, design, lights, culture and sports.
Eindhoven is a great place to go shopping. Next to the city center, Eindhoven has the innovative place called Strijp-S, where you can find a lot of small businesses and great hipster/urban places to hang out. Also, you can have a nice drink in the very middle of Eindhoven (the Markt) and there is a street called Stratumseind, the longest ‘night out’ street of the Netherlands with cafés, pubs and clubs for a great night. Before you enter Stratumseind, you will find a beautiful church called Sint-Catharina. A great city for a day trip for sure!
Have you already been in The Netherlands before? Which cities did you visit? Let me know in the comments below!