After spending over 8 months in Barcelona, it is time to go back home, The Netherlands.
Right now I am not looking forward to go back yet, but truth is that that day will come. All the Dutch people I follow on Instagram have been spamming me with lovely pictures of places back home and it is time for me to also explore more of my home country.
I have visited many sites, like Amsterdam, Giethoorn, Groningen, Rotterdam and Den Haag/The Hague and now it will be time to visit the smaller or less known places.
By the way, if you have not been to The Netherlands, you of course have to go to the places I just mentioned.
Let’s start with a very famous place for Dutchies, the Veluwe.
What to expect in this article
In the middle of the country you can find this huge (1100 km2) natural park. It has different kinds of landscapes; forests, Europe’s largest sand drift, wildlife and many cute, small towns. It’s a very well-known spot in The Netherlands, but I have not had the chance to go there yet. Hopefully soon.
The Veluwe is 1 hour from Amsterdam, depending on which site you go to.
I got to visit the Veluwe! Well, a small part of this immense park. Shortly after writing this blog, I visited the Posbank. This is just one of the many pretty places you can visit.
These are hills where you can have a stunning view over the surrounding area while being surrounded by beautiful nature. I did not feel like I was in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has 5 islands, called the Wadden islands or Frisian islands and these are all located in the North of the country. When I was younger, my family and I wanted to visit one island every year. We did a pretty good job, until the year I moved to Sevilla and after that Corona came along. Vlieland is the one island that is still pending and then we have visited all five.
All the islands are super pretty, green and lovely to spend time on. Every year we hired bicycles and cycled around the whole island, except Texel, because it is a bit bigger. I would love to do the same with Vlieland.
If you are in Amsterdam, you first have to go to Harlingen, which might take you 1.5 hours. After this, you have to take the boat to Vlieland, which takes another 1.5 hours.
Have you ever seen the picture below? It is one of the most famous photos of the Netherlands. The typical mills next to the water are a sight many people have of this country. Sadly I have to disappoint you and tell you that you can’t find this everywhere.
But you can find it at the Kinderdijk and that is exactly the reason I have to visit this photogenic spot. This is also the reason why it has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997.
It is located 1 hour by car from Amsterdam, close to the other big city called Rotterdam.
The Blue Lake
I have discussed places in many provinces in the Netherlands, but not yet a beautiful spot located in the province I live in: Drenthe!
The Blue Lake is a sand extraction site of the brick factory. After sand dredgers did their work for many years, without interruption, the Blue Lake was created. Glauconite, a mineral with a dark green color, occurs in the sand. This creates the blue-green color of the lake.
It is a 2 hour trip from Amsterdam to reach The Blue Lake (het blauwe meer).
The Blue Lake was one of the first things I visited when I went back to NL. I can tell you that it is absolutely beautiful. It doesn’t feel like you are in the Netherlands. I did not have to pay to enter, but I saw that you will have to pay 3 euros after the month of May.
There’s even a fun swing to take some cool pictures and if you walk further, you can find another lake, which is even bluer. I don’t think that is natural, but for sure nice to see.
I already spoke about Maastricht in one of my previous posts and that I badly wanted to visit it, but Covid-19 did not let me.
Maastricht is the most southern city in the Netherlands and people always have great stories about it. It’s on the border of Germany and Belgium, which is the reason why its architecture, culture, and cuisine are very much influenced.
I have heard that it’s a city that does not look like any other Dutch city, which is very rare. As a Dutchie, I feel like every city looks a bit similar.
By car, it might take you 2 hours to reach from Amsterdam.
Read this blog as well:
Het Nije Hemelriek
The Nije Hemelriek is a nice clear lake in the province of Drenthe, where you can also swim, surrounded by pine trees. It is free to visit. The sand is pretty nice and great if you want to sunbathe or have a picnic. There is also a restaurant if you want to have some snacks.
By car, it is 2 hours from Amsterdam. I live in Drenthe and for me it will only take 20 minutes to reach this lake, which might be the reason I will visit this first of the list.
At the end of May, I had the chance to visit this unique place with my sister and her boyfriend. This means it’s not the first place I visited, but I did visit it very soon after first writing this blog!
There were many people on the day we visited it. Some of them were even swimming, while it was still pretty cold.
It feels like you are somewhere in Scandinavia when you are here. That’s all because of the huge pine trees. This is very uncommon for the Netherlands, which is why it is such a unique spot.
Plus, do you see how beautifully blue the water looks on my photos below?
It’s pretty far away from Amsterdam, but if you get the chance to go here and see some unique nature, which is uncommon for the Netherlands, you should go here.
Scheveningen (Den Haag)
Scheveningen is actually part of The Hague (Den Haag), one of the three big cities in the Netherlands. You can find the Supreme Court and the Cabinet, which makes it a pretty important city for NL. I have been once to The Hague and I did like it but did not have time to visit Scheveningen.
Scheveningen is the seaside district of The Hague and I have seen amazing pictures of the beach there. It actually reminds me of all those piers I have seen in movies of America, which I also still have to discover. It even has a Ferris wheel, so this must be the coolest place to hang out for a day.
The Hague is located on the west side of the Netherlands, 1 hour south of Amsterdam.
As one of my friends moved to Den Haag this year, I had to visit her and see her new house. While visiting Den Haag (my second time), we also decided to go to Scheveningen. It is only 15 minutes from her house.
Scheveningen is so much fun and so pretty! There is a big ferris wheel and if you want, you can even go bungee jumping.
Next to that, there is also a long boulevard next to sea, with many restaurant you can sit.
One of my friends told me it has One Direction vibes 😉 I think it’s a fun and beautiful place to visit.
The only province I have not visited in the Netherlands is Sealand. This is the most south-western province and as I have been living in the north all my life it wasn’t very easy to go here for a weekend.
Middelburg is the capital of Zeeland/ Sealand with a rich history. It was originally fortified to protect against the Vikings. I am watching the Vikings (serie) currently, so for me this is already one of the biggest reasons to go here ;).
According to all the articles I have read, it is a cute city, which is not overrun by tourists yet. Next to that, the streets are beautiful and there are enough nice things to do.
It takes about 2.5 hours from Amsterdam to reach Middelburg.
In August 2021 I spend a couple of days in Zeeland with a friend and Middelburg was our base. We visited the city twice and had a lovely town, it was even prettier than expected!
One of the most beautiful streets I have seen in a while is located in Middelburg, called Kuiperspoort.
Another fun thing you can do in Middelburg is to go Jells Garden Terrace, which you can read about here.
It’s a cozy city, with pretty streets and filled with life. When you walk close to a canal it seems like you are in Amsterdam, but less crowded. I also loved that every house has a name written on it and the year it was built.
Lastly, there is a small street close to the big church filled with umbrellas hanging in the sky. Instagram lovers, eat your heart out 😉
Read here about one nice place in Middelburg:
Last weekend I visited the province of Zeeland (in the Netherlands) for the first time and noticed there were many garden terraces (which are basically outside terraces with nature). So we visited eventually 3 of them and think they were all pleasant. I never knew I needed a ‘tuinterras’ this much! Jells Lunchcafé & Tuinterras- Middelburg Middelburg is the capital of Zeeland and has 48.000 inhabitants. I have two garden terraces in this city, but only went to Jells. We ended up here twice because the first time we only had a drink. Just because there were so many good
Amsterdam - Anne Frank Museum
I visit Amsterdam mostly once a year but have never visited the Anne Frank Museum.
Anne Frank was a Jewish girl that hid in 1942 (Second World War) from the Nazis during the occupation of the Netherlands. She hid in a special place in a house, which you can still visit in Amsterdam.
WW2 had a big impact on NL and I feel like we should never forget what happened. This is the biggest reason why I want to visit this museum. I think it is pretty interesting.
I have heard that it always used to be crowded and fully booked, so I recommend everyone to book the tickets online.
In August 2021 I also visited the Anne Frank museum. Another thing crossed off my list. After visiting Auschwitz I had an even bigger urge to go there.
It was super interesting and can recommend it to everyone! You will get headphones, so you can hear all the stories in the rooms.
I imagined the house to be very small, but I was surprised by the size! It’s of course smaller if you think 7 people have lived there and there was never any sunlight.
Next to that, you could really see Anne Frank was pretty young while living there, in her room you could still see the posters hanging of all the popstars she liked.
Don’t skip this place in Amsterdam.
Maybe you are also interested in this:
Everyone I know has heard once in his/her life about Auschwitz, one of the most horrifying places to be as a Jew during the Second World War. I always knew
Zaandam might be the closest place to Amsterdam from this list. You can reach it in only 17 minutes.
It is a unique town with the most fun colored and shaped houses. Close by (9 minutes by car) you can also find the Zaanse Schans, a place similar to the Kinderdijk, mentioned before. Combining these 2 places would be a great day trip. Seeing fun Dutch houses and the famous mills.
Seeing the pictures of the water and houses reminds me of Giethoorn. A very touristic but amazing place, they even call it Venice of the Netherlands. I have been to Giethoorn many times, but if you haven’t, you have to check it out!
So which place are you going to visit first? Let me know! Or which places do you love to visit in NL?
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