6 places to visit in Holland apart from Amsterdam

 

A lot of tourists start and finish their trip in Holland in Amsterdam and often overlook visiting other interesting places in the country. Lovers of culture come from far and wide to tour the renowned Dutch museums. The cities will charm you, just as they did the great artists, while other attractions such as Keukenhof Gardens, the Delft Blue potteries and Gouda cheese market are equally memorable.

Zaanse Schans

The Zaanse Schans is a delightful old hamlet on the banks of the river Zaan with green wooden houses, stylized gardens, small hump-backed bridges, tradesmen’s workshops, historic windmills and engaging little shops. Zaanse Schans is not just an open air museum but a living and working neighborhood. The hamlet has not always existed though. The museum was established in 1949 by the Stichting Zaanse Schans, a private organization concerned with preserving historical structures threatened by industrial development. Typical old wooden houses and windmills of the 17th and 18th centuries were taken down, re-erected here and carefully restored.

Zaanse Schans

Gouda

The old market town of Gouda lies in a fertile polder area between Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague, at the point where the Gouwe flows into the Hollandse IJssel. It is a very typical Dutch town with picturesque canals and many historic buildings in the old part of the town. After receiving its municipal charter in 1272 Gouda rapidly developed into an important trading town. In the 17th century, however, it declined. Later, after the traditional cloth-making industry had given way to the manufacture of pipes and the production of cheese, Gouda again developed into an important economic centre. Gouda is famed for its cheese.

Gouda

Delft

Delft lies on the Delftsche Schie with the old part of town ringed by canals. In the 17th century, the town’s canal water became tainted, leading to a decline from 200 breweries to 20. In 1654, the “Thunderclap”, an accidental gunpowder explosion levelled half the town and killed hundreds. But Delft quickly rebounded, thanks to riches the city amassed as the headquarters of the Dutch East India Company. The porcelains brought back by their traders from the Far East proved irresistible, and in 1645, De Porceleyne Fles started making and exporting the blue and white earthenware that was to make the town famous. Civil war in China had dried up the source for porcelains, and Delft potters leaped in and created the blue faience that soon became known as Delft Blue. The manufacture of Delft ware, which was world-famed from the 17th to the mid-18th century, has recently been revived.

Delft

Aalsmeer

The town of Aalsmeer lies on the ring canal of the Haarlemmermeer polder, a third of its area occupied by water. At Aalsmeer, the Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer (Aalsmeer Flower Auction) is held 5 days a week from early to midmorning. The largest flower auction in the world, with an annual turnover of more than $200 million, it has 3 continuously operating auction halls in a building the size of several football fields. You walk on a catwalk above the rolling four-tier carts that wait to move on tracks past the auctioneers. The buying system is what is called a Dutch auction – the price goes down, not up, on a large “clock” on the wall. The buyers sit lecture-style with buzzers on their desks; the first to register a bid gets the bunch.

Aalsmeer

Keukenhof

For six weeks, from the end of March to the middle of May, the 17-acre Keukenhof (Kitchen Courtyard) park and greenhouse complex, founded in 1950, is one of the largest open-air live flower exhibitions in the world. As many as 7 million tulip bulbs bloom every spring, either in hothouses or in flower beds along the sides of a charming lake. In the last weeks of April you can catch tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and narcissi all flowering simultaneously. In addition there are 50,000 square feet of more exotic blooms under glass.

Keukenhof

Haarlem

Haarlem, the capital of the province of Noord-Holland, lies between Amsterdam and the North Sea, on the little river Spaarne. It is one of the most beautiful and oldest cities in Holland, and is home to the Frans Hals Museum founded in 1862 with its vast collection of Old Masters. Other highlights include St. Bavo’s Cathedral on the main square, where both Handel and Mozart played the magnificent Muller organ, and the many boutique shops.

Haarlem

Chris Gant is Marketing Manager atáEuropean Waterways Ltd..

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Comments (9)

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  1. Liana Bakker says:

    I’ve been to the Netherlands many times and these are all really wonderful places to visit. Pictures don’t do it justice! Most people just think of Amsterdam as sex and drugs. There is so much more to this country than that!

  2. Julius says:

    Hi, really good recommendations. If you are in Holland, Antwerpen in Belgium is not too far. Great town, I liked it very much. And Amsterdam is, of course, remains the best to be visited town in Holland.

    Thanks for the article
    Julius

  3. These are beautiful options for travel to The Netherlands. I recently visited Hulst which was a stunning town too.

  4. Amy says:

    I’ve been to the Netherlands loads of times but only Amsterdam twice. On my first trip I found it seedy and a complete tourist trap, but on my second I found it quaint and visiting Anne Frank’s house is one of my favourite travel memories ever. However, other places in the country deserve a mention. I much prefer cities in the South, such as Eindhoven. Explore this country, not just its capital!

  5. David says:

    And then there is also Rotterdam. Very different than any of the named places, but definately worth a visit. According to the NY Times, Rotterdam is a Top10 place to visit in 2014.

  6. Joan Bos says:

    In stead of Amsterdam you can better visit Utrecht; Utrecht’s canals are much nicer than Amsterdam. Even the movie “Amsterdamned” about a monster in the canals was mostly filmed on location in the canals in Utrecht, because those canals are nicer than Amsterdam’s canals. So, don’t go to Amsterdam, go to Utrecht instead!!
    Delft (mentioned above) has nice canals, too.

  7. Joan Bos says:

    The Zaanse Schans is not a real village; it was created. It contains old houses and mills from other places. Having said that, it is nice to visit.

  8. Andrew Cook says:

    I would second the sugestion to visit Utrecht! It’s a very nice city. Also a smaller place to go to is Heerenveen.

  9. chamrul says:

    I had a brother who lived in Holland since 15 years ago. They live in Wageningen, which he says is a rural area. As I listened to their stories about Holland, I really feel envy and awe. I can only see and hear it. Apart from being a very comfortable shelter for its citizens, Holland is one of the tourist destinations and education in Europe. The country offers a unique tradition and culture in Europe. I myself really want to be able to go there. But it seems there is still no chance. nice share.

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