The Netherlands is the perfect mix of city – country – river. Because behind the endless dikes and the wonderful beaches of Holland hide so some beautiful cities. But which ones are worth visiting, apart from the famous Amsterdam and the hip port city of Rotterdam?
30 best cities to visit in the Netherlands is not meant to be a ranking. Rather, it should serve as inspiration for your next city trip to the Netherlands. Because one thing is for sure: It doesn’t always have to be Amsterdam. Even away from the canals, gabled houses and the like, there are some insider tips waiting for you.
There are few cities that can enchant and delight visitors in equal measure. Amsterdam is one of the few places that make for an unforgettable vacation. Think of the wonderful canals that literally take over the city. Here you have the opportunity to explore the sights by boat. Stop by the shore and visit a cozy restaurant or café and taste some of the Dutch specialties. See the houses with their typical pulleys up close and don’t forget the colorful flower markets.
As the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam can also be called probably the most beautiful metropolis of the country. Amsterdam is located in the region of North Holland, the North Sea is in the immediate vicinity, the water is easily accessible through the Nordzeekanaal.
A canal cruise is probably the most beautiful way to get to know buildings worth seeing along the shore. Drive along the Prinsengracht and visit the Anne Frank House. Learn more about the former hiding place of the Jewish girl in the resident museum.
Adjacent, experience the beautiful Renaissance style of the Westerkerk and the imposing west tower of this church. Don’t overlook Amsterdam’s city palace, either, and take a detour to Herengracht. This is also the location of the most exquisite part of Amsterdam, the Gouden Bocht. Once this part of the city was home only to wealthy people. On a vacation, it is also worth visiting other museums to get an overview of Amsterdam’s past. See impressive works by Van Gogh or Rembrandt and take a detour to the Maritime Museum or the Tropical Museum.
In the south of the Netherlands, Tilburg is one of the largest metropolises in the province of North Brabant and a stronghold of the textile industry. The fast-growing metropolis is a shopping and cultural center in the south of the country and a university city. In the 19th century, Dutch King William II named Tilburg his residence city and built a palace in 1847. William Frederick George Louis of Orange-Nassau is still present in the cultural life of the city. The palace is part of the city hall complex and numerous buildings and associations bear the name of William II.
Tilburg is a rather unknown vacation town with some historical sights and modern buildings. Among the beautiful streets as a pedestrian zone is the Heuvelstraat. Historic buildings such as the city hall or St. Joseph’s Church are among the buildings worth seeing in the city center. Several museums in the city are popular stops for visitors, such as the De Pont Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst and, of course, the Dutch Textile Museum, which exhibits interesting industrial machinery from the textile industry. Nearby are popular amusement parks such as the Efteling, the most visited amusement park in the Netherlands.
Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands with a lively cultural scene. The Germanic tribes and the Romans have left their mark on the city’s history. Today Maastricht is a young city with many students. The city center with its pedestrian zone and sights is quite compact and easy to explore on foot. The old center of Maastricht is connected with the Servaasbrug to the young and trendy district of Wyck. In this district you can find many art and antique stores and gastronomic offers.
The historical heart of the city beats around the market with some beautiful buildings from the 17th century and the city hall. The city center is free of traffic and is ideal for strolling. One of the most famous squares in the country is the Vrijthof. Here, among other things, open-air concerts are held against a magnificent backdrop. Artists such as André Rieu and his orchestra have played here. In the northwest of the city lies the Belvédère district with the old inner harbor. The district is continuously being developed as a new center of city life in Maastricht. Those interested in modern urban architecture should take a look at the Céramique district, which lies south of Wyck. Some renowned architects have erected modern buildings here.
The Dutch port metropolis Rotterdam with its seaport is one of the most important trading metropolises in Europe. The seaport is the most important trading center for crude oil in Europe.
Rotterdam is in many ways an attractive metropolis with a unique architecture of modernity. Due to its many high-rise buildings, Rotterdam is often referred to as the “Manhattan on the Meuse”. Due to the destruction of the city by the German and American air forces in World War II, Rotterdam had to completely redesign its cityscape after the war, which is still expressed in many architectural features today.
You can get to know the old Rotterdam in the Delfshaven, a small inner-city inland port with many historical sights such as the Pilgrim Church or Pelgrim, the only city brewery in Rotterdam. In the beautiful district you will find cafes, bars and restaurants. Rotterdam is a shopping stronghold in the Netherlands. Many stores and restaurants can be found in the former warehouse complex Westelijk Handelsterrein.
The centers for fashion and accessories are at home on the Meent and Nieuwemarkt. Rotterdam is a leading cultural city in the country. Cultural institutions worth seeing include the new Luxor Theater, one of the finest theaters in the Netherlands. The most famous harbor structure on the Maas River is the Wilhelminakade. This is where ships used to sail to New York. From the traditional Hotel New York you have a great view over the skyline of Rotterdam.
The capital of the province of Groningen is the city of the same name, which is also the largest city in this northeastern province with about 120,000 inhabitants. Worthwhile is a visit to the seal recovery and research center Lenie ‘t Hart, SSRC in Pieterburen. You will find a varied landscape in this province, ideal for cycling and hiking. The Dutch hiking trail Het Pieterpad also starts from here. Always an experience are the coasts of Groningen. The Wadden Sea is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Of course, the beaches are also ideal for a walk. Almost endless marshlands invite you to hike.
Worth seeing in the university city of Groningen is the market place Grote Markt with the Martinitoren. The city was built around this tower, which is about 500 years old. On a sunny day it is worth the climb. From the highest building of the city you have a wonderful panoramic view. If you like cultural things, you should visit the Groningen Museum with the works of the artist group De Ploeg as well as collections of Chinese and Japanese porcelain. Groningen also offers numerous shopping opportunities. Here you should visit the Vismarkt in the Folkingestraat.
About 122,000 people live in Zwolle, the capital of the Dutch province of Overijssel. Zwolle is a beautiful city with a long and eventful history, which is also reflected in the many historic buildings.
The first documented mention of St. Michael’s Church was in 1040. In 1230, the former Hanseatic city was granted city rights. In the 15th century the city really flourished. The city developed into a stronghold of book printing. In addition, several educational institutions with a high reputation were founded. Coins were also minted in Zwolle for decades.
Zwolle has a historic city center surrounded by modern buildings. The city center has preserved its historical past. Countless historic facades, the former city wall with its defense towers, the over 600 year old city gate and the star-shaped Stadtgracht form the center. The old town is flanked by impressive merchants’ houses and many trees. The unique alleys and the impressive fortifications invite you to explore the city.
There is a lot to see in the Dutch city. An important sight is the church of St. Michael, which was built between 1370-1446 in Gothic style. Also the landmark of Zwolle, the Church of Our Lady from the 14th/15th century should not be missed on a sightseeing tour. Other sights are the town hall from the 15th century, the Sassenpoort is a city gate, which was built in 1408 and can be partially visited from the inside, the Dominican monastery or the synagogue built between 1898 and 1899.
Alkmaar is located in the Dutch province of North Holland and is a popular tourist city, known as the “City of Cheese”. It offers a traditional cheese market, cultural museums and historical sights.
Although the exact date of settlement in the region is unknown, the earliest written mentions of the village of Alkmaar date back to the 10th century. In 1254, the village of Alkmaar was incorporated as a city, and for the next several centuries it grew in size and prosperity.
Today, Alkmaar is known as a popular cultural destination in the North Holland region and offers a variety of unique cultural attractions for weekend and long-term vacationers. The city is known for its Alkmaar Cheese Market, which has earned it the reputation as the “City of Cheese” in the Netherlands. The market, located on Alkmaar’s Waqagplein market square, is open every Friday morning from April to September.
One of only four traditional cheese markets still open in the Netherlands, the market has been in continuous operation since 1365. Traditional local cheeses are offered at the market, which is ceremoniously opened each week by regional celebrities. Price negotiation is done in an auction fashion, and purchased cheese is transported by traditional cheese carriers to nearby buyers for customer purchase. Stalls near the market also sell a variety of cheese, food and home products.
You like water sports, rough coastal winds and endless dune landscapes? Then Noordwijk in the Netherlands is your vacation destination.
Noordwijk is a municipality on the west coast of the Netherlands. Belonging to the province of South Holland, you will find the town of 43,000 souls between the major cities of The Hague and Amsterdam. Both Noordwijk aan Zee, which is popular with vacationers, and Noordwijk-Binnen are part of the municipality, which has made a name for itself as the “Flower Spa of Europe”. The reason for this is the high proportion of flower meadows, which make the coastal town a colorful paradise in spring.
Noordwijk is the perfect destination when it comes to beach vacations – once you’re on the beach promenade, you’ll understand why: more than 13 kilometers of fine, light sandy beach stretch out before you along the wide, blue sea. Whether you want to go kitesurfing, canoeing or surfing in the water, or play yoga or beach volleyball on the beach, there are no limits to the sports you can do here. But also those who want to lie lazily in the sand, walk along the water or hang out in one of the beach bars will get their money’s worth here.
In the south of the Netherlands lies the lively and young metropolis of Eindhoven, which is known for its culture, art and lifestyle. Here you can find many cafes, restaurants and shopping opportunities in the center. Eindhoven has with “Stratumseind” the longest pub street in the Netherlands. On the Wilhelminaplein many citizens and visitors spend the afternoon in typical Dutch pubs and cafes. Eindhoven is called the City of Light because the Philips electronics corporation was founded here towards the end of the 19th century.
Today, however, the group’s headquarters are in Amsterdam. The metropolis has two internationally renowned museums, the Designhuis and the Van Abbemuseum for contemporary art. The renowned museum of modern art exhibits some 1,000 sculptures and 700 paintings, including works by Picasso and Chagall. Modern cultural institutions include the Muziekcentrum Frits Philips, inaugurated by Queen Beatrix in 1992. Design as an art form plays an important role in Eindhoven. The international Dutch Design Week is a highlight in the city’s calendar of events.
In the center of the Netherlands in the province of Utrecht lies the metropolis of the same name, which offers a lot of historical charm and a lot of cultural attractions. Utrecht, with its picturesque streets and historic canal system, is the seat of the Dutch Railways. Due to its central location in the country, the city is an important transportation hub for the railroads. The medieval city center and the canals invite to stroll and boat trips.
One can find many restaurants, cafes and shopping opportunities in the metropolis. Boat trips through the canals of the old town are especially popular with visitors and show the beautiful city in a romantic way. Utrecht offers many relaxing green spaces and many cultural institutions such as renowned museums. Among others, the Dutch Railway Museum is located in the city.
A cultural monument of the Netherlands is the Utrecht Cathedral, one of the historical sights of Utrecht. The cathedral is one of the most beautiful churches in Holland and has the highest church tower in the country. Due to the university, the city is also a young city with a fashionable lifestyle.
In the north of the Netherlands lies the city of Leeuwarden, administrative seat of the province of Friesland. The population is now about 110,000.
The first settlement dates back to the year 200. The villages of Oldehove, Nijehove and Hoek stood on three terps, which grew together over the next centuries and eventually resulted in the city of Leeuwarden. In 1435 the town was granted town rights. Situated on the Middelzee, which is formed by the inlet of the Wadden Sea inland, Leeuwarden has always been a trade center for the waterway.
It was only when this dried up that people turned to livestock farming, as the surrounding meadows were ideally suited for this. At the same time, Leeuwarden was already a large city at that time, as it already had more than 15,000 inhabitants around 1600. At that time it was also the residence of the governor of the province of Friesland. Thanks to the passion for collecting porcelain of the widow Marie Luise of Hesse-Kassel, the local ceramics museum received a stately endowment.
Today Leeuwarden is still the economic center in the province of Friesland. Financial service providers, government agencies and government institutions are major employers. Tourism also plays a major role and the production of clothing, artificial silk, linen fabrics, machinery or food supplements the importance. The Fries Museum displays objects of art, culture and history. Besides the two other museums, the leaning tower Oldehove, the old trade center or the former chancellery is also a popular place to visit.
With its canals and old mansions, Leiden is every bit as beautiful as the famous canal cities of the Netherlands, just not nearly as crowded. During the Golden Age, which peaked in 1650, Leiden was considered the second most important city in the country – and that important past can still be felt throughout the city today.
Leiden is the birthplace of Rembrandt. Born in Leiden in 1605, Rembrandt van Rijn found in the city the architectural beauty and beautiful spiritual atmosphere that allowed him to develop his masterly talent. Visitors can get an impression of Rembrandt’s life in the artist’s former studio. It is picturesquely located on the waterfront and still inspires viewers today.
Leiden is a cultural metropolis. There are 13 museums in the city and they are all within walking distance of each other. As small as the physical distance is, the thematic diversity is great: from Rembrandt’s masterpieces to ethnological curiosities to precious flower bulbs. Those who want to educate themselves in Leiden can do so in an entertaining way. And perhaps more significantly, the entire city is an open-air museum, for little has changed in the cityscape over the centuries.
Leiden is where the first tulip bulb in the Netherlands was planted. The much-publicized event took place 400 years ago, and tulips still grow today at the site of the historic event, the famous Hortus Botanicus.
Dordrecht is a municipality in the province of Zuid-Holland. The municipality extends over the so-called Dordrecht Island. The city center of Dordrecht is located northwest of it. Dordrecht is situated on the so-called Three Rivers Corner (Canal Noord, Oude Maas and Dordtse Kil). This waterway is one of the busiest in the Netherlands.
Dordrecht received its city charter in 1220 and claims the right to be the oldest city in the Netherlands. Due to its location on the three rivers, Dordrecht was an important city early on and also had stacking rights. This made it an important trading center.
Today, Dordrecht is not quite as important, but because of its location, it is still important for seafaring.
Worth seeing in the city are the Grote Kerk, the cultural center Het Hof, the gabled houses and the beautiful old merchant houses. There are also many beautiful canals in the city. Outside the city lies the national park De Biesbosch.
In the center are the main shopping and nightlife areas of Dordrecht. The Scheffersplein offers the best possibilities to go out. Most hotels and restaurants are located there. The Voorstraat is called the longest shopping street of the Netherlands with the length of 1200 meters. In total, the inland city of Dordrecht houses about 1000 important buildings and canals.
The city on the Eem River is almost 1000 years old, it has always been an important trading place between Amsterdam and the Hanseatic cities. Before the city was founded, there was a Roman settlement here. The first documented mention of Amersfoort dates back to 1028, and the town was granted city rights in 1259. In the Middle Ages, Amersfoort was a center of the textile industry, and later of the tobacco industry. And Amersfoort was once also the center of beer brewing, there was the largest density of breweries in the Netherlands. Today, there are still several small breweries that brew very aromatic and individual craft beer creations. When in Amersfoort, be sure to try the local beers.
The medieval old town still has many old houses, narrow streets and the typical Dutch canals. A walk through the old town is like a journey back in time, because even away from the main streets you will find many narrow and winding alleys lined with old houses and many flowers.
In every report about Amersfoort, the Koppelpoort probably comes first. The imposing water city gate is one of the most important sights of Amersfoort and is not missing in any report about the city. The medieval city gate is special because three streets lead through the gate into the city. To the right and left are normal streets and in the middle is a canal, a waterway. The Koppelpoort is impressive during the day, but at night it is especially worth seeing because it is illuminated.
Haarlem, the provincial capital of Noord-Holland, is located about 20 kilometers west of Amsterdam. Endless colorful flower fields dominate Haarlem’s surroundings and flowers have shaped the city’s history. The cultivation and trade of the fragrant and beautiful plants brought Haarlem considerable prosperity in the 16th and 17th centuries, which was expressed, among other things, in magnificent buildings. To this day Haarlem is considered the Flower City of Holland and this joyous occasion is celebrated every year in April with a parade.
The market square, Grote Markt, is surrounded by numerous sights and is one of the most beautiful squares in Holland. With its 80-meter tower, the church of St. Bavokerk is the tallest building on Grote Markt. The construction of the late Gothic church extended from the 14th to the 16th century, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Franz Schubert, among others, have already lent a hand to the church’s organ, which was completed in 1732. The interior of the church, where the important painter Frans Hals was buried, impresses with a variety of special features.
Gouda is one of the most characteristic original Dutch cities. The city is world famous for its cheese, syrup waffles, candles, pipes and pottery. The historical Gouda is worth a visit! In the beautiful city center, all sights can be visited on foot: the fabulous freestanding Gothic town hall from 1450 on the market square, the various museums and the Saint John’s Church with its unique Gouda stained glass windows. Stroll through the atmospheric streets and along the canals and feel transported back to the Middle Ages, the period when the famous humanist Erasmus lived and worked in Gouda.
When you hear the name “Gouda”, you immediately think of cheese. Gouda cheese is one of the most famous and most consumed cheeses in the world. Gouda Kaas owes its name to the fact that this Dutch cheese has been traded in the city of Gouda for centuries. The famous Gouda cheese is still produced according to traditional methods in the polders of the city.
Nijmegen (approx. 162,000 inhabitants) has a rich history to offer. In 1402, Nijmegen became a member of the Hanseatic League – but its origins go far back into Roman times. A well-known personality of Nijmegen is Henry VI, the Holy Roman Emperor (1165-1197).
If you cross the Waal Bridge into the city center, you will understand why the inhabitants of Nijmegen are so proud of their city: the Waalkade and the silhouette of the city center form an imposing whole. Yesterday and today go hand in hand; historical parts alternate with modern architecture. Situated on a ridge on the banks of the Waal, the city has exerted a great attraction on people for centuries.
Incidentally, Nijmegen is home to the oldest shopping street in the Netherlands. The Lange Hezelstraat invites you to stroll and shop.
In the surrounding area, the ‘Rijk van Nijmegen’, many types of landscape collide. Hills, forests, polders and streams. The city is located in the middle of nature, with a lot of greenery and water, and offers both the resident and the visitor numerous opportunities for recreation and relaxation.
13. The Hague
The Hague is the third largest city in the Netherlands and is home to over 550,000 inhabitants. The Hague is the capital of South Holland and also the residence of the Dutch royal family. From the center of the city to the North Sea is just 6 kilometers, so The Hague is very suitable for a city trip with swimming opportunities.
The Hague is located in the west of the Netherlands, directly on the North Sea, and belongs to the Randstad metropolitan area. In the immediate vicinity are other cities worth visiting, such as Rotterdam, Delft and Leiden. The Westland, a greenhouse landscape, lies south of the city.
An important sight of The Hague is without question the Paleis Noordeinde, which is the seat of government of the Dutch royal family. Various churches, such as the Grote Kerk (“Great Church”) from the 14th century and the oldest church in the city, the Kloosterkerk (“Monastery Church”) give The Hague a unique cityscape. The Rijksmuseum, the Mauritiushuis, Haags Gemeentemuseum, the Escher Museum and the National Literary Museum offer tourists a lot of information about the art and culture of the Netherlands.
Breda became known around 1566 for the Breda Compromise, a document initially signed by 16 Dutch noblemen asking for the abolition of the tightened religious edicts and the abolition of the Inquisition. Gradually, the document was signed by 400 other Dutch noblemen, and the Geusenbund was born. This was also the beginning of the Dutch revolt against Spain.
In the Declaration of Breda, Charles II of England decreed in 1660, even before his accession to the throne, that the English would be granted amnesty and freedom of conscience. Breda was thus the site of several important documents, including several peace treaties. Nevertheless, the Spanish and other nations besieged the city in 1561 and in the following decades.
From the eventful history, a large number of sights are preserved today, mainly in the old town. Among them, the large market square is the center. Besides the old town hall and the two churches, the beguinage is also very interesting. It is located in the middle of the city park and is a small quarter within the old town. The city castle today houses the Dutch Military Academy.
Helmond is a municipality in the province of Noord-Brabant. Helmond has had municipal law since 1232 and was for a long time an important center of the textile and metal industry. Nowadays, the city lives more from small and medium-sized business. Helmond is known for the many monasteries that are located here. However, the most famous sight of the city is Helmond Castle.
Helmond is also a nationally known carnival center. On Fasnacht, a state of emergency is declared in Helmond. Among other things, the mayor gives his keys to the fools. Carnival in Helmond also lasts until Ash Wednesday. Then, one way or another, herrings are eaten en masse – whether against the hangover or just because. The parade in Helmond is one of the largest in the south.
Helmonders are popularly known as kattenmeppers. The mocking name probably comes from the fact that Helmonders were once thought to have eaten cats. Another version is that in the past there was a cat lover, Father Nicodemus. He is said to have caught street cats and brought them to the monastery to catch mice. The cat still plays a big role in the life of the town. There is the Catstown jazz festival in Helmond. Another important event is the kasteeltuinconcert in June and August.
Apeldoorn is one of the larger cities in the province of Gelderland. The city forms the center of the Veluwe. In terms of area, Apeldoorn is even one of the largest municipalities in the Netherlands and it is also one of the fast growing municipalities.
The city has a long tradition. Around 793, the town is said to have been mentioned for the first time. After William III built Het Loo Castle here around 1689, the town rapidly gained prestige in the Veluwe. Especially for high-ranking Dutchmen Apeldoorn became a popular place to live. Many beautiful houses were built, and green spaces were always included in the planning.
Thus a quite distinguished city with much green arose. After the Second World War, the city experienced a renewed flourishing. At the end of the 1960s, Apeldoorn gained further importance through the settlement of the Theological University and some important state authorities.
The most famous sights of Apeldoorn are mainly the former royal castle of William III Paleis Het Loo, the outside zoo Apenheul and the national park Hoge Veluwe, which is located southwest of the city.
The center of Apeldoorn represents a mix of old and new. In some corners you can still see the old village center. In the center you can shop quite well. Most of the stores are located on the Hoofdstraat. This is one of the longest shopping streets in the Netherlands.
Delft is located in the province of Zuid-Holland. Delft is one of the oldest of all Dutch cities. In 1246 the place received city rights. Subsequently, Delft was an important trading city. Delft gained importance when Willem van Oranje moved his residence to the city. Since then, members of the Orange family have also been buried here in the Nieuwe Kerk.
Delft then developed into one of the most important cities in the province of Holland in the 17th century. The city was an outstanding importer of Chinese ceramics. When supplies from China became scarce, and probably also for economic reasons, Delft began to develop its own ceramics. The Delft faience soon became a best-seller and made Delft the center of ceramic art.
The city suffered a setback when the so-called Delft Thunderclap occurred in 1654. Secret stores of gunpowder belonging to the Dutch military were stored in the city. They caught fire and exploded, destroying about a third of the city center. After the Delft thunderclap, its role as a commercial center went downhill.
The most famous destinations in Delft are the Nieuwe and Oude Kerk, the Legermuseum, the Prinsehof, the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles and the Delftse Pauw. Also worth seeing are the Stadhuis, De Waag or the Korenbeurs. Also nice are the Hofjes, which Delft also has (small houses with a central courtyard).
The central square of the beautiful city center is the large market square. Every Thursday there is a market here. Around the market square are many beautiful houses, cafes, restaurants and stores. Throughout the city you will find many museums. Delft is in itself a quite pleasant and green city. There are many green areas and parks.
Hilversum is a municipality in the province of Noord-Holland. Although Hilversum is quite large and has great importance as a media city, it does not have city rights. Hilversum is located relatively close to Amsterdam and Utrecht in the Het Gooi. This is a beautiful nature area. However, Het Gooi is also synonymous with great prosperity in the Netherlands. Hilversum has developed from a farming town into the most important media location in the Netherlands. Because of its good location and infrastructure, Hilversum is very popular as a place to live for commuters to Utrecht and especially Amsterdam.
The city center is quite worth seeing. The most famous building is the Hilversum town hall with its interesting architecture and yellow brick. Very impressive is the large St. Vitus church. Also impressive is the Media Park, which is located in the north of Hilversum.
Hilversum has been able to preserve much of its originality. This is also true for its inhabitants. That is why Hilversum is often called a village. The village has many green areas, and there are some beautiful nature areas in the surroundings. The transition between residential areas and nature is fluid. The residential areas often look very noble with many beautiful villas.
Zutphen is considered the best preserved old town in the Netherlands. Zutphen is located in the province of Gelderland. In Zutphen the Berkel flows into the Ijssel. The city is considered the gateway to the so-called Achterhoek, an area of the province of Gelderland. Zutphen was probably already settled in Roman times. In the 11th century, the town underwent major reconstruction under Emperor Henry III and gained importance under the Bishop of Utrecht. Zutphen was one of the minting centers in the country and was in direct competition with Deventer, which was not far away.
Anyone approaching Zutphen will be amazed by its beautiful location on the water. Zutphen, the city of striking towers and stately merchant houses – even from a distance, curiosity is aroused. In addition to several large towers that can be seen from afar and form the skyline of the city, Zutphen also has many smaller towers.
In the old town you walk on medieval paths. Besides the towers, the historic warehouses, merchant houses, churches, courtyards, squares, streets and alleys determine the atmosphere of the city. Events, markets, a wide range of stores, restaurants, cafes, museums and galleries act as tourist magnets of the region.
Deventer is a municipality and city in the province of Overijssel. The city was founded around 768. Deventer briefly played an important role as the seat of the Bishop of Utrecht and then became a free imperial city. Deventer was located at the crossroads of important trade routes and therefore became an important trading city. The city soon joined the Hanseatic League.
Only when the Ijssel was no longer so navigable, Deventer lost its importance. However, Deventer then developed into an important industrial city. Today, the printing and packaging industry dominates in Deventer.
Almost more important than the economic role of the city was the cultural role that Deventer always played. The city was already an important printing center before 1500 and then became an important cultural and scientific center. Deventer has been able to preserve a very beautiful city center, which is one of the most beautiful in the Netherlands. The most famous historical buildings are the city scales, the Grote Kerk and the Bergkirche.
The central square is the market square (Brink). Well-known events in the city are mainly the Dickens Festival, which is performed in the city on the weekend before Christmas Eve. At the beginning of July, the Deventer op Stelten festival takes place – a theater festival of stilt walkers. The book market, which takes place at the beginning of August is known nationwide. In addition, Deventer usually hosts a well-known market on Fridays and Saturdays, of which the Saturday market is the larger.
This beautiful and tranquil city with just over 56,000 inhabitants is located in the Dutch province of Limburg. Roermond is known as a shopping mecca. Millions of shoppers find their way to the local outlet center every year. But Roermond has more to offer than just shopping.
The famous Dutch architect Pieter Cuypers, builder of the Central Station and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, was born here and has left many traces. And the area also has a lot to offer in terms of scenery; the Meuse lakes, on which the city is located, are a water sports area par excellence.
Roermond is an ancient city whose origins date back to Roman times, and it is also an episcopal city. Accordingly, there are many interesting buildings and churches. Even a walk through the old town with facades from different periods of the last centuries is very worthwhile. On the market square there is a very beautiful town hall with a carillon tower from 1700.
Right next door, the Cathedral of St. Christopher is worth a visit. The Liebfrauen Minster Church can also be visited. The church itself was built as early as the 13th century, and around 1850 it was extensively rebuilt and expanded.
In front of the church on the Münsterplatz stands the beautiful music pavilion by Cuypers. He had it designed and built for his wife in 1880 and it is still popular for musical performances, thanks to its excellent acoustics.
The Münsterplatz is perfect for concerts, because you sit beautifully under the big old trees. By the way, it is also an excellent place to rest a bit from the city tour and have a coffee.
About 22 kilometers northeast of Amsterdam lies Edam, known worldwide for its round, red-skinned culinary landmark. The small town in the province of Noord-Holland was once the center of Dutch cheese exports. Nowadays, not a single Edam cheese is produced in the town, but cheese still plays an important and central role in the lives of its inhabitants.
The town’s rural cheese market, held weekly in the summer in the square in front of the museum, is particularly popular with tourists: in the old tradition, the Edam people, dressed in typical clothing, bring the cheese in on wooden stretchers to be weighed and then negotiate prices.
However, the prosperity of the city is not based solely on the cheese trade; shipbuilding had also once made Edam a wealthy area. Although the old shipyards no longer exist today, the magnificent old gabled houses from the 16th and 17th centuries are a reminder of the Golden Age in Edam.
One of these impressive gabled houses, dating from 1550, houses the Stedelijk Museum 75: the former home of a merchant is furnished in the style of the 17th century and has a unique floating cellar. Numerous portraits document the history of the town and thus give an impression of old Edam.
In some corners of the city, with its canals, small bridges and lovingly restored houses, time seems to have stood still.
3. Bergen op Zoom
In the Dutch province of North Brabant lies Bergen op Zoom, a municipality with a population of around 66,400. For many vacationers, Bergen op Zoom is a popular destination because of its beautiful city center, but also because of the scenic surroundings.
Bergen op Zoom has existed since the Middle Ages and as early as 1330 the village, which had grown together from three small settlements, was granted municipal rights. The town quickly became an administrative center, and the port, which was already present at that time, also played a part in this.
Already at that time Bergen op Zoom was known for its fairs and was therefore able to quickly become a competitor for the city of Antwerp as a trading city. Around the year 1500, there were not only disputes between the resident Spaniards and others who wanted to own rights to the city, but also damage caused by violent natural events.
Today, in the city center of Bergen op Zoom, a small museum of city archaeology is located in the city gate Gevangenpoort. The Markiezenhof Palace is the only building of its kind from the 15th and 16th centuries that exists in the Netherlands. There is also a museum here, it displays a collection of regional art. In the city center there are other houses that have been awarded the designation of “Protected Townscape” by the government.
‘s-Hertogenbosch is the capital of the province of Noord-Brabant. The city is usually called Den Bosch for short. Den Bosch is located on the Dieze River and the Zuid-Willemsvaart Canal, as well as an important railroad junction.
Den Bosch is now an episcopal see, has many administrative facilities and overall a very good infrastructure. The city is often visited by tourists and offers an overall pleasant atmosphere. Especially the area around the market square is worth exploring Den Bosch. The city center is one of the oldest completely preserved centers in the Netherlands.
One of the main sights is the mighty Sint Jan church. In the Noordbrabants Museum you can learn a lot about the region and its artists. The oldest house in town is De Moriaan. It dates back to the 13th century. On the watercourse of the Binnen-Dieze you can make round trips, some of which are underground. Den Bosch, like so many places in Noord-Brabant, is a very important carnival center. Carnival is celebrated here in a big way, there is even a carnival museum.
Arnhem is the capital of the province of Gelderland. Arnhem was not originally a riparian of the Rhine. The city was founded at a crossroads of the important trade routes Utrecht, Nijmegen and Zutphen. In 1233 Arnhem was granted city rights. In the 15th century the course of the Rhine was changed and since then it passes Arnhem. The city of Arnhem became mainly a popular residence of the wealthy population, which of course had a positive effect on the cityscape. Representative houses and beautiful parks were built. These parks still characterize the image of the city today.
Today Arnhem is an important administrative center of the region. Unfortunately, the city was severely damaged during the infamous Battle of Arnhem. Therefore, after World War II, Arnhem had to be practically rebuilt. However, the city is well worth seeing and has some beautiful rebuilt buildings. Worth seeing in Arnhem are especially the Openluchtmuseum, the Basilica Sint Walburga, the Eusebiuskerk or for example the parks Sonsbeek and Zijpendaal (with the castle Zijpendaal). One of the most popular destinations among tourists is the Burgers’ Zoo with the safari park, the rainforest and the great desert area.