Mini Travel Guide: The Netherlands

A great travel guide to the Netherlands! Written by a local with all the best tips for where to do, what to do, what to eat, how to interact with the locals, and how to do it all cheaply! >> yesandyes.org

Looking for a travel guide to The Netherlands – land of tulips, wooden shoes, and canals? I brought in a local to share her best Dutch travel tips: where to go, what to do, and how to do it all cheaply!


I’m Cassey, owner of an online Boutique, Mora Approved, and a blogger living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. I moved here 10 months ago to set up my business and have fallen in love with the Dutch and Dutch culture!

Must go in the Netherlands

Amsterdam

Amsterdam is basically the perfect city – small enough to explore by bike – worldly enough to never feel small. There’s the popular opinion that Amsterdam is all about Marijuana and the Red Light District, but there really is so much more to see and do.

Make sure you visit Anne Frank House, eat a stroopwaffel in the historic Jordaan, party with the super-cool locals in Paradiso (a club/bar in a converted church), shop for bargain vintage at Nieuwmarkt, spend some cash at the boutiques in the 9 Streets area, and enjoy an ice-cold Heineken in Vondelpark.

Utrecht

One of the oldest Dutch cities, Utrecht is paradise for history buffs. The city boasts a moat and abounds with medieval castles and structures from the middle. The 600- year old Dom church is an awe-inspiring sight, and once you’ve taken in enough history, there’s some great cafes and shopping by the canals.

Maastricht

Situated in the South, Maastricht is quite different from the rest of the Netherlands. Boasting world-class cuisine and stunning hilly vistas, Maastricht has more of a cosmopolitan feel, influenced by its French and Belgian neighbours. It’s also home to the most beautiful bookstore in the world, Selexyz Dominicanen, which is a converted 13th century gothic church!

Must do in the Netherlands

Must do in the Netherlands

Get on your bike

The Netherlands is a cyclist’s paradise. With miles and miles of dedicated bike lanes and vehicle drivers that are patient and respectful to cyclists, you’d be remiss not to see the main cities from your bike. There’s nothing nicer than coasting down the canal streets and stopping at whatever café or shop takes your fancy.

Visit the Keukenhof

Literally translated as the ‘Kitchen Garden’, the Keukenhof is a must if you’re in The Netherlands from March 21 until May 20. Situated in Lisse – about 40 minutes outside of Amsterdam, it’s 32 hectares of stunning flower exhibitions inspired by a European country. You can even bike around the perimeter of the gardens to get a wide view of the vibrant tulip fields! Try to go earlier in the season, rather than later as that’s when the flowers are the most fresh.

Must eat in the Netherlands

Must eat in the Netherlands

Stroopwafel

By far the Dutch stand-out dessert offering, stroopwaffels are a must for the sweet toothed! They’re two round, thin waffles held together by a layer of sticky caramel, and are perfect served with a generous serving of ‘slagroom’ (whipped cream). Just try and stop at one.

Heineken

You’ve probably already enjoyed a Heineken in your home town, but apparently it tastes better in The Netherlands. Enjoy one glass or many at your friendly neighborhood bruin café.

Cultural Tips for Traveling in the Netherlands

Cultural tips for traveling in  the Netherlands

By their nature the Dutch are quite reserved, so bombarding a new Dutch friend with personal questions may not go down so well. When you’re out at the bars, simply mirror their behavior and you’ll do well. They’re very friendly once they know you.

Don’t expect the Red Light Districts to be full of drunk/high Dutch people – they’re generally full of tourists on Bachelor Parties and the Dutch tend to avoid those areas.

A great travel guide to the Netherlands! Written by a local with all the best tips for where to do, what to do, what to eat, how to interact with the locals, and how to do it all cheaply! >> yesandyes.org

Cheap travel tips for The Netherlands

Renting a bike will save you lots of money if you plan on traveling to lots of attractions. If you’re a real culture vulture and you’re there for a while, you might want to purchase a Museum Card.

At €50 per card, it’s valid for one year and allows entry to over 400 museums in The Netherlands! For food, the supermarkets are really well stocked with healthy and cheap ready-to-eat meals, like salads and sandwiches, which you can eat in the parks or sitting canal-side.

You’ll get more for your money booking lodging through Airbnb than a hotel. Here’s a stylish private room for $50 a night and here’s a whole apartment for $82! If you’ve never used Airbnb before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking.

Thanks so much, Cassey!  Do you guys have any Dutch travel tips to share?

P.S. The cheapskate guide to Amsterdam

photo credits: javier m // ourtravelpics // babble // here //  here //  photo-nic.co.uk nic on Unsplash

20 Comments

Lauren

Eeeee! I really want to visit the Netherlands! As someone who enjoys nothing more than donning a pretty dress and cycling around to coffee shops/pubs/op-shops, I feel that I would be right at home over there 🙂

Also, it would be lovely to be able to cycle around without fear of being run over by crazed motorists, which happens here! Thanks for sharing

Reply
Anouska

As a native Dutch, I'm really excited to see my country on here. 🙂

I want to add though, Queens' Day this year is the day the Queen steps back and her son will become King. Naturally, Queens' Day this year will be different, so if you're coming to the Netherlands for Queens' Day 2013, keep that in mind. From 2014 we will no longer have Queens' Day but Kings' Day instead, which will be on April 26th 2014, then April 27th from 2015 on. Kings' Day will be very similar to what Queens' Day has always been.

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Cassey

Sarah thanks so much for publishing the guide! Super chuffed to see it on the site 🙂

@Anouska, great tips about Queen's Day 2013. I'm heading to Queen's Day this year, do you know how it will differ from the previous years? I haven't kept up to date with all the festivities planning!

Reply
Anouska

The inner city of Amsterdam (like around Dam Square) will be near impossible to get to as the ceremony for the crowning will take place near there. Other than that, it will mostly be very similar to what it always has been, but with a break in between festivities so people can watch the ceremony, then afterwards there'll be more festivities. 🙂

Reply
Cassey

Ah fantastic – so I'll just avoid the inner canal rings. Last year I was near De Pijp around Heinekenplein (the furthest north I got was corner of Prinsengracht and Vijzelstraat) – so hopefully it will be okay there too. So looking forward to it. Thanks for the tips!

Reply
Rebecca

Ohhhhhhhhh there is a special special place in my heart for the Netherlands! Very well written travel guide- hit all the great points! A beautiful country all around with wonderful people!

Reply
Rachelia

Lately I've been really taken with the Netherlands and this post has me wanting to go so badly! That gothic church bookstore is TO DIE FOR! Also Stroopwafel sound delicious. I'd love to see the Anne Frank museum and the canals and tulips.

Totally bookmarking this and hoping that one day it will come in handy 🙂

Reply
Louise

I loved Amsterdam! It was one of the places where I felt like I could happily live. I was lucky enough to visit around Christmas a a (or the?) town square was lit up with a giant Christmas tree,

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The Dame Intl

I've been to Amsterdam three times, with a friend, a boyfriend and my mom (who smokes weed) and loved each time, I would def. go back as there is so much to explore!

Reply
Ami

My dad was born and raised in Maastricht. I grew up hearing stories about how wonderful it was and spent many summers in The Netherlands as a kid. It's one of the most beautiful places on earth in my opinion. The fact that it's home to frites and stroopwafels is a total bonus.

Reply
Aimee

I spent a few weeks in the Netherlands volunteering with children at a deportation center for asylum seekers, and I absolutely loved it. If you're staying in a youth hostel or somewhere else with access to a toaster, I'd recommend trying hagelslaag (chocolate sprinkles) on buttered toast. Unexpectedly delicious. Also, I enjoyed the Dutch pancakes, especially the ones with apples, bacon, and cheese inside.

I loved the Museum Card…If you're beginning your trip in Amsterdam, buy the card at one of the smaller museums (I got mine at a pipe museum). That way, you can avoid the long lines at the major museums like the Van Gogh Museum since they have special fast track lines for Museum Card holders.

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Cassey

Aimee great advice! I should have done that when I first moved there. Ah well the things you learn. Your volunteering experience sounded incredible. What was the name of the program?

I'm heading there again for Queen's Day and I can't wait!

Cassey

Reply
tiang lampu

Hello I'm Indonesians. I've been visiting Holland two times in June '95 & '99. I stayed in small town – Vorschoten – near Leiden. One thing I remember while stayed there was everyday walking to train station at 6 AM in the morning, the wind flows so fast. It was so cold for me. Nice country & nice peoples!

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chamrul

I’ve only seen Netherlands on movies and magazines. But I had a brother who lived in Wageningen sejal suah 15 years ago. I often hear the story, that the Netherlands is a great nation. Such a grand architecture of buildings and structures. It seemed the city is rich with history and culture. I don’t have any idea, though, that Netherlands is so liberated a place.

Reply

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