10 Dutch Cities to Visit Besides Amsterdam
Dear Amsterdam! You are so touristy and so wonderfully international. People from all over the world visit you for you architecture, weed, canals and beer. But really? Are you so Dutch?
Amsterdam is a city that doesn’t quite show what all of Holland is about. Sure I advise everyone to visit Amsterdam cause it’s a wonderful city, but now it’s time to get rid of that stereotype that Holland is the capital of Amsterdam and tell you this. Visit MORE than just Amsterdam! And here are 10 perfect cities in Holland (that can be easily reached) to go to. They are perfect for daytrips as the Dutch railways are pretty accesible. Also, most of them (with the exception of the first three and Eindhoven) aren’t so big.
The Erasmus Bridge is the local symbol, a Rotterdam pride
Rotterdam is probably the best alternative to Amsterdam. Not only do they rival with the occasional football match, people from Rotterdam try to distinguish themselves from Amsterdam as much as possible. The fact is that where Amsterdam is a city of old architecture and Dutch tradition, Rotterdam is the modern equivalent with new skyscrapers being added each year. The old center of Rotterdam was bombed during WWII, but the locals have worked hard throughout history to make this city the largest port in Europe! This perseverance can be seen in the faces and buildings of everyone who lives here. It’s a cultural melting pot of immigrants from Turks, Moroccans and expats with faces from all over the globe. Though often used as a scapegoat for racist politics, Rotterdam is a city of hard work and multiculturalism, the combination of which has made it big!
2. The Hague
Scheveningen Beach, the most famous beach of Holland situated in The Hague
The Hague! Dutch capital of politics and international capital of war punishment. If you like politics and history than The Hague city is definitely worthy of a visit. If you don’t, there are enough bars and great bar-clubs to be found across the city. And if you go on a hot summer day, make sure you visit the world famous beaches of the impossible-to-pronounce Scheveningen! It is said that during WWII, asking someone to pronounce Scheveningen would determine the fact if that person was a German spy or not.
Photo by Lambert Wolterbeek Muller
Utrecht is an amazing city for the history and architecture travelers out there! The city is amongst the first cities of Holland and is famous for it’s Domtoren (Dom Tower). The tower is 112 meters high and can be climbed. Not a dizzying height but the fact that this tower was built in 1254 makes it a pretty impressive piece of architecture. Besides this tower, walk through the city to get that feeling like you’re walking in the middle ages. Churches and houses are old and traditional and the beer and bars taste medieval good.
Typical street in Dordrecht
Dordrecht is a small city, comparable to Utrecht. What makes this city special is the connection people have with it. If you are from Dordrecht, you want to let people know you’re from Dordrecht! It’s a wonderful city to walk around in and has a modern square for shopping and going out. Dordrecht is unique in every single way and it again is mostly about architecture. The city was also featured in the movie Black Book, where it housed a regional Gestapo headquarters.
Traditional Dutch City of Volendam
Volendam! A tourist hotspot and the living city of Dutch artists such as Jan Smit and Nick & Simon. But the city is more than just that, it is the capital of Dutch tradition! In this city, you can have your picture taken in a traditional Dutch outfit, go on a boat and visit the island of Marken and eat great Dutch fish such as Kibbeling or Herring! Festivals occur often as well, inform your local tourist agency about them. Volendam is only a half hour away by bus from Amsterdam Central Station.
The symbool of Sneek; De Waterpoort
Sneek is part of Friesland, one of the northern provinces of Holland. In Sneek, everyone speaks a different language called Fries (not pronounced like the delicious local snack, but more like Freeze). Sneek is usually a sailing hotspot and a city with a thousand years of history. Sneek is all about water! So be sure to pack some snacks and sit around or even better, book a boat and sail around (if you know how to sail that is).
Photo by Werner Kunz
Where Sneek is a northern city, Maastricht is a southern one. The most southern one that is and the differences between them are grand! Maastricht is a wonderful city, filled with great architecturual marvels. The best part about this place is that it’s near the Tripoint, the famous place where Holland meets both Belgium and Germany. If you ever want to be in three countries at once, go here! Maastricht is also one of the few hilly places in the always-flat Holland. Good for biking and jogging!
Photo by Akbar Simonse
Vlissingen is the founding city of everything American that is named Flushing! Vlissingen is located in Zeeland, which means that the sea is near as well as the nice ocean breeze. Vlissingen is also the birthplace of Michiel de Ruyter, his statue still standing there. Michiel de Ruyter is famous for his connection with early colonialism in America.
Willemstad as viewed from the Koepelkerk
Willemstad is one of the many Dutch cities which is considered a fortress. Basically it means that the city was built inside a wall or dyke to protect itself during the middle ages for invading forces. Don’t get me wrong, Willemstad is not that big of a city and you can easily spend just an afternoon here, but is amazing to visit one of these fortresses. Climb the local church as well and visit their art gallery, this church burned down a long time ago and they are still renovating it!
Flying Pins in Eindhoven
Last but not least is Eindhoven, city of the 2028 Olympics, or least running for it. The city has an amazing sports center and great going out opportunities. Eindhoven is well known for it’s most relaxing parks, where you can picnic and relax in a hot summer day. Someone once told me that parks are the Dutch equivalent of malls, well, who knows, try and find out!