Between charming cities, endless canals and green landscapes stretching so far as the eye can see, there’s an abundance of products to complete in Holland, the most famous area of the Netherlands. To not be confused with holland as a whole, this region is located to the Western coast of the nation. And because the area where you’ll find the likes of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, this former province is created of North and South Holland.
What is Holland where is it located?
Contrary as to the you may think, the Netherlands and Holland are not the same things! Instead, Holland is simply a region from the wider country of The Netherlands. Furthermore, the whole country in general is officially referred to as the 'Kingdom of The Netherlands’.
As a result, only the western side from the Netherlands is known as ‘Holland’. Going back in time, the (now defunct) Province of Holland was among the best-known places in Europe. After all, throughout the Dutch Golden Age, it was out of this area that lots of ships sailed. Today, this region of the nation is characterised by its countless canals, stunning cities, and insightful history.
#1 Explore the University City of Leiden
Truth find out, of all the places to go to in Holland, Leiden is definitely the prettiest. Characterised by its many canals and cobbled lanes, so picturesque is this city it's selected to be the filming location for ‘the Miniaturist,’ a movie based on a novel of the same name in 17th-century Amsterdam.
Visit Leiden today and you can expect to find plenty of great finds, including one of the oldest Botanical Gardens within the Netherlands, a once residence of Jan Steen, as well as the college where Rembrandt once attended. For all those in search of a quintessentially Dutch experience, a beer inside De Vergulde Kruik is definitely an absolute must, while cycling around some of the city’s more residential neighbourhoods is never a bad idea.
#2 Check out the Political City of The Hague
Though you might well associate The Hague with ‘boring’ politics and endless embassies, this is simply not the case! Though, obviously, there’s plenty of fascinating political buildings to be spied within this Dutch city, there’s additionally a numerous museums, and lots of don’t know this… However the Hague even features its own beach!
Scheveningen is the seaside district’s name, and just what used to be a fishing village in its own right has since become made available to the fabric from the Hague. Meanwhile, the vegan scene in the city is unparalleled, with a myriad of meat-free options at every price point. Less than Amsterdam though with plenty of activities and things you can do for everyone, Madurodam is really a miniature Netherlands, as the world-famous Girl having a Pearl Earring can be spied in the Mauritshuis.
#3 Take a excursion towards the canal town of Dordrecht
Filled with canals and shut to Rotterdam, lots of people leave Dordrecht off their Netherlands travel itineraries in favour of popular destinations. However, this Holland city has plenty by means of attractions and the type of charm seldom present in larger locations.
Just over the water from nearby Rotterdam, Dordrecht is usually abbreviated into English as ‘Dort’ and is purported to be the oldest city in Holland. The best things to do in Dordrecht include the centuries-old Dordrecht Minster, the Dordrechts Museum (which features plenty of 16th-century paintings), and eating at the best café in town, Coffeelicious. I highly recommend their pancakes- they’re simply delicious!
#4 Venture out into the Holland Countryside and relish the windmills
There is probably no Dutch scene as iconic as the windmill. Though the most well-known mills of Holland are available in the form of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO world heritage site near to the architectural city of Rotterdam, there are many more windmills dotted all around the Dutch countryside.
One from the best-kept secrets of Holland are available close to Voorburg, an old district of the Hague which was once a town in its own right. 'Molendriegang' is quite literally translated as 'three windmills,' and once upon a period, the mills were utilised to dry mill the De Driemanspolder. For those not really acquainted with the term 'polder', it's a bit of low lying land that has been reclaimed from a river or from the sea which is then protected by levees.
#5 Shop Delftware in Delft
If you’ve ever find out about European pottery, then without doubt you’ll know of Delftware, which is also referred to as Delft Blue. If you can, obviously, go to a factory tour and learn about how this famous export is made, there’s plenty more to Delft than just its ceramics! Ancient and nearly as pretty as Leiden, highlights of this University City incorporate a Gothic Protestant Church having a famous leaning tower, the town Hall, and the New Church (Nieuwe Kerk).
Finally, after each day of sightseeing, climbing ancient towers, and playing tourist, retire to a cosy traditional Dutch bar, Bierhuis de Klomp. This pub is often alleged to function as the oldest drinking establishment in the city, and while your building goes back much earlier, to 1538, the café itself continues to be open for those manner of drinks since 1652…
#6 Admire the Kasteel Duivenvoorde
One from the prettiest castles within the Netherlands can be found in the type of Kasteel Duivenvoorde, a sensational brick castle located approximately the University City of Leiden and also the Political Town of The Hague. Simple to reach via bicycle if you have a spare day, Castle Duivenvoorde is brick splendour, carved facades, and landscaped gardens.
And with roots dating completely to the 13th-century, this typically European castle makes for an ideal historic day trip in the Hague or Leiden. Though guided around the interior just take place in Dutch and cost upwards of EUR10, the gardens and parkland can be strolled around as low as EUR1.
#7 Wander round the Dutch capital of Amsterdam
Of course, while many visitors make the mistake of believing that ‘Holland’ and ‘the Netherlands’ is one and the same, in assuming this, they correctly guess that Amsterdam is part of Holland. The Dutch capital city are available in North Holland and should undoubtedly be located on every Europe bucket list.
Highlights of Amsterdam include more museums than you could aspire to see in several visits, a foodie scene to rival that of every other European capital, and also the type of charm that’s rarely based in the largest city in the united states. After all, the easiest method to circumvent the town is by bicycle, or indeed on your own two feet.
For a local’s perspective on the city, be sure to visit one of the more unusual things you can do in Amsterdam. Otherwise, go to 1 from the city’s many hofjes, or simply stroll round the Jordaan district, simply letting your feet guide the way. To help make the much of your visit, you’ll likely wish to purchase the I Amsterdam card, which allows free transportation, includes museum entrance, and encompasses plenty of discounts throughout the city. Purchase your I Amsterdam card here.
#8 Enjoy the Cheese City of Gouda
I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘Gouda’ before and it’s likely because of the iconic Dutch cheese which originates in the city! Truth be told, the best place in Holland was most definitely the town of Gouda because of its rich history, great foodie scene, and wealth of historical sites to understand more about.
Other popular features of Gouda include the chance to wander alongside ancient canals, see an ancient hidden house church (the favourite could well be Our Lord in the Attic in Amsterdam, but hidden churches are available throughout Holland), as well as purchase freshly ground flour from a traditional Dutch windmill.
#9 Marvel in the architecture of Rotterdam
The modern and futuristic town of Rotterdam differs from virtually the entirety of the rest of the region, and indeed the whole country, creating a click here one of the most unusual things to do in Holland. Home to fantastic sites such as Piet Blom’s ‘Cube Houses,’ the impossibly large ‘Markthal‘ food establishment, and much more modern buildings than you could possibly imagine, Rotterdam is definitely certainly one of my favourite Dutch destinations.
Some of the best things to do in the city include moving in search of great finds, spying plenty of street art, and seeking out cultural museums. Furthermore, it’s worth noting that thanks to some fantastic transport links and a convenient location, Rotterdam is a great place from which to base yourself for going through the wider region of Holland. Cheaper than Amsterdam, there are plenty of excursions to be obtained from the city.
#10 Snap photos from the Keukenhof Gardens
Only open for a few months each year, the Keukenhof Gardens are also known because the ‘Garden of Europe’ and therefore are a must-see for just about any budding botanist or tulip lover available. Before planning your trip, however, one thing I must stress is the fact that, despite what you are able have seen online, Keukenhof is a garden and so if you go to the Dutch destination hoping of frolicking in tulip fields, then you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Instead, the current garden was established in 1949 once the then-mayor of Lisse desired to create a space where growers in the Netherlands, Europe, and beyond could display and exhibit their wares (including hybrids) and even further the export of flowers, and especially tulips, in the Netherlands. Today, holland is the largest exporter of flowers on the planet and Keukenhof is easily among the best things to do in Holland.
Things to understand before visiting Holland for that first time
Though there’s no denying the region is certainly busier throughout the European high season (i.e. the Summer along with other major summer break) than at every other season. With this particular being said, Rotterdam, The Hague, and particularly Amsterdam, are eternally popular, meaning that you’ll want to book your home to stay well ahead of time.
Check the very best Holland accommodation prices here. For an über unique experience during your Holland visit, you might even consider booking to stay on the Dutch houseboat. Throughout a recent stay in Amsterdam, I did exactly this and couldn’t recommend it more! Take a look at all of my best Amsterdam houseboat recommendations!
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