As a relatively small country, the Netherlands is a great destination to visit not only one, but various cities. All of its major towns are connected by rail and easily reached for reasonably priced train tickets. And all offer numerous reasons to be included in your travel wish list because, despite being a small country, its cultural and historic heritage is spreaded quite smoothly among these five beautiful and captivating Dutch cities. Coming to the Netherlands and not yet sure where to go? Then check some of these out:
“The Royal City by the Sea” is home to both the county’s government building and many members of its Royal family. Arts and culture overflow the streets of this city of two faces: one modern and one old, which are reflected in its stunning architecture. Escher in Het Paleis is a first-time visitor’s favourite. Formerly Queen Mother Emma’s winter palace, now it hosts a permanent exhibition on the works of M. C. Escher, one of the most famous Dutch artists in the world. For more unmissable art head to Mauritshuis (from June 27 only) for must-sees of the Dutch Golden Age. For a relaxing afternoon, pay a visit to Haagse Bos, known as the city’s “Central Park”. When visiting the government HQ, take a look at Binnenhof & Ridderzaal and, of course, enjoy the sea view from the Pier and Promenade.
The “Manhattan of the Maas”, in reference to the river that runs through Rotterdam’s city centre, is known for its fabulous cutting edge architecture. Few visitors have left the city without snapping Erasmus Bridge, affectionately nicknamed ‘The Swan’ by locals. Strikingly modern, make sure to take your own pic of this landmark when walking through the city centre. For those who are unafraid of heights, the Euromast Tower is another must from where you can experience the most complete and beautiful view of the surrounding area. For more stylish architecture admiration take a look at the Cube Houses, an outstanding project by Dutch architect Piet Blom. For impressive art, ranging from the Middle Ages to present time, don’t miss Kunsthal and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.
“The Venice of the North” has so much more to offer than the allure of its charming canals. The capital city of the Netherlands hosts everything from quirky shops to renowned museums, famous nightlife to frenzied bargain hunting in its flea markets. To start off with, have a wander to Museumplein where you will find must-sees such as the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum, which boasts the largest collection of art and history in the whole country. If your legs don’t let you down, Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s main green area, is only a few minutes walk away. For good old holiday shopping, De 9 straatjes is a hot spot for unique pieces while high street essentials are found around Dam square. Once you’re there, why not pay a visit to the Red Light District?
Besides being home to over 70 thousand students, this “Student City” also boasts stunning canals filled with lively bars and cafés. The town is marked by the Domtoren, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands that is a strong symbol of the Gothic style of the middle ages. Small enough to be explored by foot, its medieval centre has a cosy atmosphere, where you can find smaller churches, gardens and the Fishmarket. The canal street Oudegracht is one not to missed as a poem, “Letters of Utrecht” runs along its pavement from house number 279. The city also hosts a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Rietveld Schröder House. A project by Utrecht architect Gerrit Rietveld, it is the only building in the world designed to follow the principles of Dutch artistic movement De Stijl. And by 2018, it will host the world’s biggest bike park – for 12,500 bikes.
Known as the Netherland’s “Technology hub”, Eindhoven, the motherland to multinationals like Philips, is now an icon of both design and architecture. One of the city’s landmarks is the Blob, a futuristic mall building made almost entirely out of glass. Talking about shopping, explore the city shops and department stores like ‘De Bijenkorf’, which is located in the centre. This is, after all, the biggest shopping destination in the whole south of the Netherlands. The Van Abbemuseum is the one that modern and contemporary art lovers will want to catch up with, whilst the Historic Open Air Museum takes its visitors back to Medieval Eindhoven. Visiting during the warmer seasons? Then pay a visit to Lake Karpendonck for a pleasant picnic in the park.