We’ll let you in on a little secret: the Netherlands is more than windmills, tulips, and colorful smoking accessories. While the country’s most recognized attractions are well worth seeing (especially in spring), there are many other incredibly magnificent locations that you can’t afford to miss. We call it: Here are the ten most underappreciated Dutch hits by nature and humanity. The nicest aspect is that you won’t have to compete with crowds of tourists to see them.
Dominicanen Maastricht Bookstore – Dutch Secret Places
A dark book tower rises within the grounds of a 700-year-old church, presenting a sharp contrast to the vaulted and frescoed ceilings and modern black metal stacks. In 2008, the British newspaper The Guardian ranked it the most beautiful bookstore in the world. “Because they’re, you know, incredibly sharp-eyed.”
The Hunebedden – Dutch Secret Places
The most spectacular evidence of Dutch megalithic civilisation is the massively piled Scandinavian rock heaps known as “giant beds” or dolmens (meaning: these rocks were existed for more than 5,000 years). The layout generates a cave below (which you can completely enter) that can be used as a burial chamber. Don’t worry, any bodies have long vanished – save for the primarily domestic tourists who were playing hide and seek with their families. And you.
Borgen has the most impressive in the Netherlands, as well as an archaeological museum dedicated to the people who built them (and a lot more, it turns out).
This renovated Dutch neo-Gothic gable and tower is the country’s largest castle and was owned by the famed van Zuylen family from the 1400s until 2000. You can now go. It’s also flanked by a lovely park, which occasionally holds special events such as the spring Elfia fantasy fair.
Bourtange – Dutch Secret Places
The complicated network of fortified moats enclosing a tiny settlement looks to have been abandoned, providing a more grandiose alternative to the World War II fortification remains of the island of Pampus near Amsterdam next to Muiden Castle. In the late 16th century, locked in time was created to halt the Germans. It is presently designed as a tourist destination, featuring museums, shops, and cafes (as well as a modest, historic hotel) in a classic setting. It’s a popular wedding location; don’t be shocked. During the summer, expect some formal entertainment.
Rotterdam’s Market Hall
The city of modern architecture, which garnered mixed responses from the rest of the country, was definitely correct when it launched the fresh new Markthal in October 2014. The 34-meter-high glass canopy of the long, flat-roofed archway is covered with an immense display of food and plants in a riot of color. And the food sold in the dozens of stalls below is also rather good. Are you prepared to be envious? A number of fortunate illegitimate children also reside in the building’s newly constructed luxury flats.
Looking for some beauty that is a little more approachable? Welcome to 27 kilometers of beaches studded with lovely island communities and grass-covered dunes. While here, you can also observe the similarly famed island of Terschelling from the water and trek through a sea of dazzling sand at low tide – “wadenlopen” is a popular sort of group walk between islands. Even in the winter, the island remains a favorite destination to unwind.
Hoorn Binnenhaven – Dutch Secret Places
Hoofdtoren (“tower head”), currently home to a delightful and airy restaurant, is the jewel amid the forest of masts that make up the port within this old nautical town.
When approaching its walls, there’s no need to explain that you’re staring at one of the Netherlands’ oldest cities (dating back to Roman times) (those date from the 9th century). The good news is that it’s equally attractive on the inside, with plenty of ancient squares and canals to pass the time.
We have a gorgeous, compact little country going on here, which means plenty of roadways and lots of traffic. Not good for the local environment. So the Netherlands has hundreds of wildlife crossings and underpasses (with the type of pass clearly being the most remarkable) to help keep badgers, wild boars, deer, and other animals from being hit by motorists. The world’s longest “natural bridge” (800m) is named after a sand mine and arches past a sports and commercial complex outside of Crailoo, but they can be found all across the country. (The one shown above is in Rijssen, in the province of Overijssel.)