Tulips, windmills and clogs. This more or less sums up the stereotyped image that tourists have when they first visit the Netherlands. But the Netherlands has of course much more to offer that is worth the visitor's time. This overview presents the Top 6 sights. And don't worry: it also features tulips and windmills!
City trip to Amsterdam
Each year, 4 to 5 million tourists from all over the world travel to Amsterdam for a multi-day visit. Moreover, the Dutch capital attracts some 16 million day trippers every year. The most popular attractions: the renovated Rijksmuseum (with Rembrandt's 'Nachtwacht' – The Night Watch), the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank house, a cruise on the canals, the red light district "The Wallen’ and... the coffee shops.
Authentic fishing villages: Volendam and Marken
Another popular attraction are the genuine Dutch fishing villages. Volendam and Marken are the most well known, for their fisheries, costumes and traditional architecture. You can indulge in all sorts of fish, shopping, and, of course: have your photo taken dressed in traditional clothing!
Visit a cheese market
Thinking of the Netherlands, you think of cheese. The Netherlands still has five traditional cheese markets in Alkmaar, Edam, Hoorn, Gouda and Woerden. At the latter two, you can actually see cheese makers negotiating with merchants, whereas the others primarily have a tourist function. Apart from cheese, you can find lots and lots of clogs, windmills and other goodies. The Alkmaar cheese market with its cheese porters carrying huge cheeses, is perhaps the most spectacular of them all.
World heritage: the Kinderdijk windmills
The municipality of Kinderdijk has the largest collection of windmills in the Netherlands. The 19 windmills were built around 1750 and together form two unique polder corridors. The stately mills in the typical Holland polder landscape make for an unforgettable picture and each year draw some 150,000 tourists. The Kinderdijk windmills have been on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1997.
Unique in the world: the Delta Works
During the disastrous flood of 1953 in Zeeland nearly 2,000 drowned and more than 150,000 hectares of land was flooded. To prevent recurrence of such an incident, the Delta Works were constructed: the largest and most efficient storm barriers in the world. The risk of recurrence of such a disaster has thus been reduced to once every 4,000 years! You can drive over the Delta Works by car, but you can also explore them from the inside. At the Haringvliet Expo and Deltapark Neeltje Jans you will learn all about the construction, the past and the future of the Delta Works.
Watching tulips at Keukenhof
The Netherlands is one the world's biggest exporters of tulips and tulip bulbs. And the largest number of tulips can be found at Keukenhof in Lisse, which this year will be open daily from March 20 through to May 18. Not only tulips, but also various other types of flowers will be on display. Keukenhof each year attracts some 800,000 visitors in only 2 months!