Popular Activities in the Netherlands

netherland city nature

The Netherlands, often referred to as Holland, is a country renowned for its picturesque landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. Nestled in northwestern Europe, this small yet captivating nation offers a multitude of leisure activities and experiences that cater to a wide range of interests. From the iconic tulip fields to the bustling canals of Amsterdam, the Netherlands has something for everyone.

What are the Netherlands Popular for?

The Netherlands is renowned for its colorful tulip fields at Keukenhof Gardens each spring, Kinderdijk’s UNESCO-listed windmills symbolizing Dutch innovation, Amsterdam’s canal network often called the “Venice of the North,” world-famous artists like Rembrandt and Vermeer, showcased in museums such as the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, and its progressive and inclusive policies, including drug decriminalization and LGBTQ+ rights support, all contributing to its unique culture.

Netherlands’ Varied Recreational Activities

The Netherlands, with its diverse and captivating landscapes, offers a wide array of recreational activities to suit every traveler’s preferences. From the serene beauty of its countryside to the vibrant cultural experiences in its cities, the Netherlands beckons adventurers, art enthusiasts, and foodies alike. Let’s delve into the delightful activities that await you in this enchanting country.

  • Cycling: The Netherlands’ cycling infrastructure is second to none. You can explore the country’s diverse landscapes on dedicated cycling paths, which often lead you through picturesque coastal areas, charming villages, and serene forests. Consider embarking on a multi-day bike tour, like the North Sea Cycle Route, which takes you along the entire Dutch coast, allowing you to experience the beauty of the North Sea and its coastal towns.
  • Water Sports: In addition to traditional water sports, the Netherlands is a hub for stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) and windsurfing. The Wadden Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a unique natural wonder where you can experience mudflat hiking, birdwatching, and even guided seal-watching tours. The tidal flats of the Wadden Sea provide an ever-changing landscape for outdoor enthusiasts.
  • Hiking: The Netherlands offers diverse hiking opportunities beyond the Pieterpad. Veluwezoom National Park is a must-visit for hikers, featuring a mix of dense forests, rolling hills, and blooming heathlands. The Zeeland region, on the other hand, boasts picturesque coastal trails, allowing you to walk along sandy shores and through dunes while enjoying scenic ocean views.

Cultural Experiences

  • Museums: Delve deeper into Dutch art and history by exploring lesser-known museums. The Mauritshuis in The Hague not only houses Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” but also an impressive collection of Dutch Golden Age paintings. The Kröller-Müller Museum, located in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, not only features Van Gogh’s works but also boasts a stunning sculpture garden with over 160 sculptures by renowned artists.
  • Historic Sites: Beyond Delft and Maastricht, consider visiting the charming town of Leiden, where you can explore its historic center, visit the birthplace of Rembrandt, and take a boat tour along its picturesque canals. The Castle de Haar in Utrecht is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture with magnificent gardens, offering a fairy-tale atmosphere.
  • Tulip Fields: While Keukenhof is undoubtedly famous, you can explore the lesser-known Bollenstreek region during the spring months. Rent a bicycle and cycle through vast fields of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Visit local flower farms and experience the process of tulip cultivation up close.

Culinary Delights

  • Dutch Cuisine: Dive deeper into Dutch culinary traditions by trying regional specialties. For instance, in Friesland, you can savor Fryske sûkerbôle, a sweet sugar bread, and in Limburg, try vlaai, a delicious pie. Explore local markets and food festivals to discover unique dishes specific to each Dutch province.
  • Cheese Tasting: Apart from Gouda and Alkmaar, consider visiting Edam and Hoorn for cheese markets. These markets offer not only a chance to taste various cheeses but also to witness the centuries-old tradition of cheese weighing and trading.

Festivals and Events

  • King’s Day (Koningsdag): Experience the nationwide celebration of the Dutch monarchy with street markets, parties, and a sea of orange-clad revelers.
  • Carnival: Celebrate this vibrant festival in the southern provinces with colorful parades and exuberant costumes.
  • Music Festivals: The Netherlands is home to renowned music festivals like Tomorrowland and the Amsterdam Dance Event, attracting music lovers from around the world.

Relaxation and Wellness

  • Spa and Wellness Centers: The Netherlands is known for its rich sauna culture. You can find various wellness centers and spas across the country offering a range of treatments, saunas, and thermal baths. Some of the most renowned wellness resorts include Thermae 2000 in Valkenburg and Zuiver in Amsterdam, where you can relax in natural hot springs and rejuvenate with spa therapies.
  • Beaches: Along the North Sea coast, you’ll discover sandy beaches perfect for relaxation. Scheveningen Beach in The Hague is a popular destination, offering not only sunbathing and swimming but also beachfront restaurants and vibrant nightlife. Kitesurfing and beach volleyball are popular activities, and you can rent equipment at many seaside towns.


  • Football (Soccer): Football is a national passion in the Netherlands, and you can immerse yourself in the excitement by attending Eredivisie matches. The Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam is home to AFC Ajax, one of the country’s most successful football clubs. The atmosphere in Dutch stadiums is electric, and you’ll experience the fervor of Dutch football fans.
  • Ice Skating: During the winter months, when canals and lakes freeze over, ice skating becomes a cherished Dutch tradition. Join locals as they glide across the frozen waterways. Some cities host ice skating events and competitions, offering a festive and communal experience.


  • Street Markets: Dutch street markets are a vibrant showcase of local culture and goods. The Albert Cuyp Market in Amsterdam is one of the most famous. Here, you can browse stalls selling fresh produce, street food like stroopwafels and herring, clothing, and unique souvenirs. It’s a delightful way to immerse yourself in Dutch daily life.
  • High-end Shopping: Major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague offer high-end shopping experiences. Explore luxury shopping districts like the P.C. Hooftstraat in Amsterdam, lined with designer boutiques featuring international fashion brands. It’s the perfect destination for fashion enthusiasts and luxury shoppers.


  • Bars and Pubs: Amsterdam’s Leidseplein is a bustling hub for nightlife. It’s home to a wide range of bars and pubs, each with its own unique ambiance. You can enjoy Dutch beers like Heineken and Grolsch, as well as sample traditional Dutch liqueurs. The city’s historic brown cafes provide a cozy and inviting atmosphere to savor your drinks.
  • Nightclubs: The Netherlands, particularly Amsterdam, is a hub for electronic music and boasts world-famous nightclubs. You can dance the night away to top DJs in venues like Paradiso and Melkweg. Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) is an internationally renowned electronic music festival and conference that attracts music lovers from around the world, offering an immersive nightlife experience.

Is There a Lot to Do in the Netherlands?

Indeed, the Netherlands offers a cornucopia of activities and experiences, ensuring that there is something for every traveler, whether you’re interested in culture, nature, cuisine, or relaxation. The country’s diverse and inclusive atmosphere welcomes visitors with open arms.


The Netherlands, with its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and progressive values, is a destination that promises an unforgettable experience. From admiring masterpieces in world-class museums to cycling through picturesque landscapes, the Netherlands invites you to explore its many facets and create lasting memories. Whether you’re a history buff, an art aficionado, a nature lover, or simply seeking relaxation, the Netherlands has it all. So, pack your bags and embark on an adventure to discover the charm of this remarkable nation.


  • Lizette Schuurman

    Hi! I am Lizette (35), a born adventurer and addicted to traveling. I have been traveling around the world since I was 16, the freedom is wonderful. Get up and see what the day brings, enjoy the little things and meet like-minded people.I prefer to sit with my feet in the sand and a coconut in my hand. No luxury, just a simple hut by the sea. I also like to dive into the water, armed with my camera, in search of turtles, colorful fish and corals.I have already crossed quite a few things off my 'bucket list', from swimming with whale sharks and climbing a volcano to skydiving above the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Nothing is too crazy, I love going outside my comfort zone and trying new things.I currently live with my boyfriend in Friesland, where we have our home base. Every year we travel for a few months, usually to Asia. Knowing more? On my own travel blog you will find inspiration & tips about tropical destinations, paradisiacal beaches and hidden places!

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