21 beautiful towns in the Netherlands that aren’t Amsterdam - DutchReview (2023)

There are so many beautiful towns in the Netherlands, but it’s easy to get wrapped up in that city life. Here are 21 stunningoptions for you to check out while escaping from the hustle andbustle of Amsterdam.

Whether you’re a tourist or a resident of the lowlands, we’re always on the lookout for beautiful Dutch towns to visit.

If you’re new here and are after something that isn’t just Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Amsterdam, then you’re in luck.

There are plenty of other beautiful places to go and this is why we deliberately left the capital off the list this time around (sorry, Amsterdam).

1. Giethoorn

With its picturesque atmosphere, a large concentration of canals, and countless boats, Giethoorn is known as “the Venice of the Netherlands.”

The place is literally postcard-perfect: everything is incredibly clean, people’s lawns are perfectly trimmed, and all the houses are matching.

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The only issue is that in the summer months, the place is heaving! Like, really. Giethoorn is especially popular with group tour agencies, so if you’re looking to hire your own private boat, do it well in advance.

2. Zutphen

Located on the Berkel and IJssel rivers, Zutphen is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands and has one of the best-preserved medieval town centres in northwestern Europe.

Nicknamed the Torenstad because of its large, historic buildings and variety of towers that form the city’s skyline, this “Hanzestad” has a rich history going back to the days of the Romans 1,700 years ago.

Some of the things you definitely shouldn’t miss on your visit include the wine house, the museum, and Zutphen’s unique library.

3. Amersfoort

Amersfoort is one of our personal favourites. The whole place is incredibly picturesque and drenched in history.

The iconicKoppelpoort, which was built in 1425, dominates most pictures and looks especially good at night. However, there is a lot more to Amersfoort than just this.

Apart from the Koppelpoort,the entire city centre is beautiful as well — so it’s the perfect place to go for a walk and explore. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, and museums located within Amersfoort, making it an ideal place for a short day trip.

4. Zierikzee

Zierikzee in Zeeland is a small port town with a dynamic history. There are 568 national monuments in and around the city centre, which places Zierikzee in the top ten Dutch cities with the greatest number of monuments.

It is the most historically preserved town in the province of Zeeland.

The first thing we recommend doing when you come here for a day trip is to simply wander around. Zierikzee has beautiful squares and alleyways that you can easily get lost down.

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After that, head to the former town hall for some history or do some shopping in the local boutiques.

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5. Texel

While technically not a town, the serene island of Texel has had a rich and turbulent history, which includes a brush with the American Revolution and the location of WWII’s last battlefield.

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Today, it’s a paradise for hikers, cyclists, horseback riders, artists, and sheep. 🐑

Texel has something for everyone, from historians and nature lovers to sheep and birdwatchers.

It even has a Bird Information Centre. No sheep information centre though, but it does have its own breed of sheep: the Texelaar.

6. Delft

Delft is a beautiful town located between Rotterdam and The Hague. It’s your typical Dutch town, with beautiful architecture and lots of little cafés and shops.

Delft is the perfect place if you want to spend the afternoon somewhere truly Dutch and sit on the terrace with a coffee or a beer.

There are also plenty of free things to do in Delft, including strolling through the weekend markets or walking around the parks. We also recommend checking out Nieuwe Kerk, or heading to the botanical garden.

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In case you didn’t know, Delft is THE place to buy Delft blue porcelain (duh).

7. Bunschoten-Spakenburg

Are you eager to venture off the beaten track and explore less touristy destinations? Consider visiting Bunschoten-Spakenburg!

Two neighbouring towns with a buzzing history and culture that you may have never even heard of.

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Spakenburg is the most famous fishing village along the southern area of the former Zuider Zee, which is now broken up into two big lakes — IJsselmeer and Markermeer.

Bunschoten is a farming village right next door. As time went on, the two villages prospered and grew closer to each other, and they eventually merged in 1965 to become Bunschoten-Spakenburg.

8. Haarlem

Located close to Amsterdam, Haarlem is always recommended for people who aren’t keen on the hustle and bustle of the big city but still want to enjoy pretty canals and a quintessential Dutch city.

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It’s the perfect place to walk around if you’re after great architecture, windmills, shops, and all things Dutch.

Make sure to explore the markets in the giant market square, visit the cathedral (it’s beautiful!), climb a windmill, or check out the array of shops and restaurants.

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9. Gorinchem

Gorinchem is the Netherlands’ largest and most beautiful fortified city. It’s located along the Waal river, an extension of the Rhine, in the province of South Holland.

This historic town, together with the village of Woudrichem, Castle Loevestein, and Fort Vuren, form the Vestingdriehoek (The Fortress Triangle) — a critical part of the Old and the New Dutch Water Lines that defended Holland for centuries from invaders.

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Wander around the harbour and enjoy the flower displays by the water or take the five-kilometre self-guided fortress walk (Vestingwandeling) which takes you over the earthwork ramparts past barracks, artillery sheds, old tollhouse, Dalempoort gatehouse, the caponier, two flour mills, and many other fascinating buildings with a military purpose.

10. Valkenburg

Valkenburg, in the southern province of Limburg, is a place rich in history. It’s home to Valkenburg castle, which offers beautiful ruins that you can go and explore.

Walking around the centre, in general, is also beautiful. It’s definitely one of those forgotten places to visit and we highly recommend you go!

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Apart from wandering around and looking at all of the beautiful architecture (check out the train station!), there is a variety of different museums, shops, restaurants, and cafes.

Christmas is an especially nice time to visit as they have a Christmas market in Valkenburg caves! It’s a very unique experience.

11. Willemstad

Exploring Willemstad is quick and easy. You can take a leisurely walk through the streets lined with attractive houses. Some of the entrances to the front doors are over little wooden bridges crossing a narrow channel of water.

There is a wide choice of restaurants with outdoor terraces under a row of trees in the middle of a divided main street.

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A walk along the town’s rampart takes about 45 minutes. Along the way, you’ll encounter several historic remnants, such as a military gunpowder house built by Napoleon when the French occupied the town in the early 1800s.

He liked the fortified town so much that he stockpiled gunpowder there. No fear, it’s empty now, but the building remains.

12. Leiden

Not only is Leiden great in every way: in its small quaint streets and abundance of canals, but it’s also the home of DutchReview! Trying not to be biased here, but Leiden is a beautiful place to visit.

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It has the most canals in the Netherlands after Amsterdam, and it’s home to 15 great museums (which beat Amsterdam any day)

We recommend you visit the Leiden markets, and the different museums — such as The Museum for Antiquities and the Museum of Ethnology, take a boat trip, shop, or sit on one of the terraces with a biertje.

13. ‘s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch)

We absolutely love ‘s-Hertogenbosch, a.k.a. Den Bosch! You’ll find this beautiful place in Noord Brabant. The city is a mix of old and typically medieval buildings, canals, a beautiful cathedral and also very modern and trendy architecture.

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It’s also home to the bulb houses, which have sat there since the 1980s.

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On your next visit, take a boat trip along the canals and enjoy the absence of hoards of tourists that you usually see in Amsterdam. You can also visit St. John’s Cathedral, and take a walk or cycle to take in all of the amazing architecture.

14. Maastricht

Maastricht is often forgotten, seeing as it’s so far away from the capital. It shouldn’t be though! Maastricht is a beautiful city, with lots of medieval architecture and plenty to do.

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It’s especially popular with students and is so close to Belgium and Germany that it’s the perfect place to go if you’re wanting to just hop over the border and try somewhere new.

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Marvel at the gorgeous architecture as you take a walk around the city, visit the flea markets, go to the market square, visit some museums, and drink on the terraces… there are plenty of things to do in Maastricht.

15. Naarden

Naarden is a small town close to Amsterdam. It’s pretty well known due to those popular pictures showing the shape of the town. From above, you can see the place is shaped like a star, as the whole town is surrounded by moats.

It looks this way because historically, it was part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam, making this fortified town even more beautiful and interesting than it was already.

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Apart from taking a drone shot, or maybe not as the residents may find that a bit annoying at this point, you can check out Vestingmuseum, which is dedicated to the town’s defence history, visit one of the oldest churches in the Netherlands, just walk around and take in the sites, or go for food and drink in one of the many cafés and restaurants.

16. Hoorn

The beautiful little town of Hoorn is located in Noord-Holland, near lake IJsselmeer. Not only is it picturesque, but it’s also close to a lake, sand dunes and the countryside.

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This makes Hoorn a popular place to go for water sports — staycation here we come! Hoorn is great to walk or cycle around and there are museums, a shopping area, restaurants, and cafés — what more could we want?

17. Utrecht

Utrecht is a beautiful and typically Dutch city that is often forgotten (Amsterdam and Rotterdam seem to rule the roost). Once the religious capital of the Netherlands, this quaint, medieval city radiates around the Dom Tower — the tallest church tower in the Netherlands.

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With beautiful old houses, bridges, and canals that ring the city, Utrecht is often regarded as a little Amsterdam — just without as many tourists. There’s no shortage ofinterestingthings to do and seein this historic city.

18. Roermond

Roermond is a town in Limburg, located very close to both Germany and Belgium. It’s the perfect place to go if you’re visiting from outside of the Netherlands, or if you’re looking to try somewhere new afterwards.

The town is located on the lower Roer on the east bank of the Meuse River — so it’s a beautiful destination to visit for the day.

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If you love to shop, you’re in luck as Roermond has a designer outlet and a variety of popular high-street shops, cafés, and restaurants.

Not only is wandering around the town beautiful, but the place is also a stone’s throw away from the lake districts, offering lots of walks and loads to do. If water sports are your thing, then this is the place to be.

19. The Hague

The Hague is an immensely popular place to be for internationals — to live, work and visit. Once you’ve gone there, you can see why. The Hague is a hub for innovation, business, and multiculturalism.

READ MORE | 29 awesome things to do in The Hague in 2023

It’s both modern and historical, so it’s a great mix. It’s also home to the government and the International Court of Justice.

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You can walk around the Binnenhof grounds (the Dutch parliament), explore the Peace Palace, visit Scheveningen Pier, check out many different museums, and shop on the large high street.

20. Veere

The small town of Veere has a rich history. Located in the province of Zeeland, it is unique for its strong kinship to Scotland.

No other European town played a more important economic role for Scotland than Veere once did between the 16th and 17th centuries.

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Veere is definitely worth a visit. The centre square may be small, but the atmosphere is soaked with history along with the small streets — a reminder of the town’s glory days.

The town’s charming shops offer clothing, culinary delicacies, decorations, and of course, souvenirs.

21. Alkmaar

You may have heard of Alkmaar because of the Alkmaar cheese market. But Alkmaar isn’t just great because of all of the cheese (even though that definitely is a big bonus). It has a historical city centre and is filled to the brim with things to do.

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Walking or biking around the historical centre should definitely be on your to-do list too. There are loads of shops, restaurants, and cafés to keep you occupied on your visit.

There are also a few museums in Alkmaar (did someone say cheese museum and beer museum?!) that are worth a visit.

Have you visited any of these gorgeous towns? Which Dutch town is your favourite? Tell us in the comments below!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2018, and was fully updated in January 2023 for your reading pleasure.

FAQs

What is a Dutch town called? ›

Smaller settlements are usually called dorp, comparable with villages in English speaking countries. The Dutch word for city is stad (plural: steden).

Can Americans retire in the Netherlands? ›

After five years of legal residence in the Netherlands you can apply for a permanent residence permit which will also allow you to retire here. In either case you will need to produce the following: A valid passport. A valid residence permit.

What are the 3 main things the Netherlands are known for? ›

The Netherlands is known as the land of tulips, windmills, canals, clogs and coffee shops, but there's also much more to this wonderful country than meets the eye. We've dug deeper to find 13 fun facts about the Netherlands you might not know.

Where do the rich live in Netherlands? ›

10 WEALTHIEST CITIES IN NETHERLANDS
RANKCITYPROVINCE
1BLARICUMNORTH HOLLAND
2BLOEMENDAALNORTH HOLLAND
3LARENNORTH HOLLAND
4WASSENAARSOUTH HOLLAND
6 more rows

Does Netherlands tax US Social Security benefits? ›

While you work — If your work is covered by both the U.S. and Dutch social security systems, you (and your employer, if you are employed) normally would have to pay social security taxes to both countries for the same work.

What is Dutch retirement age? ›

General Old Age Pensions Act (Algemene Ouderdomswet, AOW)

In 2022, the statutory retirement age will be 66 years and 7 months, in 2023 66 years and 10 months, and in 2024 and 2025 it will be 67 years. From 2026 onwards the statutory retirement age will only be increased if life expectancy continues to rise.

What is the retirement age in Netherlands? ›

In 2022, the age of retirement is 66 years and 7 months. In 2021, the age of retirement is 66 years and 4 months. In 2020, the age of retirement was 66 years and 4 months.

What kind of personality do Dutch people have? ›

They are disciplined, conservative, and pay attention to the smallest details. They see themselves as thrifty, hardworking, practical and well organized. They place high value on cleanliness and neatness. At the same time, the Dutch are very private people.

What is the most Dutch thing? ›

Traditionally Dutch
  • Canals. Canals are without doubt one of the most typically Dutch sights, but what you may not know is that they are found in many more places than just Amsterdam. ...
  • Bicycles. ...
  • Tolerance. ...
  • Tulips. ...
  • Windmills. ...
  • Traditional Dutch Food.
Nov 25, 2014

What are Dutch gangsters called? ›

Organized crime in the Netherlands, sometimes called penose (Dutch: penoze) is the organised criminal underbelly in Amsterdam and other major cities. Penose usually means the organizations formed by criminals of Dutch descent. It is a slang word coming from the old Amsterdam Bargoens language.

What are Dutch Indians called? ›

Currently there are more than 120,000 Indo-Surinamese living in the Netherlands, of which the majority, about 50,000, in The Hague and surroundings. Indo-Surinamese are also known in both the Netherlands and Suriname by the Dutch term Hindoestanen, derived from the word Hindustani, lit., "someone from Hindustan".

What are Dutch citizens called? ›

Seeing as the country is called The Netherlands, and the people are called 'Nederlands' in their own language it might seem a little odd that in the English-language speaking world, we refer to people from this little European country as 'Dutch'.

What is the prettiest town in the world? ›

12 of the Most Beautiful Villages in the World
  1. Giethoorn, Netherlands. Giethoorn is a gorgeous and calm village of the Netherlands. ...
  2. Marsaxlokk, Malta. ...
  3. Gasadalur, Faroe Islands, Denmark. ...
  4. Bibury, England, UK. ...
  5. Freudenberg, Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. ...
  6. Hallstatt, Austria. ...
  7. Pariangan, Indonesia. ...
  8. Savoca, Italy.
Oct 29, 2021

Where do most immigrants live in the Netherlands? ›

Most immigrants in Amsterdam

The immigrant population is unevenly distributed across the Netherlands. Relatively most of them live in the four large cities. Amsterdam houses most: nearly one third of people living in Amsterdam have a non-western foreign background.

Are the Dutch known for being frugal? ›

The Dutch are legendary at home and around Europe for their frugal habits, such as taking their own food with them when they go on holiday to avoid spending money abroad. The language abounds with expressions about saving money such as “pile up your nickels and you will build a house”.

Where is the cheapest place to live in the Netherlands? ›

Where to live in the Netherlands on a budget. Amstelveen, Hilversum, and Zaandam are good options for people who want to save on living expenses while remaining close to Amsterdam. Those looking for more affordable housing closer to The Hague or Rotterdam can look into living in smaller cities like Delft or Gouda.

What is the divorce rate in the Netherlands? ›

Divorce rates in Europe in 2020, by country (per 100 marriages)
CharacteristicNumber per 100 marriages
Netherlands57.7
Norway55.5
France***55
Denmark54.8
9 more rows
Oct 21, 2022

At what age is Social Security no longer taxed in the US? ›

Social Security benefits may or may not be taxed after 62, depending in large part on other income earned. Those only receiving Social Security benefits do not have to pay federal income taxes. If receiving other income, you must compare your income to the IRS threshold to determine if your benefits are taxable.

How many Americans live in the Netherlands? ›

There are an estimated 35,000 Americans living in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is an exhilarating destination for Americans living abroad.

Can a US citizen become a Dutch citizen? ›

Foreign citizens can apply for Dutch citizenship if they have lived in the Netherlands legally for at least 5 years.

Can I retire at 66 and still work? ›

If you work, and are at full retirement age or older, you may keep all of your benefits, no matter how much you earn. If you're younger than full retirement age, there is a limit to how much you can earn and still receive full Social Security benefits.

How much do you need to retire in Netherlands? ›

Overall, your income must be equal to, or higher than, the Dutch minimum wage. As of January 2022, the Dutch minimum wage is €1,725 per month. However, if your income is below this level, you'll need to provide evidence that you'll have enough cash to live on.

What happens if I retire at 66? ›

If you start receiving benefits at age 66 you get 100 percent of your monthly benefit. If you delay receiving retirement benefits until after your full retirement age, your monthly benefit continues to increase. The chart below explains how delayed retirement affects your benefit.

What is the most visited place in the Netherlands? ›

Many tourist only come to the Netherlands to visit Amsterdam. But Holland has plenty to offer outside its capital. Crisscrossed with canals, the flat landscape is perfect for cycling with historic town centers, classic windmills and other tourist spots sprinkled across the country.

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