Known for its intertwining canals, mostly flat landscape, stunning fields of colourful tulips and of course, windmills, The Netherlands is an incredible country to visit. From its bustling, trendy capital Amsterdam boasting a history filled with artists, to Rotterdam, with its stunning modern architecture, The Netherlands is a fascinating place to visit.
One of the fun ways to explore this county is by bicycle. Due to its flat nature and over 32000 km of cycle paths, it is no wonder that cycling is embedded in the culture of the country. The Netherlands is a treasure trove of landmarks, cafes, museums and spectacular gardens. Here are 20 must-visit famous, natural, historical and Amsterdam-based landmarks in The Netherlands.
- 20 Landmarks in the Netherlands
- Amsterdam Landmarks
- Natural Landmarks
- Historical Landmarks
- Famous Landmarks
20 Landmarks in the Netherlands
1- De Poezenboot
Founded in 1966 by Henriette v. Weelde, De Poezenboot is a floating home for Amsterdam’s stray cats.
Henriette took in a family of stray cats who were sheltering underneath a tree near her home by the Herengracht canal, and not long after, other strays soon joined them.
The first Poezenboot was opened in 1968 and was modified to provide safe accommodation for the city’s cats.
Due to its unwavering success, it opened a second location in the early 70s.
Today, De Poezenboot is still running, and it is possible to visit these curious creatures in their floating home.
Visiting De Poezenboot, which is a charitable organisation that relies on donations to keep going, is one of the free things to do in Amsterdam that will make you feel good.
All cats on the boat are available for adoption, and visitors can see the cats in person while visiting or online beforehand.
De Poezenboot is at Singel 38 – G, 1015 AB Amsterdam.
2- Anne Frank House
Opened to the public in 1957 in cooperation with Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father, the Anne Frank House serves as a museum and awareness centre for Anne Frank and what happened to those persecuted during the Second World War.
Anne Frank was born into a Jewish family and in 1942 and just after her 13th birthday, she had to hide from the Nazis with her family.
Anne, a first-time diary writer, began to write down her experiences in a diary, which was discovered after she sadly died in 1945 following her imprisonment in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Anne’s family hid in a secret annex in the building, which is now open to the public.
Explore the annex at Anne Frank House and read extracts from her diary to learn more about her famous ordeal.
The Anne Frank House is at Westermarkt 20, 1016 DK Amsterdam.
3- De Gooyer
One of the most famous windmills in the Netherlands, De Gooyer windmill, dates back to the 16th century and is octagonal.
The windmill served as a flour mill and was used commercially until the mid-20th century when it became a corn mill.
De Gooyer was originally built from wood and is one of the last five remaining windmills constructed in a similar style.
The windmill is sadly not open to the public, however, it remains an integral part of Amsterdam’s history and a beautiful part of the waterfront.
De Gooyer is at Funenkade 5, 1018 AL Amsterdam, Netherlands.
4- Van Gogh Museum
Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum has 200 paintings, 500 sketches and 750 documents and letters from Vincent Van Gogh.
The museum was opened in 1973 and was designed in the De Stijl style by Gerrit Reitveld, a Dutch architect.
In 1999, another wing was added to the museum, designed by Japanese architect Kurokawa Kisho.
Within the museum are some of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings, including Sunflowers and The Bedroom.
The museum also houses artworks from artists who have been influenced by Van Gogh.
A research library and auditorium where films and lectures are held are also open to the public.
The Van Gogh Museum is at Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam.
On the outskirts of Amsterdam is Castle Muiderslot, which is surrounded by water and the perfect location for spectacular photographs.
The castle dates back to 1285, and following its turbulent history, was left abandoned until 1878.
King William I turned into a national museum that was later renovated by Pierre Cuypers, the architect behind the Rijksmuseum and Amsterdam Central Station.
Once home to poet P.C. Hooft, the castle is worth exploring inside, but make sure to visit the castle gardens which are beautifully designed and filled with vegetable beds, shaded seating areas and medicinal herb gardens.
Muiderslot is at Herengracht 1, 1398 AA Muiden.
Originating in the 15th century, this English style garden has been open to the public since the 1950s.
The gardens are within the grounds of Keukenhof Castle.
The park, a spring park, is only open during spring when the bulbs planted are at their most beautiful.
2021 will mark the 71st showing of the flowers, which will have a theme of “A World of Colours”.
Each spring, more than 7 million bulbs will flower, with 20 flower shows running throughout the season. There are seven gardens in total, including a Tropical Beach garden, and Mystical Garden which focuses on mindfulness.
Keukenhof is at Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse.
7- The Castle Gardens of Arcen
The Castle Gardens of Arcen are in the village of Arcen and offers 32 hectares filled with incredible landscaped gardens, parkland and a 17th-century castle.
The garden is split into many smaller themed gardens, including a mountain garden with rock formations and waterfalls, and Mediterranean Casa Verde which houses the Netherlands’ oldest fig tree.
Connected by a stone bridge to the castle is the Baroque rosarium, which has over 8000 rose bushes.
The Castle Gardens of Arcen is at Kasteeltuinen Arcen, Lingsforterweg 26, 5944 BE Arcen, Limburg.
8- The Sallandse Heuvelrug
This vast stretch of the national park has fantastic walks and majestic wildlife.
Its heathland, however, is what makes a trip to The Sallandse Heuvelrug worth the visit.
The heathland is one of the longest in Europe, and when the heather is in flower, the purple blanket makes for a breathtaking sight.
Within the park are various viewpoints allowing visitors to view wildlife such as deer, stone marten and around 75 different species of birds at a distance so as not to disturb them in their habitat.
The Sallandse Heuvelrug is at Grotestraat 281, 7441GS Nijverdal.
9- Markermeer Lake
Markermeer Lake began as a saltwater inlet of the North Sea.
Following different channelling of other bodies of water, the lake became freshwater and is now a popular holiday destination and nature reserve.
The lake became a protected nature reserve in 2004 to protect the bird habitats on the islands of Maker Wadden.
On Markermeer Lake, there are five islands named Maker Wadden.
The islands are artificial and form a nature reserve where visitors can explore the land while looking at the wildlife.
You can reach the lake through any of the smaller towns on its shores, such as Lelystad and Volendam.
10- De Haar Castle
De Haar Castle is Holland’s largest castle featuring towers, turrets and surrounded by a large moat.
Despite its medieval appearance, the castle was built in the late 1800s and was completed in 1912.
The castle sits on the grounds of a ruined castle and became the home for the Van Zuylen van Jijevelt family.
During the 1960s, De Haar Castle hosted the rich and famous, including Brigitte Bardot and Coco Chanel.
The castle grounds are spectacular with its large moat, kitchen gardens and a rose garden dedicated to the late son of the family.
De Haar Castle is at Kasteellaan 1, 3455RR Haarzuilens.
11- Het Loo Palace
Built in 1685 as the royal families summer residence, and becoming a museum in the 1980s, Het Loo Palace is a marvel of baroque architecture.
The palace museum shows what life was like for the monarchs of the House of Orange.
The palace also includes stables and coach buildings and a large palace park complete with a labyrinth and striking water features.
The gardens of Het Loo are a highlight of any visit.
Restored to their original Baroque style, the gardens have lead many to nickname the palace the “Dutch Palace of Versailles”.
Het Loo Palace is at Koninklijk Park 16, Apeldoorn.
12- Het Binnenhof
Serving as a centre of politics for the Netherlands throughout its history, Het Binnenhof is a series of buildings in The Hague that run along one side of the Hofvijver pond.
One of the most famous buildings of Het Binnenhof is Ridderzall, or Knights Hall, which was build between the 13th and 14th centuries and served as a castle.
Another key area in Het Binnenhof is Luistervinken, a large hunting party hall and courtroom.
The beams of the hall feature wooden faces with a large ear on the side and date back to the 14th century.
When the room was used as a court, the person on trial was told to tell the truth because a higher power was listening in through the large ears.
Het Binnenhof is at Binnenhof 1, 2513 AA The Hague.
UNESCO World Heritage site Kinderdijk tells the story of how seven centuries of people of The Netherlands managed water.
Kingerdijk consists of 19 windmills built in the mid-1700s in the wetlands around Dordrecht, constructed as part of a more extensive system to prevent flooding.
Three of the windmills are open to visitors as museums.
Visitors can also enjoy these monuments of The Netherlands from the water on a boat tour.
Kinderdijk is at Nederwaard 1b, 2961 AS Kinderdijk, The Netherlands.
14- Texel Lighthouse
The Texel Lighthouse is the only place in The Netherlands where you can see the sea in three directions.
The lighthouse is next to the Wadden Sea and the North Sea.
Texel Lighthouse was completed in 1864 after Johannes Ludovicus Kikkert lobbied for a lighthouse to be built in the area as it was a common site for shipwrecks.
There are 118 stairs to the top of the lighthouse, and the views from the top are worth the climb.
Texel Lighthouse is at Nederwaard 1b, 2961AS Kinderdijk.
Built for Admiral Cornelis Tromp, a naval hero of the Dutch Republic, by Daniël Stalpaert in the 17th century, Trompenburgh is an unusual manor house.
Designed to resemble a ship, complete with railings, decks and almost surrounded by water, the house had a tumultuous past.
Shortly after acquiring the house and redesigning it, the house was looted and burned by the French during 1672.
The house was then rebuilt by Tromp.
Visitors should head to the spacious dome hall, where an incredible painted ceiling adorns the open foyer.
Trompenburg is at Buitenplaats Trompenburgh, Zuidereinde 43, 1244 KK ’s-Graveland.
Madurodam is a miniature theme park in The Hague.
The parkland features 1:25 scale models of key landmarks in The Netherlands and features waterways, castles and industrial projects.
The park was opened in 1952 and donates all of its proceeds to a range of charities throughout The Netherlands.
Within the park are important areas of The Netherlands modelled in miniature, including Schiphol airport, complete with planes and baggage trucks, and Binnenhof in The Hague.
Madurodam is at George Maduroplein 1, 2584 RZ Den Haag.
Evoluon was commissioned by technology company Philips in 1966.
The building’s unusual UFO-style structure has made it an iconic landmark of Eindhoven.
Evoluon was originally a science museum, but today it serves as a conference centre.
The building was designed with care by Frits Philip and required careful calculations to support the 77-metre concrete dome.
Evoluon can be found at Noord Brabantlaan 1A, 5652LA Eindhoven.
18- Rietveld Schroder House
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Reitveld Schroder House is an architectural marvel in the city of Utrecht.
The house was built in 1925 by Gerrit Reitveld and follows the De Stijl architectural style he was well known for.
The interior focuses on primary colours and clean, crisp lines.
The house is a flexible space and features collapsible upstairs walls to allow for an increase in open spaces whenever needed.
The house was constructed using reinforced concrete and steel, and again features elements of primary colours on the external facades.
The house was a private residence until the mid-1980s and is now open to the public.
Reitveld Schroder House is at Prins Hendriklaan 50, 3583 EP Utrecht.
Another striking piece of Dutch architecture is Kubuswoningen.
Often described as a bizarre architectural experiment, this incredible piece of yellow architecture graces Rotterdam’s port area.
The architect behind the unusual cube structure was Piet Blom, who was tasked with redeveloping the area following its destruction during the Second World War.
Kubuswoningen was designed as part of a larger urban planning project and was designed to offer housing within this unusual complex.
The walls of each cube, which are angled on their points rather than sitting flat, are yellow, with small geometric windows.
Kubuswoningen is at Overblaak 70, 3011 MH Rotterdam.
A famous landmark in Rotterdam is the Erasmusbrug, or Erasmus Bridge.
The bridge stretches for 800m across the Maas river, connecting northern and southern Rotterdam.
Designed by Ben van Berkel and completed in 1996, it is both a cable-stayed bridge and a suspension bridge to allow ships to pass underneath it.
The suspension side of the bridge has a 139m-high pylon with 40 cables stretching from it to support the bridge.
The bridge is nicknamed “The Swan” due to the curved shape of the pylon.
Erasmusbrug is at Erasmusbrug 1, 3072 AP Rotterdam.
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