What Is Netherlands Known For

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Despite being a relatively small European country, The Netherlands is known for its unique festivals, interesting historical figures and beautiful landscapes. Picture colourful tulip fields overlooked by old wooden windmills, traditional clothing and wooden clogs. Known as the ‘flower shop of the world’, the Netherlands exports a large amount of flowers to Europe and beyond, with nearly 90% of the worlds tulips grown there.

Amsterdam is a picture of winding canals, beautiful traditional and tightly packed together traditional buildings, bicycles and museums, making it one of the popular city break destinations in Europe. The Netherlands is famous for its artists and its art museums. Old Masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, to Van Gogh and Mondrian all are from the Netherlands, and there is plenty to see and do across the country to follow in their footsteps.

It’s also one of the most bicycle friendly countries in Europe, where cycling is actively encouraged as a regular mode of transport. You will find thousands of bicycles across its cities chained up outside train stations or offices, or being ridden along its bicycle friendly streets. One of the best things to do in the Netherlands is hire a bicycle and explore either independently or on a guided tour. The Netherlands are also pioneers in sustainable energy, particularly when it comes to wind power and has an electric train system that runs on 100% sustainable energy generated by wind power. Intrigued? Here’s what else the Netherlands is known for.

What Is The Netherlands Known For?

1- Tulips

Windmill Park With A Blue Sky And Green Agricultural Field,
The Netherlands is known for tulips and other flowers.

The Netherlands is well-known for its exquisite production of tulips, the national flower of the Netherlands and a symbol of the country since the 17th century.

These beautiful bulbs gained popularity when Carolus Clusius, a botanist and professor, planted tulips in the Hortus Botanicus gardens.

The best time to see these colourful fields of tulips is in spring between March and May.


There are many tulip fields across the country, some of which are open to the public for tours and activities during tulip season.

It is even possible to stay the night on a tulip farm to extend your stay.

For the best tulips head to Bollenstreek, otherwise known as the Flower Bulb Region, where you can find fields upon fields of neatly planted brightly coloured tulips.

Hire a bicycle and explore the area, or hike along the edges of the fields and waterways for a colourful and beautiful day out.

Recommended tours:

2- Windmills

Windmills In Zaanse Schans
Windmills are what the Netherlands known for.

There are hundreds of beautiful and traditional windmills scattered across the Netherlands set alongside tranquil waterways and picturesque fields.

Schiedam is home to the five biggest windmills in the world, all of which tower over the landscape at 40m (130ft) tall.

These windmills and many more across the country were primarily used in the production of grains and flour.

Other windmills, many of which date back to the 8th century, were designed to keep water moving and prevent lakes overflowing and causing flooding.

For the most beautiful windmills in the Netherlands visit Kinderdijk, where the 19 windmills there have been designated a UNESCO site.

One of the most famous windmills in the Netherlands is De Gooyer Windmill in Amsterdam’s old harbour district Funenkade.

This unique windmill is one of the last remaining wooden windmills in the country and is set above an octagonal stone base.

Despite not being open for tourists to explore, this windmill is set in attractive surroundings and is well worth a visit to see.

3- Stroopwafel

Stroopwafel In Zaanse Schans Is A Typical Dutch Food
Stroopwafel is a type of food the Netherlands is known for.

Tuck into a traditional treat in the Netherlands and enjoy stroopwafel, which is a syrup waffle similar to a cookie made from two thin wafers filled with a sweet caramel syrup.

Dating back to the 18th century, these sugary treats were first made in the city of Gouda.

The stroopwafel was invented as a way to use up leftover breadcrumbs in a bakery.

Gerard Kamphuisen, a baker from Gouda, is credited with the oldest recipe for stroopwafels which was recorded in 1840.

Today you can find stroopwafels in many cafes, where balancing the treat on top of a hot drink to soften the caramel is encouraged.

You will also find freshly made and still warm stroopwafels sold from street food stalls. In Volendam, this Stroopwafel Experience will give you a good taste of this treat or you can join a private food tour for wider experience.

4- Bicycles

Amsterdam Canal With Boats And Bicycles On A Bridge
Bicycles is what the Netherlands known for around the world.

Bicycles are a highly popular mode of transport in the Netherlands with approximately 23 million bicycles in use.

The country is well-known for being flat making cycling routes easy to use.

The country’s love of bicycles dates back to the 1970s when cars were causing delays and congestions on city roads that were constructed during medieval times and were not designed to accommodate vehicles.

There were many deaths caused by vehicles on these narrow roads of adults and children alike.

This, alongside the rising costs of oil in the mid 70s, encouraged the Dutch government to advocate bicycles over cars.

Today you will see bicycle friendly streets and specifically designed routes throughout the cities, and signs telling cars they are ‘guests’ among the bikes.

There are more than 35,000 kilometres (21,747 miles) of cycle tracks across the Netherlands making cycling a priority over cars.

There are plenty of opportunities in the Netherlands to hire bicycles, or to head out on cycling tours of cities and tulip fields.

5- Delft Blue Pottery

Six Typical Blue Delft Tiles
Royal Delft blue pottery is what Netherlands is known for producing.

Royal Delft have been producing fine pottery in the Netherlands since 1653, and their most famous items produced are Delft Blue.

Royal Delft prides itself on traditional practices and craftsmanship that has been passed down through the generations.

Traditionally, each Royal Delft piece is hand painted using a range of specialised brushes and techniques to create delicate patterns and designs.

Each piece made by Royal Delft in the Delft Blue style is painted using cobalt oxide using a centuries old recipe which when baked, goes through a chemical change transforming the initial black pattern into a bold and bright glazed blue.

The manufacturing process of Royal Delft pottery can be seen at the 400-year old factory and museum.

Tour the factory and see the craftsmen at work, before getting stuck in as you paint your own tile or plate in a traditional Delft Blue style.

There is an extensive shop at the museum where authentic Delft Blue pottery can be purchased for beautiful souvenirs of your trip to the Netherlands.

6- Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House In Amsterdam From Money
Anne Frank’s House is one of the historical places the Netherlands is known for.

Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father, founded the Anne Frank House in 1957.

The house acts as a museum to show where the family went into hiding in Amsterdam, and to generate awareness of his daughters story and the harrowing events that happened to him, his family, and thousands of other Jewish people during WWII.

Anne Frank, a Jewish teenage girl, went into hiding in Amsterdam with her family in a small annex in a canal side house in 1942.

During their time in the house hiding from the Nazis Anne, who dreamed of becoming a journalist, began to document her time in hiding through a diary.

Since being published for the first time in 1947, her diary has sold approximately 30 million copies worldwide.

Following the requirement from the Nazis for Jewish people to wear the Star of David as an identifier, Anne Frank and her family went into hiding in a small annex.

Anne and her family were discovered in 1944 and arrested following a police raid; her last diary entry was written 3 days before they were discovered.

Otto Frank was the only member of his family to survive the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.

The house and its annex are a poignant reminder to the traumatic events of the holocaust and their lasting impact today. Discover the life of Anne Frank on a walking tour.

7- Art Museums

Van Gogh Museum and blue sky
Art Museums are what the Netherlands known for.

The Netherlands is home to many great artists, and many museums are dedicated to the widespread talent of these creatives.

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh and his contemporaries.

The museum displays a collection of Van Gogh’s self-portraits including the famous Sunflowers and Almond Blossom, alongside many other landscapes and floral paintings.

Another famous museum in Amsterdam is the Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands.

This museum is dedicated to artists from the Netherlands and its history as a country.

Inside you will find the Rijks Studio, a dedicated space for works by Dutch masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Displayed in Rijks Studio are The Milkmaid, Woman Reading a Letter and Love Letter by Vermeer.

Works from Rembrandt in the museum include The Night Watch, Reclining Loin and The Denial of St Peter.

8- Clogs

Colorful Painted Clogs
Clogs is one of the traditional products the Netherlands is known for.

A typical souvenir brought home from the Netherlands has long been a traditional wooden clog.

Klompen, as they are called in Dutch, are a traditional shoe that dates back to medieval times.

These 13th century shoes were originally designed to protect the feet of workers in factories, artisans working at potteries, and of farmers and fishermen.

Traditionally, clogs worn for work were plain and undecorated, whereas the colourful and patterned depictions sold to tourists were often worn to celebration events such as weddings, or even simply to church.

There are several locations across the Netherlands where traditional clogs are manufactured offering factory tours.

Zaanse Schans is one of the best-known destinations for clog factory tours where after watching these unique shoes being made free of charge, you can explore their factory shop and purchase a novelty item or even a pair of clogs to wear at home.

9- Canals

Amsterdam At Night, With Dancing Colorful House
Canals is what Amsterdam in The Netherlands is famous for.

The Netherlands is well-known for its canals, with the most famous of its canals being in Amsterdam.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 17th century canals in Amsterdam are the perfect destination to get a real feel for the city, and to snap some beautiful photographs.

The canals in Amsterdam were dug to help the city expand while encouraging the transportation of food and other goods with ease around the city.

These canals also controlled water levels around the city and helped to fend off potential invaders and armies.

The city’s unmistakable appearance and charm is thanks to these tranquil waterways which are crossed by bicycle-friendly bridges and boarded by beautiful houses and buildings.

One of the best ways to see and experience the canals of Amsterdam is from the water on a canal boat tour with a knowledgeable guide, or for those looking to explore at their own place simply rent a pedal boat and set sail.

10- Van Gogh

Postage Stamp
Van Gogh is a famous painter the Netherlands is most known for.

One of the most famous artists from the Netherlands was Vincent Van Gogh.

Born in 1853, Van Gogh grew up in the village of Zundert where he had a turbulent relationship with education, leaving school to never return in 1868.

Unlike other artists from the time, Vincent Van Gogh decided to become an artist later in life aged 27.

Against his parents wishes, Van Gogh moved to The Hague where he started to learn to draw and paint with the help of his uncle.

Following a turbulent relationship and eventually returning home to his parents, Van Gogh began painting the world around him including workers and farmers in his village.

A move to Paris in the late 1880s saw Van Gogh include more colour in his art which would eventually become synonymous with his style as a painter.

Van Gogh struggled with mental health and was hospitalised in 1889 where, from his window in the Saint-Rémy-de-Provence hospital he painted approximately 150 works during his year-long stay.

Included in this collection are Almond Blossom, Starry Night and Irises.

Van Gogh died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1890 aged just 37.

During his life Van Gogh sadly sold few paintings, however his legacy lives on through the Amsterdam-based Van Gogh Museum and in collections across the world.

11- Rembrandt

Another famous artist from the Netherlands was Rembrandt.

Born in 1606, Rembrandt showed promise as an artist following an unsuccessful stint at the University of Leiden.

Aged just 14 Rembrandt took up an apprenticeship with local painters before working with Pieter Lastman and Jan Lievens.

Rembrandt began as a painter of religious scenes, however following the Protestant Reformation, the desire for such works from churches dried up and Rembrandt turned his attentions towards historical works and private commissions.

Rembrandt moved to Amsterdam in 1631 where he set up a studio and produced a series of paintings and etchings, which he would later become well-known for.

Rembrandt’s signature style focuses on dramatic differences in light and dark.

Alongside historical works, Rembrandt continued to paint religious paintings using bible passages for inspiration, and developed depictions from mythology. Skip the line and book your tickets to the Rembrandt House Museum.

Coffee Shop
“Coffee Shops” for marijuana is what the Netherlands is known for.

Amsterdam is well-known for its coffee shop culture, which despite the name has little to do with the drink.

The Netherlands allows the sale of marijuana in licensed coffeeshops, giving visitors the chance to try it in a safe and legal environment.

These coffeeshops offer patrons a wide menu of food and drinks alongside smoking lounges, creative spaces and social hubs where locals meet up after work.

One of the most famous coffeeshops in Amsterdam is Grey Area, where the likes of Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg have visited.

Coffeeshop Siberië is one of the city’s most desirable coffeeshops offering a relaxing vibe in rooms decorated with works of art from local artists.

Recommended tours:

13- Heineken

Very Old Heineken Beer
What alcohol is the Netherlands known for? Heineken is one of the most popular beers.

Heineken is now a popular beer world-wide, however the brand started as a small brewery in the Netherlands.

Gerard Adriaan Heineken bought his first brewery in 1864 where he began to produce a premium lager.

During this process Heineken explored the latest innovations in brewing technology and developed a quality control lab, becoming the first brewer in the world to do so.

Heineken soon expanded and in 1988 left their former brewery for a larger location, allowing the original buildings to become a museum dedicated to the brands history and iconic drink.

Heineken offers an experience at their Amsterdam brewery allowing eager visitors to immerse themselves in the full brewing process.

After looking inside the brewery’s original brew room visitors can enjoy two Heineken beers at their onside bar.

14- The Hague

The Hague Cityscape With Mauritshuis Art Museum
The Hague is a city the Netherlands is known for.

The Hague is the largest city in the Netherlands on the countries North Sea coast.

The city is famous for being the seat of the Dutch Parliament and the United Nations International Court of Justice.

This link to international justice has given The Hague a reputation for being a city of peace.

Aside from its prominence on an international scale, The Hague is also well-known for its excellent beaches and bustling city centre.

The city is home to the Dutch royal family who can often be seen out and about and interacting with the public.

The workplace of the royal family is Noordeine, a grand palace that has been the home of the House of Orange since the late 1500s.

The palace is only open to the public a few times a year however the surrounding streets offer views of the palace, and are home to many excellent antique stores and art galleries.


15- King’s Day

One of the most popular and most famous festivals in the Netherlands is King’s Day which celebrates King Willem-Alexander’s birthday.

King’s Day is held each year on April 27th.

To truly experience this festival like a local wear orange, a symbol of the Dutch royal family and the nations national colour.

During King’s Day celebrations expect to see funfairs, musical performances, flea markets and parades throughout cities across the Netherlands.

Each year the royal family celebrate King’s Day in a different city, allowing locals to show off just what makes their hometown unique.

Canals and rivers fill with brightly decorated boats and take part in races.

The festivities continue into the night as King’s Day becomes King’s Night, which sees more live music performances in pubs and on the streets.

World Map With Magnified Netherlands.

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Sarah Holmes
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.