Things to do in the Netherlands

Just try wiping that goofy smile off your face when you’re in the Netherlands. It’s near impossible. Fun is part of the Dutch national identity, so you’re guaranteed a good time! There are countless amusement parks (Neeltje Jans, Duinrell, Madurodam and the famous Efteling); zoos (Dolfinarium Safaripark Beekse Bergen, GaiaPark and the Apenheul) watersport facilities, lively markets and, of course, those famous coffee shops. Hey, when you’re in the Netherlands…

Holland is also famous for its art and culture. See classical and contemporary art at the Royal Picture Gallery, Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht – a museum of fine art, Mauritshuis art museum at The Hague, and Kunsthal Rotterdam. It’s also home to some incredible historic museums. A few must-sees are the Royal Delft for the world-famous porcelain, Anne Frank Huis, Amsterdam Museum, Jewish Historical Museum and Dick Bruna House, all about the creator of the ‘Miffy’ kids books.

And, then there’s the events. Probably the most famous and, possibly the most awesome, is Koningsdag or King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day). It’s the biggest national event in the country where everyone and everything turns orange – the national colour. All over the country there are street parties and fairs, but Amsterdam is where the biggest party is at.

Formerly celebrated on April 30, the birthday of Queen Juliana who ruled until her daughter Beatrix succeeded the throne in 1980. King’s Day will now be celebrated on Beatrix’s son King Willem-Alexander’s birthday, April 27, from 2014. It’s one giant birthday party you won’t want to miss. Post it. Tweet it. Insta it. It’s going to be huge! Here’s our pick of must-see spots in the Netherlands.

Anne Frank Museum

For a dose of culture and understanding, few tourists can go past visiting the famous Anne Frank Museum. Located within the Amsterdam house and neighbouring house that Anne Frank once hid from Nazi persecution, the museum is dedicated to telling the young girl’s tragic story.

Van Gogh Museum

Dedicated to the Dutch Post-Impressionist painter and his contemporaries, the Amsterdam art museum houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings.

De Wallen

Most travellers to Amsterdam can’t help but be curious about the city’s infamous Red Light district. Located in De Wallen, the Red Light district is the oldest part of Amsterdam and home to the oldest profession in the world.

Vondelpark

Since its opening in 1865, Amsterdam locals have adopted the centrally located Vondelpark as their own backyard, often making the most of the park on weekends as a prime picnic spot, playground and bike-riding space.

Rotterdam

Part port city, trendy nightlife mecca, sophisticated shopping destination and part hip, artistic city, Rotterdam is one cool and innovative city. Head to the Netherland’s second-largest city for avant-garde architecture as well.

Tulip Fields

From the end of March to the middle of May, you can see fields of tulips in full bloom all around the Netherlands. So many neat rows of colour, it’s like the real world has been photoshopped in glorious technicolour.