Amsterdam is likely the first stop on a journey through the Netherlands for a lot of people — and for an excellent reason. But this small nation has so much more. Think about windmill rows, tulip fields, and towns that burst with culture and charm.
Beyond Amsterdam, there are smaller towns and cities in the Netherlands that will undoubtedly blow your mind.
If you are looking for cities where you can learn about the Netherlands’ history, culture, and heritage, we have listed down seven underrated towns you need to visit in the Netherlands that are not Amsterdam.
7 Underrated Towns to Visit in the Netherlands
Delft, a west Netherlands canal-ringed town, is renowned as Delftware’s production base for the famous hand-painted blue-and-white pottery. The medieval Oude Kerk is the burial place of indigenous child and Netherlands master painter Johannes Vermeer in its ancient town.
Many people flock to Delft for their eponymous blue pottery. When you visit Delft, don’t overlook the unspoiled Renaissance architecture of the city and the Vermeer Center museum. Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, who became famous for works like Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Milkmaid was born and died here.
Kinderdijk is a village in the South Holland province of the Netherlands, known for its iconic windmills from the 18th century. Its water management network includes 19 mills and three pumping stations, as well as dikes and reservoirs that regulate polder flooding.
The Kinderdijk village is likely what comes to mind when you imagine a rural countryside in the Netherlands. In the early 18th century, the mills were built to keep the soil dry, and since 1997, the mill network has been a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Rotterdam is a significant port town in the South Holland province. The vintage vessels and displays of the Maritime Museum trace the maritime history of the city. The Delfshaven neighborhood of the 17th century is home to shopping along the canals and the Pilgrim Fathers Church, where pilgrims worshiped before sailing to America.
Following the Second World War, the town is now renowned for bold, contemporary architecture after being almost entirely reconstructed. The cube house designs are one of the reasons why you need to visit the second largest town in the country.
Volendam is a Dutch town northeast of Amsterdam on Markermeer Lake. It is renowned for its colorful wooden buildings and its harbor and the ancient fishing boats. From 1800 to the present, the Volendam Museum includes paintings, carvings, pottery, a gallery of traditional clothes, and mosaics made from millions of cigar bands.
This scenic fishing village is best-known to Holland for several reasons. Aside from the colorful wooden buildings, you can also see bobbing fishing ships. You can also stroll the seafood stalls for chips and fish dishes, smoked eel, and pickled herring piled high with onions.
The Wadden Sea lies between northwestern mainland Europe’s coastline and the low-lying Frisian Islands range, forming a shallow water body with tidal flats and wetlands.
The Wadden Sea is the world’s biggest unbroken sand and mudflat system. The site covers the Dutch Wadden Sea Conservation Area, Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein German Wadden Sea National Parks, and most of the maritime conservation area of the Danish Wadden Sea. The Wadden Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Texel is one of the Netherlands’ Wadden Islands off the Netherlands coast. It is renowned for Texel National Park’s bird-rich dunes, with its sandy beaches, grassy dunes, and forest paths. In the park, Ecomare is a seal and bird sanctuary for nature museums, aquariums, and wildlife.
Texel is the most prominent and most inhabited, also known as the Wadden Islands, owing to its place in the Wadden Sea. Unlike anything else on the continent, the island provides landscapes including sweeping sand dunes, lavender-filled salt marshes, and bungalow-lined beaches.
The 19th-century Texel Lighthouse on the northern tip of the island provides panoramic views of the North Sea and the Wadden Sea.
Alkmaar has lots of fascinating museums and several medieval architecture worth checking out. But there’s one main reason most tourists flock here: cheese. The city is renowned for its traditional cheese market, which runs from April to early September on Friday afternoons.
Alkmaar is a Netherlands town and municipality situated in the North Holland province. Alkmaar’s traditional cheese market is well established. It’s a famous cultural destination for visitors.
The Netherlands is home to many beautiful sites and bits of heritage to learn from, especially outside Amsterdam. When you visit the Netherlands on your next trip, don’t miss the chance to study and roam around its culture by visiting the smaller towns.