If the race to become host city of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that there is a lot more to see in The Netherlands than Amsterdam.

In recent months talk of potential host cities has put a lot of new locations on our radar. All summer we talked about areas that wanted to host Eurovision — like Arnhem, Breda, Den Bosch, Den Haag, Enschede, Leeuwarden, Maastricht, Utrecht and ultimate winner Rotterdam. And then we encountered other places as we frantically Googled the aforementioned cities: Gouda, Zwolle, Groningen, Haarlem, Eindhoven, Tilburg, Alkmaar, Leiden, Delft and Nijmegen.

Now, with the support of NBTC Holland Marketing, we are ready to dive in to eight gems that we haven’t yet encountered. Yep, we’re visiting eight cities we have not been to, so that excludes Amsterdam. And we’re also going to hold off on Rotterdam, since we’ll be spending a lot of time there this May anyway. Hopefully this will give you guys some ideas for excursions around the country when you hit Dutch soil this spring.

And so we need your help. Where in the Netherlands do you think we should travel? Are there any towns that you think best capture the Dutch spirit? What’s the most beautiful part of the country to you? Are there any cities or towns with really weird or unusual activities that we have to try and which you’d love to direct Eurovision fans to? Do you have any fond memories from specific places? And what do we need to eat when we’re passing through?

No matter how small the city or how bizarre the activity, we want to hear from you! So please sound off in the comments section with your suggestions, tips and tricks so we can pull together an itinerary and hit the road.

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Anton
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Rotterdam Prinsenland (where I live) is a really nice suburb of Rotterdam. The cementery ‘Oud Kralingen’ is interresting. According to Dutch law graves should be above groundwater level, so the cementery is a few meters higher than the surroundings which are 4 meter below sea level. Actually what happend in the 19th century, the place was so wet, that the people moved towards the current Kralingen. They just left behind their dead.

IdkYara
Guest
IdkYara

Enkhuizen is typically one of of the oldest Dutch cities. It’s located at the IJsselmeer and it has these medieval museums which used to be prisons for example. The famous Dutch cookie ‘Jodenkoek’ was invented there. I have lived there for a couple years, and I must say the Enkhuizen harbor is beautiful. You can enjoy drinks and food while looking at the boats. Also the trainstation is at the harbor as well, it’s really nice!

IdkYara
Guest
IdkYara

Zaandam definitely. It’s buildings are really colorful and they even have a hotel which looks like these type of houses are stacked on top of eachother. Also our biggest nature environment: De Veluwe (or The Veluwe)

Marieke
Guest
Marieke

Delft is a really pretty city! And for any canal city you can take a boat through the canals of the city which is a nice thing to do and gives you a different experience, the boats are very low and long since you’ll pass many bridges. Also Nijmegen is nice to go to, it is a city but has a smaller town’s feel to it and there are calmer forest areas surrounding it. I really love the view when I come by train of the Waalbrug (bridge) and the perspective of the city next to the river Waal (you… Read more »

Bram Wammes
Guest
Bram Wammes

I already said this on YouTube but please go to the small historical city Buren, it’s really beautiful and we have a Old Dutch candy store called De Rode Held!

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

The town of Baarle-Nassau, on account of it having the craziest border with Belgium. The town is mostly within the Netherlands, but random bit of it are Belgium enclaves. Half a block here, another block there. The border even runs through houses!

Marc
Guest
Marc

* Maastricht
* Middelburg/Veere//Deltawerken/Beaches of Burgh-Haamstede
* Kröller-Müller/Veluwe
* Waddeneilanden
* Voorlinden / The Hague
* Sailing from town to town in Friesland

Bram
Guest
Bram

As a dutchie I would suggest: – cities in the Veluwe, the netherlands biggest forrest/protected nature reserve. Lots of green and peace. – Giethoorn (the dutch Venice), where lot of the streets are replaced by canals – ofcourse maastricht, real southern charm – Kaatsheuvel. Not a spectaculair city, right next to it is the Efteling, the biggest theme park in the netherlands, practically anyone has some history or bond with the Efteling, a place full of magic and stories. Want to experience the dutch life? Go to the efteling (and especially sit on a talking mushroom in the fairytale forest)… Read more »

Eddy
Guest
Eddy

Nice to see all those positiv feedback!
Here is my list :

1) The lakes in Friesland in combination withe the city of Gronngen
2) The Veluwe in combination with the city of Arnhem
3) Alkmaar in combination with Boemenaal (nice beachclubs)
4) Maastricht
5) Biesbosch
6) Utrecht

Whatever you choose , I wish you a lot of beatiful experiences and memories !

X
Eddy

Rob
Guest
Rob

My choice would be ‘de Hal-stad ‘ urban area. Heerhugowaard is the village turned city with new architecture and has the delivered the first energy-neutral neighbourhood in the world, Alkmaar is Amsterdam-minor and the first city to defeat the Spanish during the 80 year war (even before Haarlem and Leiden did), and they’re still proud of it and Langedijk has the museum De Broekerveiling; one of the oldest veggie-auctions in the world. And in between them you’ll find the ‘Rijk Der Duizend Eilanden’; dozens of small islands only accessible by tiny boats. And there are windmills everywhere in that area!… Read more »

bastian
Guest
bastian

Groningen. It is the number 1 student city in the Netherlands, biggest city in the north and is it the bike city of the world! Good thing about the city aswell: the bars there have no official closing times 🙂 Go out and have fun till the sun comes up!

L.H
Guest
L.H

I would recommend these places:

– Giethoorn: beautiful place and it is the Venice of the North
– Bunschoten or Urk: some local people walk every day in traditional clothes
– Efteling: Better than Disney
– Wadden Sea: places like Texel or Ameland
– Neeltje Jans: here you can see how NLD fought with water
– Eindhoven: especially with the Dutch version of carnaval in februari. Beautiful city also

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

As someone who lives in the middle of nowhere at the border between groningen and friesland, I’d definitely recommend visiting both Groningen and Leeuwarden.
Other cool places in the north are: Giethoorn, The oldest planetarium of the world in franeker (a nice frisian village), , Bourtange, The afsluitdijk and also definitely don’t forget a day trip to our wadden islands 😉

Laura
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Laura

Definitely Groningen, it’s my favourite city of the country! It’s so pretty, it’s a student city and definitely stole my heart.

ESC Willeke
Guest
ESC Willeke

I recommend
– Utrecht, a big city, like Amsterdam but less tourists
– Veluwe, many forests, beautiful nature
– Giethoorn, Venice of the Netherlands
– Amersfoort, city with a great innercity
– Groningen, city with the best student life

pepe
Guest
pepe

Baarle Nassau and Baarle Hertog, which have the most complicated borders in the world. Full of enclaves and exclaves of Belgium and the Netherlands.

Bo.
Guest
Bo.

I see Haarlem is already being mentioned in the post, but my city is really worth visiting. It’s a lot like Amsterdam, there are canals, old typical Dutch houses and lots of activities to be done around the city. Such as renting a boat to travel through the canals, visiting a museum like Teylers museum, or best of all: wandering around the city and getting lost in little streets filled with trees and flowers. It’s also somewhat smaller than Amsterdam and less touristic, but only 15 minutes away by train! I’d love to welcome you guys or other fans here… Read more »

Juslin
Guest
Juslin

Tilburg, Eindhoven and Enschede haven’t really much to offer and Alkmaar doesn’t really stand out for anything as well, other than the cheese market on friday mornings. I’d suggest some other gems: – Zaanse Schans for its windmills (Kinderdijk is only nice for a picture, other then the windmills there’s not much to see or do), – Volendam (famous for its typical architecture, fish and music: BZN, Jan Smit and many others). The nearby former island of Marken is nice as well. – Scheveningen or another beach town (they’re all equally ugly, but still nice on a hot summer day).… Read more »

DocDegger
Guest
DocDegger

Veerse Meer on a sunny day

Fionn
Guest
Fionn

Maybe the modle city,I don’t know how to spell it.i went there when I was three (10 years ago) and theta basically the only thing I remember from my trip. that and the kinderdijk

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Madurodam 😉

JorisN
Guest
JorisN

You need to visit Hengelo or Enschede in the east of Netherlands! The nature is beautiful here, Getty Kaspers(Teach-inn), Marcha Bult and Maggie Macneal are living here aswell.

Ro77
Guest
Ro77

-Hellevoetsluis ofcourse, the city Duncan grew up.. small city but lovely AND i live there haha

-Dordrecht the Netherlands oldest city.. near Rotterdam

-and not a city but the themepark Efteling in Kaatsheuvel near Tilburg is good.. worth a visit..

HAVE FUN

T. A.
Guest
T. A.

On what to eat in the Netherlands: 1. Go to a FEBO. That’s a well-known fast food chain in the Netherlands. It’s popluar among students because its foods are conveniently available until late in the night every single day, because of a vending machine system (automatiek). Its menu resembles that of a typical Dutch snack bar (fried food corner), which consists of Dutch fried snacks, but you can also go there for ‘regular’ burgers and fries and soft-serve ice cream. Many Dutch people think it’s better than McDonalds. Here’s some information about Dutch snacks: Snacks and fries are often eaten… Read more »

sarah
Guest
sarah

Groningen! Beautiful city with the best student life of the Netherlands.

HBau
Guest
HBau

Sint Maarten?

Failing that, I’ve always been kinda interested in the bottom bit of Zeeland that probably ought to be part of Flanders but history does weird things to borders.

All Wei
Guest
All Wei

The innercity of Amersfoort, located in the heart of the Netherlands. Has a beautifull old city centre with canals (grachten), and many parts of the old citywalls intact as also some city gateways with bridges and towers ( stadspoorten). its well worth a visit!!

Rnbnh
Guest
Rnbnh

Must try city wise are Utrecht and Haarlem. Eindhoven is grea dor its design. And how about spending a day at Efteling? The best themepark in the Netherlands!

Marjo
Guest
Marjo

Please come to the Achterhoek and play farmer’s golf with me ahahaha! Or pedaloing in Utrecht 😀

Marc
Guest
Marc

If you visit my hometown Purmerend this started as a small fishing village but it has some history and is now a place with 80.000 citizens. Visit Purmerend and i will buy you a Tompouché or a Purmergreintje

Eurofan
Guest
Eurofan

You have to visit The Hague guys ????

James
Guest
James

My mom did her post-university studies in The Hague back in the 1980’s so I’m curious what the city looks like.

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

1980s is a relatively long time ago. I visited it a year ago and it’s really worth it 😀 The city has changed immensely. From 1998 and onwards there have been many tall skyscrapers built in and around the station area, mostly offices for the government. There is a large new modern Central Station. Even though like Rotterdam it has many skyscrapers and it is really close to R’dam, the atmosphere is completely different. The skyscrapers are clustered instead of spread over the city. This means that there are still many large old districts. You can feel the richness of… Read more »

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

I mean long in the context of city scaping of course 😉
1980 in reality is not that long ago

Nicolas
Guest
Nicolas

Enkhuizen is a beautiful lakeside historic town with the Zuiderzeemuseum as one of the main attractions. This museum consists of an actual built for the purpose village which portrays life in the Netherlands around 1900 or so. So you have people running shops there with like traditional candy or you can visit a school of that time period or join a traditional village festivity. And it’s not as kitchy as it may sounds haha 😛

So, my addition for the list will be Enkhuizen!

Renske ten Veen
Editor

The Veluwe (named below already) and Veluwezoom are such underrated gems among Dutchies as well! It’s a nature reserve with heath plantation, which turns purple in Summer. Went there with a girl from Hong Kong in June and there was literally nobody for the 6km we walked/hiked. Just pure nature. Should kinda stay without tourists though because of that, but a big recommendation for both an active and relaxed weekend trip. 🙂 University city Groningen is a really nice place as well during the academic year (September-June). Especially Thursday evenings are really vibrant as it is the main party evening… Read more »

Bouke
Guest
Bouke

Maybe Het Gooi, one of the richest areas in The Netherlands where many famous Dutch people live 🙂 Towns like Laren, Blaricum and Naarden are small but very beautiful! Naarden is an old city with a big, still intact, fortification network, while Blaricum and Laren are filled with beautiful old houses which do not resemble any other Dutch town 🙂

Michael Adam
Guest
Michael Adam

How incredibly exciting is this….!!! Wow! Me as a Dutch man who moved 15 times throughout this entire country I’d definitely recommend these places: – Maastricht indeed is beautiful, quite un-Dutch in a way that the landscape is hilly. Beautiful city too. Close to Maastricht there is the cemetery Margraten, where you will find thousand of graves of mostly American soldiers who died during WWII. It’s very special and moving to see. – Haarlem is only 15 minutes from Amsterdam and nothing like New York Haarlem. It’s Amsterdam in small, less crowdy and touristy. – Den Haag is a city… Read more »

Frisian esc
Guest
Frisian esc

Some ideas for our northern regions:
– leeuwarden: Frisian capital, european cultural capital of 2018
– Franeker: Nice little frisian village with the oldest working planetarium in the world made by a simple wool spinner in his home.
– the Efteling: Most popular and iconic theme park of the netherlands. Would probably make a nice vlog xD
– Giethoorn: the most visited tourist destination in the north. It’s a village which has canals as roads like venice.
– Groningen: most bruising and urban city of the north. Has a very beautiful city centre + good nightlife.

Tibor
Guest
Tibor

There’s a huge indoor antiques market in a town named Cuijk, where I bought my wardrobe. (I have just looked it up out of nostalgia and it seems the market has burned down in 2016, has been reopened in 2017, but isn’t as big as it was before).
I don’t know, if the town itself is pretty, but it’s not far from Nijmegen, where we stopped for coffee on our way to buying my wardrobe – a beautiful city with an internationally renowned university.

Bigger
Guest
Bigger

If you (or anyone abroad) have some spare days left, please visit the amusement park Efteling! I think every Dutch person had at least once visited it in their lifetime, it is a kind of national pride, and the 4th busiest park in Europe. I usually wouldn’t recommend amusement parks during a limited visit, but that place is magical! Disneyland is magic but in a very plastic, child-friendly colourful way. I love Efteling more because it looks more genuine, historic, magical and a bit scary with weird creatures and they’ve put a lot, a lot of detail in everything.

Spirit Animal
Guest
Spirit Animal

The Dutch islands in the north – I always wanted to know what they are like.

Also Vlissingen in Zeeland!

Nathalie
Guest
Nathalie

You know the Bosche Bolle?! Den Bosch all the way! We should have been host city 🙂

SVW
Guest
SVW

As a Dutchie I recommend:
– Zuid-Limburg (part of the country where Maastricht is); beautiful region!
– Utrecht; big city, very much alike to Amsterdam but better (and less tourists)
– Kinderdijk, where a lot of windmills are
– Bazaar in the city of Beverwijk: a very big market with not only Dutch, but also products from the Middle East and so on.
– Veluwe, a big forest with beautiful flora and fauna.

I probably forgot A LOT, but here’s something XD.

(Oh, Rotterdam of course :))