Experience the tulips, windmills, cheeses of Holland in the Dutch Countryside

Windmills in Holland
Landscape in Holland with a windmill pink dahlia flowers and a canal.

When it comes to the Netherlands, the city that first springs to mind is often Amsterdam, with its captivating canals, historical buildings, world-class museums and bustling nightlife. But as enchanting as Amsterdam is, the real essence of the Netherlands can be found in the pastoral beauty of its countryside. Here, you can immerse yourself in the tranquil landscapes of verdant meadows, bustling cheese markets, blooming tulip fields, serene lakes, and iconic windmills – the essence of the Dutch culture. This article will offer an introduction to the unique allure of the Dutch countryside near Amsterdam.

The Windmill Chronicles

The Netherlands is renowned for its windmills, and what better way to experience them than in the charming countryside. Zaanse Schans, located north of Amsterdam, is an open-air museum and a preserved piece of Dutch history. This area is home to a collection of well-preserved, historic windmills and houses. You can even venture inside some of these windmills to see how they were used for sawing wood or grinding spices. Close by, the Windmill Village of Schermerhorn offers an authentic look at life in the 17th century with its three perfectly preserved windmills.

The Tulip Tapestry

Come spring, the Dutch countryside transforms into a painter’s palette of vibrant colours. The region of North Holland, especially the area around Keukenhof, comes alive with a rainbow of blooming tulips, hyacinths and daffodils. This region, named the ‘Bollenstreek‘, showcases the country’s most renowned flower – the tulip – and its various hues. Cycling through these flower fields on a sunny spring day is a truly breathtaking experience.

The Art of Dutch Cheese

The Netherlands is known for its cheese, with Dutch gouda and edam being celebrated worldwide. You can taste these and more in Alkmaar, a city north of Amsterdam, known for its traditional cheese markets. Here, on Friday mornings from April to September, you can witness the spectacle of cheese porters in traditional attire carrying wheels of cheese in a ritual dating back to medieval times. This is not just a trip back in time; it’s a mouthwatering journey into Dutch gastronomy.

Footprints of Wooden Clogs

The Dutch have a rich history of crafting wooden shoes or ‘clogs‘. The Clog Museum in Zaandam provides insight into this traditional Dutch craft. You can learn about the process of making clogs, admire the variety of designs and even try a pair on for size. The sound of these wooden shoes on cobblestones is the authentic sound of the Dutch countryside.

Nature’s Majesty: Lakes and Estates

Beyond the charm of windmills and tulips, the countryside near Amsterdam offers splendid lakes and estates. The Loosdrechtse Plassen is a network of lakes, perfect for boating or watersports. For a leisurely experience, visit the estates in ‘t Gooi, often referred to as the ‘Garden of Amsterdam’. This region is famous for its expansive estates with beautifully preserved castles, such as Castle Groeneveld in Baarn, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of the Dutch nobility.

Coveted Coastlines

Finally, the Dutch countryside also extends to the beautiful North Sea coast. North and south of Amsterdam, you’ll find a long stretch of sandy beaches like Zandvoort and Bloemendaal, perfect for a summer day. Stroll along the coastline, savor local seafood, and watch the sunset over the North Sea.

The countryside near Amsterdam is a realm of authentic Dutch culture, bursting with historical sites

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