For most travelers to the Netherlands, their visit consists of a few days sightseeing in Amsterdam, and perhaps a day trip to some nearby cities such as Rotterdam or The Hague. And while there is plenty to see in these cities, there are also many smaller cities and towns in the Netherlands that have a lot to offer travelers if they have more time at their disposal.
One of the top tourist attractions in Amsterdam is the Vincent van Gogh museum. But van Gogh's roots in the Netherlands can be further explored in the small town of Neunen, which is in the North Brabant province of the Netherlands. Van Gogh lived and worked in Neunen from 1883 1885, and it's here that he painted many still lifes and character studies, including his first famous work, The Potato Eaters.
Neunen was also the site of a battle as part of Operation Market Garden during World War II, and is home to De Lindehof, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant.
Neunen is located close to Eindhoven, and can be reached by bus from Eindhoven's train station.
Located just west of Arnhem, Oosterbeek is a must-visit town if you are interested in World War II history. Oosterbeek was the headquarters of the British Airborne troops during the Battle of Arnhem during Operation Market Garden, the "Bridge Too Far" battle made famous in movies such as A Bridge Too Far. Today, the former Hotel Hartenstein, which served as the headquarters building for the British forces, is the home of the Airborne Museum, which has exhibits and artifacts of the Battle of Arnhem. Nearby is the Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, where 1759 mostly British and Polish casualties of the Battle of Arnhem are laid to rest.
Oosterbeek has its own train station, which can be reached from all points in the Netherlands.
Kinderdijk is a small village in South Holland located around 15 km to the east of Rotterdam. Kinderdijk is most well known for its collection of 19 windmills. The windmills were built in the first half of the 18th century to drain the polder of the Alblasserwaard where the village is situated. This system of windmills is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands, and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997.
Today, you can visit the Kinderdijk windmill system, and see the inner workings of a windmill and the pumping station. Kinderdijk is also a popular spot for walking and cycling excursions along the polders lowlands enclosed by dikes.
You can reach Kinderdijk via waterbus from Rotterdam.
Valkenburg, or Valkenburg aan de Geul, is a small city located in the province of Limburg in the southeast of the Netherlands. Valkenburg is the home of Valkenburg Castle, which was originally built in the 12th century, destroyed and then rebuilt again. The current castle ruins date back to a rebuild in the 14th century, which was destroyed in 1672 during the Franco-Dutch war. It is possible to visit the castle ruins, and also the cave system beneath the castle, in which you will find numerous charcoal drawings on the walls. From Mid-November to early January, Valkenburg is home to a very popular Christmas market, with many of the vendors set up within the caves beneath the castle.
Valkenburg can be reached via train from around the Netherlands.
Sneek is located in the northern Friesland province of the Netherlands, and is considered to be the water sports capital of the country. The city was founded in the 10th century, and with its seafront location, grew to be one of the most important and beautiful cities of the province. A number of ornate, history buildings remain in the city center, such as the Watergate.
Today, Sneek is a popular location for people looking to take part in water sports activities. There are over 130 water sport companies, and 13 marinas in Sneek. It is one of the Eleven Cities of Friesland that in very cold winters are connected via frozen canals to run the Elfstedentocht the 200km Eleven Cities speed skating race. Every summer, Sneek is home to Sneekweek, a weeklong sailing event, and the largest inland water event in Europe.
Sneek can be reached via train from around the Netherlands.
Have you ever been to the Netherlands?
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Erin is a travel and food writer who currently splits her time between the Netherlands and Belize. She's traveled to 60+ countries on 5 continents with a passion for culinary travel, luxury hotels, and all things Disney. Her writing has appeared in numerous online outlets including Gadling, BootsnAll, CNN, Art of Backpacking, TravBuddy, CBS, and more. She was the major author of Belize's official visitor magazine, Destination Belize 2013; wrote the official AFAR Guide to Belize; and is also AFAR Magazine's local Belize expert.. In addition to writing for other publications, Erin maintains several blogs, Our Tasty Travels, No Checked Bags, Pooh's Travels, and the brand new Caye To Belize. Follow Erin on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.
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