The Netherlands Regional Travel Guide – What Are the Top 3 Regions

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The Netherlands Regional Travel Guide North Holland

The Netherlands Regional Travel Guide brings you information on the beautiful lands known as North Holland and goes from Amsterdam all the way to the Channel. We want you to learn more about North Holland with the Netherlands Regional Travel Guide. The views are very calming.

Green Pastures in Everlasting fields are perfect for pictures filled with barns, farmhouses, and windmills. Going to the coast you will see huge sand dunes protecting the beautiful sandy beaches. The perfect place to come and relax to get away from the busy City. Over on the east side, there are two water barriers the Markermeer and IJsselmeer.

The Eastside used to be known as a part of the Zuider Zee. Back in the years of 1200 through 17. They used to be busy and very popular. Now, they are mainly unused. Haarlem is the busiest and most popular town to visit. Make time to enjoy the best museum around. Explorer all the historic buildings in the area. It’s really a good place to experience. Brave the Untamed area of South Kennemerland National Park.

Walk to sandy beaches or enjoy the massive sand dunes. Edam, Volendam, and Marken which is north of the city are great places to visit. They have plenty of historical buildings to see and explore. Each town has something different from the old glory days. Be sure to plan your visit in the low season to avoid tons of visitors.

A little north of Amsterdam is Zaanstad conurbation. Their main attraction would be the antique windmills and the great canals of Zaanse Schans. Continue on the Northern path until you enter the charming town of Alkmaar. They have a very bustling and loudly promotive cheese market in the summertime. There are two protected coastal zones near the area the North Holland Dune Reserve the Schoorise Duinen National Park.

If you go far to the North you will find the Waddenzee islands, the easiest one to get to is Texel Island. It gets very busy and crowded in the summer months. There are still plenty of places to find peace and quiet if you don’t mind walking or cycling. We provide up to date information in our Netherlands Regional Travel Guide

Most of North Holland is found north of Amsterdam. The land bordering the area dips around the city and flowing into an area called Het Gooi. The most incredible Castle can be found in the tiny town called Muiden. Travel over to the old fortified town of Naarden.

Panorama of a Netherlands Windmill - netherlands regional travel guide
Panorama of a Netherlands Windmill

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THE NETHERLANDS – HOME

South Holland and Utrecht

The most populated area of the Netherlands, and one of the favorites of the Netherlands Regional Travel Guide, is South Holland. With it a line of cities and small towns that come together as a whole place known commonly as Randstad. The name fits it well, meaning Rim town. Each town has its own charm and identity. They fought hard with careful planning to not become shapeless among the others. Achieving success in each one preserving their own special identity.

Leiden isn’t far from Amsterdam, it’s a University Town with beautiful historical buildings and decorative canals. There are old historical looking buildings and beautiful canals decorating the city with an amazing view. The Hague was known to be a boring and stiff government town. With some entertainment development, it has now turned itself into a great place to visit with friends and family. You can go enjoy the great restaurant scene or go to one of the many museums. They have a great nightlife too if you enjoy the bar scene. Very close by is the Tiny Town of Delft. It has only 100,000 people living there.

You will see magnificent 17th-century buildings surrounding a very pretty Centre area. It is very different than the harsh City of Rotterdam. Rotterdam has the world’s largest port. You can find anything there from harbor tours to nice art and other attractions. If you go more Inland you will reach the town of Gouda. This town was historically made famous because of its cheese market and the charm of the countryside in Oudewater.

Dordrecht is on the coast which is the Southside edge of Randstad. There is an ancient Port near The Windmills of the Kinderdijk and near the marshes of Biebosch. This province is known for the capital city which is called Utrecht. It is hustling and bustling with consumers. There is a serious history there.

There are buses and trains to take you all over South Holland the coastal cities of Leiden and Den Haag are just a short ride from the beaches of the northern coast. Leiden has the best views of the rainbow bulb fields in the spring with Keukenhof gardens

Two children running through a field of red tulips in Holland
Two children running through a field of red tulips in Holland

Brief History

South Holland was once a part of what was known as just Holland. It was the most influential part of the country. Holland dominated the Republic in politics, culture, and social life. Neighboring area’s economics were drastically lower. You can see reminders of this power and beauty in the building’s still to this day. Even though the Calvinist Churches have decorative appearances and examples are the newest windows in Gouda’s Janskerk.

They continued that tradition into the 19th century with the Hague School paintings. Each Town offers great Galleries and museums to explore. Two of the greatest are the Hague’s Mauritsihuis and Rotterdam’s Boijmans van Beuningen.

Sunset on the coast of Holland with windmills in the distance - netherlands regional travel guide
Sunset on the coast of Holland with windmills in the distance

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The Eastern Netherlands

There are three provinces to the eastern Netherlands. The favorite of Netherlands Regional Travel Guide is surely Gelderland. The three are Flevoland, Overijssel, and Gelderland. There are beautiful old buildings throughout the cities and towns which show how history affected the areas. Zwolle, Zutphen, and Deventer are three of the most popular. The former Zuider Zee port cities Kampen and Elburg are very interesting. Arnhem is the most popular place to go Arnhem was the site where the Allies tried to shorten the war but failed the attempt.

If you are a major art lover then you must go explore the amazing Kroler Muller Museum set among the wooded area of the National Park de Hoge Velwe.

Traveling East from Amsterdam the first place you get to is Flevoland which has three flat pieces of land called polders that come up from a body of water. The polders are known as the twin Flevoland polders or the Noordoost polder. The next best place to visit are the two former Zuider Zee islands, Urk and Schokland. The boundary lines separating Flevoland from Overijssel used to be the former Zuider Zee coastline. Back in the fourteenth century through the sixteenth-century towns like Kampen, Elburg, and Blokzijl used to be very wealthy and buzzing with their seaports.

Don’t forget the capital of Overijssel which is Zwolle. They rapidly decreased when North and South Holland undercut them at every turn. In later years all four of those towns plus Deventer and Zutphin we’re left in the Dust by the Industrial Revolution. This left them with beautiful late medieval homes and buildings along with early modern homes and churches. Blokzijl also has many lakes and waterways.

Down further into the southern region is Gelderland. The land heads East from Utrecht to the German Frontier. It got its name from the Germantown Geldern. Geldern was the capital city up until the late 14th century. In this area, there is a mix of the great agricultural land of the Betuwe which means good land. South of Utrecht to the forest and dunes that go the old Zuider Zee coastline to Arnhem. This includes the National Park de Hoge Veluwe. A great place to visit it’s the ancient town of Nijmegen, it is a great city with a contemporary feel to it.

Tour boat in the Amsterdam Canals
Tour boat in the Amsterdam Canals

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The South and Zeeland

When you read a map you may think the southern part of the Netherlands doesn’t make much geographical sense at all. We sort that out for you in the Netherlands Regional Travel Guide In the East there is a tiny sliver of land that is way over the Belgium border. To the West there are all water areas, through the years that shaped, in general, has been changed by the fighting of the dynasties. Over towards the West, which is mainly the area of Zeeland, is mainly a classic touch. The people who live in the small towns and Villages have spent their lives All Through History either off at sea or defending their homes and land from the sea.

The last major flood for Zeeland was in 1953. This natural disaster is what jump-started the Delta project. The dams and seawalls were completed in 1986 and have worked brilliantly since then preventing any more floods to occur. Zeeland has beautiful Greenery and everlastingly long sandy beaches but mainly of the small villages have been built up by Developers. Middleburg survived with its great center and veered which is a busy seaport.

More Inland is North Brandt who’s industrial towns took the brunt of the attacks from the southern armies who robbed them and tore the towns apart. Each of those tiny towns has a great deal of history but that’s about it. There are some beautiful churches in ‘S-Hertogenbosh and Breda. The largest town in North Brabaaaant in Eindhoven. They have an international power company called Phillips. Limburg isn’t too far away. It was severely destroyed and World War II.

The most common place to visit just happens to be the capital Maastricht. The city is full of excitement with a great Entertainment District with bars and restaurants as well as some beautiful first-class medieval buildings.

Traditional Holland wooden shoes - netherlands regional travel guide
Traditional Holland wooden shoes

THE NETHERLANDS – HOME

The North and the Frisian Islands

The north of the Netherlands was once a remote area. An area with small towns that weren’t with the mainstream life of the Randstad. In 1932 the Afsluitdisk opened which is a long sea wall bridging the mouth of the Zuider Zee. This sea wall changed everything. The Zuider Zee was once a great trading area and now became the freshwater IJsselmeer and the culture gap between North and West Narrowed.

There are three Northern provinces, Friesland is a tourist Hotspot with all of its islands in a cluster shape with huge Dunes to protect them. This is a great place to enjoy the weather. The capital in Leeuwarden is very popular. It also has eleven positive historical Villages that all have a special charm to separate each one. Harlingen is known for its Majestic houses for the merchants. Hindeloopen has antique cobbled streets and decorative canals that give off a historical feel. Marrum was once a great tile manufacturer but is now known for Ceramics and siding.

Each of the eleven islands is no bigger than a long sandbank. Some can be ankle-deep in the mud towards the South. To the north, there are long stretches of sandy beaches and bicycle Lanes. Just as the most part of the Netherlands, the land is for the most part green. You will see black and white cows throughout as well as pitch-black Friesian horses. They give breaks to the greenery of the land. There are also wind turbines that have replaced the windmills of the area.

Traveling East from Friesland is the province of Groningen which has fewer attractions. The University Town of Groningen more than makes up for that by its attractive diversity in life and entertainment. There are contemporary Fashions with cheap restaurants and bars to attend. It also has a great museum of striking vision in architectural and controversial style art, which makes it a popular place in the region.

Drenthe is south of Groningen who for the most part of History was not good land. Peat colonies change the land Forever by digging up the Peat and shoveling the good soil below it. Now parts are covered with great farmlands. It is populated by people who are drawn by the beauty and peace of nature. There are also wide bike paths and tons of hiking/walking paths.

Winter on a Holland canal with a single windmill.
Winter on a Holland canal with a single windmill.

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Now that you have read about the Regions of the Netherlands, what’s next? Let’s learn more about a Netherlands trip. Check out our complete guide to the Netherlands with travel information at The Ultimate Netherlands Travel Guide


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