The more I travel the more I’m starting to love my own country. That sounds weird right? Don’t get me wrong – I mean, I love to travel around the globe and to learn to know new cultures and countries, however, it also makes me more grateful for what I have at home.
It also taught me how to look at The Netherlands through the eyes of a tourist. I learned – still learning – why tourists have to visit The Netherlands and why they want to.
It makes me love my country more because I keep realizing how beautiful this country actually is.
The Netherlands is a small and unique country, and even though it is small in surface, it has so much variations in nature and cities. Every city has a different atmosphere and there are so many spots around the country that have historic value, in one way or another. Even the small, little village where I grew up – that probably doesn’t get much tourism the whole year round – still has her original city walls!
It’s actually kinda cool to be Dutch, and so today, I am going to be a proud little girl and talk you through my favorite spots in The Netherlands that I think are worth checking out as a tourist too!
Ehm, yeah, well kind of an obvious one, but gosh I love Amsterdam. Even while Amsterdam basically is at the opposite side of the country I can travel there within an hour and a half. And so I try to do this, once in a while. Whenever I have to be in Amsterdam for a press event or whenever I am meeting up with friends or family in the city I always try to add a little extra time for a small walk through the canals. Even though Amsterdam is a part of the Netherlands, I can’t compare it with one single other city in the country. It still surprises me that Amsterdam is the capital of The Netherlands.. everytime I visit – it’s so different from where I live!
MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO – Every now and then I plan a visit to the National Ballet.. So, so beautiful to see them perform in real life! I also adore the Rijksmuseum, not only because of the art itself, but also because of the building. I also love to walk around and finally try all those restaurants I see tourists rave about and of course wander around the canals asking myself why I don’t live in Amsterdam.
Valkenburg & the Vaalserberg
At the south of The Netherlands you’ll find the biggest mountain of the country. Oh, pardon me – it’s a hill: the Vaalserberg. This hill grown to be one of the most touristic spots in The Netherlands, as it also serves as the location where The Netherlands meets Germany and Belgium – in other words: with just two feet you can stand in three countries at the same time. Close to the Vaalserberg you’ll find the little village of Valkenburg. It’s also close to Maastricht – perhaps you’ve heard of this city.
Valkenburg is the cutest village I know in The Netherlands – the atmosphere is great, the restaurants are good and the surroundings of the village are beautiful.
MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO – The last time I was at the Vaalserberg I entered the maze you find here – it took me long enough to find the exit, but it was quite funny to do. In Valkenburg itself I always adore to visit the Christmas market and for some reason we made it into a tradition to visit a Mexican Restaurant named El Castillo everytime we’re there!
Every time I write an article about The Netherlands I bring up Texel. Texel really is my home away from home – basically because it is. Ever since I was a little girl my parents brought me and my sister to Texel when we had two weeks of from school during the holiday period. I guess I’ve spent every Christmas so far in Texel, with the exception of two.
Texel is the biggest island of The Netherlands and the first of the islands (Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland, Schiermonnikoog). Even though it is the biggest island, it is still small – but it’s perfect. Texel has some lovely beaches, and because of the high number of Dutch and German tourists, the little villages on the island are filled with small shops and cute restaurants.
MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO – Texel is the only time a year I have when I actually take ‘some time off’ – I barely bother to think about my phone, work or everything that I need to do. So I always spend my time on Texel walking around the villages and saying hello to all the shops I said goodbye too the year before – but mostly I spend my time on the beach, getting some fresh air and looking at the waves.
So, this one isn’t really a city or a national park. Quite the opposite actually. The Efteling is the most famous theme park of The Netherlands. Amongst Dutch people The Efteling definitely is a thing, and whenever the weather is nice enough (or around Christmas) the Efteling immediately causes traffic jams on surrounding roads because it is that busy.
The Efteling is a theme park with the most beautiful stories around the park, telling old fairytales and stories. Everything about the park is designed so beautifully and dreamy – it’s the perfect theme park.
MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO – Well, of course: trying all the attractions. I can name my favorite ones but really: they are all good and fun. The Efteling keeps you entertained all day, so if you want to do something ‘different’ while visiting The Netherlands: try the Efteling.
I’ve always lived close to Nijmegen, a smaller city at the East side of the country, but I really grew to love it once I applied for the University in the city and moved to the center. For me Nijmegen is the perfect city: it’s small enough to have a friendly vibe, but it’s big enough to be a proper city. Whenever I walk around in Nijmegen I always, always walk into people I know some way or another, and I love that!
While I don’t live in Nijmegen anymore I still love to come here and show my friends around and ‘guide’ them through ‘my’ Nijmegen. It still feels like home and I’m guessing it will always stay like this.
MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO – Nijmegen has always been a city I enjoyed as a local, so I actually always was in town to work, to chill, to shop or to play field hockey. Whenever I had a day off I strolled around the stores and searched for new items in my favorite stores. Whenever the weather was nice enough I turned to the Waalstrandje – which is a small beach alongside the river, or the Kronenburgerpark – one of the biggest parks of the center. Also: Doornroosje, which is a ‘club’ close to the trainstation has some of the coolest parties!