The Netherlands is known for its charming, beautiful countryside dotted with quaint houses, windmills, and vibrant tulip gardens. At the same time, it also has some incredible cities known for their rich architectural, historic art and culture museums, intricate network of canals, cycling tracks, efficient transport system, and a hip café culture.
Once a mighty maritime empire that competed against the British, Spanish, and French, the Netherlands has a regal collection of art and culture, a legacy of the Dutch Golden Age. Explore Netherlands through its rich cultural museums and get fascinating insights into this small, compact European country.
The Van Gogh Museum
Vincent Willem Van Gogh is one of the most influential Dutch Post-Impressionists who died at the early age of 37 years in northern France. The Van Gogh Museum not only curates the world largest collection of Van Gogh’s artistic career, but also chronicles them according to the famous artists’ career progression. Apart from celebrating Van Gogh’s famed works, it also displays the work of his contemporary Post-Impression artists such as Paul Gauguin, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Camile Pissarro, Maurice Denis, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and more. The highlights of the Van Gogh Museum include artworks like The Yellow House, Self-Portrait of Van Gogh, The Potato Eaters, Tulip Fields near The Hague, Worn Out, etc. Don’t forget to visit the Van Gogh Museum, one of the key Netherlands museums.
The Rijksmuseum is a Dutch National Museum dedicated to art and history of Amsterdam, and celebrates the life and works of renowned Dutch masters like Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, William of Orange, Frans Hals, and many more artists. Housed in a Dutch Neo-Classicalism building which was opened in 1885, the museum boasts of a rich collection of over 1 million artworks and historic artefacts! Some of the key highlights of The Rijksmuseum include Rembrandt’s The Nightwatch, Vermeer’s The Milkmaid and portrait of William I, the first king of the Netherlands. This amazing museum of Netherlands documents the very best of art and culture of the country.
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The open-air museum of Zaanse Schans is dedicated to preserve the Dutch rural culture, and its rich heritage houses and windmills. In the 1950s, eight historic houses and windmills were relocated to the current location. The windmills of Zaanse Schans are still operational and produce a wide range of products like timber, mustard, and oil. Don’t forget to check out the Zaans Museum featuring seven museums – the Weavers House, the Cooperage, the Jisper House, Zaan Time Museum, Albert Heijn Museumshop, and Bakery Museum. Windmills are among the key attractions of Netherlands and Zaanse Schans highlights the very best of Dutch windmills through its museums.
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Known as the Garden of Europe, Keukenhof Garden is one of the largest flower gardens in the world! The garden is located in an area comprising of 79 acres and is known for its tulip blooms during the spring months from mid-March to mid-May, when the entire landscape turns into a colourful carpet of tulips of red, yellow, blue, white, yellow, and orange shades. Keukenhof features several gardens and styles, and also has a historic Keukenhof Castle on its grounds. One of the most visited place sin Netherlands, Keukenhof Gardens is among the top destination for flower and garden lovers. Tulips of Netherlands are one of the cultural icons of the country. Don’t miss the stunning tulip gardens of Keukenhof.
Anne Frank Huis
The Anne Frank house is the third-most visited museum in the Netherlands, dedicated to preserve the memories of 15-year-old Dutch girl Anne Frank. Rose to fame as the author of “The Diary of a Young Girl”, Anne Frank hid with her parents inside a small, secret apartment to escape German persecution during the World War II. During the hiding, young Anne Frank maintained a diary in which she explained the most difficult and turbulent days in Netherlands’ history. Unfortunately, her family got arrested and was deported to concentration camps, where she died at the tender age of 15. Her diary was published later by her father, Otto Frank. The book is considered as a key literature of that era. Today, you can see the house where she hid and wrote her diary, which has been translated in more than 60 languages.
The National Maritime Museum
The Netherlands has a rich 500-year-old maritime history, which enabled them to compete with the British, French, Danish, Portuguese, and Spanish navies. The mighty Dutch East India Company sailed to the Far East and established several colonies and plantations. Today, the National Maritime Museum is set up in a former naval warehouse built in 1656 and houses the replica of the Dutch East India Company ship – Amsterdam. The collection includes maritime maps, paintings, scale models of ships, weapons, and paintings of naval warfare and Dutch navy officers.
Amsterdam Canal District
Amsterdam is also known as the “Venice of the North” because of its intricate network of canals that served as the major transport arterial waterways during the Dutch Golden Age. Today, the concentric ring of waterways and streets between Singel and Prinsengracht canals are registered under UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Amsterdam Canal District is one of the most photographed locations in Netherlands apart from being a major tourism magnet. The area has several heritage buildings, well preserved and navigable canals, charming bridges, waterfront cafes and restaurants, cycling tracks and popular tourist attractions. The Amsterdam Canal District is a living museum that highlights the city’s rich maritime history, architecture, art and culture accomplishments during the finest days of the country.
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Madurodam is a highly popular theme park of the Netherlands, located in the city of The Hague. It is home to several replica models of key heritage buildings, cities, and modern-day landmarks of the country in a 1:25 scale model. The proceeds from the ticket sales are donated to several charities across the Netherlands. It’s an amazing place to visit with family and kids and offers an amazing insight into Dutch architecture, heritage buildings and scale models of several Dutch cities. It’s the microcosm of the Netherlands, managed entirely by the students of The Hague with its own budget.
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Rembrandt House Museum
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn is one of the most celebrated Dutch painters in the country with a reputation that equals to Vincent van Gogh. His residence has been converted into a museum and displays the works of the master and painting of his contemporaries. The house has been painstakingly refurbished with furniture, objects, and art from Rembrandt’s days. The museum offers amazing insight into the artist’s mind and his life. It also displays paintings of several artists who are deeply inspired by Rembrandt.
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The Royal Palace of Amsterdam
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is located on the west side of the Dam Square and was built as a city hall during the Dutch Golden Age. It became one of the three royal palaces of the Dutch Royal House. Today, this majestic palace is used for hosting ceremonial state visits, gala dinners, and royal ceremonies. Open to the general public for most days, The Royal Palace of Amsterdam offers a unique perspective of the Netherlands’ Golden Age and Amsterdam’s rise to power as a major power, financial and cultural centre of the world.