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Are you planning a tour of the Netherlands? Which places are on your mind? Here are some of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands that you should consider adding to your itinerary.
The Netherlands has many beautiful villages, offering visitors unique experiences and sights. There is much to enjoy, from the cobbled streets and thatched houses to the waterways and secret gardens.
And if you thought that was all, these villages offer more than beautiful sights. They allow you to walk through some of the most fascinating ancient Dutch history and culture. Most of them have preserved their architecture, culture, and languages, which they cherish today.
The villages are also easily accessible as most are located near major cities. They have all the facilities a traveler desires, such as reasonable accommodation, food, and warm hosts.
Below is a list of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands.
Most Beautiful Villages in the Netherlands
Hollum is among the four villages on the island of Ameland. Most of the houses in Hollum were built before the 18th century, giving it a very traditional feel. The town is currently protected because of its historical and cultural value.
While in Hollum, you can visit a few fascinating sights, such as the Sorgdrager Museum and the Reformed church built in the 12th century. The Ameland Lighthouse is also a crucial visit. It takes 240 steps to get to the top of the lighthouse, from which you can have a panoramic view of the island.
Other notable places include the commander houses, which captains of whaling boats used. They are identifiable by their unique double ledge on the front.
And besides sightseeing, you can also engage in water sports like kayaking, kiting, and surfing. The village is only accessible by air or ferry, and flights are only available from April to September.
If you are flying there, booking an airport lounge through Priority Pass can make your travel more enjoyable. This will help you to relax before your flight or after landing.
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Winsum is another lively village that will undoubtedly take you back in time. Initially, it consisted of two separate towns – Bellingweek and Obergum. These villages were located on either side of the local canal called the Winsumerdiep.
But, with time, the villages blended into one. This was made possible by constructing two bridges to connect the villages. The architecture of Winsum reflects past Dutch culture.
But the village has faced enormous challenges, including earthquake damage. Some of the effects of these disasters are still evident even up to this day. Winsum village has no shortage of places to visit and things to see. To begin with, two old windmills were built as early as the 17th century.
There is also an ancient church called the Torenkerk that was built in 1879. And to crown it all, there are over 50 national monuments to visit. All these and more puts Winsum among the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands.
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3. Schin op Geul
Schin op Geul is a small charming village located around Limburg hills. It is less than 5 kilometers from Valkenburg and about 13 kilometers from Maastricht.
Hidden among the hills, the village has incredible views that delight any visitor. Once in the town, you can explore the neighboring ruins of Valkenburg Castle. This castle was built in the Middle Ages and will astound you with its beautiful interiors and exciting history.
You can also visit the nearby Velvet Cave, which has a network of secret underground passages. They were built between the 11th and 12th centuries and were used to access the castle.
Another wonderful attraction is the Kasteeltuin Oud-Valkenburg, a botanical garden of native plants, crops, and flowers. The park is gorgeous and very well-maintained. If you still have time, visit the Kasteel Wijlre, a modern architectural gallery that tries to marry nature with art.
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This tiny settlement is known for its world-famous cheese market. It is located just outside the capital, Amsterdam, and will take 30 minutes to get there by bus.
Edam is, without a doubt, one of the major attractions around the capital. The village has monumental structures such as warehouses, churches, houses, and bridges. Most are over 500 years old and will make your tour worthwhile.
This village was an active trading center during the 17th century, meaning it’s rich in Dutch history. Traders from over the Netherlands and beyond came here to trade Edam cheese in exchange for spices and other goods.
The village continues to draw people today because of the thriving Cheese Market held every Wednesday. It is the ideal place for cheese enthusiasts who get an opportunity to savor the traditional Dutch cheese. The beautiful canals also attract a lot of amateur sailors. Edam is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful towns in the Netherlands.
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Urk is a fishing village that was formerly an island. It is located in Flevoland, the youngest province in the Netherlands. This village is one of the most beautiful in the Netherlands and rich in Dutch history and culture. The local language here is the Urkers dialect.
Ensure that you visit the famous fish market. Here, you can sample some smoked eel from the local lakes or take a bite of freshly fried fish. The other sites you can visit include the lighthouse and the local museum.
You can also ride a boat across the Ijsselmeer Lake on a real fishing boat. During the summer, you can swim or sand-bathe around the lake. This lake is also famous for watersports like kayaking and flying kites.
But, it is vital to note that most locals here take religion seriously and do not work on Sundays. So plan your itinerary around the other days of the week if you want the entire experience.
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This star-shaped village was originally a fort and is one of the most popular villages in the Netherlands. It was built in 1593 during the Spanish and Netherlands War.
It was built along the only road that connected Germany with Groningen. The village was later renovated in the mid-20th century into what it is now. The original fortified area is now an open museum accessible to the public.
Bourtange has hundreds of pretty houses around its iconic central square. There are a few shops and restaurants where visitors and locals can mingle. During the summer, some restaurants offer terrace seating. This makes the square ideal for afternoon relaxation as you enjoy tea or other drinks. You can also get an opportunity to watch historical reenactments of Bourtange’s past.
There are other smaller museums dotted around the village where you can learn more about Bourtange and the broader province of Groningen. And you don’t have to worry about where to stay while visiting the town. There are multiple excellent hotels within Bourtange on Booking.com, and some residents also offer their houses to visitors through VRBO.
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Veere is a village in the Netherlands, situated in the province of Zeeland. In the 13th century, there was a direct route from Veere to the North Sea, making it a busy center of the shipping trade.
This village is strongly connected to Scotland as it was the center of the wool trade between the Dutch and Scots. Consequently, many Scots emigrated to Veere in the 16th and 17th centuries.
It has picturesque medieval buildings that have a vibrant history. And at the center of the village is a massive church built in the 14th century. The church was built for Scots and was the first Scottish Kirk built on foreign soil. At one point, it was turned into a military hospital by Napoleon’s soldiers.
It would be best to visit the Schotse Huizen Museum to learn more about the Scottish legacy in Veere. The government protects the village because of its monuments and historic townscape. The old houses are a reminder of the town’s rich history during the glory days.
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Hindeloopen started gaining recognition in the 17th century, although it was established in the 13th century. It was a vital convergence point as a center of the international shipping trade. This facilitated its transformation into what it is now.
The trade also left a rich legacy in the town’s architecture, dress, and language. The village exhibits a beautiful blend of Danish, English, and Frisian elements. This makes it one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands.
Hindeloopen is home to around 700 residents, most of whom still adhere to some aspects of traditional Frisian life. The old center of Hindeloopen is also still well-preserved. Also, the old streets, canals, and wooden bridges are still in use, and you can tour them on foot or bike.
You can also explore other unique places such as the captains’ houses, the wooden lock keeper’s house, and even the ‘Liars bench.’ It is aptly named so since this is where sailors gathered to exchange their travel tales.
9. Broek in Waterland
Broek in Waterland also perfectly fits among the Netherlands’ most beautiful villages. It offers visitors a chance to experience traditional Dutch culture without traveling far away from the capital. No wonder it is one of the most visited Dutch villages.
The village is also a historical tourist village and was a trendy destination for travelers in the 17th and 18th centuries. To this day, it remains one of the most popular villages in the Netherlands.
The surrounding area consists of expansive grass plains with countless rivers, canals, and dikes running across the plains. It is, therefore, the ideal destination for anyone looking for a blend of natural beauty and tranquility.
Typical historic Dutch houses dot the streets of Broek in Waterland. Other places to visit around the village include a charming old village church at the center of the town. This was built in the late 17th century. In addition, there is also a large lake right within the village where residents skate in winter.
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Marken is a picturesque remote village found on a cape in North Holland, about 17 kilometers from Amsterdam. In the 13th century, a strong storm swept across the countryside, separating Marken from the mainland. In 1957, a dam was built to reconnect Marken with the continent.
Marken is a small island that can be explored on foot. Its remote location gives it a distinct culture and character that locals cherish.
Some of the top attractions in the village include the Paard van Marken. This lighthouse is located on the most easterly point of the town and is still functional. You can also visit the Marken Museum to learn about the island’s intriguing past.
The Kijkhuisje Sijtje Boes is another exciting place to visit. Here, you can see the old furniture and décor of Marken. Checking out Marken would not be complete without watching a live demonstration of the making of Dutch clogs.
Take a self-guided tour of Marken from Amsterdam by purchasing an I Amsterdam City Pass, including RNet bus tickets that take you to Volendam, about 20 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station.
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This village is in the province of Drenthe and was built in the tenth century. It was mainly an agricultural town. The residents kept thousands of sheep grazing on its expansive fields, greatly influencing its name’s origin.
Today, it is one of the least populated villages in the Netherlands, with a population of less than a hundred. The wider Ovelte area has a population of just 200. Being one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands, Orvelte will enchant you with its traditional thatched houses and old paved streets.
It has even been nicknamed the ‘museum village’ because of the efforts made to restore the character and culture of the village. The steps involve reintroducing thatched-roof barns, ancient wooden farmhouses, and artisanal industries.
You can make your tour of Orvelte memorable by moving around in a horse-drawn carriage. This carriage travels through the historical attractions of the village, such as the ancient forge and sawmill.
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This is one of the few villages in the Netherlands with no roads. It is nicknamed the ‘Venice’ of the Netherlands because of its many canals and bridges. You can only access it on foot or by boat. Tourists must leave their vehicles outside the village and cross the wooden bridges to get to Gierthoorn.
Without roads and motor transport, it’s evident that the residents of Giethoorn village in the Netherlands enjoy unparalleled tranquility. The town is an amalgamation of small islands with traditional wooden houses and farms. Wooden bridges interconnect these islands.
The streets here are paved with cobblestones, and you can wander around as you enjoy the city’s beauty. You can also decide to explore Giethoorn aboard a boat.
The nearby De Weerribben-Wieden National Park is also worth a mention. It’s a polder that is home to a wide array of wildlife. The exclusive local restaurants offer mouthwatering traditional Dutch cuisine that you certainly should sample.
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Durgerdam is a village built on a long, wide dike. Over the years, the residents have been forced to learn how to manage the massive water bodies. During one of the worst floods to hit the village in the 15th century, Durgerdam was wholly washed away.
This necessitated building a long dike on which people could make their homes. Most old wooden buildings are now protected, meaning you can pop in and admire some rich Dutch history.
Before its reconstruction, it was a major harbor on the Zuiderzee. But when the dykes were erected, the village was cut off from the sea. This led to declining shipping close by, and residents turned to fish.
Some of the main attractions in Durgerdam include the white ‘Kapel’ chapel, the Reformed Church, and the Hemony clock in the tower. Delve into the village on foot, although cycling paths are also available, and you can hop onto a bicycle to make your tour even more enjoyable.
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Kinderdijk is famous for its windmills– the largest in the Netherlands. It has a network of 19 windmills built in the 18th century to protect the village against the rising seas. They were built along the water canals to help keep them dry.
There are two museums on two of these windmills. When you visit these museums, you will learn more about how the windmills worked, giving you a deeper appreciation of Dutch ingenuity.
The village is also a famous landmark in the Netherlands, which explains why it is considered among the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands. About twenty years ago, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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This village is strongly associated with the Second World War. The reason being it is located near a former Nazi transit camp. Jews and others passed through this camp to concentration camps in Germany and Poland.
Later, The Camp Westerbork Museum was opened on the site. You can pop in to uncover the horrors and history of the war.
The village also has a few other tourist attractions, such as the Stefanuskerk Church. Catholics built this church in the 15th century, although some parts of the church were built way before that.
Another fantastic place to visit is the Papercutting Museum. Here, visitors enjoy art made of paper cuttings. You’ll have a chance to make some of your art cuttings if you wish. They will be displayed for other visitors to enjoy if they are good enough. If you are traveling with your kids or family, this might be an excellent place to visit.
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Volendam is one of the most well-preserved villages in the Netherlands. It is located on a harbor by Lake Markermeer. Fishermen established village settlements because of its strategic location near the North Sea.
Today, the harbor is lined with brightly colored traditional wooden houses. You will also find conventional fishing boats lining the docks. Apart from the historic buildings, the culture and language of Volendams are still cherished to this day.
There is a harbor strip called De Dijk. It has many historic houses, waterfront shops, restaurants, and cafes. The restaurants serve sumptuous seafood that is worth a try. You can also catch a glimpse of residents dressed in traditional Dutch attire.
Another main attraction is the Volendam Museum. Here, you will get a deeper insight into the history of Volendam through art. You will even find pieces by masters like Renoir.
If you so wish, you can also wear traditional Volendam clothes and take your photo in the museum. The good news is that Volendam is a great day trip from Amsterdam. Book your tour and explore the Zaanse Schans windmills to see all the sites of North Holland.
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Bronkhorst is a village in the Dutch countryside with a small population of about 170 people. It is considered one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands because of its artistry.
There is a lot for visitors to see, such as art, crafts, and many other creative products. Many attractive locations make it ideal for any traveler. One of these is the Charles Dickens Museum, the brainchild of local fanatics.
You can also visit the nearby Vorden to see the castles. A walk around the village will help you to appreciate the beauty of the cobbled streets, old farmhouses, and charming nature. Other attractions include a small museum, a water pump, and an ancient church.
Although considered a village, it is technically a city because it was granted medieval city rights in the 15th century. History shows that it was a lordship before that. To get to Bronkhorst, you can walk from the river Ijssel.
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Domburg is an old village on the North Sea. Because of its proximity to the sea, many visitors flock to savor the picturesque town, sea, and sandy beaches. It has been a popular destination for travelers since the 17th century.
It became a seaside resort with typical beaches, fishing, and water sports activities. This makes it one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands for tourists.
The village is adjacent to a nature reserve called ‘de Manteling.’ This comprises a forest that stretches from Domburg to Oostkapelle. It is rich in plant and animal life. You can visit the biology museum, Terra Maris, to learn about this nature reserve.
So if you want an alternative to places with rich historical backgrounds, consider visiting Domburg. Many artists, including James Whistler and Mondrian, flock to the village to draw inspiration.
The village also offers modern facilities for visitors, such as parks and hotels. You can book one of the hotels when searching for accommodation as there are a few quaint hotels on Booking.com.
The village of Thorn offers a harmonious combination of traditional Dutch architecture and rich history. Initially, it was home to a convent for noble ladies around the 12th century.
These nuns made wine, a practice that continues today despite the convent no longer existing. Additionally, Thorn gained independence from the Holy Roman Empire during this time, becoming the smallest state.
The archaic houses in this village are painted white, making them very attractive. The residents decided to remove their windows and paint the houses white to avoid paying a windows tax introduced by the French in 1794.
This earned the village the name ‘The White Village of Thorn’; you can visit the local museum to learn more about Thorn. Also, you can walk around the cobbled alleyways as you savor the small courtyards.
The beautiful Gothic church and the great cafes make Thorn a great place to visit. For instance, the Grand Cafe Het Stift offers a wide array of local beers for visitors to sample.
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20. De Rijp
De Rijp is located about an hour away from Amsterdam. It comprises cottages interjected by a couple of grand buildings. It was the center of herring – one of the favorite foods of the Dutch. It was also a whaling port because it was a gateway to the sea.
The numerous lakes surrounding the village have disappeared over time through reclamation. The concept of land reclamation seems to have originated here in the 17th century with the reclamation of the Beemster Polder.
Today, the Beemster Polder is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site. There are so many other tourist attractions in De Rijp. De Rijp has over 100 restored structures and about 27 monuments, some open to the public.
You can tour the village through different means – for example, boarding an electric boat to tour the Beemster polder. The town is popular for picnics and people who want a relaxed evening in one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands.
Take a self-guided tour of De Rijp from Amsterdam by purchasing an I Amsterdam City Pass, including RNet bus tickets that take you to Volendam, about 20 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station.
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Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He’s a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he’d heard.
Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he’s learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.
He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time.