Buses filled with tourists all head to the same destinations in my homeland. Wouldn't you like to see almost the same things but without the crowds? Below please find my suggestions for perfect, typical Dutch alternatives:
1. Haarlem (instead of Amsterdam)
It is the capital of the province of North Holland, the northern half of Holland, which at one time was the most powerful of the seven provinces of the Dutch Republic. Haarlem still has many of its central medieval buildings intact. It has been the historical center of the tulip bulb-growing district for centuries and bears the nickname 'Bloemenstad' (flower city), for this reason.
2. Windmills of Aarlanderveen (instead of Kinderdijk)
A 7km walk (1.5-2h), straight through the meadows. Cows look at you funny, sheep 'beeehh' you hello. Sometimes you have to climb a small fence. You pass the only 4 windmills in Holland, which still drain the water out of the land. This is how the Dutch live below sea level. It's a magnificent landscape, making you feel you are in the middle of a Rembrandt or Vermeer painting. This is what the Netherlands is all about.
3. Kroller Muller museum (instead of Rijksmuseum).
The Kröller-Müller Museum is situated right at the center of Holland’s largest and oldest National Park. From the entrance you can take a free white bicycle and ride through the park to the Kröller-Müller Museum. Helene Kröller-Müller collected almost 11,500 art objects, with a wide collection of Van Gogh’s work. A ‘museum-home’, a dream that came true in 1938. The museum’s sculpture garden is one of the largest in Europe.
4. Farmers golf (instead of cheese/clog farm)
No we don't wear clogs any longer, we do still eat a lot of cheese, but we just love to play farmers golf! A small wooden shoe on a stick is your golf club. Aim the ball for a bucket in the ground. The grass bumps in the meadow don't make it easier. Give it a try. But watch out, hitting a cow gives you minus points! Editor's note: You think she's kidding? Click on the image at the top of the article!)
5. Flower auction Aalsmeer or Orchidfarm (instead of Keukenhof)
Tulips only bloom for a short period of time. The rest of the year you can enjoy flowers at the Flower Auction at Aalsmeer or the Orchidfarm. It's a fascinating sight at the largest flower auction of the world. Flowers everywhere: it will dazzle you! The Orchideeën Hoeve is home to a world full of colours and blossoms. The present owners are the fourth generation. The required growing experience and the participation in international orchid shows have extended the knowledge of nursing and displaying.
Thank you, Stefka for sharing your knowledge of the lesser-known attractions that can make a trip to the Netherlands so much more special. If anyone is planning a trip to this part of Europe, consider chatting with Stefka and getting a local's insight into Dutch culture.