Five Unique Things To Do Outside of Amsterdam

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Amsterdam is lovely. Its canals, bridges, and tall, narrow houses capture our imaginations and steal our hearts. But you don’t have to go far from the city to find other charming, evocative and uniquely Dutch experiences! Today our local guides share five of their favourite things to do outside of Amsterdam.

Five Unique Day Trips From Amsterdam

Tour a Moated Castle Dating From 1285

Not too far from the city, you will find the lovely medieval castle of Muiden. You can get there by ferry, car or by bike if you have time for a ride on a sunny day (about 1 hour). It isn't a big castle but it's worth a visit. It was built in the 1200s and rebuilt in the late 1300s after being destroyed. It fell into disrepair but fortunately it was saved by King William I, then refurbished in the late 1800s. The grounds are beautiful with herb gardens all around. It hosts some exhibitions during the year that you can see as well. Don’t miss a visit to the town of Muiden itself after the castle!

Explore, Shop and Eat in Rotterdam's Spectacular Market Hall

If you have an extra day in Amsterdam, you should go to Rotterdam and visit the Markthal. It’s easy and quick to reach by train, bus or car. Trains leave Amsterdam Centraal about every 10 minutes to Rotterdam. The Market is near the central station and city centre. You will see the great architecture of the building and many shops and restaurants inside. Usually markets are crowded and it’s hard to move around, but De Markthal has plenty of room. There are many food stalls offering a big variety of dishes to taste and buy. Many offer free samples. Before or after your visit, you can have a look at the unique cube homes across the street.

Visit One of the Oldest Cities in the Netherlands

Deventer is one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands, not too far from Amsterdam (1 hour and 20 minutes by train). Its history starts in 768 AD with the missionary Lebuin (Leafwin) who originated from Daventry, England. The old town center has been beautifully restored and is now famous for its historical appearances. Apart from that characteristic, Deventer is famous for the biggest old marketplace in Holland, where you can enjoy a good drink or two or find a nice place to eat. Small streets with small shops lead from the marketplace into the intimate streets and alleys of this charming town.

Visit the Corrie ten Boom House in Haarlem, a hiding place during WW2

Many visitors want to know what the reaction of the non-Jewish Dutch population was to the Nazis. Most people did not do anything. It was too dangerous. If you resisted, you would risk your own life and that of your family. A few people though, were very brave, and joined the resistance, or helped Jews by offering a hiding place. Corrie ten Boom hid Jews in her own house, behind a double wall. She was betrayed by a Nazi sympathizer and was sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Go to Haarlem to hear her amazing story, learn her motivation and see the original hiding place.

See the Works of Van Gogh in a National Park

The Kröller-Müller Museum is situated right at the center of Holland’s largest and oldest National Park, about an hour’s drive from Amsterdam. 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 – the second largest in the world! The museum’s sculpture garden is one of the largest in Europe. Despite the amazing collection, this ‘museum-home’, a dream that came true in 1938, sees only one fifth of the visitors the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam does.
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