Scattered around the Dutch countryside are lovely authentic Dutch villages and beautiful windmills. Are you looking for the authentic Holland with wooden shoes, herring and cheese and do you want to be away from the crowds and selfie sticks? These are our tips for the best places to experience traditional Dutch culture.
- Discover authentic Holland away from the crowds.
- From the world’s biggest windmills to eating raw herring in picturesque fishing villages: these are the best spots.
- Discover original Dutch traditions.
Eating raw herring in fishing villages
You do not have to go to Volendam to experience the ambiance of real authentic fishing villages. Picturesque harbors, great places to eat fish, and beautiful old houses can be found in places such as Urk, Marken, Harlingen, and Elburg. Admire the historic sailboats, smacks and boats moored in the harbor. Spakenburg, where people still wear traditional costumes and smoke fish, is a great place to spend the afternoon. Each town has its own ambiance and character. Would you like to try on the traditional costume? In that case, you should visit the Klompenmakerij (Kets 52, Marken) in Marken and Museum het Oude Raadhuis (Wijk 22, Urk) in Urk.
Special Dutch heritage
Schokland is one of the most special places in Holland and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with reason. Once a bustling island inhabited by fishermen, it is now reclaimed land full of monuments and archaeological remains in the polder landscape. In short, the perfect place for a wonderful walk or cycling tour.
Travel back in time at the Zuiderzeemuseum
Windmills, Dutch cottages and wooden shoes away from the crowds? Visit the Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen. This outdoor museum lets you stroll through authentic, well preserved cottages from what used to be the Zuiderzee region. The cottages, church, cheese warehouses, windmill and much more are preserved in their original states and can be explored inside and out. Enthusiastic volunteers will tell you what life in an old fishing village was like.
Cheese cities: Alkmaar and Gouda
Do you absolutely love cheese? In that case, you should visit the cheese markets in Alkmaar and Gouda. You can witness this age-old tradition from April through September. The cheese market in Gouda is held on Thursday and in Alkmaar on Friday in these months. Alkmaar and Gouda are both lovely cities with great shopping opportunities, a beautiful historic center, and excellent restaurants and cafés.
Discover the world’s biggest mills
The world’s biggest mills? You won’t find them on the Zaanse Schans or in Kinderdijk, but in Schiedam. There are as many as seven mills in the city center. Mill de Walvisch was converted to a museum in 2018. There is a guided tour of the mill every Wednesday. An enthusiastic guide will take you on a walk to all the mills, some of which you will be able to explore on the inside, too.