In the centers of Dutch villages and towns you will see rows of little houses with stepped gables, shops that tempt you with typical Dutch products and cozy restaurants that invite you to enjoy regional dishes. Often the place is crossed by a canal or encircled by a fortified wall – exactly how we imagine typical Dutch villages and towns to be.
- Discover the traditions and history of fishing villages and fortified towns.
- Enjoy regional dishes in cozy restaurants.
- Villages in watery surroundings: ideal for sailing and boat tours.
Fortified towns steeped in history
One of the most famous and historic places in Holland is the magical village of Bourtange. You will hardly believe your eyes when you see the red drawbridges in this fortified town: People in historic dress line the streets between the old houses. And suddenly cannon fire rings out... a visit to the fortified village of Bourtange is an experience for young and old alike!
Just like Bourtange, from a bird’s eye view Naarden is a village with a star-shaped fortification which is one of Europe’s best maintained fortifications and is part of the New Dutch Waterline. You can also submerge yourself in history in Naarden, for example, by visiting the bulwarks or the underground casemates.
An entire place draped in white
It’s an enchanting view which Thorn in the Limburg province gives us. Nuns of Thorn’s imperial abbey who were single women from noble families lived in the whitewashed houses until the end of the eighteenth century. Today, the white village buildings house, amongst other things, stylish hotels and cozy restaurants which are dedicated to the famous Limburg cuisine. How about the delicious meat dish called zuurvlees, the regional variant of the German Sauerbraten?
Typical Dutch villages on IJsselmeer
What is today the biggest lake in Holland was previously an estuary. It’s no wonder that there are a number of idyllic fishing villages around IJsselmeer in which the old village traditions are preserved. For example, romantic Monnickendam is characterized by water and invites you to go sailing and take a boat trip. Not next to, but in the middle of the water lies Marken. The island in Markermeer captivates with a small village full of green wooden houses and a white lighthouse, the ‘Horse of Marken’..
Hattem: Hanseatic towns with a rich history
On the sea lies Hattem a fair distance away, but 800 years ago it was busy with trade over the river IJssel. The village developed into a charming Hanseatic town which is today characterized by a number of historic buildings, including the Grote of Andreaskerk with its Roman tower and the town gate called Dijkpoort from the fourteenth century. For a short break: Forget calorie counting for a moment and indulge in something good at the praline workshop A3 (located next to the Dijkpoort town gate).
Orvelte: one of the prettiest villages in Holland
Built in the tenth century, Orvelte in the province of Drenthe is one of the most romantic villages in the country and enchants with thatched cottages and ancient cobblestones. The best way to visit all these village idylls in style is by horse-drawn carriage which in the summer brings visitors to see the village’s attractions. At a comfortable pace, you visit the historic forge, the sawmill and the barn with its collection of old trucks.
Tip from the editor:
Holland is so easy to navigate that you can visit several typical Dutch towns and villages in one day or weekend. Only the village of Thorn is located further south, but the area has enchanting options for an overnight stay.