Summer activities in Amsterdam, The Hague, and other Dutch cities
- 5 min read
The end of the academic year is just around the corner. For many students, this means that summer holidays are about to begin! If you haven’t made any plans yet, fret not. We’ve compiled a list with activities and places to visit in Amsterdam, The Hague, and other popular Dutch cities. All you need to do is pack your swimsuit (or raincoat) and check the train timetables!
1. Boat trip to Giethoorn: Have you heard of the “Dutch Venice”? Located in the Northeastern part of the Netherlands, Giethoorn is a little village with lots of canals. In this almost car-free village, residents and visitors can only cycle, walk, or travel around by boat. When in Giethoorn, take a boat trip through its over 170 wooden bridges or visit the museum “Giethoorn ‘t Olde Maat Uus” to get an idea of how life in the village looked like in the past.
2. Surfing in Scheveningen beach: The beach of Scheveningen is minutes away from Campus The Hague, which makes it the perfect occasion for trying out surfing for the first time! Scheveningen is the ideal surfing spot in the Netherlands for amateur or more advanced surfers, with great facilities such as schools offering surfing classes and surfer stores around. We cannot think of a better way to enjoy the beach, the sun, the waves, and the stunning view of the North Sea than at Scheveningen.
3. Day trip to Efteling: If you are interested in a day of fun and games, why not explore Netherlands’s biggest theme park? Efteling first opened in 1952 as a nature park, but it has evolved into a fantasy-themed amusement park ever since. The park is divided into five themes, or realms; the travel realm (Reizenrijk), the fairy realm (Marerijk), the adventure realm (Ruigrijk), the other realm (Anderrijk), and the fantasy realm (Fantasierijk). From roller coasters to “forbidden” cities, haunted castles and a magical, fairytale setting into the woods, Efteling offers a magical experience.
4. Poem hunting in Leiden: For the fans of poetry, a visit to Leiden is a must! The Wall Poems project (Muurgedichten) is a literary project that started in 1992. Since then, over 100 poems have been painted on the walls of buildings around the city. English, Dutch, Chinese, Greek, French, and Catalan are just a few of the many different languages the poems are written in. Before you set out on this poem journey around the streets of Leiden, make sure to check out the official website of the project (muurgedichten.nl) for information about walking or cycling routes.
5. Discover Netherlands in Madurodam: In this miniature park in The Hague, you can “visit” Dutch landmarks and famous buildings without leaving the city. Everything in the park, from objects, buildings and flora to streets and the “residents” of Madurodam, is built at a scale of 1:25. In just a few hours there you can learn the story of the Netherlands in a fun and interactive way. Part amusement park part history museum, a visit to Madurodam should be at the top of your summer activities bucket list!
6. Kayaking in Amsterdam canals: Why explore Amsterdam on foot when you can do it in a kayak? Paddle your way through the Amstel river and its many canals, and see Amsterdam from a different angle. You can combine kayaking with a tour of the city and see famous sites, like the Anne Frank house, or artsy areas, like Jordaan, while navigating your way around canals built in the 17th century. Did you know that Amsterdam’s Canal Ring has been in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2010?
7. Bike ride to the Meijendel dunes: If you are feeling adventurous, why not hop on your bike and ride along the Meijendel dunes? Meijendel is the largest dune area in South Holland, stretching between The Hague and Wassenaar. Its many walking and cycling trails make it a great option of a weekend day trip. Between the dunes and pine forests, you may spot rabbits, deer, foxes and horses, or hear the beautiful songs of bird, since the area is home to over 250 species.
8. Weekend at Texel island: A 30 km long sandy beach, seven villages, nature reserves… A weekend at Texel can be nothing but exciting! At the beaches of Texel, you can have a relaxing day by the sea or visit one of the nearby beach bars. If you feel like exploring, you can visit Den Burg or Oudeschild, two of Texel’s picture-perfect villages. When at the dunes, apart from the nature, you can also see cows and sheep around you. A sight not to be missed is the Eierland lighthouse; at 35 meters high, don’t hesitate to climb the 150 steps - the view of the North Sea from the top will reward you!
9. Deer watching at De Hoge Veluwe Park in Aarnhem: This 13,750-acre national park has it all. Forests, sand dunes and grassland are home to a variety of animals and over 500 different plant species. You can wander around the park by bike, or follow one of its numerous hiking trails. If you come across sculptures during your exploration of the park, don’t be surprised. The sculpture garden and the Kröller-Müller Museum are parts of it. Built in 1938, the museum houses works by Vincent Van Gogh, Edouard Manet, Pablo Picasso and more.
10. Visit the windmills of Kinderdijk: In this small village you can see the largest concentration of old windmills in the Netheralnds. The windmills of Kinderdijk have been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1997, and are a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike. The 19 windmills of Kinderdijk date back to the 16th century – certainly, a trip there will take you back in time. Located in Holland’s oldest city, Dordrect, Kinderdijk is easy to reach. You can either cycle there or take the waterbus from Rotterdam.