Visiting The Dutch Countryside

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40 Things To Do In Kop Van Noord- Holland: Find Out ‘What Is The Netherlands Known For’ With A Dutch Local

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Typical Dutch countryside with a farmhouse and river in one of the villages to visit in Noord-Holland, The Netherlands
Discover the best of The Netherlands and find what things to do in the Kop van Noord- Holland, The Netherlands, in this travel blog with tips from a Dutch local.

The Netherlands is filled with beautiful places. There are many regions and areas you should explore in my country and De Kop van Noord- Holland, or the top of the province of North-Holland is one of those regions. You will find the things you have to do in De Kop van Noord-Holland in this article. Discover things to do in The Netherlands countryside and explore the best places to go in The Netherlands to see what this country is famous for.

I’m born and raised in this area in The Netherlands, and I still live here. My life has been fantastic here. There are meadows, flat landscapes, rivers to swim in (as well as small streams that are perfect for trying during winter if the ice is strong enough), cows and sheep in the meadows, windmills, a lot of birds, tulip fields and small villages. And I’m going to take you to my favourite places to visit in this part of Noord- Holland, The Netherlands. From natural attractions in The Netherlands to what to do and see in this region.

De Kop van Noord-Holland is a region in The Netherlands that stretches roughly from the city of Alkmaar until the town of Den Helder and the island of Texel. When you’re looking to escape the bustling Dutch towns, then relaxing in The Netherlands countryside is the perfect place to do so. Wake up with the sound of birds and look out at a meadow with grazing cows while there’s a windmill in the distance.

It truly doesn’t get more Dutch than that. Enjoy this The Netherlands travel blog and guide for this unique region. So, if you want to know what things you have to to in the top of North Holland province in The Netherlands, then this is for you.

Wieringen island: one of the main dikes around the former Dutch island in the province of Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

Discover why the North of The Netherlands deserves more tourism: Things to do in the Kop van Noord- Holland a region North of Amsterdam

Whether you’re looking for Dutch beaches to visit or the best towns in The Netherlands, in this article about things to do in the top of Noord- Holland you will discover what The Netherlands is known for. This includes plenty of reasons why the North of The Netherlands deserves more tourism, including tips for nature attractions and other things to do in this part of Holland, The Netherlands. Discover what to visit in The Netherlands here.

Former island of Wieringen in the top of Noord Holland, The Netherlands

Note before we start this article

I hate that I even have to say this, because it should be common sense, but do not cross fences to pet cows or sheep. Don’t try to pet them if they are not walking towards the fence and do not feed them at all. Admire them, but from a distance. When I travelled through my country, I saw tourists trying to continually walk after sheep who didn’t want to eat the grass out of their hands. Of course, I said something about it. But simply don’t be like this. Respect the animals and country you’re in.

Don’t walk inside of tulip fields either, unless you have the permission of a farmer. Dutch tulip fields aren’t here for your nice Instagram photos. It’s an industry, and it’s the livelihood of the farmers that you are putting at risk when you’re trying to walk in them.

1. Visit the Wadden Island of Texel

The Dutch West Frisian island of Texel is the most popular Dutch island to visit in The Netherlands. It is also the biggest island that we have. Most of the tourists visit the island during summer, so if you prefer the visit outside the primary tourist season in The Netherlands, then I would recommend you to visit anywhere from September- until June. The island is one of the places you have to go to in The Netherlands.

This island in The Netherlands is very famous for having one of the national parks in the country, as well as delicious local cuisine, stunning beaches, local beers and beautiful villages. There are many things to do on Texel, and I would recommend you to stay at least two days in Texel so that you can explore the island. One day in Texel is too short, in my opinion. The ferry to the island of Texel runs from Den Helder, find more information here.

Things not to miss in Texel: the Texelse Bier Brouwerij (beer brewery), National Park Duinen van Texel (dunes of Texel) and towns such as Oudeschild, Oosterend and Den Burg must be visited in The Netherlands.

One of the Dutch wadden islands called texel from a bird view. You see the red lighthouse and a sandbank and beach that surrounds the islands with vegetation in the middle.

2. Spot an uninhabited island in The Netherlands

If you’re in the area of the red lighthouse Lange Jaap and Fort Kijkduin, an old fortress in Den Helder that is great to visit, then you must visit a parking space called Kaaphoofd. Usually, I wouldn’t recommend you to visit parking spaces when you ask me where to go in The Netherlands. However, this one is different.

From Kaaphoofd you can see an inhabited Dutch island called Noorderhaaks. Noorderhaaks is also called the Razende Bol and is a sandbank that is famous for being a resting area for thousands of seabirds and seals. It is always moving and changing. This happens because of the Wadden Sea and its tides, plus the influence of the North Sea. You are also able to see the island of Texel from this parking lot. I would recommend you to bring small travel binoculars if you can. Be mesmerized by one of The Netherlands most special sites.

A sandbank near the Dutch island of Texel with seals in The Netherlands

3. Go mudflat walking on the Wadden Sea Unesco World Heritage Site in The Netherlands

Mudflat walking is one of the unique things you have to do in The Netherlands. Walk on the bottom of the Unesco World Heritage Site the Wadden Sea in The Netherlands and discover the country in a completely different way. Around the Wadden Sea in The Netherlands, you will find many places to visit. During mudflat walking, you will learn about the animals, plants and the Wadden Sea and how they had to adapt to the destructive tides of this Dutch sea.

Bring high sneakers that can be thrown away afterwards and wear warm clothing (short pants, sweater, rain jacket, bring a backpack with wrapped up dry clothing) that you don’t mind getting dirty. Because you’re walking on the bottom of a sea in The Netherlands, it’s not a casual stroll down the street.

You can go mudflat walking from Den Helder, which I would do through this site. If you prefer to go mudflat walking from the island of Texel, then I would recommend you to book through this site. You are not allowed to go mudflat hiking and walking in The Netherlands on your own; this is very dangerous. So if you ask me what to do in The Netherlands, then this has to be on your list.

Beach on the island of Ameland in Friesland, the netherlands during sunset

4. Learn about the impact of the Second World War

The Second World War wasn’t a good time for The Netherlands to say the least. Cities were bombed, entire historic areas have been blown up, people were murdered, people were fleeing, and many people died due to starvation during the so-called Hunger Winter. One of the best locations to learn about the impact of the Second World War in The Netherlands is in the maritime city of Den Helder. This is the most Northern city in the province of Noord- Holland and home to incredibly interesting museums about the navy and the Second World War. It’s one of the many places on interest in The Netherlands that are worth a visit.

The Atlantikwall centrum in Den Helder is a great place to learn about the more than 5000 kilometres long wall that the Germans were constructing (with a lot of prisoners) from the top of Norway until the Southern part of France.

There are also more things to do in Den Helder, such as other great museums and fortresses that you can visit. Think of the fortress of Fort Kijkduin. This was built by assignment of Napoleon Bonaparte and also part of the Atlantikwall. This is one of the famous places you have to visit in The Netherlands.

5. Visit the biggest tulip region in The Netherlands

While The Netherlands is very famous for its tulips, there’s only one area that is known for it: the Bollenstreek and Keukenhof area down in Zuid (South) – Holland. That is the tourist destination in The Netherlands, together with Amsterdam. Funnily enough, that area used to have the most tulip fields in The Netherlands at the beginning of the 20th century.

However, it’s not anymore as that quickly changed when many farmers moved to the Kop van (Top of) Noord (North) – Holland region. This region in the province of Noord- Holland has had the most tulip fields in The Netherlands, and the world, for decades. Yet, people don’t know about them nor visit them. 

Luckily for you, you have me, and I will have your back when you want to explore and travel to The Netherlands and visit hidden gems. And around the tulip fields, you will have the best places to stay in The Netherlands as well. You can even join me on a bike tour along the hidden fields this spring 2023!

Find a full guide to Dutch tulip fields in Kop van (Top of) Noord (North) – Holland here

tulip fields in combination with fog, farms, meadows, trees and sunrise in the Dutch region of Kop van Noord - Holland

6. Find the most beautiful & best small towns and villages in The Netherlands

One thing I love about my country is that it’s filled with the most beautiful small towns and villages. The Netherlands offers so much more than big cities (which I find fun, but only for a little while), Dutch towns are worth exploring as well. The Netherlands is simply filled with destinations to travel to.

In Noord- Holland, these places are only a quick day trip from Amsterdam, and the best part is that barely anyone has ever heard of these places. Which means that if you are a fan of quiet and idyllic places, then you have to visit these in The Netherlands. So if you’re looking for unknown destinations to visit in The Netherlands, then I would recommend you to visit places such as De Rijp, Kolhorn and Schoorl. Nieuwe Niedorp is also a village in Noord-Holland, which is cute to see if you’re in the neighbourhood. One of the things to do in Nieuwe Niedorp is to walk along the Dorpsstraat, as it’s filled with beautiful houses, bridges and a little river. 

Find what things to do in De Rijp here

One of the most beautiful villages in The Netherlands near and in the surroundings of Amsterdam: De Rijp

7. Rent a boat and discover the waterways

If there’s one thing that The Netherlands is famous for, besides the tulips and clogs, it’s water. And with water I mean water is everywhere. That’s not a crazy thought if you think that a big part of the country is below sea-level. And we wouldn’t be Dutch if we didn’t use the water in every possible way. I mean, it’s here, why not use it? When you’re in The Netherlands, renting a boat is one of the things you have to do. So if you were looking for The Netherlands vacation ideas, then this shouldn’t miss on your bucket list.

That’s why one of the best things you can do in The Netherlands, and especially in the Noord- Holland part, is to rent a boat. Take a boat through Alkmaar and surroundings, Geestmerambracht, Broek op Langedijk or sail a ‘rondje Waarland’. You can rent boats in many places, but make sure that you ask how it works in advance. And if you’ve never sailed a motorboat before, then you should practice first as there are quite some narrow rivers and short bridges on these routes.

For sailing a rondje Waarland, I would recommend you to go to this website. You have to be at least 25 years old to rent a boat here and have to reserve the boat in advanced.

If you want to sail around the realm of a thousand islands in Broek op Langedijk, I would recommend you to visit this website.

To rent a boat to sail in Alkmaar and its surroundings, you have several options for boat rentals. The first one is Boot Huren Alkmaar. The second one is Greenjoy boat rentals. And the third option to rent a boat in Alkmaar is Alkmaarse Bootjesverhuur.

Dutch rivers with boats sailing during a beautiful sunny spring summer autumn day in The Netherlands in the Vecht region

8. Go for a hike in the biggest duneregion in The Netherlands

Dunes are critical in The Netherlands. Both for protection of the country as well as from an ecological perspective. The longest and biggest dune region in The Netherlands can be found in Schoorl and its surroundings. You will also see the highest dune in The Netherlands called ‘Het Klimduin’, or the climbing dune. This dune is around 51 meters high, which is high for a flat country like The Netherlands, and it ends in the middle of the main square in the town of Schoorl.

If you’re looking for great hiking areas and routes in The Netherlands, or want to go mountain biking, or just simply discover attractive places in The Netherlands, then a must-do in The Netherlands is bringing a visit to the dunes of Schoorl.

Find what things to do in Schoorl here

The dunes of Schoorl in Noord- Holland, The Netherlands, are home to the broadest dune region in the country

9. Enjoy the West Frisian market

Discover the beauty of The Netherlands on an old market and find where to go in The Netherlands besides Amsterdam. One of the many historic markets you can visit in The Netherlands is the West Friese, or West Frisian, market in the town of Schagen. Schagen is located in the region of West Friesland. During July and August (and usually one Thursday in September), this old fashioned Dutch market in Noord- Holland is held every Thursday between 08:30 and 16:00. Discover the typical West Frisian costumes, enjoy old-fashioned games, see traditional dances and plenty of more. There are ten markets in total, starting from the first Thursday of July.

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Every Thursday has its theme and takes place between 08:30 and 16:00. The parade of people usually starts around 10:45, and the best location is the Markt in Schagen.

Last Thursday of June: First day and day of the old crafts

First Thursday of July: Day of dance and music
Second Thursday of July: Day of the animal
Third Thursday of July: Day of the traditional dresses
Fourth Thursday of July: Day of the theatre
First Thursday of August: Special guest day
Second Thursday of August: Day of the child and old vehicles
Third Thursday of August: Tilting at the ring and hobby market
Fourth Thursday of August: Special market
First Thursday of September: Final day

Find other things to do in summer in The Netherlands here

West Frisian market in the small town of Schagen, The Netherlands

10. Visit the most beautiful cities in The Netherlands

Now, The Netherlands is well-known for the city of Amsterdam, but there are so much more beautiful Dutch cities to visit and travel to. In the Kop van Noord- Holland, you will find several beautiful towns that are all near Amsterdam.

So whether you’re looking for easy and quick day trips from Amsterdam to hidden gems, or if you simply want to discover the countryside in The Netherlands the two cities I’ve listed below are perfect for you to visit.
The Netherlands is filled with beautiful scenery, whether that’s inside or outside the cities. And if you were wondering what to do in the Northern part of The Netherlands, then these places cannot miss on your to-do list.

Things to do in one day in Hoorn

Things to do in one day in Alkmaar

Things to do in one day in Enkhuizen

Things to do in Alkmaar The Netherlands | Most beautiful cities of The Netherlands | Visiting The Dutch Countryside travel blog The Netherlands

11. Go for a cycle around the West Friese Omringdijk

I told you that the town of Schagen is located in the Dutch region of West Friesland and the West Friese Omringdijk (dyke) is what used to protect this area against the water. There’s a dyke around an entire area, which is why it’s called the Omringdijk, or surroundings dyke (literal translation). Nowadays the dam is not used to protect the low polder area from the rough water of the previous Zuiderzee (sea), it is a monument and kept in great shape. If a dyke happens to break, then this dyke will protect an entire region in combination with other barriers.

The West Friese Omringdijk is mostly original, which is very rare for dykes in The Netherlands. The building of walls in the region of West Friesland started around the year 1000. And the West Friese Omringdijk was closed off in around 1320. Except for an occasional break through the dyke hasn’t changed much. When you’re walking, cycling or driving on this dyke it is tough to imagine south of the wall there used to be two big lakes called Beemster and Schermer. North of the dam there was the Zijpe river, East of this dyke there was the Zuiderzee which was a very rough sea. And West of this long Dutch dyke there were the Rekere and Zijpe rivers.

The West Friese Omringdijk is very famous to everyone who lives in this Dutch area, but barely for the people outside of this region. Wherever you’re starting your cycling, walking or driving route in this part of Noord- Holland, you have to look for a few exciting things.

Curves in the dyke mean that the barrier broke in this part. Creating curves was the cheapest way to repair the dams. When you see two curves shortly after each other, there was a hole in the barrier. Sometimes you will see dykes in front of the main dam, which was used as an extra barrier for the water. Claypits mean that there were renovations and maintenance operations at this particular location.

The Netherlands nature is quite different than most countries but so incredibly unique. When you’re looking for what to see in the Kop van Noord- Holland, then this cannot miss on your The Netherlands itinerary. Some cities and towns that are located within the Westfriese Omringdijk in Noord- Holland are Hoorn, Schagen, Enkhuizen, a part of Alkmaar and Kolhorn.

12. Visit the Flora & Visserijdagen

One of the best and most exciting events in the Kop van Noord- Holland are the Flora & Visserijdagen, or flora & fishery days, in Den Oever. The exact dates of 2023 are from the 1st until the 4th of September. You can discover everything you want to know about fish and the North Sea here. You can taste traditional Dutch food, sail on a traditional fishing vessel and plenty of more things. Trust me when I say that it is worth a visit.

And if you’re looking for free things to do in the North of The Netherlands, then this event is fantastic as well, especially when you visit on Monday. On Monday you can sail on a traditional Dutch fishing boat and get a piece of free fried Dutch fish to enjoy. There is also a funfair in the village of Den Oever during the entire event, as well as performances on the harbour area plus tons of other things to do in Den Oever. Another great event in VIStival in Den Oever.

13. Admire plenty of Dutch windmills

As most of this part of The Netherlands is a few meters below, we used mills to pump out the water to create land. And one thing you cannot miss when you’re here is a visit to one of those old traditional Dutch windmills. But some windmills were also made to grain certain products. You can find them in the best small towns in this region in The Netherlands. However, my favourite windmills are located in the Schermer area (this one was used to pump away water), in Medemblik and ‘t Zand.

You can find the windmill in ‘t Zand at Parallelweg 33 in ‘t Zand. It opens roughly from April- October on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday from 13:00- 17:00. In July & August, this mill is also opened on Monday and Friday from 13:00- 17:00.

The opening times for the museum windmill in the Schermer can be found here. The information for the mill in Medemblik can be found here.

Windmills in the Dutch city of Alkmaar, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

14. Go canoeing

With so much water in both creeks and rivers, canoeing cannot miss on your to-do list in The Netherlands. And luckily for you, there are quite a few beautiful routes that you can do here. ‘Rondje Waarland’ is the first one, but I would only do this if you’re experienced as it’s pretty far. From De Luwe Stek in Waarland, you could go to De Weel (where there is a small lake) and back. This is easy, and you will still enjoy the area. You can rent a canoe in Waarland at De Luwe Stek.

Another area that is beautiful to go canoeing is in the surroundings of Julianadorp and Den Helder. At this company, you can rent canoes, but also sup boards. So no matter what you’re interested in, a sporty activity in The Netherlands is always a good idea and fun for many people. It’s simply one of the things you have to do in the Kop van Noord- Holland, and you will discover many beautiful things to see during your trip.

15. Celebrate the start of spring at the Lentetuin

The Lentetuin is one of the most significant flower events in the Kop van Noord- Holland and is one of the must-see places in The Netherlands. The Lentetuin is essentially one, big flower festival where you can discover beautiful flower decorations at this flower show in The Netherlands. This yearly event is celebrates the start of the general flower season in the town of Breezand. In 2023 the Lentetuin (or spring garden = literal translation) takes place from the 1st of March until the 5th of MArch. And, there’s a different theme every year!

If you want to arrive by public transport; there’s a free shuttle service to and from railway station Anna Paulowna. Thursday it opens from 10:00 – 21:00, Friday & Saturday from 10:00 – 22:00, Sunday 10:00- 20:00 and Monday 10:00 – 19:00. It takes place at Ceresplein 1 in Breezand and parking is free. Here you will discover one of the best places in The Netherlands to see a beautiful flower show.

After 41 years, the Lentetuin stops for the regular public and won’t be returning!

16. Experience the kermis

The ‘kermis’ is an event you cannot miss. It translates to a funfair, but it’s more than that. And better. Every town, village and city in this part of The Netherlands has this event. It all starts around the month of May and finishes in October. Yes, there are bumper cars and other attractions, but that’s not why the kermis is something you have to visit to experience this Dutch culture.

Kermis is all about ‘gezelligheid’, which sort of translates to cosy and fun times at the same time. People talk with everyone, dance with everyone and simply have fun. But you have to be open to talking as well, and if you speak English people will be especially intrigued as to why you’re visiting.

Some of the  best kermissen in Noord- Holland are, in my opinion; ‘t ZandWarmenhuizen and Schagen. Kermissen always take place during the weekend and the first few days of the next week, but there are two days that are best to visit. Saturday evening starting at around 23:00 and Sunday evening at around 18:00/19:00 are generally the best time to go. There’s a lot of drinking, dancing and talking. But don’t worry, if you don’t drink, it’s fun as well. I rarely drink and have lots of fun. It’s one of those things you have to see in The Netherlands.

Schagen 16th of June 2023 – 25th of June 2023

Warmenhuizen 20th of August 2023 – 22nd of August 2023

’t Zand 7th of October 2023 – 10th of October 2023

Fun fairs and bumper cars in The Netherlands

17. Beer breweries

Dutch people love beer. We’ve been brewing it for centuries. Not only are we famous for brands such as Heineken, Bavaria and Amstel, but also for having great Dutch craft beer. And in the top of Noord- Holland, you will find plenty of great breweries. The Netherlands is filled with places to visit. Especially when it comes to beer. Do a tasting, go on a tour through the brewery and buy some local Dutch beer as a souvenir (although I cannot promise you that it will make it through the end of the trip…).

My favourite Dutch breweries in this part of Noord- Holland are De Werf in Enkhuizen, the Texelse Bierbrouwerij on the Dutch island of Texel and Proeflokaal De Boom in Alkmaar which is located in the same building as the national beer museum. If you were still looking for things to do in the Kop van Noord- Holland and Northern Netherlands, then maybe these breweries are perfect for you to visit.

18. Find the most beautiful beaches in The Netherlands

This part of The Netherlands is filled with beautiful and long sandy beaches. And the best part? Most of them are only filled with locals, which means there is plenty of space left for you to relax. The most popular beach in this part of Noord- Holland is the beach of Callantsoog, which is why I rarely visit that one in summer. And even then there’s still place for more people. But I simply prefer to visit the beach of Groote Keeten and some other nearby beaches where there are even fewer people.

Beaches are a must-visit in The Netherlands, whether you want to explore the beauty of this country or are looking for The Netherlands and what you have to see when you’re here, a visit to the beach can never go wrong.

Best beaches in Noord- Holland

top things to see and do on the island of Texel. Visit the best Dutch beaches of the province of Noord- Holland, The Netherlands

19. Walk through stunning Dutch nature

With the countryside comes space and with space comes nature, usually. And there are a lot of beautiful nature reserves to explore in the Kop van Noord- Holland. From dunes to incredible polder landscapes and from former islands to woods. If you want to relax, then visiting one of the areas below is a great place to do so.

Always remember to take care of nature. If you see any trash, take it with you and leave none of your trash behind if you see people walk in places that aren’t allowed or see them throwing trash in nature, speak up. Don’t cross fences, or areas that are forbidden to enter. That’s with a reason. The signs would be in Dutch, obviously, but use a translate tool, and you’re good to go.

When walking through some of the most beautiful places in The Netherlands, you will learn why you have to revisit The Netherlands. It’s a stunning country with so much to offer, and it deserves more visitors that head to the lesser-known parts in The Netherlands.

  • Helderse Duinen
  • Robbenoordbos
  • Dijkgatsbos
  • Zwanenwater
  • De Putten
  • Nationale Park Texelse Duinen/ National Park Dunes of Texel

Twisk region in Noord- Holland is one of the beautiful nature reserves nearby Amsterdam, The Netherlands

20. See what’s so special about polders

The Netherlands is filled with sightseeing places. And polders are a typical Dutch thing you have to look at. We are famous worldwide for our water management, and polders are a part of that. These meadows, the villages and towns in Noord- Holland are mainly made from nothing. These areas were extracted from the water to create more land. Polders work together with dykes, rivers, dunes and other forms of water management to create a safe area to live and work on in The Netherlands. Without all of these things, this part of The Netherlands will be underwater within no time.

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It’s funny because I don’t think about it. I live here, so I’m used to living a few meters below sea-level. However, for anyone who isn’t used to it, it’s probably an odd experience. There are roads, villages, meadows, towns, industries where there is actually supposed to be water. Luckily we have been living together with water for thousands of years and we have learned that we need to give mother nature more space in order to live with her. Because no matter how high you might build dunes or dykes, mother nature will win if you don’t give her the space she needs. So it’s not a fight against the water, it’s living with water that makes this work.

Perfect areas to see the polders in The Netherlands are the whole part of this part of The Netherlands. Except for the dunes along the coast. But the best villages in The Netherlands for polders are Lambertschaag and Aartswoud, and the Wieringermeer area.

A traditional Dutch polder landscape at sunrise with a small river, trees and meadows

21. Visit former island Wieringen

The former island of Wieringen is one of those beautiful places you can fully enjoy some of the best things The Netherlands has to offer. From discovering the weekly fish market in Den Oever every Saturday morning (08:30 – 12:00) to finding traces from Vikings in The Netherlands. And from seal spotting to admiring the beautiful, traditional farms on the former island.

There are many things to explore and see on the island of Wieringen, and it’s one of the places you have to visit in the Kop van Noord- Holland. And it’s notably one of the cool places in The Netherlands. It has so much to offer and especially for those who want to relax and take a few steps back Wieringen is a great area to visit. And here you will discover beautiful parts that you can and have to see in The Netherlands.

Things to do on the former island of  Wieringen

Typical Wieringen farm houses on the previous Dutch island of Wieringen in The Netherlands

22. Experience Noordzee op ’t Noord

This yearly event takes place in the Dutch town of Schagen and can be translated to North Sea on ‘t Noord (name of a cafe in Schagen). It generally takes place the first Sunday in June and begins around 14:00. During this event you can try all sorts of fish dishes in one of the beautiful smaller cities in The Netherlands, Schagen, in combination with listening to music and talking to people. Try oysters, lobster, shrimps and plenty of more. It’s one of the best events in Schagen and surroundings, especially during summer.

23. Spot the typical Dutch picture in real life

When you drive through the Kop van Noord- Holland you will find everything that The Netherlands landscape is famous for. From sheep and cows in the long meadows to windmills next to rivers. And from tulip fields without tourists to small, idyllic Dutch villages. There are extensive dunes and sandy beaches on one side and traditional Dutch farms on the other. You will discover dike after dike and a lot of grassland. Witness the most beautiful sunset near one of the big lakes in Noord- Holland or cycle your way through the beauty of The Netherlands. Here you will check everything of your The Netherlands famous landmarks list.

A traditional Dutch landscape: cows grazing in the meadows, a small river and a windmill next to the river at sunrise

24. Visit the Marinedagen in Den Helder

During the Marinedagen, or Navy Days, you can discover more about the Dutch Royal Navy. Learn everything about national duties, international missions, innovation and more. There are many demonstrations and activities on the navy terrain in Den Helder during these days. Climb, do workshops, explore a navy ship, sail on boats, go into a simulator and many more things. Trust me when I say that you won’t get bored during these days. The Marinedagen, or Navy Days, will take place from the 30th of June until the 2nd of July 2023. 2023 is also the year of SAIL Den Helder which takes place from the 29th of June until the 2nd of July, which I can highly recommend you to visit.

25. Experience my favourite Dutch museum: Broekerveiling

The Netherlands is filled with historical sites, and the Broekerveiling is entirely different than most places. The Broekerveiling is one of those museums that I love and have loved since I was a child. It’s the oldest sail through auction in the world. Horticulturists sold their goods by sailing through the auction. It was first started in 1887 nearby a bridge in the open air. But in 1912 an indoor auction building was created.

The building is placed on poles; therefore, the horticulturists could sail into the auction building with their boats that were filled with vegetables. Besides exploring the auction hall, you can participate in an auction, go on a magical boat tour through the realm of thousands islands in the area of Broek op Langedijk amongst plenty of other things. If you’re looking for a must-visit museum in The Netherlands, then this is it.

Discover museum Broekerveiling in The Netherlands

Best museums of The Netherlands | Museum De Broekerveiling, The Netherlands | Photo Bert Knot..
Photo by Bert Knot / Flickr

26. Walk on the Afsluitdijk and visit the Wadden center

The Afsluitdijk is a dyke between the provinces of Noord- Holland and Friesland in The Netherlands. It separates the biggest lake in The Netherlands, Ijsselmeer, from the Wadden Sea. The Afsluitdijk means closing dyke. It’s crucial to help The Netherlands against floods. Construction was first started in 1927, and the last hole was closed in 1932. A year later the dyke was opened for motorised traffic. On the location where the dam was last closed, you will see a monument called the Vlietermonument. The entire barrier is 32,5 kilometres long.

On the Noord- Holland side of the Afsluitdijk, you will see the Afsluitdijk Wadden Centre. In this centre, you can learn more about the Afsluitdijk, the Wadden Sea, the Ijsselmeer region, engineering and new projects to increase the biodiversity in the lake.

Find more information on the Afsluitdijk Wadden Center here

The longest dike in The Netherlands and Europe: Afsluitdijk, or closing dyke, with the Ijsselmeer on one side, a highway in the middle and the Wadden Sea Unesco Heritage Site on the left.

27. Go back in time at the cheese market in Alkmaar

The cheese market in Alkmaar is the most famous part of the city. Although Alkmaar is not one of the major cities in The Netherlands (Amsterdam and Rotterdam are), it is more than worth a visit. Discover how cheese was transported to the medieval Dutch city of Alkmaar and most importantly, how it was weighed and sold. A narrator will tell you about the history of the market in Alkmaar, plus many other facts. Buy some delicious cheese on the local market that takes place in the city at the same time or other regional souvenirs. The cheese market takes place on Friday morning from March until September. Check the link below for the current dates and times.

A full guide to the cheese markets in The Netherlands

Things to do in Alkmaar | Best cheese markets to visit in The Netherlands | Visiting The Dutch Countryside travel blog about The Netherlands

28. Witness a flower parade in Winkel

Flower parades are fun, colourful and magical. It is also called a bloemencorso in Dutch. In the small town of Winkel, The Netherlands, you can visit a flower parade every year in September. It’s always a shame that it’s just one day, but unfortunately, that’s the way it is. Discover magical floats that are connected to a theme. And witness who wins the competition that gets to say this for the rest of the year and can make the other participants green in envy. I can assure you that after you have visited one of the most interesting places and events in The Netherlands, it was more than worth it.

Guide to the flower parades in The Netherlands

Bloemencorso, flower parade, in the town of Winkel, Noord- Holland, The Netherlands in summer
Willem Zwier / Flickr

29. Visit The Netherlands Kremlin

The Netherlands is filled with great vacation spots. This is one of the weirdest and coolest architectural surprises you will find in The Netherlands. Nederlands Kremlin is located near where I was born, and you have to visit it when they’re open. This garden is filled with buildings and statues that were inspired by stories from the Bible and Greek Mythology, as well as the most famous Russian and Italian architectural styles. The builder, Ger Leegwater, has been building this magical area on his land around his house since 1980. Visiting the Nederlands Kremlin is a must-do in The Netherlands.

Find current opening times of The Netherlands Kremlin in Winkel here

30. Enjoy the Zuiderzeemuseum

The Zuiderzeemuseum is both an indoor and outdoor museum, but the open-air museum is closed during the winter. With the Zuiderzee Museum in Enkhuizen, you will discover the life of the people who once lived on the shores of the previous Zuiderzee. The Zuiderzee was a sea and was mainly the area of the current Ijsselmeer and Markermeer, and was connected continuously to the Wadden Sea and the North Sea. The Afsluitdijk closed the Zuiderzee from the Wadden Sea and the North Sea.

The Zuiderzee Museum brings you back to the times before the year the Afsluitdijk was closed, in 1932. Discover the history, current situation and the future of this magnificent area in The Netherlands. Learn about water, crafts and more stories in historic Dutch buildings.

In the Zuiderzee Museum in The Netherlands, you will see landmarks and famous places. But also discover scenic places in The Netherlands. And if you’re looking for places to stay in The Netherlands, the city of Enkhuizen is a real beauty with many other things to do beyond this museum.

Plan your visit to the Zuiderzeemuseum here

One of the best indoor and outdoor open air museums in The Netherlands: Zuiderzee museum. Here you see old dutch traditional clothing and local breeds of sheep

31. See the most magical flower mosaics in Nieuwe Niedorp: Floralia

The Floralia is a fantastic yearly event in the town of Nieuwe Niedorp. Admire the flower mosaics that were created with a lot of hard work and love for the event. It’s something magical and spectacular. There’s so much work and planning involved. And every year I wonder how they can create such beautiful flower mosaics. It’s truly art. Walk through the beautifully decorated streets and get lost in thought with the stunning views.

Guide to flower parades in The Netherlands

32. Go skydiving above the island of Texel

The Dutch island of Texel is stunning. Even if you have both feet on the ground. But it’s truly a spectacular sight when you skydive above the island of Texel. You will see the most incredible views of World Unesco Heritage Site the Wadden Sea, as well as of Texel and the other surroundings. And Texel is, without a doubt, one of the top destinations in The Netherlands.

When you’re in Texel, this is one of the things you have to do. Enjoy, relax and maybe scream a little because it’s quite high. I can guarantee you, once you open your eyes and you see the most beautiful view of The Netherlands from above, that you will realise it’s worth it.

Find more information about skydiving on Texel here

skydiving from the dutch island of texel in noord- holland, the netherlands

33. Try traditional regional Dutch food

Eating has to be one of my favourite things to do during the day and trying out local cuisine is something that is the cherry on top. Local food is filled with flavour, gives you an insight into the local Dutch culture, is better for the environment, supports the local producers and makes an excellent souvenir when you visit The Netherlands. In the region of the Kop van Noord- Holland, the local foods that must be tried are found below. You will find this food in some of The Netherlands most beautiful villages.

  • Westfriesche Krentenmik: This filled raisin bread can be bought at Bakkerij Raat in Medemblik and Alkmaar. They also have a special bread called the Omringbrood, which was created because of the location of Medemblik within the Omringdike.
  • Boerenkaas and graskaas: The farmer’s cheese and grass cheese is the best cheese in The Netherlands. The grass cheese comes from the first milk of cows that are outside during the spring-autumn period. The normal boerenkaas comes from the milk from the winter period. But honestly, it’s both incredibly creamy and tasty. The best location to get boerenkaas is at cheese farm/ Kaasboerderij Berkhout.
  • Schapenstreek ijs & zuivel: At Schapenstreek you will find incredible tasty ice cream made with sheep milk, cheeses, yoghurt and other products such as wool. This organic farm has a farm shop in the blue cabin near the water, and it’s more than worth a visit.
  • Opperdoezer ronde: This is a potato that is only made and harvested in the town of Opperdoes and its surroundings. You can buy them from April, May until June or July. They can be purchased at Almereweg 16, Opperdoes.
  • West Friese wijnen: Funnily enough, there are quite some orchards in the region of West Friesland that produce fantastic quality wines. At Wijndomein De Koen the wineshop is opened every Friday & Saturday from 10:00- 17:00.

Typical Dutch food you have to try in The Netherlands

34. Witness the koeiendans

One of my favourite things about spring in the Kop van Noord- Holland is the fact that cows can go outside again. During the winter months, it’s too muddy, the cows would damage the grass (which will be a disaster in spring for them) and there’s not enough food for the cows to be out in the fields. In spring, summer and autumn, the cows are mostly standing outside in most parts of The Netherlands. So after the winter months inside you can bet that the cows are happy to go out again.

They are so happy that they do, what we call, a koeiendans (cow dance). The cows run, jump and play with each other when they’re first headed outside again. It’s truly a beautiful sight to see. Seeing the cows so happy is spectacular and heartwarming. And one of the places where you can watch the cow dance in The Netherlands is at the Rundvee Museum (cattle museum) Aat Grootes in the town of Aartswoud. 

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Usually somewhere in the beginning of April the cows are allowed to go outside again at this farm and education centre. It starts somewhere around 13:00. So if you were searching for cool places in The Netherlands, then this is the true definition of cool.

The cattle museum is a beautiful and interesting museum to discover as well. Here they work to keep rare Dutch breeds of cattle alive that would’ve been extinct otherwise. This educational museum informs you about the history of these unique and old breeds, the life on the Dutch countryside throughout time, the typical West Frisian farmhouses and plenty of other things. The animals are taken care of by people with a mental disability that can adapt and connect with society through this way.

This museum is roughly opened from mid-September – Mid May every first Sunday of the month 13:00- 16:30. From mid-May – mid-September it is opened weekly at every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 13:00 – 16:30. The entry fee is 4 euros and can only be paid in cash.

This small Dutch museum can be found at Schoolstraat 43, 1719 AT in Aartswoud, and it’s one of the places you have to visit around The Netherlands.

35. Enter a medieval castle in Noord- Holland

In The Netherlands, one of the places you have to go to is a castle. There were originally plenty of more castles in this part of Noord- Holland. However, most of them have been destroyed. The Radboud castle is one of the remaining castles and can be found in the historic Dutch small city of Medemblik. It was initially almost double the size of its current castle, but you know how those things go. Castles are attacked, stones are needed for other buildings, and so on. Luckily the leftover part of this Dutch castle is more than worth visiting. You can discover more information about how to visit the Radboud castle in one of the most beautiful villages in The Netherlands below.

Best Dutch castles to visit in The Netherlands

One of the Dutch castles in the province of Noord- Holland, The Netherlands. Castle Radboud is one of the castles in The Netherlands you must visit
Photo by: venemama2 – Deposit Photos

36. Go surfing in Noord- Holland

One of the great things about The Netherlands, and especially the Kop van Noord- Holland is that it’s filled with possible adventures. There’s almost always wind, and we have a lot of water everywhere. That’s why surfing, kitesurfing or even windsurfing is perfect to do so here. There are quite a few clubs with great teachers and also places to rent everything you need if you’re a regular surfer already. Some of the top places to visit in The Netherlands, especially for surfing, can be found in this province.

If you want to take a kitesurf lesson in Noord- Holland then I would recommend you to visit this website and choose the Andijk location for your lesson. For windsurf lessons, you will like this company very much. And for regular surf lessons in the North Sea, this company will be best (this website, unfortunately, is only in Dutch).

Kitesurfing in the netherlands

37. Eat the best vanilla ice cream in The Netherlands

Usually vanilla ice cream isn’t something I would recommend you to travel for. However, this ice cream is more than worth it. You can get the best vanilla ice cream in one of the cities you have to visit in The Netherlands; in the beautiful Dutch town of Alkmaar. The Laan family has been making vanilla ice cream for decades and the icecream is just as good as it was all those years ago. Whether you’re visiting Alkmaar just for the ice cream (which is something I would do) or you’re there anyway, make sure to go to Ijssalon Laan in Alkmaar.

38. Visit farmers markets and get the freshest produce next to the road

When you’re looking for where to visit in The Netherlands, then farmers markets are a great activity. What I love about this region is that there are many little stalls next to the road where you can buy fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers. Fresh from the land, fields and trees. It truly doesn’t get any better than that.

On the Zwarteweg in the village ‘t Veld, there are several stalls you can buy fresh vegetables and flowers. On the road Middenweg in Dirkshorn, you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and even eggs. There are plenty of more places and streets where you can get fresh products, which you will quickly see as you drive, cycle or walk through this part of The Netherlands.

At By Broersen you can pick your fruit from the garden in July and August and flower from June until September. At the end of March, you can find fresh white asparagus at this local farm shop. By the end of April, you can also enjoy fresh green asparagus from the land nearby, and they even have a machine (like at FEBO) to buy tulips, apples, asparagus and eggs when you’re outside their regular opening times. From the beginning of May until the end of September you can also buy the best strawberries in the surroundings here. As sweet as sugar cane (in a good way).

At Fruitkwekerij’ t Keetje you can pick your fruit as well, depending on the season. But if it’s not the season, they still have amazing local products for you to try, such as fruits, cheeses, juices, meat and plenty of other things.

There are several great farmers markets in this part of Noord- Holland, The Netherlands, and I will tell you about my two favourites here. One of the markets can be found in the town of Langedijk and the other in the Wieringermeer area.

The Dutch farmers market (Boerenversmarkt) that takes place in Slootdorp. In 2022 it is held on the 3rd and 4th of September at Wierweg 7. The entry is free, and you will discover the best fresh and regional products.

The market in Langedijk is called the Langedijker Streekmarkt, or regional market. It takes place on the orchard of Wijndomein De Koen in Langedijk. There are only fair and local products to be found in this market. From bread to wine. And from meat to honey. From cheese to vegetables. And from meat to local ice cream. There’s so much to enjoy and taste. It takes place somewhere in a weekend in the middle of September from 11:00- 17:00. This location is easily accessible with public transport as well. When you ask me ‘what is there to do in The Netherlands?’, then this is one of those many great things.

I would also recommend you to visit Veldzicht Hoeve, which is a sustainable Dutch dairy farm that uses zero energy and keeps their cows very happy. You can usually visit their cheese and farm shop every Friday and Saturday from roughly 09:00- 16:30. You will find the best Dutch cheese, regional Dutch food, fresh dairy products and more here. 

39. Go iceskating

You cannot miss out on ice-skating when you’re visiting The Netherlands anywhere between mid- October and the end of March. Whether you’re feeling yourself on the ice and are turning into a new speedskating champion, or you’re more like Bambi on ice, as long as you have fun that’s the primary purpose. Always bring an id, as well as gloves with you if you want to skate and rent ice skates. Otherwise, you’re not allowed on the ice.

The best indoor icerinks in this part of Noord- Holland are West Fries in the city of Hoorn and Meent Bauerfeld in Alkmaar. It’s one of the things you have to do North of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam canals that are frozen during winter with people iceskating on them

40. Best small Dutch museums in the Kop van Noord- Holland

One of the many fun things you can do in the Kop van Noord- Holland is to visit small and regional museums. This way you can learn everything about the history, certain habits, traditions in areas of this region in The Netherlands. Discover everything you want to know about the regional Dutch culture in these Dutch museums below that include many nice places to visit in The Netherlands.

Museumboerderij West Frisia

    • This Museum farm brings you back into a West Frisian farm at the end of the 19th century. It is opened from mid-June – mid-September from Thursday until Sunday 13:00 – 16:30. Entry is 4 euros, bring cash! You can find this museum at Koningspade 31, Hoogwoud.

Bakkerijmuseum De Oude Bakkerij

  • This bakery museum, called the old bakery in Medemblik, is the perfect location to discover and practice the old baking techniques, as well as learn everything about the craft. It is opened from 6th of January 2020 – 13th of February 2020: Friday/ Saturday & Sunday 11:00 – 17:00. From the 14th of February 2020 until the 3rd of January 2021 from Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 – 17:00. Entry is 7 euros. You can find this museum at Nieuwstraat 8, Medemblik.

Museum Vreeburg Schagen

  • Here you can find a farmhouse and carriage museum. A 17th-century West Frisian farmhouse has been restored to original times and is waiting for you to explore the West Frisian traditions and carriages. For opening times and the address, I would recommend you to go to their website here.

Het Nederlands Stoommuseum

  • This is The Netherlands steam museum where you will discover everything you need about the past and current use of steam in The Netherlands. The present you ask me? Yes, we still use forms of steam today for electric powerhouses. More information about opening times, prices and more can be found here.

Museum De Turfschuur

  • At Museum De Turfschuur in the idyllic Dutch village of Kolhorn, you will discover how the people of Kolhorn and surroundings used to live and how they coped with the ever-changing landscape. Where you can nowadays see a big polder, you will go back to the time when Kolhorn was located on the edge of the Zuiderzee (sea). You will also discover objects that date back to more than 5000 years ago. There’s also a part of the museum that has a changing collection of drawings and paintings from local artists, which is worth looking at. This is simply one of the things you have to see and do in The Netherlands. The museum opens from mid-April until the end of October on Saturday and Sunday from 13:00 – 16:30. You can visit them at Westfriesedijk 66b in Kolhorn.

Fort Kijkduin

  • Discover the history of a Dutch fortress that was built in the assignment of Napoleon Bonaparte. This fortress in Den Helder will take you back to centuries ago and will also tell you about how the German occupiers used it during the Second World War. For more information, you can click here.

Museum Kranenburgh

  • This is one of the best art museums in both Noord- Holland and The Netherlands. It is found in the village of Bergen where the Bergen School comes from. That’s also why the art of the Bergen School is the central part of the collection. Find more information about Museum Kranenburgh here. When you’re planning on visiting this museum, I would also recommend you to visit Museum Het Sterkenhuis. This is a museum in an old Dutch farmhouse in the town of Bergen and here you will discover more information about the Dutch life in this region.

I hope that this has reminded you all again that there are many things to do in The Netherlands outside of Amsterdam. Whether you’re looking for fun or crazy things to do in The Netherlands or some sightseeing, there are many things to do in the Kop van Noord- Holland countryside that will make your dreams come true.

There are many must-visit places in The Netherlands, and the countryside is filled with them. From the best towns to visit in The Netherlands to where to go and famous and cool things to do in The Netherlands. Whether you’re looking for The Netherlands coast, dunes or beaches or simply want to visit the old and beautiful part of The Netherlands. Whatever you want, the Kop van Noord- Holland delivers. By now you know what to do in the top of North Holland, whether you’re visiting for one day, weekend, a week or two weeks. This must-visit place in The Netherlands cannot miss on your itinerary for the provinces of Holland. I hope you enjoyed seeing the many things there are to do in the Kop van Noord- Holland region.

Discover things to do in The Netherlands and top attractions you should visit. But mostly you will discover hidden gems in this part of Holland. Except for the island of Texel and the cheese market in Alkmaar you won’t find many tourists here. Enjoy it. This pristine and beautiful area in Noord- Holland will be your favourite part of your The Netherlands trip. Share this post!!

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