Top 10 things I love about the Netherlands

Things I love about the Netherlands

It’s currently raining here in Rotterdam, so I’m holed up thinking about how happy I am to be here and everything I love about this country. There are certainly more than this, but a top 10 list is always good. And hopefully this post will inspire you to visit the Netherlands too.

10 things I love about the Netherlands

1. Canals

When people think of the Netherlands, they probably picture beautiful canals. This is what first made us fall in love with this country. We arrived in Amsterdam and were awestruck. And every time we’ve returned, we’ve felt the same feeling. They’re so lovely and romantic and relaxing. And they’re a bit different in every city. We also especially like the canals in Utrecht.

Prinsengracht, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Get lost in the Canal Belt in Amsterdam.
Oudegracht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
Walk along the Oudegracht in Utrecht.

2. Windmills

Windmills are everywhere in the Netherlands. Earlier this year, we took a trip to Kinderdijk to see a whole bunch of them.

Windmills, Kinderdijk, the Netherlands

When we flew into the country a few days ago, we noticed them on water in the North Sea.

North Sea wind farm, the Netherlands

But my favorites are the ones that just pop up as you’re walking about a city.

De Otter windmill, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Windmill in Amsterdam.
Windmills, Kralingse Bos, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Windmills in Rotterdam.

3. Bikes

Everyone bikes in the Netherlands. I’m still learning how to do so in the cities without killing myself, but it’s such a great way to get around that I’m determined to master it. It’s also quite a flat country, so that should make things easier. And, the bikes make the cities look so much more aesthetically appealing!

Bikes in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Bikes in Amsterdam.
Bikes in Rotterdam, the Netherlands
Bikes in Rotterdam.

4. Tulips

The tulips at Keukenhof are unrivaled. A trip there is a must if you’re a flower fan. The one photo below can’t do it justice, so here are 15 more pictures to inspire you to go!

Tulips, Keukenhof, the Netherlands

5. Cheese

Dutch cheese (kaas) is my favorite. Especially the oldest, darkest, most crystallized types. I love walking into a store and asking for whatever they recommend. I’m never disappointed.

De Kaashoeve, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
The most beautiful sight at De Kaashoeve in Rotterdam.

6. Stroopwafels

Stroopwafels are my favorite cookie hands down. Caramel goodness sandwiched between two tasty, spicy thin wafer cookies. I’ll eat any of them, but the fresh one I had in Volendam last year was definitely the most memorable. And the proprietor of this shop taught me how to make them too!

Stroopwafel, Volendam, the Netherlands

7. Bitterballen

Bitterballen are unique to the Netherlands. They are fried balls of a meaty roux, served with mustard. They are delicious and a great snack to accompany a few beers.

Bitterballen, the Netherlands

8. The beer selection

The beer selection in the Netherlands is ridiculously awesome. Being so close to Belgium, you can find pretty much any variety of Belgian beer here. But Dutch beer is also really great. And there are bars that specialize in it. Like one of our favorite bars in the world, Proeflokaal Arendsnest in Amsterdam.

Arendsnest, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Or our favorite brewery in Rotterdam, Kaapse Brouwers.

Kaapse Brouwers, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

9. Albert Heijn

Albert Heijn (AH to us) is a supermarket chain. I’ve loved supermarkets and food shopping my whole life, but AH takes it to a whole new level. It’s not the cheapest shop in the Netherlands, but coming from New York City, everything’s cheaper! It has the best selection of fresh food, premade food like salads and (at some stores) sushi, staples, stroopwafels, and even beer.

Albert Heijn, the Netherlands
This picture is a bit blurry because I move so fast in Albert Heijn!

10. The people

And I’ll end with a little something sappy. We’ve found the people here nothing but kind and helpful. And I love their straightforward, no nonsense manner … I feel like I fit in! We feel lucky to have made some wonderful friends here in the Netherlands and look forward to making more.

With Xandra and Afra in Volendam, the Netherlands

With Ine and Ruud in Den Bosch, the Netherlands

LAM, Den Haag, Netherlands

Fenix Food Factory, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

We’re excited to see if this list changes the longer we spend here. What do you love about the Netherlands? Let me know in the comments!

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49 Replies to “Top 10 things I love about the Netherlands”

  1. We look forward to discovering the Netherlands with you! Right now what we like best there are you and Justin.

  2. Looks like a wonderful place to be!

  3. I do hope to go back one day and spend some more time there. I loved everything about the place

  4. Lovely points made about the Netherlands! That view from the airplane is especially nice! I’d only visited Amsterdam for a very short trip too long ago, looks like I have to go back and note all these listed in your post!

  5. I have been to The Netherlands 3 times in my life. And I just love everything of this beautiful city. I have been almost everywhere except Giethoorn. You have maybe some photos on that place?

    enjoy your vacation. Any time you have questions of The Netherlands you can always contact me.

  6. Gouda and stroopwafels for me! Gosh you just made me realize I need to get myself to the Netherlands, argh…

  7. I absolutely LOVE the Netherlands. We’re moving back this week and I’m so excited for many of these things, especially the beer.

    As a side note, not every Dutch city has canals, but in general, they’re pretty cute. I DO love the ones on Utrecht.

  8. I looove all this things too! Especially stroopwafels. 🙂

  9. Great post! Are you living in Rotterdam? I love being here but definitely need to explore more of the Netherlands!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Yes we are in Rotterdam right now! Where are you?

      1. I live in Kralingen in Rotterdam, but originally from UK. I moved here to be with my Dutch partner and I’ve been here for 6 years now and time has been flying!!

        1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

          We are staying near Kralingen. It’s my dream to live in that neighborhood! It has the most beautiful homes.

  10. Loved the pics of windmills. Looking forward to visit Netherlands some day

  11. Omg Bitterballen my absolute favourite… I’m half dutch and grew up with these foods. Do you like the salty drop? So good! Awesome post 🙂

  12. Aww this makes me so happy to read! I was born and raised in the Netherlands but have been abroad for over a year now! Sometimes I forget what an amazing country it actually is and how lucky I was to live there. I would love some proper Dutch cheese and bitterballen right now haha!

  13. I can’t believe there are windmills in the seas too!! Look at that beer selection too <3

  14. It difficult not to love The Netherlands after reading and seeing all this. I went there many years ago but would love to go back. At this point, I can appreciate more what makes the country unique including cheese and waffles.

  15. While I don’t live in the Netherlands, this list is literally why I LOVE VISITING the Netherlands! (ok except maybe the bikes. they terrify me haha) But I used to hate cheese until I tried Dutch cheese, and now i’m a raving cheese lunatic… also the fruit juices at Albert Heijn give me life. Okay – rant over, but awesome post!

  16. Man I’ve heard so many good things about Stroopwafels! This post, and all the hype about stroopwafels, makes me feel that I NEED to head to the Netherlands!

  17. Bitterballen! I already love that idea! I only visited Holland once, a small city where I did a competition in martial art, so I dont really know the country. It is said that there are more bikes than people in Holland – I think it could be true:)

  18. This year was my first visiting the netherlands outside of just amsterdam and I LOVED it! Rotterdam was a great surprise!

  19. You make an extremely convincing case! 🙂 What a beautiful country. You really had me at Tulips!

  20. Cities with canals and preponderant water are my favorite! The fact that it’s so easy to move around with the bicycles is even better 🙂 I’ve never been but I’d definitely like to go!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Preponderant water is the best! Love that turn of phrase! 🙂

  21. Suitcase And Wanderlust says: Reply

    I loved your post. It makes me want to go to the Netherlands right now. I can see myself shooting the canals and windmills already. Thank you!

  22. nomadepicureans says: Reply

    What a lovely post, I can totally see why you love the Netherlands! I actually think it’s like Denmark in many ways (bikes and windmills much? haha). An I also love grocery shopping, lol.

  23. I loved the Netherlands so much! Was so inspired by this country. And loveddd Bitterballen!!!

  24. So surprisngly enough, I have never been to the Netherlands. I am dying to go but can never find a flight that works. But I too love the picturesque tulips, windmills, and canals. Plus I could always gor for some cheese with a side of cookies!! Yum!!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      That sounds like my perfect meal!

  25. A friend of mine and I were thinking of having a tour through the Netherlands. This post will be perfect!

  26. Learning to make a stroopwafel sounds like an absolute dream come true! Life in the Netherlands sounds really tempting 😉

  27. I only visited the Netherlands in brief bits before my current trip (I’m in the Netherlands now), and thought Amsterdam was pretty cool but maybe also pretentious. So I was just emkay with the Netherlands. But this time around I’m staying in Den Haag, and for longer, and have time to spend with my local colleagues. I’m liking the Netherlands much, much better this way. The Dutch are quite warm under their direct manner.

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Yes I’ve found that about the Dutch friends I’ve made here as well. I quite like that direct manner being that I grew up in NYC 😉 And I always loved Amsterdam – even if it is a bit touristy – but have loved other parts of the country even more.

  28. My favorite was Stroopwafels by far 😛 but we only visited Amsterdam! That photo of Utrecht is amazing and makes me want to go explore the Netherlands!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      You should explore more of the country. Amsterdam is great – we truly love it – but the other cities and smaller towns are really lovely as well and for the most part much less touristy.

  29. Very nice run-down! I’m also an American living in the Netherlands, but I’m up north in Groningen. I absolutely love it here. Your last comment, albeit sappy, is super accurate! The people here make me feel more at home than anywhere else I’ve been in Europe. Their English skills are just an added bonus.

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      How do you find Groningen? We’ve heard great things and it was tentatively on our itinerary last year, but ended up going to Maastricht instead. Would love to check it out one day.

      1. Sorry for the delay in my response! Groningen is wonderful. It’s small enough that you could plan a weekend trip if you just want to zoom about the city center. I think I’m more partial to it because I’m a student and there are two large universities here, so plenty of young 20 somethings always out and about.

  30. I have yet to get to this wonderful country but the canals!! That’s what I want to see…and eat lots of cheese! Fabulous post!

  31. cheerstoawonderfulworld says: Reply

    The Netherlands are just so amazing! And so is your post 🙂

  32. I love the Netherlands- Gorgeous photos! There’s so much to see outside of Amsterdam!

  33. I loveeee Netherlands! Especially Amsterdam but other cities are pretty too (for example Rotterdam with its Market hall oh my god foodie heaven). And alll cheese and stroopwaffles. As you can probably see I’m all about food 😀

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Yes the Markthal in Rotterdam is one of our favorite places in the whole world! We’re mostly about food too 🙂

  34. I can relate to so many of these because I love so many of them about the Netherlands too! Great post!

  35. Really enjoyed reading this! I was only in the Netherlands for about 24 hours the last time I was there, so I’m going to have to go back for longer and use your tips 🙂

  36. Cherene Saradar says: Reply

    the windmills in the water are so cool! I love all these things too!!

  37. Your post makes me want to get on a plane right now!! Stunning pictures in a fab post to inspire travelling to the Netherlands!

    1. Sarah and Justin says: Reply

      Then our job is done! Thank you for the wonderful feedback!

  38. […] recently wrote about ten things we love about the Netherlands and three of them are food! You can taste all of them in […]

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