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5 original ways to discover the Netherlands

As world travelers we like to discover the whole world and we prefer to visit special cultures and destinations far away continents† But in corona times we all had to rediscover our own country and that led to a new love for us The Netherlands† We explored the Netherlands for days as if we were on a trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. To make you fall in love with your own country again, here are 5 creative ideas for traveling in the Netherlands.

1. Drive a beautiful car route

A fun and corona-proof way to discover the Netherlands is by driving a touristic car route. In your own car you can explore the beautiful landscapes and sights that our country has to offer on a car route. You can find beautiful routes throughout the country, with which you can rediscover your own region – or a completely different one – in an original way.

A must in spring is to drive a special tulip route along the brightly colored tulip fields of the Netherlands† In the north of Flevoland an annual is organized, where you can also visit the tulip farmers. But if you prefer to tackle it on your own, you will also find a beautiful route around Lisse and one on Goeree Overflakkee. You then drive around through the beautiful tulip fields, while you still visit picturesque villages. This guarantees you beautiful pictures and a special experience.

Autoroute Utrechtse Heuvelrug The Orange Backpack
Autoroute Utrechtse Heuvelrug

Or visit the forests of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug! We drove a beautiful route along castles, forests and other attractions. For example, you can make a stop at Soesterberg Air Base where you can take a walk on a runway. And you will pass the only pyramid in the Netherlands: the Pyramid of Austerlitz, which was once built in honor of Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz. In the vicinity of the pyramid you can walk beautifully in the forest, but it is of course highly recommended to climb the pyramid.

No own car? Then consider getting a to rent an authentic old-timer for a truly original day in our own country.

2. Book a special overnight stay in the Netherlands

Have you always wanted to sleep in a historic chateau? Or has a tree house been on your bucket list for years? Do not wait for a long journey to realize this dream, but look for one special overnight stay in the Netherlands.

For our blog we explored the most beautiful accommodations in the Netherlands. For example, we slept in an authentic tree house in the Achterhoek. We don't mean a house on high stilts, which is usually called a tree house. We mean a house, hanging in a large oak, through which the living branches with leaves just walk! Treehouse Goldsworthy was built with his own hands by the owner and is exactly as you imagined it in your childhood dreams. But better! The house hangs in a large oak tree in the middle of a horse meadow. You can only get into the house by taking down a door like a kind of drawbridge. In your tree house you will find a wood stove to keep it comfortably warm in every season. But also a kitchenette and just a toilet and hot shower.

Goldsworthy tree house in the Achterhoek - The Orange Backpack
Goldsworthy tree house in the Achterhoek

Or how about a tiny house on the Veluwe? The Veluwe is one of the most beautiful parts of the Netherlands with beautiful castles, extensive forests and moors, cozy villages and special tiny houses to spend the night. For example, we slept in Tiny House De Kleine Beer, a special design house in the woods. On a tiny surface you will find everything you need in a house. From bathroom to kitchen and from sitting area to dining area. In our house we slept on a sleeping loft with a skylight to see the trees and stars from bed. Because a wall consists entirely of glass, we had a wonderful view of the greenery.

Do you get excited about those kinds of natural spots? Read our blog with the most beautiful nature houses in the Netherlands.

3. Play tourist in your own country

The Netherlands is packed with tourist attractions that you should also see as a Dutch person. How nice is it to explore all those Dutch cliché places for yourself! For example, it is highly recommended to visit the old Dutch windmills. Especially now that it is a lot quieter at the major Dutch attractions in corona times, it is nice to explore this part of the Netherlands yourself. Play tourist in your own country and finally visit those famous, iconic windmills of the Netherlands!

You will then discover that Kinderdijk near Rotterdam is very different from Zaanse Schans near Zaandam. Because did you know that the Zaanse Schans was built not so long ago – in the 60s – and all kinds of mills and authentic houses from the area have been moved to this location? It wasn't even intended to be a tourist attraction. The wish was to preserve the authentic building from the area in one place. The new village was also inhabited and it still is. On the Zaanse Schans you will find a variety of windmills, from sawmill to spice mill, with an old Dutch village.

Kinderdijk Holland - The Orange Backpack
Kinderdijk Holland

How different is Kinderdijk, where nineteen windmills are located in the countryside. They are completely authentic and are located exactly where they were once built to keep the polder dry. The drainage system in Kinderdijk is so unique that it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. There is also no authentic village with souvenir shops to visit here. Add to that the fact that Kinderdijk is mainly close to Rotterdam and Dordrecht, while the Zaanse Schans is easy to visit from Amsterdam. You understand that Kinderdijk is less touristy as a result. If you want to avoid the tourists altogether, you can also choose to take a walk along the mills and through the polder. You will also see the less-visited windmills of Kinderdijk and enjoy the beautiful Dutch polder landscape.

And did you know that you can also visit Kinderdijk near Rotterdam and the Zaanse Schans near Zaandam for free? You only pay entrance if you want to visit the inside of the museum mills.

4. Visit a special museum

Once you've visited the famous museums of the Netherlands and learned all about the famous masters like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, it's time to venture into the more special museums of the Netherlands. A museum visit doesn't always have to be boring and it certainly doesn't always revolve around old paintings.

How about contemporary experiential art on a beautiful estate? Museum Voorlinden is located near The Hague in a beautiful location in nature. It is also highly recommended to take a public transport bicycle at The Hague Central Station and ride through the woods and the Dutch landscape to your museum visit. In addition to a changing exhibition, Museum Voorlinden also offers a number of permanent works. The almost lifelike, naked woman is special, for example. Or the huge, older couple on the beach. You can also visit a swimming pool here, where you walk under water. Or that maze where you spiral further and further in, but mysteriously end up outside again. The art of Voorlinden will certainly keep you busy for a while!

Museum Voorlinden - The Orange Backpack
Museum Voorlinden

But the Netherlands has more amazing museums to offer. From open-air museums such as in Arnhem and Enkhuizen with old Dutch villages to Corpus in Leiden where you walk through the human body. From royal palaces to a museum with historic cars, such as one in the shape of a swan. Or how about mummies and dinosaurs in one of Leiden's museums?

5. Go on a surprising city trip in the Netherlands

You don't always have to take the plane for a city trip. We also have many beautiful cities in the Netherlands that are worth a weekend away. Amsterdam is of course an obvious city trip destination to mention. The city is full of hip hotspots, famous museums, atmospheric streets, photogenic canals and fun attractions. Here you can enjoy yourself for several weekends away and we certainly recommend that you do so. But besides the capital, there are more city trip-worthy destinations in our own country.

For example, raw Rotterdam is a beautiful, undervalued city. You will find special modern architecture, interesting street art, wonderful hotspots, top quality museums, nice terraces and unique sights. What should definitely be on your bucket list for Rotterdam? Take a walk along the street art, most of which can be found around the Witte de Withstraat. That street is also the place to be in the evening, because the street is packed with bars, restaurants, wine bars, eateries and specialty beer cafes. Be sure to visit the Rotterdam museum park and visit one or more museums there. Not in the mood for a museum visit? Then also go here to see the special Depot of the Boijmans Museum for yourself. This mirrored building is a work of art in itself.

City trip Leiden - The Orange Backpack
City trip Leiden

For even more surprising city trip destinations in the Netherlands, you would do well to consider the authentic, but less popular cities. For example, we are big fans of Leiden, where you combine unique museums – hello, dinos and mummies – with historic canals and wonderful restaurants. Or how about Delft, where you will find many hip hotspots and Dutch history drips from it? Or the cozy Breda with its special street art, beautiful views from the church tower and special boutiques? Enough surprising options to make an original trip in your own country!

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The Orange Backpack

This guest blog is written by Maartje and Sebastiaan from TheOrangeBackpack.nl. They have been travel buddies since their tenth date to Cambodia, have made traveling their job and now travel around with their travel baby and self-built camper van.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

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