Traveling in the Netherlands Beyond Amsterdam


Traveling around the Netherlands, I found a number of delightful towns with historic centers that evoke the days of Henry Hudson. Delft, Haarlem, Leiden, and Hoorn were my favorites. The vast majority of visitors to the Netherlands see only Amsterdam. While these other towns are all variations on the same theme, the small historic Dutch cities outside of Amsterdam are important to consider–and all are well within an hour by train.


Hoorn has a salty allure, even though the salt is gone now that the Zuiderzee has been dammed and turned into a big freshwater lake. Still, Hoorn’s harbor evokes a time when Dutch vessels dominated much of the seagoing economy.



The Dutch Golden Age, the 16th and 17th centuries, was a time when people went to apparently ridiculous lengths to show off their wealth. What was a simple collar became not just a ruff, but a super-duper ruff. This woman’s husband must have been a very successful merchant.



Seeing these Dutch masters plotting with their globe and their greedy aspirations, I found myself singing, “We are the world…”



The Dutch enjoy getting drunk on their vacation boats. And just as you can’t drink and drive a car, in the Netherlands you can’t drink and sail a boat. The Dutch police enjoy zooming in on their police jet skis to crash the party. I’m sure just the presence of this trailer with a pair of these zippy machines served as a sobering reminder to yachters enjoying a break in the Hoorn harbor.


One Reply to “Traveling in the Netherlands Beyond Amsterdam”

  1. Hi Rick,
    My favorite Netherlands:
    Amsterdam; Night canal cruise when the bridges are lit.
    Museums Speelkok & Dick Bruna for kids
    Old canal (Oudegracht) restaurants downtown below street level. These were cellars converted to many restaurants.
    Saturday market for Jong Belegen cheese. They shrink wrap for travel home. Stroopwaffles from the old Dutch guy. There are 2 vendors, he is across from the permanent frites by the stores. Has bags of crumbs for the kids.
    Street organ usually in downtown shopping area on Saturday’s. Moves location throughout the day
    Walking next to the old canal out of town to the ice cream shop. They have “whipped cream” sandwiches instead of ice cream sandwiches. In Rotterdam one winter trip I had a hot chocolate with a side of whipped cream served. Who knew the Dutch loved their whipped cream.
    Stopping at the bakker who still has the edible paper emblem on the bottom of his bread.

    Looking forward to the new shows.

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