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Top Seven Places to See in Zuid-Holland

Posted on Mar 31, 2022 by

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Dutch Provinces: Zuid-Holland

”Discover the Netherlands, Province by Province” project – each month of 2022 is dedicated to one Dutch province.

After a break in March, to recover from Covid, I’m coming back to the discovery of the Dutch provinces! We will dedicate April to Zuid-Holland (South Holland), a province rich in beautiful cities, nature, beaches and tulip fields. Situated on the North Sea in the west of the Netherlands, Zuid-Holland is the country’s most populous province. Home to one of the most known attractions of the Netherlands – Keukenhof flower park, Zuid-Holland is a province like no other, and one couldn’t pick a better month to visit it than April. That’s the best month if you wish to see Keukenhof and the tulip fields in De Bollenstreek, but also a great time to see the cities coming back to life after the long winter.

Keukenhof Park

From the modern Rotterdam to historic cities like Delft and Dordrecht, Zuid-Holland has it all. The provincial capital is The Hague (Den Haag in Dutch), which is also the seat of the Dutch parliament and the residence of the Dutch monarch.

In April, I will take you with me through this beautiful province and we will visit cities, beaches and flower parks; hopefully some museums as well. For today, I’m going to introduce to you the top places to see in Zuid-Holland province (in my opinion).

Top Places to See in Zuid-Holland

1. Keukenhof and the tulip fields

Keukenhof is the biggest garden in Europe. Its gates are open only for about two months each year, from March to April, and it’s visited by millions of people each time. If you love flowers, this will be a delight for you. There’s a different theme every year, and, while tulips cover a big part of the garden, there’s a big variety of spring flowers as well (not to mention the orchid pavilion!). Right outside Keukenhof, you can see the famous tulip fields. But this is not the only place you can see them! The entire area between Leiden, Lisse and the sea is covered in flower fields. It’s called the Bollenstrek (Bulb Region) and it’s the largest and most famous flower fields region in the Netherlands. You can walk or bike along these fields, or join an organised tour and visit a flower farm. Whatever you choose, the magic of the tulip fields is something you have to experience at least once!

Tulips at Keukenhof

2. Dordrecht

Close to Rotterdam and right next to the national park De Biesbosch (another beautiful place worth seeing), and also known as Dordt, this is the oldest official city in the Netherlands. In the past, Dordrecht used to be an important trading power, given the perfect location at the confluence of a few rivers. Nowadays, Dordrecht is a charming, relaxed place, perfect for a short trip. Dordrecht’s canals will make you think about Venice and you’ll be fascinated by its bridges and the marina. There are many historic buildings to admire, interesting shops and restaurants, as well as museums. Dordrecht is truly a hidden gem, often overlooked by tourists, but I have to say it’s one of my favourite Dutch cities. If you go, you’ll understand why. From Dordrecht you can take a water bus to Kinderdijk, if you’d like to visit that world heritage museum too (and you should!).

Dordrecht canals
Dordrecht bridges

3. Rotterdam

Rotterdam is a modern city – most of it having been destroyed in WW2 and rebuilt afterwards. It’s not your typical pretty Dutch architecture, save for the only remaining old part of the city, Delfshaven. Rotterdam is a must see for its new architecture – like Erasmus Bridge and the Cube Houses, for a visit to the New York hotel ( the former headquarters of the Holland-America Line, the place from where the ships used to depart for New York, carrying the European immigrants in a search for a better life, in the 19th and 20th century), for the largest seaport in Europe, and much more.

Rotterdam

4. The Hague and Scheveningen

The Hague is a beautiful city, with a very distinct personality. The city has quite a different feel to Amsterdam or the other typical Dutch cities: there are almost no canals, replaced instead by wide streets. The architecture is different, more inclined towards a baroque or classic style. It’s a beautiful city, with a residential feel to it and featuring a beautiful large beach: the nearby sea resort Scheveningen. You will love The Hague for its museums, for the relaxed pace and the antiques market (one of the best I’ve seen).

A tram ride will take you to the Scheveningen beach, right outside the city. This is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Netherlands, and I particularly like it for the long pier. It’s crowded in the season, but it’s worth a visit to admire the wide sand stretch, the pier, the surfers and the sea.

The Hague
Scheveningen Beach
Schevening

5. Delft

If you’re looking for a charming old city, Delft should be one of your top choices. Famous for its porcelain, university and its blue heart, Delft is truly a special place. It’s the birthplace of J. Vermeer, the famous painter who created “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. I fell in love with Delft the moment I set foot there, and I always go back with pleasure. Wandering the streets of Delft, you will feel transported back in time, but, at the same time, you will feel the young vibe of the city – Delft being a university town.

Delft canals
The blue heart of Delft

6. Leiden

Another university city, Leiden is packed with historical buildings and monuments, old canals and lively restaurants. A big plus for Leiden is the fact that few tourists go there, so you can enjoy the city undisturbed. The old canal system — all six kilometres of it, is still intact and a pretty sight to look at. You’ll love Burcht van Leiden (the “Citadel”, a medieval fortress which offers a view over the city), the Botanical Garden and the quiet streets of the city. If you visit in spring, you can rent a bike and go outside the city for the flower fields!

Leiden 01
Leiden 02

7. Kinderdijk

Close to Dordrecht, Kinderdijk is an open-air museum where you can learn about the Dutch water management system. The 19 windmills, built around 1740, are part of this system, keeping the land dry by pumping the water. You can also admire the waterways, dikes and sluices, have a tour boat and visit the museum mills. It’s a different experience from Zaanse Schans, and it’s unique in the country.

Kinderdijk
Photo by Thomas Bormans on Unsplash

Now that I gave you a taste of Zuid-Holland, I hope you’ll follow along in April to see where my travels will take me! And let me know which are your favourite places in this province, if you’ve visited.

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