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20 Most Beautiful Villages in the Netherlands

20 Most Beautiful Villages in the Netherlands

Are you planning a tour of the Netherlands? Which places are on your mind? Here are some of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands that you should consider adding to your itinerary.

The Netherlands has many beautiful villages, which offer unique experiences and sights for visitors. From the cobbled streets and thatched houses to the waterways, and secret gardens, there is so much for you to enjoy.

And if you thought that was all, these villages offer more than just beautiful sights.

They give you an excellent opportunity to walk through some of the most fascinating ancient Dutch history and culture. Most of them have preserved their architecture, culture, and languages, which they cherish to this day.

The villages are also easily accessible as most of them are located near major cities. They have all the facilities that a traveler desires, such as good accommodation, food, and warm hosts.

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Below is a list of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands.

Most Beautiful Villages in the Netherlands

most beautiful villages in the netherlands

1. Hollum

Hollum is among the four villages on the island of Ameland. Most of the houses in Hollum were built before the 18th century, giving it a very traditional feel. In fact, the village is currently protected because of its historic and cultural value.

While in Hollum, you have a chance to visit several fascinating sights such as the Sorgdrager Museum and the Reformed church, which was built in the 12th century.

The Ameland Lighthouse is also a must-see. It takes 240 steps to get to the top of the lighthouse, from where you can have a panoramic aerial view of the island.

Other notable places include the commander houses, which were used by captains of whaling boats. They are identifiable by their unique double ledge on the front.

And, besides sightseeing, you can also engage in water sports like kayaking, kiting, and surfing. The village is only accessible by air or ferry, and flights are only available from April to September.

If you are flying there, you can make your travel even more enjoyable by booking for an airport lounge, through Lounge Pass.

This will help you to relax before your flight or after landing.

See Related: World Nomads Insurance Review

2. Winsum

Winsum, The Netherlands
Husky, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Winsum is another lively village that will certainly take you back in time. Initially, it consisted of two separate villages – Bellingweek and Obergum. These villages were located on either side of the local canal called the Winsumerdiep.

However, with time, the villages blended into one. This was made possible by the construction of two bridges, to connect the villages.

The architecture of Winsum reflects past Dutch culture. But over the years, the village has faced enormous challenges including damage from earthquakes. Some of the effects of these disasters are still evident even up to this day.

Winsum village has no shortage of places to visit and things to see. To begin with, there are two old windmills, which were built as early as the 17 century.

There is also an ancient church called the Torenkerk that was built in 1879.

And to crown it all, there are over 50 national monuments for you to visit. All these and more puts Winsum among the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands.

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3. Schin op Geul

A house in Schin op Geul

Schin op Geul is a small charming village located around Limburg hills. It is situated less than 5 kilometers from Valkenburg and about 13 kilometers away from Maastricht.

Hidden among the hills, the village has great views that will delight any visitor. Once in the village, you can take time to explore the neighboring ruins of the Valkenburg Castle. This castle was built in the middle ages and it will astound you with its beautiful interiors and exciting history.

You can also visit the nearby Velvet Cave, which consists of a network of secret underground passages. They were built between the 11th and 12th centuries and were used to access the castle.

Another wonderful attraction is the Kasteeltuin Oud-Valkenburg, a botanical garden consisting of native plants, crops, and flowers. The garden is gorgeous and very well-maintained.

If you still have time, you can also visit the Kasteel Wijlre, a modern architectural gallery that tries to marry nature with art.

See Related: 2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

4. Edam

This tiny settlement is known for its world-famous cheese market. It is located just outside the capital, Amsterdam, and will take you just 30 minutes to get there by bus.

Edam is without a doubt, one of the major attractions around the capital.

The village has monumental structures such as warehouses, churches, houses, and bridges. Most of them are over 500 years old, and will certainly make your tour worthwhile.  

This village was an active trading center during the 17th century, meaning that it’s rich in Dutch history. Traders from all over the Netherlands, and beyond, came here to trade in Edam cheese in exchange for spices and other goods.

The village continues to draw people today because of the thriving Cheese Market, which is held every Wednesday.  It is the ideal place for cheese enthusiasts who get an opportunity to savor the traditional Dutch cheese. The beautiful canals also attract a lot of amateur sailors.

Edam is without a doubt one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands.

See Related: 10 Best Things to do in Maastricht, Netherlands

5. Urk

urk village in netherlands

Urk is a fishing village that was formerly an island. It is located in Flevoland, which is the youngest province in the Netherlands.

This village is not just one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands; it is also rich in Dutch history and culture. The local language here is the Urkers dialect.

Ensure that you visit the famous fish market. Here, you can sample some smoked eel from the local lakes or take a bite of freshly fried fish. The other sites you can visit include the lighthouse and the local museum.

You can also ride a boat across the Ijsselmeer Lake on a real fishing boat. During the summer, you are allowed to swim or sand-bathe around the lake.  This lake is also a popular place for watersports like kayaking and flying kites.

However, it is important to note that most locals here take religion quite seriously, and they do not work on Sundays.

So plan your itinerary around the other days of the week if you want the full experience.

See Related: Best Apps & Websites to Book Hotels in Europe

6. Bourtange

This star-shaped village was originally a fort and is one of the most popular villages in the Netherlands. It was built in 1593 during the war between the Spanish and the Netherlands.

It was built along the only road that connected Germany with Groningen.

The village was later renovated in the mid-20th century to what it is now. The original fortified area is now an open museum accessible to the public.

Bourtange has hundreds of pretty houses around its iconic central square. There are several shops and restaurants where visitors and locals can mingle.

During the summer, some restaurants offer terrace seating. This makes the square an ideal place for afternoon relaxation as you enjoy your tea or other drinks. You can also get an opportunity to watch historical reenactments of Bourtange’s past.

There are other smaller museums dotted around the village where you can learn more about Bourtange and the wider province of Groningen.

And, you don’t have to worry about where to stay while visiting the village. There are several excellent hotels within Bourtange, and some residents also offer their houses to visitors through Airbnb.

See Related: Best Tours in Rotterdam

7. Veere

Veere is a village in the Netherlands, situated in the province of Zeeland. In the 13th century, there used to be a direct route from Veere to the North Sea making it a busy center of the shipping trade.

This village has a strong connection to Scotland as it was a center of the wool trade, between the Dutch and Scots. As a result, many Scots emigrated to Veere in the 16th and 17th centuries.

It has picturesque medieval buildings that have an incredibly rich history. And, at the center of the village is a massive church that was built in the 14th century.

The church was built for Scots and was the first Scottish Kirk to be built on foreign soil. At one point, it was turned into a military hospital by Napoleon’s soldiers.

You should visit the Schotse Huizen museum to learn more about the Scottish legacy in Veere. The village is protected by the government because of its monuments and historic townscape.

The old houses are a reminder of the town’s rich history during the glory days.

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8. Hindeloopen

Hindeloopen started gaining recognition in the 17th century although it was established way back in the 13th century. It was an important convergence point as a center of the international shipping trade. This facilitated its transformation into what it is now.

The trade also left a rich legacy that is evident in the architecture of the town, mode of dress, and even language. The village exhibits a beautiful blend of Danish, English, and Frisian elements. This makes it one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands.

At the moment, Hindeloopen is home to around 700 residents, most of whom, still adhere to some aspects of traditional Frisian life. The old center of Hindeloopen is also still well-preserved. Also, the old streets, canals, and wooden bridges are still in use and you can tour them on foot or bike.

You can also explore other unique places such as the captains’ houses, the wooden lock keeper’s house, and even the ‘Liars bench’.

It is aptly named so since this is where sailors gathered to exchange their travel tales.

9. Broek in Waterland

Broek in Waterland, Netherlands

Broek in Waterland also fits perfectly among the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands. It offers visitors a chance to experience traditional Dutch culture without having to travel too far away from the capital. No wonder it is one of the most visited Dutch villages.

The village is also a historical tourist village and was a very popular destination for travelers in the 17th and 18th centuries. To this day, it remains one of the most popular villages in the Netherlands.

The surrounding area consists of expansive grass plains with countless rivers, canals, and dikes running across the plains. It is therefore the ideal destination for anyone looking for a blend of natural beauty and tranquility.

Typical ancient Dutch houses dot the streets of Broek in Waterland.

Other places to visit around the village include a charming old village church at the center of the village. This was built in the late 17th century.

In addition, there is also a large lake right within the village where residents skate in winter.

10.  Marken

Marken is a picturesque remote village found on a cape in North Holland, about 17 kilometers from Amsterdam. In the 13th century, a strong storm swept across the countryside separating Marken from the mainland. However, in 1957, an embankment was built to reconnect Marken with the mainland.

Marken is a small island that can be explored on foot. Its remote location gives it a distinct culture and character that is cherished by locals to this day.

Some of the top attractions in the village include the Paard van Marken. This is a lighthouse located on the most easterly point of the village and is still functional. You can also visit the Marken Museum to learn the fascinating history of the island.

The Kijkhuisje Sijtje Boes is another interesting place to visit. Here you can see the ancient furniture and décor of Marken.

A visit to Marken would not be complete without watching a live demonstration of the making of Dutch clogs.

See related: How Many Days Do You Need in Amsterdam [A Guide]

11. Orvelte

Orvelte, The Netherlands
Corradox, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This village is found in the province of Drenthe and was built in the tenth century. It was mainly an agricultural town. The residents kept thousands of sheep that grazed on its expansive fields, something that greatly influenced the origin of its name.

Today, it is one of the least populated villages in the Netherlands with a population of less than a hundred. The wider Ovelte area has a population of just 200.

Being one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands, Orvelte will enchant you with its traditional thatched houses and old paved streets.

It has even been nicknamed the ‘museum village’ because of the efforts that have been made to restore the character and culture of the village. The efforts involve the reintroduction of thatched-roof barns, ancient wooden farmhouses, and artisanal industries.

You can decide to make your tour of Orvelte special by moving around in a horse-drawn carriage. This carriage travels through the historical attractions of the village such as the ancient forge and sawmill.

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12. Giethoorn

Canals in Giethoorn

This is one of the few villages in the Netherlands with no roads. It is nicknamed the ‘Venice’ of the Netherlands because of its many canals and bridges.

You can only access it on foot or by boat. Tourists have to leave their vehicles outside the village and cross the wooden bridges to get to Gierthoorn.

Without roads and motor transport, it’s evident that the residents of Giethoorn village in the Netherlands enjoy unparalleled tranquility. The village is an amalgamation of small islands with traditional wooden houses and farms. These islands are interconnected by wooden bridges.

The streets here are paved with cobblestones and you are free to wander around as you take in the beauty of the city. You can also decide to explore Giethoorn aboard a boat.

The nearby De Weerribben-Wieden National Park is also worth a mention. It is a swampland that is home to a wide array of wildlife.

The exclusive local restaurants offer mouthwatering traditional Dutch cuisine that you definitely should sample.

See Related: Best Tours in Amsterdam

13. Durgerdam

Durgerdam, The Netherlands
Henk Monster, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Durgerdam is a village built on a long, wide dike. Over the years, the residents have been forced to learn how to manage the massive water bodies.

During one of the worst floods to hit the village in the 15th century, Durgerdam was completely washed away.

This necessitated the move to build a long dike on which people could build their homes. Most of the old wooden buildings are now protected, meaning that you can pop in and admire some rich Dutch history.

Before its reconstruction, it was a major harbor on the Zuiderzee. But when the dykes were erected, the village was cut off from the sea. This led to the decline of shipping in the area and residents turned to fish.

Some of the main attractions in Durgerdam include the white ‘Kapel’, chapel, the Reformed Church, and the Hemony clock in the tower.

You can explore the village on foot, although cycling paths are also available and you can hop onto a bicycle to make your tour even more enjoyable.

See Related: Most Beautiful Villages in Germany

14. Kinderdijk

Kinderdijk Windmills

Kinderdijk is famous for its windmills – the largest in the Netherlands. It has a network of 19 windmills, which were built in the 18th century to protect the village against the rising seas. They were built along the water canals to help keep them dry.

There are two museums on two of these windmills. When you visit these museums, you will learn more about how the windmills worked, giving you a deeper appreciation of Dutch ingenuity.

The village is a world-renowned landmark of the Netherlands, which explains why it is considered among the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands. About twenty years ago, it was even listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

This village also gives a unique insight into the traditional culture and character of the Dutch. Kinderdijk is located just 15 km away from the city of Rotterdam, meaning that it’s easily accessible by visitors.

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15. Westerbork

This village is strongly associated with the Second World War. This is because it is located near a Nazi transit camp. Jews and other people passed through this camp on their way to concentration camps in Germany and Poland.

Later, The Camp Westerbork Museum was opened on the site. You can pop in to uncover the horrors and history of the war.

The village also has several other attractions for tourists to explore, such as the Stefanuskerk Church. This church was built in the 15th century by Catholics, although there are also some parts of the church that were built way before that.

Another outstanding place to visit is the Papercutting Museum. Here, visitors enjoy art, made of paper-cuttings. You’ll have a chance to make some of your own art cuttings if you so wish. If they are good enough, they will be displayed for other visitors to enjoy.

If you are traveling with your kids or family, this might be an excellent place to visit.

See Related: Best Hotels in the Hague, Netherlands

16. Volendam

Volendam is one of the most well-preserved villages in the Netherlands. It is located on a harbor by Lake Markermeer. Because of its strategic location near the North Sea, fishermen had established settlements in the village.

Today, the harbor is lined with brightly colored traditional wooden houses. You will also find traditional fishing boats lining the docks. Apart from the historic buildings, the culture and language of Volendams are still cherished to this day.

There is a harbor strip called De Dijk. It has many historic houses, waterfront shops, restaurants, and cafes. The restaurants serve sumptuous seafood that is worth a try. You can also catch a glimpse of residents dressed in traditional Dutch attires.

Another main attraction is the Volendam Museum. Here, you will get a deeper insight into the history of Volendam, through art. You will even find pieces by masters like Renoir.  

If you so wish, you can also wear traditional Volendam clothes and have your photo taken in the museum.

17. Bronkhorst

Bronkhorst is a village in the Dutch countryside with a small population of just about 170 people. It is considered one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands because of its artistry.

There is a lot for visitors to see, such as art, crafts, and many other creative products.

There are also many attractive locations that make it ideal for any traveler. One of these is the Charles Dickens Museum, which was the brainchild of local fanatics.

You can also visit the nearby Vorden to see the castles. A walk around the village will help you to appreciate the beauty of the cobbled streets, old farmhouses, and charming nature. Other attractions here include a small museum, a water pump, and an ancient church.

Although considered a village, it is technically a city because it was granted medieval city rights in the 15th century. History shows that it was a lordship before that.

To get to Bronkhorst, you can just take a walk from the river Ijssel.

See Related: Best Things to do in Amsterdam

18. Domburg

Domburg is an old village on the North Sea. Because of its proximity to the sea, many visitors flock to the village to savor the picturesque village, sea, and sandy beaches. It has been a popular destination for travelers since the 17th century.

It later morphed into a seaside resort with the typical resort activities such as beaches, fishing, and water sports. This makes it one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands for tourists.

The village is adjacent to a nature reserve called ‘de Manteling’. This comprises a forest that stretches from Domburg to Oostkapelle. It is rich in plant and animal life. You can visit the biology museum, Terra Maris, to learn about this nature reserve.

So if you want an alternative to historical sites, consider visiting Domburg. Many artists flock to the village to draw inspiration, including James Whistler and Mondrian.

The village also offers modern facilities for visitors such as parks and hotels. If you are looking for accommodation, you can check into one of the hotels as there are a few great ones.

19. Thorn

most beautiful villages in the netherlands: thorn

The village of Thorn offers a perfect blend of traditional Dutch architecture and rich history. Initially, it was home to a convent for noble ladies around the 12th century.

These nuns made wine, a practice that still continues to this day, despite the convent being no longer in existence.

It is also during this time that Thorn gained independence from the Holy Roman Empire, becoming the smallest state to do so.

The archaic houses in this village are painted white, making them very attractive. The residents decided to remove their windows and paint the houses white, to avoid paying a windows tax that was introduced by the French in 1794. This earned the village the name, ‘The White Village of Thorn’;

You can visit the local museum to learn more about Thorn. Also, you can walk around the cobbled alleyways as you savor the small courtyards.

The beautiful Gothic church, and the outstanding cafes, also make Thorn a great place to visit. For example, the Grand cafe Het Stift offers a wide array of local beers for visitors to sample.

See Related: Best Things to do in Alkmaar, Netherlands

20. De Rijp

De Rijp is located about an hour away from Amsterdam. It comprises cottages interjected by a couple of grand buildings.

It was the center of herring – one of the favorite foods of the Dutch. It was also a whaling port because it was a gateway to the sea.

The numerous lakes surrounding the village have disappeared over time through reclamation. In fact, the concept of land reclamation seems to have originated here in the 17th century with the reclamation of the Beemster polder.

Today, the Beemster polder is a recognized UNESCO site. There are so many other tourist attractions in De Rijp. De Rijp has over 100 restored structures and about 27 monuments, some of which are open to the public.

You can tour the village through different means – for example, boarding an electric boat to tour the Beemster polder.

The village is popular for picnics and people who want a relaxed evening in one of the most beautiful villages in the Netherlands.  

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