What are the best towers in the Netherlands?
Why not? You can tower climb to get “High” in the Netherlands without visiting a Coffee Shop. Just bring your camera and a fascination for history. Many churches and other notable old torens all across the Netherlands offer great heights throughout this flat land. Medieval and Renaissance towers are spread far and wide. Eleven “climb-able” torens are featured below. If you’re not afraid of heights and can climb lots of steps, consider this adventure!
Why are there so many torens in the lowlands?
Most church towers here were originally built from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century. Bells were put in to alert locals of happenings. It was also a time for church, weddings, and funerals, a time to gather or “run like hell”. Travellers could see towers and steeples from far away and orient themselves. Clocks were put in towers also.
Towers served as watch stations for defence purposes (back to the “run like hell” events). There is also a “my tower is taller than yours” and possibly closer to the heavens mentality. This also meant lightning taking aim at torens. Most have been rebuilt or restored several times also.
Each tower has its own fascinating history and very different attractions. Note: Remember to reserve ahead to schedule a visit! Seasons and events can change availability and pricing. There may be age limits. For those who cannot climb or are in wheelchairs, one toren even has an elevator to the top!
Let’s get to the list of the best towers in the Netherlands.
Toren # 1 – Grote of Sint-Jakobskerk in The Hague
The Haagse (Kerk) Toren was built in 1490. At 92.5 m tall the unique six-sided tower shows off a 360-degree view of The Hague once you climb up its 288 steps. It has a copper neo-gothic spire. At the top balcony, on a clear day, the seaside resort of Scheveningen is in view. Van Gogh and Napoleon have both climbed the tower stairs! The Church offers facilities for grand events as well, so hold that wine or whiskey tasting until you are back down!
Price: 6 euros adult, 4 euros child.
Toren # 2 – Westertoren in Amsterdam
Completed in 1638, Westertoren stands at 85 m tall and is the tallest church tower in Amsterdam. It is adorned with a crown on top. Only guided tours traverse the tower stairs. The Westertoren has 3 bells, 2 bells and 50 carillon bells that play. To get to the top will cost 8 euros.
Toren # 3 – Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren in Amersfoort
At 98.3 m and 346 steps toward the sky, it is the third highest medieval tower in the Netherlands. Also known as Lange Jan, the tower’s location in the historical center of Amersfoort also stands at the (cadastral) center point of the Netherlands! The church is no longer there but the tower remains. 5 euros for adults and 4 euros for children is a great deal. There are different group tours, events, and occasional themed tours. The tower has over 100 “clocks” and large bells.
Toren # 4 – Toren Niewe Kerk in Delft
This tower was originally completed in 1496. After centuries of disaster and rebuilding it stands at 108.75 m high. The spire of today was designed in 1872. At one time it was even used to test the theory of gravity! On a clear day, Rotterdam and The Hague can be seen. William of Orange and every royal Family member since has been laid to rest in this church. Adults can enter the tower for 4 euros, and there are discounts for students.
Toren # 5 – Sint-Janskathedraal of ‘s-Hertogenbosch, North Brabant
The largest Catholic Church in the Netherlands, it’s tower reaches 73 meters high. You can see the city from 43 m above. In 1340 the Romanesque Church was converted into its current Gothic style. Due to fires, the tower has been rebuilt and restored. Hundreds of sculptures adorn the church. One modern one is of an angel with a mobile phone! Tickets cost about 5.50 euros.
Toren # 6 – Martinitoren in Groningen
At 96.8 m high and 311 steps (251 to the public), the ‘d’Olle Grieze’ (The Old Gray) as it is called due to the weathered sandstone can be climbed almost every day. Originally built around 1230, after centuries of destruction from lightning, fire and war, the tower became what it now looks like in 1627. The organ is from the year 1480. Tickets for entry to the tower are 3 euros for an adult.
Toren # 7 – Sint Eusebiuskerk in Arnhem
Standing at 93 m high, this tower had an elevator installed in 1994 to 73 meters, just below the top of the spire. It offers a view of Arnhem, the river and forests. Disney gargoyles and characters familiar to the Dutch were added after WW II. As it’s the largest venue in Arnhem, many events are held here.
Toren # 8 – Cint Cunerakerk in Rhenen
The Cuneratoren was built between 1492 and 1531. The 82 m high tower has a 298 step spiral staircase. At the top is a wonderful view of the Betuwe region and the city. If the air is very clear you can see Den Bosch, Nijmegen and Utrecht. Cost is 3 euros per person, which also gets you into the museum there. In general, in the summer there are tower climbs on Wednesday through to Saturday at 2.30 pm.
Toren # 9 – Grote Kerk in Breda
This church has a tower that stands 97.3 m high in Brabantine Gothic style. Groundbreaking was in 1410. The current shape of the church and tower was completed in 1547, with restorations occasionally from damage. The church itself has many vault paintings, sculpture and one of the largest organs in the Netherlands. William of Orange was originally going to be buried here but Breda was under Spanish occupation. There is a tour up the tower every Thursday through Friday for 5 euros for anyone from 12 years old.
Toren #10 – Domtoren in Utrecht
112.32 meters high makes Domtoren the highest church tower in the Netherlands. With 465 steps, it takes the cake! Originally finished in 1382, it has been restored and has 35 bells half way up the tower. There are guided tours only, all year. The adult cost per person is 9 euros. There are discounts for students and children. The tower is beautifully lit at night.
Toren #11 – Tower De Koepel near Lunteren
This interesting national monument at 22 meters, is not tall compared to others, but it is high on a hill near the center of the Netherlands. A hike or bike ride through the beautiful trees of the Luntersche Buurtbosche takes you there. In 1913, the tower was used as a lookout. It has been rebuilt on top of the hill above the trees. In the top of the tower if it is clear you can see Domtoren in Utrecht! Picnic and overnight stays are possible nearby. Exhibitions are on display in the tower. The cost is only 2 euros for entry.
Bonus tower: The Euromast is the perfect place to go for a view over modern Rotterdam (and there’s no stairs either!) But is it one of the best towers in the Netherlands? You decide!
In conclusion, there are many ways to get high in the Netherlands in historical towers. Visit one in your area, or over time schedule them all! Have you ever been to any of the best towers in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments. While you’re here, join our FB group!