7 ways to make the best of autumn in the Netherlands in 2023

As the seasons change and the leaves turn red, we want to let you know how to make the most of autumn in the Netherlands! 🍂

If you arrived in the Netherlands during the summer, you may have been given a deceiving viewpoint regarding Dutch weather. Be prepared because once the leaves start falling, the weather can be nasty and catch you blindsided!

However, just because the air is becoming crisper and light is basically non-existent, it doesn’t mean enjoying life here is impossible. The Dutch know how to enjoy every season to the maximum.

Here are some local things to do to get through this next season.

1. Go au naturale at the sauna

The Netherlands has amazing wellness, sauna, and spa facilities all over the country. They’re like a ‘fun’ water park for adults with all sorts of attractions, such as floating sea salt pools, saunas of various temperatures, steam baths, sauna shows, ice bucket showers, pools… the list goes on. 🧖

On top of these awesome water attractions, there are beds, a restaurant to drink wine, and even a place to lay outside to work on your tan!

And, yes, people get naked in a Dutch sauna… Even if you’re a prude regarding nudity, this experience is not to be missed!

picture-of-a-sauna
Relax and unwind in the nuddy in a Dutch sauna. Image: Pixabay

2. Have a sleepover in a Dutch castle

Want to live like a royal for a night? Well, you can in this Dutch castle! 🏰

exterior-of-castle-oud-poelgeest
This is what dreams are made of! Image: Rudolphous/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

Believe it or not, Kasteel Oud Poelgeest is a 17th-century castle nestled in Oegstgeest, just north of Leiden. It was the former home of Dutch scientist Herman Boerhaave. Fancy! 👑

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You can book a room for the night and have a glass of wine in their atmospheric lounge. You can also dine like a royal with a three-course dinner and a breakfast buffet! 🥞

3. Visit a brown café

There is nothing more lovely than leaving the cold street into a Brown Café. It is essentially a traditional bar and is full of Dutch culture at its best!

They are generally cosy and dark, and some even have a warm fireplace! Most importantly, they have many types of beer on tap to choose from. We would suggest trying the herfst bokbier (autumn beer). These beers often have an extra touch of spice. Yum! 🍻

closeup-photo-of-barista-holding-glass-heineken-beer-at-bar
One beer over here, please! Image: Freepik

4. Attend a bunch of museums in one night

In the autumn, Amsterdam hosts an annual Museumnacht (night of the museums) where you can visit all 50 of its famous museums in one night! 🌃

Some museums you can visit include the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and more!

rijksmuseum-amsterdam-exterior
Get your museum fix in one night. Image: Marco Almbauer/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

There are also special exhibitions, live music, and other fun activities during this event. 💃

The Museumnacht in Amsterdam takes place this year on Saturday, November 4, 2023.

Other Dutch cities such as Leiden, Groningen, and Den Haag also have their own museumnacht that you can attend!

5. Bike through some Dutch forests

There is no better way to experience the Dutch autumn than to take a bike and ride through the forests, which have an incredible array of spectacular colours and freshness.

Wild mushrooms are known to grow in Dutch forests, and there’s sometimes even wildlife to be spotted. 🦌

Is this even a real place? And it hits so much better in autumn! Image: Pixabay

Of course, it is no trip to the forest without visiting a traditional Dutch pancake restaurant. Order a pannenkoek topped with cheese, and cover it with as much syrup and icing sugar as possible.

Then, for dessert, a Dutch delight is apple pie served with cream echt lekker (really delicious)!

You can also attend the Hoge Veluwe National Park in Gelderland. There’s gorgeous nature, cycling paths, cute animals and even a museum there!

6. Treat yourself to some Dutch autumn soup

What better way to warm up than to make a rich bowl of soup? Erwtensoep (pea soup) is an easy recipe that is a traditional staple in many Dutch households.

soup-in-a-mug
If only it had a tastier-sounding name. Image: Pixy

This soup is also called snert, which does not sound appealing but is worth a try, right?! 🍲

7. Visit a Dutch island

The Netherlands has some pretty cool islands located in the north. Autumn is a lovely time to visit because it is less busy, and you can probably find some cheap deals on accommodation.

There is also something refreshing about being at the beach when it is a bit cooler. 🌊

Dutch beaches can also be enjoyed in the autumn, but it’s best to keep the bikini at home. Image: Dutch Review Crew/Supplied

Get hot chocolate from the local café, go bird-watching, or read a book in a bathrobe. The Dutch islands will not be a disappointment during this cooler season.


So that was it: a guide to autumn in the Netherlands! There are many other amazing things to do during this time. Try not to hate the cold, enjoy some fun activities, and have a happy herfst (autumn)!

What’s your favourite thing to do during autumn in the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in September 2019 and was fully updated in September 2023 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Vanessa Hope van Engelen
Vanessa Hope van Engelen
Vanessa is a quirky, 30 something year old from sunny Queensland, Australia. She recently completed a Bachelor of Communication, majoring in Public Relations. She has an infectious laugh that can travel through walls, a huge passion for traveling and cooking vegetarian food.

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