The 10 best authentic Dutch villages that you have to visit

Looking for a cute Dutch village to visit for a day trip? There are plenty of beautiful little spots worth exploring!

Dutch cities are beautiful, we all know that. But what about the villages? They deserve some love too. Besides, cities can be busy and overcrowded.

So, instead of pushing your way through the bustling streets of Amsterdam yet again, consider taking a trip to some of the quiet, tranquil, and quaint places that the Netherlands has to offer. 🚌

Unsure where to start? Here’s our guide to 10 authentic Dutch villages you simply have to visit.

1. Beesel: the Dutch village of the dragon

Nieuwenbroeck castle in Beesel. Image: Peter van der Wielen/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

Beesel is a village in Limburg, a province well in the south of the Netherlands. The village was formed in 1275, so it’s been there for quite a while. It started off as a ship bench, and continued that way for over five hundred years, belonging to Spanish Opper-Gelre until 1713.

Nieuwenbroeck castle is one of its oldest preserved buildings, and the village has plenty of lovely neolithic architecture as well. Like all good villages, it has a wonderful, cosy atmosphere.

It also has a metre-high dragon adorning its roundabout, which refers to the village’s yearly tradition of staging a spectacle based on the legend of George and the Dragon. πŸ‰

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam by public transport: 2.5 hours

2. De Rijp: home of the herring

Picturesque canals of De Rijp. Image: arch/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

De Rijp is in the Alkmaar municipality in North Holland. If you’re excited about the Netherlands’ favourite food β€” herring β€” then this is the place to visit!

Historically, it was surrounded by lakes (which have now been powdered), so herring fishing was an abundant source of revenue for the area. 🐟

As the potential birthplace of Holland, De Rijp has some of the oldest wooden houses in the Netherlands. It also has some rather hilarious stained glass windows in its church, which contain imagery, not of God, but the next best thing: herring.

Speaking of the seaside, while you’re in Noord-Holland, don’t miss its beautiful beaches!

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam by public transport: 1 hour

3. Fort or Dutch village? Naarden!

Naarden looks like from a scene in Game of Thrones. Image: Pixabay

Naarden is a village that really needs to be appreciated by air β€” look at that awesome town layout! The unusual outline of this village is the result of it being a star fort. Its distinctive shape was also important in more modern times.

In World War II, Allied bombers would cheer when they passed overhead, knowing they were on their way back to safe territory. Apart from that, Naarden is home to the Dutch Fortress Museum.

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam by public transport: 40 minutes

4. Kinderdijk: we’re big fans

Could it be more idyllic? Image: Depositphotos

This village is a UNESCO World Heritage site, so you know it’s going to be good. Kinderdijk is home to the largest collection of old windmills in the Netherlands β€” 19 in total! If you’ve been craving some of those mandatory Dutch windmill pictures for your Instagram, this village is simply something you cannot miss.

READ MORE | Best windmill site in the Netherlands: Kinderdijk or Zaanse Schans?

You can buy tickets for a tour of two windmills that have been turned into museums if you fancy getting deep into the history of this beautiful place, or you can just admire these awesome structures from afar.

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam by public transport: 2 hours

5. Loosdrecht: let loose and take a vay-cay

Fancy a house by the water? We’ll take two! Image: Depositphotos

This Dutch village is perfect for visiting in the summer months, as it’s most famous for the lakes that surround it β€” the Loosdrechtse Plassen. It’s actually really two separate villages, Old Loosdrecht and New Loosdrecht.

Old Loosdrecht is mainly made up of beautiful lakeside villas β€” the area is a favourite haunt of the wealthy. New Loosdrecht, on the other hand, is quite densely populated and a bit less exclusive.

But as a tourist, both sides of the village are worth exploring. You can enjoy the lakes by boat or from the shore while you’re there. πŸš£πŸΌβ€β™€οΈ

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam by public transport: 1 hour

6. Vinkeveen: for the water nymphs

Could it really be? Is that a floating Dutch city? Image: Ewout Pahud/Supplied

If you’re visiting Utrecht, you might as well pop by to Vinkeveen β€” another fabulous village that’s super beautiful from above as well as in its pretty streets.

Vinkeveen is famous for its lakes, which you can see in the picture above. They’re used for swimming, diving, and yachting, on the approximately three days of the year when the Dutch weather is good. πŸ˜‚

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam by public transport: 45 minutes

7. Lisse: terrific tulips

Enjoy endless tulip fields in Lisse! Image: Depositphotos

You can pretend all you want, we all know you moved to the Netherlands for the tulips. Lisse is near Keukenhof, the *cough* somewhat expensive *cough* park where you can see more tulips than you’ll ever need. 🌷

When visiting Lisse, not only can you see the beauty of seemingly endless fields of flowers, but also a very cute village! And you can feel all smug about avoiding a tourist trap, as well.

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam by public transport: 1 hour

8. Broek in Waterland: Insta-worthy and hyper-Dutch

Broek in Waterland is one of the Netherlands’ most charming places. Image: Ben Bender/Wikimedia Commons/CC3.0

In our opinion, Broek in Waterland is probably the most spectacular of Dutch villages! Plus, it’s super close to Amsterdam! (and has just about the most Dutch name for a village we’ve ever heard).

Its proximity to the capital does mean it gets a bit overrun with tourists (like Amsterdam itself), who all understandably want to experience rural Dutchness without travelling too far outside the city. 🌳

READ MORE | Amsterdam ranked as the third most attractive city for tourists!

It has actually been a tourist hot-spot for generations, acting as a vacation town in the 17th and 18th-centuries and with monument status, the village is very well preserved.

If you’re looking for something that’ll please your wanderlust and Instagram feed, some of the houses are pastel coloured or white, making the whole village very aesthetically pleasing. πŸ“Έ

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam by public transport: 30 minutes

9. Bronkhorst: a city? Kind of?

Explore quaint streets and old Dutch houses. Image: Depositphotos

Now, Bronkhorst is quite a trek from Amsterdam, but luckily, the public transport system in the Netherlands is really good. And besides, this town β€” or actually city β€” is well worth it.

Although Bronkhorst has only 157 inhabitants, it was granted city rights in 1482. That means it technically has (somewhat limited) self-governance. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ

It is an absolutely gorgeous village to walk around: quiet streets, cute Dutch architecture, and plenty of greenery. There are also some really nice bike routes in the surroundings of the village. 🚲

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam by public transport: 3 hours

10. Thorn: from swamp to pomp

Thorn is known for its white houses and pretty streets. Image: Depositphotos

Thorn is in Limburg and has a really cool combination of great architecture and fascinating history. It is known as the white village, for obvious reasons: all of its typical Dutch brick houses have been whitewashed, which gives it a lovely clean, summery vibe. β˜€

Thorn began as a swamp near the Roman road between Maastricht and Nijmegen. Then, in the 10th century, the swamp was drained and a monastery was set up.

In the 13th-century, this monastery became a convent. These nuns made wine, which is still made and served in the village, though the convent itself closed in the 18th-century.

There are also two mummies in the Abdijkkerk, whose identity is still unknown, though they date from the 14th-century. 😱

πŸš† Distance from Amsterdam to Thorn by public transport: 2.5 hours

Will you be visiting one of these gorgeous Dutch villages soon? Or have you already been to any? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!  

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in October 2019, and was fully updated in June 2022 for your reading pleasure.

Feature Image:Unsplash
Ailish Lalor
Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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  1. Don’t forget to visit the oldest town in the Netherlands: Nijmegen. Walk the town with for only €4 per person.

  2. The author comments on the 3 days of summer that the Netherlands has….we have been here for the last two summers, both of which have been glorious! Last summer started as early as April and seemed to end mid September. If you’re comparing summer’s to ‘hot’ countries (of which I have lived), then the temperatures may not be what you class as summer, but the temperatures for the last two years have been between 25-35 degrees, which I think is more enjoyable than 30-40 degree heat. Yes, it does rain a fair bit here too, but having lived in a far wetter country it’s not too bad.

  3. In my opinion the prettiest villages in The Netherlands are Heusden in Brabant (1,5h from Amsterdam) and Edam in North Holland (40min from Amsterdam). And of course Giethoorn in Drenthe but that is overrun by tourists.

  4. I’m a flight attendant based out of LAX, we had the Amsterdam route for about 2 years and for my base it was my favorite trip. I loved Amsterdam and I did visit a few of the outlying towns. These I have not and they all sound beautiful and I can’t wait to go back once our travel allows. The pandemic has restricted out travel for now. Great article


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