My husband and I live in the south of the Netherlands, so whenever we want to have a break, we can choose from three countries: Holland, Belgium and Germany. We both like to hike, we enjoy nature immensely, and we are also big fans of culture.
If we draw a circle of a two-hour drive with our home in the middle we cover the Dutch and Belgium coast, big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Aachen and Köln with their museums. And a lot of nature parks. Are we blessed or what?
When you intend to visit my country, and you don’t want to solely visit the touristic highlights, read on. I have several good tips for you if you love both nature and culture. Covering parts of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
Tips for a different kind of sightseeing
April and May in Holland
Touristic highlights are hot spots for a reason. Off course you should visit them. I do too. But whenever I suspect it’s going to be crowded, like in the weekends or in summer holidays, I’d rather avoid the queues and go some other place. There is always another day.
When you visit Holland, you don’t have to stay in Amsterdam. Flying to Schiphol is often more expensive than flying to Brussels and from there you can take the bus or the train to Holland. Take a hotel in for instance Breda or ‘s-Hertogenbosch, which are lovely cities, with lots of beautiful sights to see.
Public transport is good. Or if you rent a car, most things are within an hours drive (unless you travel during rush hours of course).
Coming prepared for the sightseeing
Whenever I plan to travel I read the guides up front or look things up on the Internet. And always regret it when I didn’t make time for that preparation!
Visitor of my own country – traveling is the best part of life
Traveling is spoon-fed to me. My parents, especially my mother, loved to travel and when we were young they always took us kids with them.
So I enjoy going for vacations abroad or for daytrips in the neighborhood.
I have written several stories about those trips. They are mainly to nature parks and museums. On the map you can see where those places are located.
This article is my spider in the cobweb. From here all the other articles are linked. And I have planned more, so I’ll regularly update this information.
This picture is for sale in my Zazzle-shop.
The touristic bit
What I show people that have never been here
The not so touristic part involves a lot of art
Literally hidden museum in Scheveningen, the Netherlands
And what I would love to show, but usually can’t because of the distance
Prepare for a stay in the wet countries
I cannot count the number of times I got wet visiting any outdoor activity in Holland, Belgium or Germany. I don’t mind very much, but you better come prepared in order not to get too wet or too cold. So be sure to have a raincoat or umbrella with you.
With more days to spend there are several other great places to go. Definitely interesting: Zollverein Essen. It’s an hours drive from Insel Hombroich, deeper into the Ruhr region. This is an old mine. It was empty and abandoned for several years, but now step by step the buildings are restored and given a new function. There are dance studios, ateliers in all shapes and sizes, a design museum, a big restaurant. It is totally opposite from the green area of Insel Hombroich with its clean cute buildings. Very industrial and sometimes even spooky. But I admire the love with which these buildings are restored and the industrial heritance is kept.
Museum Ludwig, Cologne
There are a lot of museums in Cologne, Germany, but I like Museum Ludwig the most. That is because I love 20th and 21st century art. I can admire old art because of the craftsmanship, but I can totally get lost in an abstract painting or a construction of metal and wood. I could go on and on. For instance about the Ludwig Forum in Aachen. Or Museum Abteiberg in Monchengladbach. But if I managed to get you interested in this area just a little bit, I am happy.
The area I live in
The one peculiar thing is the name of the province we live in. It’s called Noord-Brabant, meaning the north of Brabant. Living in the south of Holland that strikes me as odd. 😉