The Netherlands is not only about Amsterdam. You could be surprised if you knew that less than 10% of the Dutch population lives in Amsterdam. The Netherlands is full of pretty small towns and villages.
Spaarndam, a small village on the Spaarne and IJ rivers lies in the farmland between Amsterdam and Haarlem. When you visit this cozy place you should not forget to drink a cup of warm coffee at cafe Spaarndam which dates from 1571. Spaarndam is the place to chill out. There isn't much to do around but visiting the statue of the mythical boy who stuck his finger in a mythical dike in order to prevent Haarlem from flooding is worth a visit.
A pleasant town at the mouth of the Vecht river. Muiden is mostly famous for its yacht harbor and its historic castle on the banks of the river, Muiderslot. If you ever visit Muiden, you should get on a ferry to Pampus which is an island off the coast that contains a fort from the Stelling van Amsterdam. For those who love bike trips, Muiden is accessible by bike and only an hour far from central Amsterdam.
Broek in Waterland
Broek in Waterland, a little town in the Dutch province of North Holland used to be a popular residence for merchants and seafarers from Amsterdam and much of its old rich history has been preserved until today. The must-visit is the old church in the center of the town, which was built before 1400 and is dedicated to Saint Nicolas.
A small historic town south-east of Amsterdam, on the river Vecht. There are numerous things to do in Weesp, like walking across the fields south of Weesp. The most exciting thing to do is to cycle around this small city and visit the beautiful places nearby.
Edam is a city in the northwest of the Netherlands. The old city center has a lot of places and attractions that are worth visiting, like the old city hall or St. Nicolas church. The most interesting thing that occurs in Edam is the cheese market during summer that has been revived as an attraction for tourists, resembling the original cheese market of 1922.
A beautiful town in the province of North Holland and the main city of the municipality of Zaanstad. It is located on the Zap, close to the North Sea Canal, and it is very close to Amsterdam. In the Golden Age, Zaandam served as a large milling center. Thousands of windmills powered saws that were processing Scandinavian wood for the shipbuilding and paper industries. Among the beautiful Zaandam attractions Zaanse Schans is very famous - an open air museum which revives a whole Dutch village within its boundaries. There, you can see wooden houses and windmills, which dates back to the 17th and 18th century. Zaandam is easy to reach by bus, train and car from Amsterdam and Schiphol (Amsterdam Airport).
photos by: Bogdan Migulski, martin_vmorris, Arnie J,