The Dutch province of South Holland is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Almost a quarter of the Dutch inhabitants live in South Holland. This is mainly concentrated in large and medium-sized cities such as Rotterdam, The Hague, Leiden, Delft, Zoetermeer and Dordrecht. Fortunately, there is still enough space left in South Holland for nature and picturesque places. That space is slowly getting smaller, despite the fact that the cities are now mainly allowed to grow vertically. The name South Holland means that this is the southern part of the region that we know as Holland. The northern part is called North Holland. The name Holland is often used incorrectly when referring to the country of the Netherlands. The confusion is not surprising from several points of view. For example, many foreign tourists only visit the provinces of North and South Holland during their holiday in the Netherlands.
According to phonejust, South Holland has many fascinating sights. So much, in fact, that it is difficult to put together a top 10 of South Holland attractions without leaving out a number of beautiful and noteworthy places. That is why we have included the most important cities in their entirety in this list of the ten highlights of South Holland. Per city you can click through to their individual top 10 lists with the best sights.
Top 10 sights of South Holland
As far as we are concerned, Rotterdam is the nicest city trip destination within the province of North Holland. The port city of Rotterdam has developed into a popular international tourist destination in recent years. Due to the bombings in 1940 and the port of Rotterdam, Rotterdam cannot be compared to Amsterdam at all. The skyline of Rotterdam, which lies mainly along the Nieuwe Maas, is mainly dominated by modern architecture. Rotterdam is in that area a textbook example of twentieth-century and contemporary architecture. It is nice to see how modern elements work together with old buildings that can still be found in Rotterdam. A good example of this is, for example, the Kop van Zuid, where the old port area merges with many modern new buildings.
As a symbol of the city, the Euromast is a prominent part of the Rotterdam skyline. This watchtower was placed around 1960 after a design by HA Maaskant. In 1970 it was decided to raise the tower with a viewing platform. This gave it a size of 185 meters. It is possible to go up by elevator, but the stairs are still an option. You then enjoy a great view of Rotterdam and the surrounding area. There are various possibilities to experience or discover the tower. What about abseiling or ziplining?
In the heart of the bustling city of Rotterdam lies this ancient and once important port of the city. Around the 14th century, the port had an important function for the city. He still hasn’t lost it. Although it is now more known as an entertainment area. Opposite the beautiful ‘White House’, which was once the first skyscraper in Europe, are the coziest cafes, bars and restaurants. The harbor really comes to life at night.
#2. the Hague
The residential city of The Hague has the great advantage of being on the coast. The coastal towns of Scheveningen and Kijkduin belong to the city. With a total of 11 kilometers of coastline, you can combine a trip to The Hague with a visit to the beach. If it is not beach weather, you can enjoy yourself in the center of The Hague. Numerous nice shops and sights ensure that a day or weekend in The Hague will rarely bore you. Notable sights within The Hague are the Binnenhof, the Gevangenpoort, the Grote Kerk and the Mauritshuis. Fun attractions for those visiting The Hague with children are Madurodam, Sea Life and Familiepark Drievliet.
#3. Windmills of Kinderdijk
Foreigners see windmills as something that really belongs to the Netherlands. Anyone who lives in the Netherlands will certainly know a traditional windmill in his or her neighborhood. The number of places where you can see a large collection of windmills together is limited. Kinderdijk is an exception to this and is therefore a huge tourist attraction. The 19 windmills near the village of Kinderdijk are one of the finest examples of typical Dutch windmills that you can visit. These pumping mills have been working here since the mid-eighteenth century. Those who want can take a walk along the windmills or discover this unique part of the Netherlands by bicycle.
#4. Bulb region and Keukenhof
Tulips are inextricably linked to the Netherlands. They can therefore often be found in the Bollenstreek. This area has been characterized by flower bulb fields since the end of the 16th century. Brightly colored fields adorn the region that runs from Leiden to Haarlem. In addition to the tulips, daffodils, crocuses and the wonderfully fragrant hyacinths also bloom. The Flower Parade which takes place annually on the third Saturday of April, attracts thousands of visitors to South Holland. The forty kilometer long route runs from Noordwijk to Haarlem past places such as Voorhout, Sassenheim, Lisse, Hillegom, Bennebroek and Heemstede. The dozens of floats are completely decorated with the colorful flowers from the region.
The most colorful flower park in the Netherlands can be found in Lisse: the Keukenhof. Various inspirational gardens with various themes make this park a fascinating day out. Inspirations also run high for the decoration of your own garden. There is a patio garden, deck garden, city garden and round garden. There are regular shows and exhibitions to admire. More than seven million flowers scattered among all kinds of art objects and pavilions are waiting to be discovered. The Keukenhof is open during the flowering season of the flower bulbs. This is usually from mid or late March to mid May.
#5. The beach
The location on the North Sea ensures that South Holland has several beautiful North Sea beaches. The nicest and most beautiful beaches of South Holland can be found at Noordwijk aan Zee and Katwijk aan Zee. The kilometers long beaches are equipped with cozy beach pavilions and various water sports options. In the vicinity of the beaches there are sufficient parking facilities and/or shuttle services to the center. Those who want a little more peace can visit the beaches of Ouddorp. The sandy beaches here are so big that you should be able to find a piece of beach where you are not shacked up. A special beach is that of Hoek van Holland. You are really in the corner of the mainland of the Holland region.
A city that has everything a city tripper is looking for. That is an appropriate description for the medium-sized city of Delft. This city is bursting with history and is a lively student city thanks to the tens of thousands of students. This ensures a great diversity of catering establishments. Thanks to the Technical University, visitors can enjoy sights such as the Botanical Garden and the Science Centre. The centuries-old history of the Oranges provides a number of fascinating places such as Museum Prinsenhof, where William of Orange was murdered, and the Nieuwe Kerk where the crypt of the royal family is located. The many canals provide an atmospheric city center that comes into its own especially during the summer months. Delft is also the place where the famous blue and white porcelain is manufactured. You can book a tour of the Royal Delft factory, where Delft Blue comes from.
#7. The museums of Leiden
Just like Delft, Rotterdam and The Hague, Leiden is a very nice city for a fascinating and varied city trip. However, the student city of Leiden has a specific type of attraction that deserves extra attention and that is the museums. Leiden is one of the most interesting cities in the Netherlands when it comes to museums.
The National Museum of Antiquities is the first museum in Leiden that we would like to recommend. T his very interesting archaeological museum of the Netherlands can be found on the Rapenburg. Departments within this museum are: Prehistory Netherlands, Roman Netherlands, Medieval Netherlands, Egypt, Roman Empire and the Ancient Near East. You will be taken back in history in a very inspiring way and you can see how cultures touch and connect each other.
Are you interested in nature? Are flora and fauna your thing? Then you should go to the Naturalis Bioversity Center. Everything about the history of nature can be found within the walls of this enormous museum. There are many natural history collections to see and much information to be acquired regarding the world’s biodiversity. The collections include fossils, (in)vertebrates, insects, minerals, rocks, gemstones and the enormous skeleton of a dinosaur. There are also a number of stuffed animals to admire.
A journey through the human body. That is the best way to describe the interactive museum CORPUS. The museum can be found along the A44. A remarkable element of the modern building is the 35 meter high seated model of a human body. The visit to CORPUS takes approximately 55 minutes. With the help of an audio tour (included) you will explore different organs and parts of the human body. Those parts are enormously enlarged, giving you a very clear and detailed picture of the human being.
#8. Beautiful villages and towns
Within the province of South Holland there are numerous picturesque villages and towns to visit. Each town has its own character and story. Think of Brielle, which used to be called Den Briel and was an important turning point in the Dutch revolt during the Eighty Years’ War. Or Maassluis, which has been able to grow into a prosperous place, partly due to shipping. Oegstgeest, which is close to Leiden, has a number of special buildings and is the home of the famous writer Jan Wolkers. Furthermore, South Holland has a number of attractive seaside resorts such as Ouddorp and you can enjoy the marina and maritime life in places such as Stad aan ‘t Haringvliet.
The website mooidorpjes.nl offers a good overview of the most beautiful villages and small towns in South Holland.
#9. Blijdorp Zoo
Diergaarde Blijdorp is one of the most beautiful zoos in the Netherlands. This zoo has been located in Rotterdam since 1855. Although it was first set up as a furnished garden for mainly bird species such as pheasants and all kinds of waterfowl, a few years later it turned into an increasingly successful zoo. Today it is certainly one of the most beautiful zoos in Europe. All corners of the world are represented. Not only with the animal species but also with their original living environment are reconstructed as well as possible. The park has a large playground and there are plenty of drinking and dining options.
#10. Ten measured
Despite the many towns and villages, there is still plenty of room for peace and nature in South Holland. The island of Tiengemeten is a very good example of this. Anyone who takes the ferry from Nieuwendijk to Tiengemeten in five minutes will enter a different world. This less than eleven kilometers long island was once created as a sandbank. Over time, arable farming took place here and Tiengemeten at one point had almost two hundred inhabitants. Now it is a popular nature reserve that is managed by Natuurmonumenten. You can make three different walks, where you are not obliged to stay on the paths. Tiengemeten is an ideal place for bird watching. During your walk you can also encounter other animals such as rabbits and Scottish Highlanders. With luck you can see a beaver. These rodents are quite shy and therefore a bit more difficult to see.