Updated 7 months ago

You’re living in a country where workers get one month of paid vacation – might as well use it, right? The Dutch work hard but they also know how to relax and enjoy their free time. Here are some of the more quintessentially Dutch things that the people of the Netherlands like to do with their free time.

Nature, natuurlijk

Despite the Netherlands being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, there is a lot of green and a lot of nature you can explore. On the weekends, the Dutch like to escape the confines of the cities and head for the green spaces and nature reserves.

Wandelen and cycling

The Natuurmonumenten organisation has a database of multiple hiking and bike routes that you can choose from. Their app allows you to see the routes and your progress. In addition to these, there are numbered biking routes throughout the Netherlands, where you follow the signs from one point to another.

Camping in the Netherlands

For the ultimate experience in Dutch leisure, nothing beats camping. Camping is a rather formal affair in the Netherlands and in Europe in general, requiring you to call or email a campground ahead of time, reserve a space for a certain number of days, and check in and check out. Campgrounds are highly variable in the amenities they offer; while most places do have electricity and running water available at each campground, WiFi coverage is not guaranteed. Likewise, the condition of the showers and bathrooms can be sleek and modern or rustic and quaint. Most campgrounds also have cabins for rent. Costs are usually based on whether you’re using a tent or a camper, and how many people there will be.

Parks and Recreation

There are a number of amusement parks in the Netherlands, the most famous being the Efteling, which is based on the Grimms’ fairy tales. If you have younger children, the smaller pretparken have more child-friendly rides and entertainment. These are not to be confused with the kermis, which is a traveling carnival that appears a few times a year and also has rides and games and the like.

Sports in the Netherlands

The Dutch are an athletic nation, and if you can think of a sport there is probably a club nearby that trains regularly. Cycling, football, swimming, rowing, and skating are some of the more popular sports, but there are also sports like rugby. All you have to do is look it up.


Almost every city and town in the Netherlands has a branch of the Vereniging voor Vreemdelingenverkeer, or the VVV. They will have some basic information about the history of the area, maps to get around, and points of interest. It’s a good place to start if you’re interested in exploring a new place, as they’ll be able to show you places of interest and things to do in each city.

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