Archaeology Travel guide The Netherlands

Famous for windmills on picturesque waterways and vast fields of spring blooming tulips, the Netherlands is an interesting place to visit throughout the year. Whatever your interests, archaeology and history, art and architecture. From prehistoric megalithic tombs to landmarks and memorials that mark the horrific events of World War II. The birthplace of famous artists such as Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Mondrian, whose works are displayed in some of the world’s finest art galleries and museums. Romanesque and Gothic buildings and iconic medieval gabled houses stand side-by-side with innovative and cutting-edge contemporary architecture.

Reasons to Visit the Netherlands

Architectural History,

Castles & Palaces,

Art Galleries & Museums,

… and Windmills & Waterways.

Interesting Things to Know About the Netherlands

The Netherlands, often referred to as Holland, is one of four constituent countries that make up the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The other three are islands in the Caribbean, and are Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands and Sint Maarten. A further three islands, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, are municipalities within the country of the Netherlands, and together are known as the Caribbean Netherlands.
Schipol’s runway is 4.5 m below sea level. In fact, about 20% of the country in Europe is below sea level. A further 50% is less than one metre above sea level. For this reason the country’s name in Dutch (Nederland), English and many other European languages means ‘The Low Countries’. The reason for this unusual geography results from centuries of badly controlled peat extraction. And from the 16th century onwards land reclamation started in earnest.
There are over 1,000 fully functional traditional windmills in the Netherlands. A collection of 19 windmills make up the Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are also more than 1,000 museums in the Netherlands. Of these 42 are in Amsterdam, where you can see 22 paintings by Rembrandt and 206 by Van Gogh. You will also see a bridge or two. Apparently there are 1281 bridges in Amsterdam.
The Netherlands is the world’s largest exporter of fresh flowers. But the tulip, which everyone associated with the country, originates from Turkey. The Dutch are credited, however, with creating the drink jenever, now better known as gin and associated with the British.
As of 2022, there are 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Netherlands. Of these, 11 sites are recognised for their cultural significance. The Wadden Sea, shared with Denmark and Germany, is an intertidal zone in the North Sea and listed for its natural importance. One of the cultural sites is on the Caribbean island of Curaçao, and covers the historic town and harbour of the island’s capital Willemstad. There are a further three sites on the tentative list.

What's On in the Netherlands 2022

10 February – 4 June 2023, Rijksmuseum

Until 12 March 2023, Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Until – 8 January 2023, Van Gogh Museum

Find Places to Visit in the Netherlands

Five Popular Attractions in the Netherlands

Explore the Netherlands more deeply

Where to Go in the Netherlands

From ancient megalithic tombs known as hunebeds to  Frisian culture and heritage with its own language. Provinces: Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen.
An area of spectacular natural beauty dotted with picturesque medieval cities and castles. Provinces: Gelderland and Overijssel.

In this the culinary region of the Netherlands, explore Van Gogh’s life and work in and around his birthplace. Provinces: Limburg, North Brabant and Zeeland

Home to the four largest Dutch cities, Amsterdam, the Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht. Provinces: Flevoland, North Holland, South Holland and Utrecht.

Historic Cities in the Netherlands

What to See in the Netherlands

Hanzesteden in the Netherlands

In the 14th century, when Amsterdam was only a tiny settlement, many towns in the northern provinces of the Netherlands joined the Hanseatic League. Established as a trading union amongst Baltic Sea ports, joining the league ensured wealth. The Medieval prosperity of these Hansa towns can still be seen in the historical buildings and features from the 14th and 15th centuries – making them fascinating and picturesque places to visit today.

Castles & Palaces

From defensive burgs to the Schlösser of medieval times and later, Germany has an extraordinary collection of fortresses, castles and palaces. Perhaps not surprising given the nation is made up of what was until the 19th century a number of independent princely states. Each with their own lords and nobles, royals and dynasties, and each requiring their own imposing, luxurious residences and palaces. Many of these historic buildings are attractions in their own right. Others, following extensive restoration, many have been transformed into museums and art galleries.

Holocaust, WWII and the Third Reich

From the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg to the Schwerbelastungskörper in Berlin. From Templehof airport to the Colossus of Prora, the Nazi beach resort on the north coast. There are a number of Third Reich sites, either redeveloped since the war or left in ruins, that are open to the public. There are many more memorial sites, such as the Topographie des Terrors, the Sahsenhausen Conecntration camp near Berlin and the Dachau Concentration Camp near Munich.

Art Galleries & Museums

The Netherlands has an estimated 1,000 museums and art galleries. With an impressive breadth of topics and aimed at people of all ages. From the archaeology museums dedicated to the Neolithic communities and their megalithic tombs to some of the finest art galleries with their collections of modern and contemporary art. These collections are housed in buildings that have their own fascinating history, as well as contemporary state-of-the-art and innovative museums of the future.

Popular Tours & Activities in the Netherlands