Amsterdam — with its museums, gabled Golden Age houses and network of historic canals — is a sure bet for a weekend break. But it’s not all the Netherlands has to offer. Beyond the capital, there are a whole host of lesser-visited cities worth a trip – and they’re likely to be easier on the pocket. From Groningen to Gouda, here are seven Dutch cities that should be on your list.

1. For a culture hit: Leeuwarden

Friesland’s administrative hub is a European Capital of Culture in 2018 – and, with its colourful street art and fascinating museums, it’s easy to see why.

The Fries Museum dominates the Wilhelminaplein, the bustling public square that hosts markets each Friday. With its name translating to “Frisian Museum” in English, it displays artworks, conveys the story of the province and has a section dedicated to the resistance movement of World War II.

Leeuwarden was also the birthplace of dancer Margaretha Zelle, who became known as Mata Hari and was executed as a spy in 1917. A bronze statue of her dancing stands proud in the city centre.

For views over the surrounding rooftops, climb the stairs leading to the top of the Oldehove. The construction of this leaning tower was abandoned due to subsidence back in 1533.

2. For stunning architecture: Utrecht

If you appreciate modern architecture then plan a visit to the Rietveld-Schröder House, whose façade and functional interiors were influenced by the De Stijl art and design movement.

The terraces alongside the city centre’s waterways are also picturesque and host seating belonging to restaurants and bars whose vaulted cellars provide shelter on wet and chilly days. For a sit down and a broad selection of brews, the Belgian Beer Café Olivier is a good option.

To view the Utrecht and its 112m Dom Tower from the water, hire a boat on the Oudegracht canal.

3. For great beer and rich history: Breda

Breda’s best-known landmark is the Grote Kerk, an impressive Gothic church whose 97m-tall spire dominates the skyline. Its Prince’s Chapel holds tombs of ancestors of the Dutch royal family.

The city was also a key location during the Eighty Years’ War, which led to Dutch independence from Spanish rule. A copy of Diego Velásquez’s masterpiece, The Surrender of Breda, depicting the city’s capture by Spanish troops in 1625, hangs in the town hall’s lobby — the original is in Madrid’s Museo del Prado.

After the day’s history lesson is done, sample weekend nightlife in cafés such as De Beyerd(whose menu lists well over 100 different beers) and ‘t Hart van Breda, on the cobbled marketplace, the Grote Markt.


Read more: https://www.roughguides.com/article/7-dutch-cities-to-explore-beyond-amsterdam/

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