Weekends can leave you feeling refreshed and energized, and there are many exciting ways to make the most of them in the Netherlands.
From transporting back in time at lovely Zaanse Schans to tripping on psychedelics, there’s no better form of stress-relief to contribute to your overall health and well-being. What’s even better, is that the rejuvenating activities on this list are free.
Travel Back in Time at Zaanse Schans
Those wanting to visit the Netherlands and see what it was like in the 17th and 18th centuries will find it in scenic Zaanse Schans, a neighborhood in Zaandam that is about 16 km from Amsterdam. With its graceful windmills and dainty emerald wooden houses, it is picture-postcard perfect and offers plenty of respites for a relaxing stroll.
Zaanse Schans is also a free open-air museum where you can take a stroll around a traditional Dutch village and discover how ancient craftsmen toiled. Sadly, of the original 600 European windmills that dotted Zaanse Schans in times of old, only five are left standing and can be viewed publicly. There is a historic shipyard, pewter factory and iconic saw mill at the locale, along with an oil mill. Be sure you don’t miss the clog making session while you’re there!
Head to Zandvoort Beach
There is hardly anything more soothing to the soul than lolling on the beach and catching a sunset while you’re there. Heading to lovely Zandvoort Beach is a popular and rejuvenating pastime for beachgoers during the summertime. During days of pretty weather, plenty of day-trippers flock to Zandvoorts’s long sandy beaches for good times and relaxation.
The shores of Zandvoort Beach feature gorgeous surroundings with dune landscapes that are perfect for walking. There are also cannabis shops in the area such as Yanks Indian Club just a few minutes from the beach. There, you can grab some hash and space cakes, and return later to the beach to Zen amongst the ocean views and seabirds. Zandvoort beach is located on the western coastline of North Holland, and it is easily accessed from Amsterdam, the Hague or Utrecht.
Chill with Baby Goats in Amsterdamse Bos
Amsterdamse Bos is Amsterdam’s largest park, and nearly 4.5 million visitors frequent the park annually. The park is around 10 km from its city center, and it features lush forests, tranquil lakes and grasslands to get you in tune with nature. Of course, Amsterdamse Bos also has a charming farm where you can pet and feed cute, milk-white baby goats. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more relaxing thing to do than chill and take selfies with these curious and friendly “kids.”
Amsterdam’s municipality owns the beautiful park, and it is completely free to go there. Go for the opportunity to feed the baby goats and see other farm animals; stay for coffee and the delicious brunch at their restaurant.
Visit Rotterdam’s Markthal
The iconic Markthal in Rotterdam is an absolutely gorgeous architectural wonder both inside and out. The building’s horseshoe shape, colorful interior and height turned this gem of a market into a frequently visited and unique spectacle. The structure contains a massive market square, apartments, offices, and one of the largest artwork pieces on the planet, the Horn of Plenty. It’s also free to go visit, so definitely add it to your list of must-see weekend activities.
Trip on Vincent Van Gogh Art at Home
One of the fun things to do while you are on magic truffles is to appreciate and create beautiful art. Not to mention, the free weekend activities on this list doesn’t seem to be complete without eating truffles while admiring Starry Night or some of Van Gogh’s other swirly, psychedelic creations. The Vincent Van Gogh museum, an ode to the great impressionist, is temporarily closed. They do charge visitors admission when they go. However, it doesn’t cost anything to immerse yourself in the artist’s world by taking a virtual tour. Right now, you can explore his artwork in the museum’s online collection, or when viewing 4K virtual tours of his work on YouTube.
Enjoy a Free Concert at Concertgebouw
Although there are often misconceptions about recreation activities and psychedelics, they can safely be used in recreational concert settings. In light of that, many psychedelic devotees pick a free spring or summertime alfresco concert of their choice and simply dance and listen to the good music. Additionally, if you are a classical music enthusiast, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw offers free classical concerts.
Relax to Music at Home
At the home front, music can be so healing and leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside. Pick your favorite songs, add them to a playlist, find a warm blanket or a cozy spot, take some magic truffles, and let the beautiful melodies wash over you. There really are no better natural remedies for stress and charging up your batteries than that!
Explore Utrecht’s Oudegracht Canal
Utrecht has more than its fair share of charming historical locales and attractions, and chief among them are their tree-lined canals, which includes its stunning, Medieval canal, Oudegracht. This particular canal starts southeast of the city. Its waterways feature a system of historic subterranean wharfs with two levels that boasts shops, Dutch houses, and restaurants where you can dine and relax on the terrace at water level. Oudegracht, which means “Old Canal” in English also features wonderful bars where you can have a reveling good time on the weekends.
Scale Netherland’s Highest Point
Seasoned mountaineers that have travelled to the Netherlands will tell you that the elevation in the Netherlands rarely reaches much higher than sea-level, and the country is mostly flat. That’s not the case in the southern province of Limburg, as it has rugged terrain and the tall hill Vaalserberg. The hill is near the town of Vaals, after which the landmark is named. Vaalsberg, at 322.4 meters, is recognied as the highest point in the mainland Netherlands. Scaling it is exhilarating and really gets those “feel good” endorphins pumping that relieve stress and pain!
Journey to Madurodam
If you want to travel and see the entirety of the Netherlands but don’t have the time or budget, then journey to Madurodam, a mini-park and tourist attraction in the Scheveningen district of The Hague. Here you will find a miniature version of Holland on a 1:25 scale. Tickets are usually around $20 USD to get into Madurodam, but the model allows you to see the Netherland’s popular features and attractions, including their cute windmills, in less than an hour. This model of the city even includes its own harbor, as well as an airport and railway system.
With these tips, you should have no trouble recharging your batteries without spending a lot of money. We included a little something for everyone in this post and hope that it’s everything you want it to be!