Continue

Things to do in Holland this summer

Take the ferry from the UK to Holland and start exploring!


go biking
Get on your bike!

Now that summer is officially here, why not make the most of the sunshine and long European evenings and pedal around the world's bicycle mecca, Holland. Cycling comes naturally to the Dutch, whose flat country is ideal for getting around by pedal power. 

  

There are over 17 million bicycles in the Netherlands (some 750,000 in Amsterdam alone) and nearly 22,000 miles (35,000km) of fietspaden (dedicated bicycle paths): cyclists have their own junctions and traffic lights so, whether you bring your own bike or hire one, you'll find exploring on two wheels safe and easy.


amsterdam
Pedal around Amsterdam

There are a multitude of rides in and around Amsterdam, from a pedal around Amsterdam Noord (taking the free ferry from Centraal Station) to a lengthier ride through rural Waterland. 

   

Cycling from Amsterdam to the town of Delft is a fantastic way to appreciate Dutch landscape and culture. Bicycle paths lead you along the Amstel River, past pretty lakes and towns for about 40 miles (70km), taking just over 3 hours and leaving ample time to explore Delft before grabbing the train back to Amsterdam.


Delft blue porcelain
Delftware and lime tree-flanked canals

Delft is positively littered with venerable old buildings, market squares dotted with cafés and lime tree-flanked canals. 

   

The town is best known for its Delftware - blue and white painted ceramic tiles and pottery - an industry started in the 17th Century when Dutch East India ships returned from the Orient bearing sought-after Chinese porce¬lain. Local potters copied the style, replacing exotic dragons and samurai soldiers with windmills and dairy maids. Today, Delft still bristles with workshops and boutiques making and selling new and antique pottery.

museum in delft
Prinsenhof & Johannes Vermeer

But pottery is not Delft's only claim to fame: Prince William of Orange was assassinated here in the Prinsenhof (now an interesting museum) and the celebrated painter Johannes Vermeer was born, lived and died here. 

   

As Vermeer's most famous painting, The Girl with a Pearl Earring, returns this week to her home in The Hague's renovated Mauritshuis, you can visit the great artist's home in Delft, immersing yourself in his world at The Vermeer Centrum Delft, which recreates the Delft he will have known, showcases his work and investigates his revolutionary painting techniques.