Discover Old Holland - The undiscovered area around Amsterdam


Old Holland

Did you know that Amsterdam has more to offer than hip stores, popular hotspots and historic monuments? If you plan to visit the city, also explore the region around Amsterdam. You’ll find undiscovered treasures you wouldn’t immediately expect. Explore Old Holland!

Back in time

Those who want to imagine themselves back in time should descend to Amsterdam. Amsterdam may not immediately give the impression of tranquility, tradition and centuries-old heritage when you walk along its trendy shopping streets and popular canals. But if you go just outside the busy city center, you’ll find yourself in an oasis of tranquility brimming with undiscovered treasures. Think traditional windmills, colorful cottages, beautiful polders and a dose of well-preserved heritage.

Old Holland Amsterdam
Zaandam Nederland


One topper not to be missed is Zaandam. By public transportation, you can reach Zaandam station from Amsterdam Central in 12 minutes. The center of Zaandam is modest so great to explore on foot.

What immediately stands out when you walk into the center are the colorful facades of the buildings. It’s like walking into a big toy store. The Inntelhotel is perhaps still the most impressive building in this municipality. The colorful scene consists of dozens of stacked Zaans houses which gives a very unique look. Not only is Inntelhotel Zaandam beautiful on the outside, but also inside you will enjoy beautifully decorated rooms, a delicious full breakfast and a virtuous wellness. An excellent option if you want to explore both Amsterdam city center and the region.

An activity not to be missed in Zaandam is the famous Zaanse Schans. This 1850s old village is the most “Dutch” picture imaginable. Clogs, cheese stores, windmills, canals and bridges. You come across it all. But don’t miss out! Although it sounds and looks very idyllic, in reality it is a crowded place with tourists from all over the world. That sometimes made it a little less charming for us. But you must have seen it “once. Note that parking here costs 11 euros. Entrance is then again “free.

A lesser known place but definitely a must visit in the area is The Hem. Especially for art lovers. This old factory building has several functions. There is a museum with various exhibitions, events and two restaurants. We had a wonderful lunch at Zanini, but if you want to make it really special you have to be at Restaurant Bois. Here you will be served refined vegetarian options.

To end your day, settle down in the cozy chairs of JP1886 restaurant. The beautiful interior perfectly matches the refined dishes and delicious cocktails the restaurant serves.

Old Holand
Het Hem in Zaandam


One of the most beautiful places we visited during our weekend getaway is Edam. Edam is part of Volendam and has about 6,900 inhabitants. Here you will find winding streets, historic buildings and peaceful spots. The downtown reminds me a bit of Bruges, but smaller and even finer. Of course, Edam is also known for its cheese, which you should definitely try. But the cozy little town is also more than worth a visit on its own.

If you want to stay completely in theme of the old town, we recommend Hotel De Fortuna Edam. The cozy interior could just as easily be a movie scene or the living room at Grandma’s. Could it be a little fancier? Then you can visit Damhotel Edam. By the way, the hotel restaurant’s three-course dinner is highly recommended. The restaurant was awarded a mention in the Gault Millau guide. You can also make reservations there without being a hotel guest.

Edam Nederland
Edam Nederland
Edam Old holland

Lower Holland

Want to explore even more in this beautiful area? Then we recommend climbing the Beemster Church. This was recently renovated and thanks to the narrow stairs, you can clamber all the way to the top of this World Heritage Site. A beautiful view awaits you!

In nearby Purmerend, you can have lunch at De Stallen. A cozy grill restaurant where you are served with a smile. Be sure to try the homemade iced-tea and any of the fresh air options. Delicious!

Feel like strolling around town after lunch? Nice stores and cozy parks can be found in Purmerend. Looking for a little more peace and quiet or want to take a nice walk? If so, be sure to visit Marken or Etersheim. Or, if the weather is nice, take a boat ride at Theetuin Overleek. These are truly undiscovered gems where you should not expect too many tourists but you will be overwhelmed by the beauty of “Old Holland.”

For those interested in learning more about Old Holland, it is best to visit the the website of Iamsterdam.

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