Looking for things to do in Holland but short on cash? Look no further! The free tourist attractions we have listed in our guide are perfect to help you enjoy a fabulous time whilst visiting Holland!
Free things to do in Holland!
Alkmaar’s Cheese Market
Alkmaar’s Cheese Market is the number one tourist attraction in the city. Every Friday from 10:00, from April through September, you can watch cheese being traded in the same time-honored way as it has been for centuries. If you are visiting Alkmaar, this colourful and folkloric spectacle on the beautiful Waagplein (‘weighing square’) is an absolute must-see.
The annual Flower Parade is a feast of beautiful colors and enticing aromas. 20 enormous floats and 30 cars richly decorated with flowers drive along a 42 kilometer route from Noordwijk to Haarlem. The Flower Parade starts on Saturday May 3th at 9.30am and finishes in Haarlem at 9pm. Around 3.30p.m. the Flower Parade passes the Keukenhof. On Sunday may 4th you can admire the work put into the Flower Parade in Haarlem, where the floats remain on view until 5p.m.
Flower your Life
Millions of flowers and the work of hundreds of volunteers make the most amazing flower parade in the world possible. Make sure you find a good spot along the route, because amongst hundreds of thousands of spectators you don’t want to miss a second of this spectacular sight!
The Vondel Park
Located in the centre of Amsterdam, The Vondel Park consists of 120 acres of well-maintained gardens. Well worth a visit in the summer months, with regular free concerts and street entertainers.
Sandeman's New Amsterdam free walking tour
Expert Amsterdam guides share their personal stories and insights during this intriguing, 3 hour English-language overview of Amsterdam on a walking tour.
The Jordaan was built during the expansion of Amsterdam in early 17th century, as a district for the working class and emigrants. Nowadays the Jordaan is an oasis of peace, compared to the rest of the city, with a labyrinth of narrow streets and little canals. It is nice for strolling around viewing courtyards, art studios, and monumental buildings with stone tablets, old-fashioned ‘brown’ pubs, boutiques, markets or galleries.
Just outside Amsterdam is Zaanse Schans, a delightful old hamlet on the banks of the river Zaan, with characteristic green wooden houses. There is much to see and do with museums, windmills, traditional crafts, river cruises, guided tours shops and restaurants. Admission is free but parking is chargeable, with the fees being used for the maintenance of the historic buildings at Zaanse Schans.
The famous bridge across the river Amstel, opposite the Carré theatre, is an Old Dutch design known as a double-swipe (balanced) bridge. Traditional stories relay that the bridge was named after the sisters Mager, who lived on opposite sides of the river. They are said to have had the wooden bridge built to make it easier to visit each other. However, it appears more likely that the original bridge acquired the name from being so narrow (mager means skinny in Dutch), and that it was hard for pedestrians to pass one another.
As traffic along the river Amstel increased, a wider bridge replaced the narrow one in 1871. Skinny Bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges of Amsterdam. At night many lights illuminate the bridge and it becomes a very romantic place, popular with lovers and photographers.
The Begijnhof is one of the most beautiful places in Amsterdam. It is an inner courtyard that dates from around 1300 with typical Amsterdam-style houses. The Begijnhof has a fascinating history with many historical events, the sisterhood of Catholics and even miracles! The women that joined the sisterhood of Catholics were called ‘begijnen’. These were women who lived like nuns without ever taken an oath to God. This sisterhood of Catholics cared for the sick and gave education to the poor. They had their own set of rules and were for instance allowed to leave the sisterhood to get married. Opening hours are from 9am to 5pm and free entries but remember that the Begijnhof is a private possession and a place of silence. You can join a tour at the local tourist information office (VVV) and learn more about the miracles that have taken place here.
The Windmills at Kinderdijk
Located 15 miles outside Rotterdam is an area with 19 beautifully maintained windmills. The windmills are listed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. You can still visit the monumental 17th-century windmills that make up the incredible man-made landscape of Kinderdijk. Views of the landscape are free; admission fees apply only to the visitors' windmill and special tours.
Rotterdam Walk of Fame
The European Walk of Fame, is one of the fastest growing tourist attractions in Rotterdam. Following the example of Hollywood’s famous Walk of Fame, you can see hand and footprints of many national and international stars. Many famous singers, sportsmen, bands and actors from all over the world have come to the European Walk of Fame to leave a sign of their visit to Rotterdam in concrete including; Cliff Richard, John Denver, Carlos Santana, Shirley Bassey, Katie Melua, Toni Braxton, James Brown, Carl Lewis, Tina Turner, Gloria Estefan, Bryan Adams, Johan Cruyff, Bon Jovi, Carl Lewis, Lionel Richie, Shania Twain, Julio Iglesias, Vanessa Williams and many more! A full list of celebrities can be found at the European Walk of Fame website.
The Sunday Markets, Rotterdam
Located in the Rotterdam city centre, there are regular Sunday markets with a variety of stands ranging from books, souvenirs, antiques and other paraphernalia.
Parade of Flags
For the Netherlands flags hold a special importance, as they represent the fundamental role the nation has in its relationship with international trade and shipping. This is why Rotterdam found it of utmost importance to create a special landmark where these symbols of past history and years of trading relationships with the rest of the world, could be represented and valued for the importance they hold for the country. The flag parade was completed in 2005 and boasts 230 flags. It started its venture by erecting the flags on one of the most important arteries of Rotterdam’s city centre, the Boompjes Boulevard, located between the Erasmus bridge and the Verlengde Willems bridge. Each of these flags represents a nation and how important international commerce is for a port city such as Rotterdam. This amazing uninterrupted string of flags play in the wind day and night, embellishing the banks of the river Maas, during normal business days as well as during festival and events. On these occasions particular themed flags are flown, creating a magnificent display of variety and colour which is particularly spectacular at night.
Kerringhuis, near Rotterdam is a massive man-made barrier the Dutch built to aid their fight against rising water. It is a master piece of modern engineering. Entry is free but a guided tour will set you back a few euros.
Image supplied by: Rijkswaterstaat, part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment.
Shopping in Holland!
If you plan to visit one of the big cities in Holland, you are probably thinking of excellent museums, special architecture and good restaurants. In practice, however, many people like to fit in an afternoon of shopping as well. While one person likes fashion, shoes and jewelry, another loves art and design and yet another prefers literature and music. Fortunately Holland has countless special shops for each of them. And in many big cities, the shops are open on Sunday as well.