Most people, when they travel to the Netherlands, just visit the capital city Amsterdam and take a boat tour on the Amsterdam canals (A Unesco World Heritage site).
As everyone should. Amsterdam is one of the most beautiful cities in the world after all.
People might take a short trip to the Zaanse Schans and see some windmills (touristy, but fun to do).
But why not switch it up a little and enjoy Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands from above?
If you like that idea, then I’ve got you covered with this post, chockful with the best views in the Netherlands.
From the classics in the major cities like the ADAM Lookout tower in Amsterdam and the Euromast in Rotterdam to lesser-known spots across the Netherlands. The post is not without reason titled “Best Views Netherlands”, because they truly are.
You’ll find dozens of lookout towers that dot the landscape in the Netherlands, many of which are also architectural feats in their own right. These are the best places to see the Netherlands from above.
I can’t wait to tell you about them. There is something in here for everyone.
You might have to climb a few stairs (not always), but then the reward will be great.
Enjoy exploring the Netherlands!
Table of Contents
Best Views in Amsterdam
Library Amsterdam (Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam): I also listed this spot as one of my favorite cafes in Amsterdam.
The top-floor restaurant with an outdoor terrace that presents a great view of the old city center of Amsterdam. It’s completely free to access.
NEMO Science Museum Roof Terrace: This is a free-to-visit terrace on top of the NEMO Science Museum. You get to see the eastern part of the city
SkyLounge Amsterdam (Now called LuminAir): A favorite of many is the cocktail lounge on the 11th floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel near Central Station.
Not far from the library and NEMO. This chic lounge offers a glamorous view of the city skyline. Great for a sunset cocktail!
Kalvertoren Shopping Center: There’s a café at the top that few talk about, but it’s a great spot to watch the hustle and bustle of the Kalverstraat and beyond from the rooftop cafe and restaurant.
It may not be the best idea on a busy Saturday. But it’s a great view if they have a spot for you.
A’DAM Lookout: An observation deck and tourist attraction on top of the former Shell Headoffice, now turned hotel, club, and thus viewing tower.
You’ll be treated to a panoramic view of the city. It even has a thrilling swing that goes over the edge for the daring ones among us (extra fee).
The A’DAM Lookout is located right across the IJ River from Central Station. You can take a 5-minute free ferry across.
PS: if you’ve read somewhere that you can also climb the Westertoren, I have to disappoint you. Due to renovation works, the tower is currently not accessible.
Views to See in Rotterdam
Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and is home to modern architecture and skyscrapers. It’s a great antidote to Amsterdam’s cobblestone streets and other old Dutch cities.
I’ve written an article great for a first-time visit to Rotterdam.
You have to go up the Euromast for the best view in town.
Standing over 185 meters tall, the Euromast offers the best panoramic views of Rotterdam and beyond.
There is also a restaurant where you can enjoy a meal with a view or step into the Euroscoop, a rotating glass elevator that takes you to the highest viewpoint.
Did you know there are two hotel suites at the viewing platform level? If you’re looking to celebrate something special, this might be what you’re looking for.
You can get your Euromast tickets right here.
Laurenskerk: Maybe less expected, but this old medieval church still standing among all the modern buildings offers an amazing view from the top. But it takes some effort, it’s only open twice a week and accessible with a guide only.
Erasmus Bridge: Not exactly a viewing tower, but I wanted to include it. Every time I walk across this iconic bridge, I say wow to myself, with the spectacular skyline and river sights.
Nhow Hotel: Located in the modern De Rotterdam building, the Nhow Hotel bar offers excellent views of the Erasmus Bridge and the river.
The hotel’s terrace is a fantastic place to see the Rotterdam skyline.
The view over the Maas is astonishing, especially in the morning at sunrise and in the evening at sunset. It’s reason enough to visit this oh-so-different Dutch city.
If you are looking to stay at the nHow Rotterdam Hotel, you can book it here.
Other Beautiful Places in the Netherlands
There are many more great viewing platforms in the Netherlands, both in other cities and in the countryside.
I’m going to highlight another 24 of them sorted by province, all are great to add to your itinerary when you want to enjoy unique places to visit in the Netherlands that are off the beaten track.
Amsterdam is located in the province of North Holland (one of the two provinces that together form Holland, the other is South Holland).
At the start of this article, I already covered the best views in Amsterdam, but there’s another great view and a true hidden gem.
Castricum: The Papenberg viewing tower in Castricum is often shown in local magazines for its special shape and beautiful views across spreading dunes.
It’s perched atop a dune and only 7 meters high, but it grants sweeping views over the dune reserve and even the sea (in the far distance).
It’s easy to get to. Get off the train at Castricum, north of Amsterdam, on your way to Alkmaar or further up north (for example, to the beautiful island of Texel via Den Helder).
From Castricum train station, it’s a short walk to the viewing point, but you’ll have to climb a steep stair. This is a paid nature reserve.
There is a sign at the entrance about how to buy tickets, it’s a few euros. You need a mobile connection to complete the transaction on your phone.
Of course, the center point of South Holland is Rotterdam. So scroll to the top for my tips in Rotterdam.
But South Holland is so much more than just Rotterdam.
Or the beautiful old town of Delft, a place I love to visit. Even if you don’t have much time, you should carve out at least half a day to visit.
Delft is a charming typical Dutch city located about an hour south of Amsterdam. And just 10 minutes from either Rotterdam or The Hague. It’s easily accessible by train.
It’s one of the best places to explore 17th-century Holland. It’s the birthplace of the famous painter Johannes Vermeer and still looks the same as when he lived in Delft.
One of the most beautiful views in the Netherlands can be found in Delft on top of the New Church (tickets) on the main square. New is relative, by the way. The Church was built in 1584. But yup, there is an even older church: the Old Church.
The crooked old church tower is very photogenetic but can’t be climbed. You can climb the New Church tower, though.
And it’s quite a climb. It’s the 2nd highest church tower in the country and almost 400 steps to the top.
This is not for the faint of heart (or those claustrophobic), but your reward will be large for those who aren’t.
I regularly visit this church tower with customers on a private tour. Every time I get up there, it takes my breath away.
The cuteness of this town goes up by a factor of 10. It’s so gorgeous, and everything downstairs becomes miniature.
I know Amsterdam is why most people visit the Netherlands, but I would like to make the case that Delft is one of the best places to visit too, and it is such an easy day trip from Amsterdam.
Bergschenhoek: Looking to escape the city? I’ve got another unique spot up my sleeve: Hoge Bergse Bos.
This watchtower rises 22 meters, offering a beautiful view over the Rotterdam skyline in the distance and nearby towns and cities like The Hague, Zoetermeer, Delft, and natural reserves like the Rottemeren.
It’s a bit of a trek to get here, though. The nearest metro station is Romeynshof, from where it’s a 40-minute walk. Or cycle there in 30 minutes from Rotterdam Central Station. Or in 15 minutes from Rotterdam Alexander train station.
Without a doubt, one of the most famous viewing points in the city has to be the Dom Tower.
Currently ongoing extended renovations the tower is still accessible on foot (221 steps to the top), or you can ride the elevator.
Once at the top, you have an unparalleled view of the city and far beyond.
Another interesting viewpoint and great piece of art is the Observatorium Tower.
It’s just a mere 15 meters tall, but things aren’t what they seem. Due to its structure, the climb to the top feels endless.
It’s out of the way but worth the effort.
Amersfoort: Is Utrecht city still to touristy for you? Then you will love Amersfoort, one of the most charming places in the Netherlands. And undiscovered. Its compact, picture-perfect medieval city center makes the city ideal to visit.
Amersfoort was crowned in 2023 as the best European City by the British non-profit Academy of Urbanism, Amersfoort is a beautiful city just 30 minutes from Amsterdam.
Its compact city center is easy to explore on a half-day trip from the capital. A highlight is climbing the “Onze Lieve Vrouwe Toren,” or, as the locals call it, “Lange Jan” (Long John).
The view from the top is breathtaking. But note you can’t just climb it freely. You need to book a guided tour upfront. Tickets are usually available on a daily basis, and the starting time depends on the season. Also, note tours are in Dutch only. But you can always ask for a translation.
PS: a local tip: all tourists head out to the former fishing village of Volendam, but that is almost a tourist circus. Right next to Amersfoort is Spakenburg, a much less discovered fishing village by foreign visitors, and it also offers a glimpse into the past. Make sure to see the museum harbor.
Doorn: Utrecht province is beautiful (and home to the National Park the Utrechtse Heuvelrug).
Only a few visitors venture out of Utrecht city, but you’ll be rewarded for your effort if you do.
And one of the places you can visit is the Doorn Forest—a special natural area inside the National Park.
The crown here is, for sure, the free-to-enter viewing tower. Towering high above the treetops. From there, you have a stunning view over the National Park.
It’s beautiful year-round, but autumn is a great time to visit when the leaves change color. It’s magical—the best time to visit.
Herman and I were there just a few weeks ago (I’m writing this in November 2023), and it was so pretty. It’s a week too early, but still incredible.
PS: Around the base of this tower, you do some awesome mushroom spotting.
Gelderland offers quite a few special lookouts in nature.
Stokkum: Let’s start with the Hulzenberg. A tower on the German border in the heart of a nature reserve. It’s a steep climb but with a fantastic view. I love this tower a lot.
The tower is in the Netherlands, but the nearest parking is at the Star Gas Station in Germany.
Just take the A12 motorway, and take the very first exit in Germany. Go right at the end of the exit and you’ll see the gas station from there.
Putten: Very close to where I live is the Bostoren in Putten. What makes this tower unique is the fact that it has a forest growing at its top!
It offers unique views at different times of the year towards Amersfoort, Hilversum, and the forests of “de Hoge Veluwe” National Park. You can easily get to the tower by bus. It’s on “Landgoed Schovenhorst”.
Note this tower requires admission. It’s a few euros to enter. You need to stand inside the turnstile, then pay contactless with a debit or credit card (no American Express). Once green, you can push the turnstile.
The tower is also super interesting, there is a lot to experience on your way to the top, from birdhouses in the sky to an open playground in the air for kids.
PS: This is on the Schovenhorst Estate and has a restaurant for a lunch or coffee break.
Rheden: Right amid the national park “Veluwse Zoom” in the Netherlands is the Posbank, a natural elevation overlooking the surrounding heaths landscape. It’s hugely popular with Dutch hikers.
Different walks lead past it. There is even one from a train station to another train station. You can find it here (but it’s in Dutch), so you must sit down with the translation software.
Zeewolde: Flevoland’s Tuurtoren might be challenging to get to, but if you have time and are looking for silence, this is the place to go. The tower is only 12 meters, but since this is the flattest part of the Netherlands, it’s high enough (and think about all the steps you’re saving…).
The tower is in Horsterwold’s Stille Kern (silent core), with paths that meander among wild Konik horses. It’s the most silent area in this reserve.
Overijssel’s Weusthag, a funnel-shaped tower, offers a 360-degree view of Hengelo from its 22.5-meter-high vantage point.
Not an attraction worth making the journey from Amsterdam. But it’s a fun stop if you’re passing it on your way to Germany. It’s right next to the A1 motorway.
Drenthe is one of my favorite provinces in the country. Nature is beautiful, it feels remote from the busy western part of the country.
There are many things to explore here if you’re a Vincent van Gogh fan (I’ve written a post about Vincent van Gogh in Drenthe because there is so much more to explore than the Van Gogh Museum alone), and there are also great views to be found.
One of the best-known is Drenthe’s Boomkroonpad which consists of nine interconnected towers—leading you through the treetops to a vista point 22.5 meters above the forest floor.
A great outing with the kids (but also fun for adults).
Leeuwarden: The Oldehove is the grand dame of the city. The tilted tower is an unfinished church tower from 1529.
It’s temporarily closed for renovation work but will open again on April 1, 2024. Once open again, you can climb this iconic tower (it’s 180 steps to the top, but worth it once you get there, I promise.
Appelscha: The Bosbergtoren is spectacular. That is no overstatement. This architectural piece of art stands tall at 33 meters right in the heart of the National Park Drents-Friese Wold.
It’s the region’s highest point and offers panoramic views that stretch to Leeuwarden, Assen and Groningen.
Martinitower: The classic viewing tower in Groningen has to be the Martini Tower. This beautiful church tower is in the country’s top 10 highest church towers (#6).
At almost 100 meters, it’s a lot taller than the tower of Leeuwarden. Meaning it’s a 300-step climb to get to the top. But then you’ll have magnificent views.
You can get your tickets for the Martini Tower Groningen here.
Forum: Does 300 steps sound like a bit of overkill?
If you are okay missing the Martini church and tower interior details like the bells inside, you can also opt for the Forum building next to the Martini tower.
This multi-functional building (with a library, cafes, restaurants, workshop places, and more) also features a stunning viewing platform at the top. For free. And with elevators and escalators.
Kiekkaaste: But I’m Hidden Holland, right? So here is a little secret you won’t find in a guidebook: Groningen’s Kiekkaaste is an extraordinary birdwatching outpost where fresh and salt waters meet, fostering a unique ecosystem.
But bring your boots, because you’ll go into nature.
In North Brabant, the most famous view has to be that of St Jans Cathedral in Den Bosch. This is another tower you can only visit with a guide.
You book tickets here (this is another Dutch tour only).
PS: Here is my post on things to do in Den Bosch, it’s a beautiful city.
Are you looking for something completely different? Then you might want to check out the Pompejus tower in the far west of the province. Close to the A4 Motorway.
This contemporary lookout is built atop a historical fort called Fort de Roovere. Pretty cool, right?
From the top, you have a great view over the West-Brabant Waterline, a defense network dating back to the 17th century.
The Krammer locks are part of the ambitious Delta Plan and they’ve added a viewing tower above. It tells a tale of water, earth, and air through its design.
The best way to discover this area is by car. There are buses to the area and one train line but it’s not convenient. You really need a car to go see it all, but if you do it’s on the N257 road.
Zeeland is a great province to visit. It has the most beautiful beaches in the country, cute villages, and cities like Middelburg.
And then it’s already time for our last province: Limburg located in the Southern Netherlands where history and natural beauty meet.
There is something special about Limburg. Something very Undutch. It’s the place to enjoy the beautiful rolling hills.
Yes, you’ve read that right. Not exactly what the Netherlands is known for. The Netherlands isn’t as flat as pancake after all.
It’s a beautiful area to go in the Netherlands.
One of the best places to enjoy this view is at the Wilhelmina Tower in Vaals, close to the Three Country Points (Drielandenpunt) where the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany meet.
There is also a tower at the Three Country Point in Belgium called the Boudewijn Tower but that one is older and more expensive.
I think you’ll enjoy the experience at the Wilhelmina Tower more. I did when I went up there in the summer of 2023.
The tower boasts both a sheltered platform and a glass skywalk, and it’s standing 34 meters tall. You can look far into Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands and take in the beauty of the rolling hills.
You can buy your access token inside the restaurant. I can recommend trying the local specialty: Limburgse Vlaai (cake). It’s such a famous dish I have an entire post about Limburgse Vlaai.
PS: If you’re sitting down here and the weather is nice, my tip is to walk towards the back and take a seat on the terrace there. For reasons unknown to me most people plock down immediately at the entrance but the view is 100 times better in the back.
PS: Maastricht is a beautiful city just minutes from these view points. Here is my article about Maastricht for more inspiration.
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One final tip is to plan your trip well if you want to visit more remote viewing towers and areas: consider renting a car.
I wish you Safe travels!
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Does All Of This Feel Overwhelming?
Planning a trip well is a lot of work and can feel overwhelming. Know I’m here to help when you need assistance with your Netherlands vacation.
I offer Itinerary Consultations where I help you with ideas to improve your itinerary and make your trip planning much faster and less stressful. I also have local insights you don’t get from a guidebook.
Are you planning to visit any of these viewing points?
I’d love your thoughts: Which one is your favorite?. Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and let’s start a conversation 💬.