You can’t visit Holland in person right now due to the lockdowns and the closed borders because of the Corona virus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit us virtually. You absolutely can!
In this post, we tried hard to curate an interesting list that will take you around the country. All from the comfort of your home. Thanks to technology, combined with the enthusiastic effort of soo many, you can enjoy a lot of great experiences, simply through your screen.
We hope this post will entertain and inspire you. You might even discover new ideas to do when you eventually will be able to visit in person again.
We highlight museums, but also a famous concert hall, tourist attractions (some you might have never heard about), and natural areas of outstanding beauty.
All the links and videos are curated by us but are owned by the creators themselves, like museums or footage published to YouTube.
Table of Content: (jump straight to the section that interests you most)
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Spring flowers, including Tulips:
We are writing this post in the middle of April. This is supposed to be the busiest tourist season of the year for Holland.
During standard times, this is the time of year when hundreds of thousands of visitors come to Holland to marvel at the tulips and all the other spring flowers that are now in full bloom around the country.
This year is different, of course, we’re all in the middle of a pandemic, and most borders are closed, including ours. Because of that almost no tourists can see these beautiful flowers in person.
But nature doesn’t stop. Both the commercial flower fields and the beautifully curated Keukenhof park are in full bloom.
And we did find two great online experiences! First up is a gorgeous drone video of one of the largest commercial tulip field areas in Holland, located in Flevoland (close to where we live):
De Keukenhof - The worlds most famous flower garden
The 2nd experience we want to share is a documentary about the Keukenhof. When it became clear that the Keukenhof would be unable to open its gates for the 2020 season, the park teamed up with the national broadcasting association. They filmed a 45-minute documentary inside an empty park, but full of stunning flowers.
The documentary is in Dutch. However, the spoken parts are short. The images will speak for themselves anyway, plus most of the program has beautiful classical music on the background. We personally loved watching this documentary, as did our friends abroad, and we hope you will too:
Length: 44 minutes
Visit famous Dutch museums from home
If you enjoy visiting museums, as we do, you’re in luck. Most of the well-known museums have a “visit from home experience.” Especially the four major museums - the Rijksmuseum, The Stedelijk (modern art), The Mauritshuis, and the Van Gogh Museum - all have a lot on offer, and completely free.
The Anne Frank Museum:
The Anne Frank Museum has a unique experience. In essence, they created a professional series staged as a vlog, its Anne living her secret life in the Annex, but now with a camera instead of a diary.
It's a 17-part series of the life of Anne Frank, which you can watch on YouTube. The series has subtitles in English, German, Spanish and Portuguese and is received very well.
Length: about 5 minutes per episode
The Rijksmuseum is the largest and most important of all museums in the country. It's basically the national treasure vault. The museum has a collection of close to a million items in so many different categories.
The Rijksmuseum always has something on offer that will interest you. From the world-famous paintings from artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer and Van Gogh to an extensive collection of Delft’s Blue, Doll Houses, and furniture.
The Rijksmuseum From Home Experience:
The museum went out of its way to create experiences to enjoy from home. We highlight a few below and link to the rest.
One of the initiatives they created is a video series on YouTube, where museum curators share stories from their home, about some of their favorite pieces of art.
These videos are highly informative and entertaining. You can watch them here:
Length: on average about 3 minutes per video
Rijks Studio - Discover 700,000 pieces of art in high resolution
Another fantastic tool available at your fingertips, absolutely free of charge, is the Rijksmuseum Studio. It’s an online database that contains most of the museum's collection.
As of right now, 700,000 pieces of art are available for you to enjoy in high definition images. You can zoom in, download pictures, get the color pallets, discover more background information about the artworks, and more. It’s pretty awesome.
You can visit the Rijksmuseum studio here: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/rijksstudio.
Digital Tour of the Gallery of Honour
Another really cool experience that the Rijksmuseum offers is the Digital Tour. Here you can walk virtually around the Gallery of Honour, the area of the museum with the most famous pieces of art, including The Night Watch from Rembrandt, the Milkmaid and the Merry Family.
We’re surprised how real the experience feels. You can experience it here for yourself: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/masterpieces-up-close.
And there is much more, like a pub quiz, the operation night watch (we recommend watching this), the RijksCreative (classes on techniques of the masters), and more. Check all all of these out here: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/from-home.
Culture Tourist at the Rijksmuseum:
We know Tea personally. She is an enthusiastic art historian who has a great way of explaining art to you. She is also the creator behind culturetourist.com.
Recently Tea started to create museum videos. Including one about the Rijksmuseum. The sound quality is not always as good in this video, but don't let this stop you from watching. The information Tea shares with us is fascinating. You know, those things you would typically miss. We loved it.
Length: 16 minutes
Tea also put together a blogpost about Johannes Vermeer at the Rijksmuseum in her virtual museum visit series. We loved it. In particular, learning about the small details in the paintings, we've never noticed before. Read her post here: https://culturetourist.com/museums/virtual-museum-visits-johannes-vermeer-at-the-rijksmuseum/.
The Van Gogh Museum:
The Van Gogh museum also created a whole ray of wonderful experiences online since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Virtual tours in the Van Gogh Museum
Like virtual tours on YouTube. New tours are added every Tuesday at 4pm local time. So far, seven episodes are available to watch. You can find all of them here:
Length: 2-3 minutes per episode
Van Gogh questions - Answered by a Van Gogh expert
Or the Van Gogh questions series. Where an expert answers a Van Gogh question every Friday at 4pm local time. Watch them here on YouTube:
Length: 3-5 minutes per episode
And there is more like downloading coloring pages to create your own Van Gogh paintings. Lessons tailored to kids, publications of the letters he wrote, a quiz, and much more. Find all these resources by clicking here.
Culture Tourist on the Sunflowers of Van Gogh
Tea created a post in her virtual museum visit series about Van Gogh and his sunflowers. Did you know there are multiple versions of one of his most famous paintings: The Sunflowers? There are. Read all about it here.
The Mauritshuis - Home of the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer
The Mauritshuis is one of the famous smaller museums in Holland, located in The Hague. It’s a museum where you can emerge yourself in the work of Dutch and Flemish masters of the 17th century in a stunning building.
The most famous painting here has to be the Girl with the Pearl Earring by Vermeer. The mysterious picture almost all of us know.
The museum has made available different experiences for us to enjoy from home. From online classes, virtual tours, a 3D visit, and more. You can find all of these resources by clicking here.
One video we like in particular is not from the museum itself but created by TED-ed. The video explores why the Girl with the Pearl Earring is considered such a masterpiece. It’s entertaining while informative at the same time. Seeing his skills explained is mind-boggling. You can join the 3 million people before you who have watched this video:
Length: 4m 33s
Stedelijk Museum (Museum of Modern Art)
Also, the Stedelijk Museum published all kinds of stay at home virtual experiences to visit the museum from home.
Live virtual tours of the Stedelijk Museum
Every Friday at 2pm local time, the museum streams a live tour with a different topic via Instagram TV (follow the museum via @stedelijkmuseum). Afterward, these tours are available for free on YouTube. You can find the YouTube playlist here:
Length: these videos vary greatly from 8 to 45 minutes. Most are 20-30 minutes in length.
Mini documentaries from the Stedelijk Museum
The Stedelijk also create daily mini-docs about artists, past exhibitions, and contemporary art topics. You can watch them all here:
Length: most videos are 3-10 minutes long
Creative workshops from the "Stedelijk"
Something completely different, but also enjoyable, are workshops you can download for free. We can now all become more creative with personal tips from artists and designers like Viktor&Rolf, Joep van Lieshout, Marlene Dumas, and Rineke Dijkstra.
Download the free material here (below the buy button for the book)
PS: If you create something special make sure to share it on Instagram and let us know by tagging us @hiddenholland
Audio Tours - get the stories behind the art works
And finally audio tours at home: you don’t need to be in the museum to enjoy an audio tour after all. The Stedelijk has a series of audio tours where artists share their stories behind the artworks. You can listen to them here (search for the tracks starting with English)
Open-Air Museums in Holland
Holland has three famous open-air museums. Let us give you a short introduction to all three, where we share one "experience from home" for each of them.
The Zaanse Schans
The Zaanse Schans is the best known of the three and is near Amsterdam. The area is freely accessible, but many tourist businesses are active in the museum village. The Zaanse Schans is mostly visited by foreign visitors. It's definitely fun to go, but if you can invest the time, we would recommend going to one of the other two instead.
But still the Zaanse Schans is pretty and you can watch gorgeous drone footage here:
Length: 1 minute
Open-Air Museum Enkhuizen
Then there is also the much-beloved Open Air Museum Enkhuizen. This park is a real museum with an entrance fee, because of that the park is far less commercial, and loved by mostly locals.
The museum is a showcase of a fishers village, back in the day located on the open sea. You’ll arrive by ferry, after which you can walk around an authentic town, experience its customs and foods from an era long gone. Our favorite place is the: "fish smokers' house." The smoked herring is exquisite. A must-try once you're able to visit in person again.
The Open Air Museum Enkhuizen is mapped on Google Street View. Thus you can literally walk around the park from your computer screen. It works best on an iPad of computer. Click here to open the map.
Open-Air Museum Arnhem
And finally the Open-Air Museum in Arnhem. This is in the east of the country and the national open-air museum. Visited mostly by the Dutch to learn about their history. But it's a great museum to visit for everyone.
Here you can ride on historic trams, visit the old streets of Amsterdam, and see how the Dutch lived in general over the decades.
You can watch this introduction video of the Openlucht Museum Arnhem:
Length: 2 minutes
Het Concertgebouw in Amsterdam
The famous concert building in Amsterdam: “Het Concertgebouw” is home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. And they publish free classical concerts for us to enjoy on their YouTube channel every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 4pm local time.
They stay available to watch for four weeks on YouTube. Each stream has a 10 minute introductory by a member of the orchestra (English subtitles available), after which the concert starts. At any time there are 12 streams available for you to enjoy. You've never been this close to the stage:
Length: 10 minute spoken introduction, followed by a 60 minute concert
The Efteling, Amusement Park - Kaatsheuvel
Not well known outside Holland, Germany, and Belgium, but we have a Disney worthy theme park in Holland of our own. Called the Efteling.
The park pre-dates Disney when it opened as a fairy tale park, beautifully landscaped in a forest. That part of the park is still well and alive today. But since, the Efteling has expanded rapidly.
It’s now a park you can easily spend 1-2 days exploring. It’s a beautiful place, with both thrilling rides as more mellow experiences for the entire family.
One of its charms is its eye for details in the architecture, just like Disney. But it’s different. It's very Dutch, and fairytale-like all around the park.
A big part of that has to do with a locally famous artist called Anton Pieck. He was a master at drawing and designed the look and feel of many rides and buildings in the park.
Of course, you can't visit the park today, but we did find two amazing experiences for you to experience from home.
First a drone flight that was filmed recently during the pandemic without visitors. It’s stunning:
Length: 3 minutes
Also, an old documentary about the life of Anton Pieck and his influence on the park has been re-released. You can watch it here (English subtitles are available):
Length: 30 minutes
PS Tip: if you enjoy themepark music then search for "Efteling" in your favorite music service to find official park albums.
This is Holland, 5D flight over the country - Amsterdam
The "This is Holland" promo video is a short video giving you a beautiful impression about what "This Is Holland" is. A 5D flight experience very similar to Soarin’ in Disney World.
"This is Holland" is located across Amsterdam Central station, a short ferry ride across the water (take the North exit).
Yet as long as we’re home, you can watch this video to get a glimpse of what you can experience:
Length: 30 seconds
Madurodam - The Hague
Madurodam has been a favorite for locals and visitors alike for decades. We visited the park since we were little and still love to go once in a while.
Madurodam is a miniature city in The Hague that is home to the most famous buildings and structures of Holland, all at scale. It’s beautifully done and interactive.
Our fondest memories as a kid were inserting small coins in some of the objects, and things started happening, like at the funfair. You can explore the park now from home with this well-done drone video of WonderLiv:
Length: 2 minutes
Palace Het Loo - Apeldoorn
Paleis Het Loo is one of the most iconic castles in Holland. It’s famous for its 17th-century style gardens. The building itself is a museum.
By the way, did you know the palace is featured in both the "This is Holland experience" and Madurodam?
Since 2018 the museum section is closed for a long term 4-year renovation project. The Museum will re-open in 2021. The gardens are already open, but now, of course, due to the pandemic, they are temporality closed once again. Thankfully we’ve found beautiful drone footage of the gardens here:
Length: 2 minutes
Giethoorn - The Venice of the North
The village of Giethoorn might not need much of an introduction. This beautiful town has canals instead of roads. That is why it's called the Venice of the North. It’s one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Holland outside of Amsterdam.
The village is about 2 hours north-east of Amsterdam. Most people visit as part of an organized group tour. We would actually recommend against that. Sure it’s easier, but it also prevents you from exploring on your own.
You can also visit on your own by rental car or public transport. If you rent a car, you can also visit the National Park “The Weerribben” next door. But all that is for a later moment in time. Now you can enjoy a beautiful video from the “Videoproducers” exploring the village like you’re there already, right from home:
Length: 5 minutes
More drone videos of Holland
We also love the drone video’s created by DSD Creations. We already shared one video earlier from them (flying over the tulip fields). But they have many more videos flying over Holland.
Some of our favorites are:
The island of Vlieland (one of the “Waddeneiland”):
Length: 3 minutes
The defense town of Naarden-Vesting, not far from Amsterdam
Length: 3 minutes
The Maasvlakte Harbor in Rotterdam
Length: 2 minutes
Also, don’t forget to check out their other videos here:
There are fantastic videos in their feed of many natural areas in Holland to explore too. It might surprise you how diverse our country is.
Before we close this post, we want to share three more short virtual experiences with you: a flight over Holland, Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
Did you enjoy this post about visiting Holland virtually?
If you enjoyed our virtual travel tips in this post about Holland then please join the conversation and let us know which parts you enjoyed most, did you find anything new? Also, if you have suggestions for us to add to this post we'd love to hear about that.
Looking for more inspiration for the moment travel is possible again?
We have written different one day itineraries for Holland. They're well worth a read.
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