When visiting the Netherlands, indulging in pancakes, cheese, and windmills is a must. Touristy, yes, but it’s a delicious way to experience traditional Dutch culture. Below is a blueprint for a leisurely day spent exploring South Holland.
Are you ready to go Dutch?!
There is no better way to start the day than the pancake way! Pannenkoeken Restaurant Onder de Molen is a traditional pancake house conveniently located next to a beautiful windmill.
If this is the Dutch version of iHop, I think they are winning. You have your choice of savory or sweet pancakes, and when I say pancakes, they are more of a thick flat crepe with toppings baked in. We were gluttons, each getting a savory pancake while sharing a sweet.
In hindsight, we probably should have split both, but c’est la vie. After you’ve rolled out of the pancake house, it’s probably best to work it off. The Kinderdijk is a great place to do just that.
Kinderdijk is home to the largest concentration of windmills in the Netherlands, 19 to be exact. It was once a sustainable system used to prevent flooding, without it 40% of the Netherlands would be under water. Now, it’s a beautifully preserved UNESCO World Heritage site that can be explored by bike, boat or on foot.
Visiting this area is free, but it cost 8 euro to enter the two windmills and museum that are open to the public. You can also do a boat tour for 5 euro, or rent bikes at 4 euro/hour. We went the biking route and it was the best way to explore. If you are ambitious you can even bike into the town of Kinderdijk and surrounding villages.
A trip to the Netherlands wouldn’t be complete without tasting the fresh cheese made at a local family farm. Kaasboerderij ‘t Klooster sells their own products, as well as goods from the surrounding area. The farm is run by the sweetest family who gave us a generous cheese tasting.
We walked away with some great products for such a good price; the truffle cheese was my favorite. To note, it’s cash only, so plan accordingly!
Gouda is so much more than the famous yellow cheese, it’s a gorgeous Dutch town encircled by dreamy canals. When we first arrived, I was stunned by the romantic streets and waterways. I had no idea it would be such a picturesque place. The city is small enough to wander in a few hours. Start meandering along the canals, then make your way to the beautiful historic center.
Notable landmarks include the Gothic City Hall and St. John’s Church, famous for its stained glass windows. The traditional Gouda Cheese Market takes place every Thursday morning from April to August; here you can witness farmers and traders wheel and deal. If you aren’t there during the summer months, there is a fantastic Saturday Market in the center from 8am-5pm.
De Goudse Waag, is another great spot to learn some cheesy things. Originally used as a cheese weighing station, today it serves as a cheese and craft museum. After you’ve had your fill of that yummy yellow stuff, there is a delicious chocolate shop called Puur that will satisfy your sweet tooth. To cap off the night, try one of the many dining options in Gouda. I’d recommend Viejee’s or Brownies & Downies. However, we were so cheesed out at that point we opted for sushi at Kichi Japanese Restaurant which was fantastic. For us, Gouda was such a perfect end to an already brilliant day. The highlight of our trip was witnessing the gorgeous reflections on the canal as the sun set. Try to find yourself on the western canal at that time and you won’t be disappointed!
Hope you’ve had a fantastic day, the Dutch way!
Until next time,