The Netherlands is one of the smallest countries in Europe. But its Dutch cities are known for being easy to reach from any point of the country given its reduced size. While every tourist knows about Amsterdam, many Dutch cities remain largely unknown to the international traveler. Here are the 10 biggest Dutch cities by population.
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1. Amsterdam – 872.000
Amsterdam is the biggest Dutch city. It has a population of 872.000 people. Many of its residents are born outside of the country as Amsterdam is the most international Dutch city. From the excellent shopping streets to offering unique accommodation options, Amsterdam is now a modern city and capital.
Its Rijksmuseum is a place where you can learn the most about Dutch history and the history of Dutch cities. This museum takes up to a day to visit. But you can also plan a visit to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam if you’re into arts and culture.
The city of Amsterdam is a place known for its balanced and relaxed way of life, even with a large population. You can rent a bike and cycle along its famous canals when the weather is good. You can head to Vondelpark when you feel like taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
But Amsterdam has many faces. One of the city’s influences that tourists rarely get to experience is sports. You can head over to Amsterdam Arena, one of the most popular football stadiums in the world to see the Dutch national football team in action. Local Ajax Amsterdam football club also plays here and tickets tend to sell out quickly as the club has a large fan following. From Amsterdam, you can also fly to major world destinations through the famous Dutch KLM Airlines.
2. Rotterdam – 650.000
Rotterdam is the second-largest Dutch city. It offers a glimpse into the true way of life of urban Dutch residents. Its architecture combines classic buildings with new constructions such as the amazing Rotterdam Central Station and the elegant Erasmus Bridge.
The shops and restaurants along its downtown area are some of the best in the country if you plan to walk to these attractions. If you’re interesting the Dutch maritime history, you also need to plan a visit to the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam with its distinct open-air charm.
3. The Hague – 544.000
The Hague is one of Europe’s cultural and legislative capitals. This growing Dutch city is mostly known for its Scheveningen and the Pier as it appears on so many postcards. If you’re a tourist, you can plan your Hague visit at the beach. The Peace Palace is also found here. This is the home of the International Court of Justice.
4. Utrecht – 357.000
Utrecht is one of the relaxed Dutch cities with multiple walkable public squares. You can visit Utrecht and begin exploring the city in Cathedral Square. Some of the oldest churches in the country are found here or just a few minutes away. You can also visit the De Haar Castle in Utrecht. This is the largest Dutch castle with classic architecture as it’s even surrounded by water.
5. Eindhoven – 234.000
Most tourists come to Eindhoven to see the nearby Van Gogh Village. But the city itself offers a few interesting landmarks. The Van Abbemuseum is the largest gallery in the country and it can be an interesting stop for art lovers. If you’re into sports, you can also head to the local municipal stadium to see the PSV Eindhoven football team live.
6. Groningen – 232.000
The city of Groningen now gets plenty of tourists here around the year. The small city is already busy with students at the local Groningen University but you can still make the most of it as a tour starting in the Groningen old town.
Classic architecture and multiple parks make it a great place for walking. But the Martinikerk and the Martini Tower Church with Romanesque and Gothic architecture styles is one of the main landmarks of the city.
7. Tilburg – 219.000
The 7th largest city in The Netherlands is Tilburg. The city is reinventing itself and it offers a glimpse into how urban regeneration works within the city limits. Spoorzone is one of the areas which has seen new development after its industrial days have finished.
The Tilburg Funfair can be a bit more exciting to visit, however. If you’re in the country to drink excellent craft beer, you can also head over to Tilburg’s Koningshoeven Brewery for a few hours of relaxation.
8. Almere – 211.000
The city of Almere is known for its relaxed profile. Oostvaardersplassen is one of the largest Dutch nature reserves you need to check out if you like nature and animals.
But the city can also offer an excellent day trip location from Amsterdam. You might be tempted to visit the Thermen La Mer thermal spas for relaxation here.
9. Breda – 184.000
Breda is the smallest town in The Netherlands with a high concentration of tourist attractions. This city of 184.000 inhabitants features one of the oldest cathedrals in the country and Europe. Built-in 1290, the Breda’s Church of Our Lady impresses with its architectural style.
Breda Castle is the second most popular tourist attraction in the city. But the smaller Ginneken and Castle Bouvigne is the castle you want to visit for memorable sights.
10. Nijmegen – 177.000
Situated close to the German border, Nijmegen is the 10th largest Dutch city. It represents the city with the easiest access to the West German cities of Bonn, Cologne, Dusseldorf, and Dortmund. The small city is an excellent municipality to observe classic Dutch architecture.
Most of these well-preserved buildings are located in the downtown Grote Markt area. If you’re in Nijmegen, you also need to make your way to the MuZIEum, a special type of museum where you are blindfolded to experience a museum visit as a person with vision difficulties.