Take Five: Holland for the Sober Tourist

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The Netherlands may be a small country but there’s a lot more to it than cheese production, marijuana and the infamous windmills. Each town has its own attractions, each region its own particular vibe.

Follow our guide through Holland to find out what else you should see besides a kaleidoscope of colors through the lens of Amsterdam’s coffee shops. Your journey will start in the northern region of Brabant and make its way all the way up toward the picturesque seaside town of Medemblik.

1. Strijp-S in Eindhoven

Eindhoven is located in Holland’s region of Noord-Brabant and is often dubbed the “Philips Town.” The technology company found its roots in Eindhoven in 1891 and although it has spread out since, the Philips Lighting and the Philips Research center still remain. For many years, Philips Industrial Park Strijp-S was not accessible to the public and was therefore nicknamed “The Forbidden Town.” In 2006, Strijp-S was transformed into Eindhoven’s ultimate meeting-point for the creative. The industrial park now houses the skate park and party venue Area 51, the PopEI DJ School, the Monk Bouldergym (Sports & Recreational Center), Ontdekfabriek (Discovery Fabric) and the STRP, a concert hall that invites you to enjoy experimental films, music, light installations, art and robotics. On every third Sunday of the month, you can cruise the popular Feel Good Market for handmade treasures or watch spontaneous AcroYoga performances. During the last week of October, Strijp-S welcomes the Dutch Design Week, one of the biggest furniture, clothing and tech design events in Northern Europe.

2. Vincent Van Gogh’s Hometown

If you’d like to escape the Dutch city life for a long weekend, we recommend a stay at the beautiful hotel La Sonnerie in Son. Son itself is a small village but is well connected to surrounding towns like Best, Sint Oedenrode and Nuenen, Vincent Van Gogh’s hometown. Your best transport option here is of course the bicycle; from Son, it will take you around 30 minutes to reach Nuenen. The ride will take you along the Dommel-Canal before leading you to the Hooidonksche Beek toward Nuenen through the Dutch countryside, which inspired many of Van Gogh’s paintings between 1883-1885, such as the famous The Potato Eaters. It depicts a somber atmosphere and is considered to be one of the artist’s most successful paintings. The famous Roosdonck windmills can be found on the outskirts of the town center, just before you enter Nuenen. Van Gogh incorporated these windmills into seven of his paintings. From here you can enter Nuenen’s town center and enjoy a lekker hapje (delicious bite) at the typically Dutch Café Ons Dorp.

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