What to do in the Netherlands on a Hot Day: Top Activities and Destinations

June 25, 2023

As the summer sun basks over the Netherlands, locals and tourists alike search for enjoyable activities to make the most of the warm weather. In this bustling country known for its charming windmills, striking tulip fields, and vibrant cities, there is no shortage of options for those seeking a memorable hot day experience.

Amsterdam, the capital city, offers a wide array of outdoor activities suited for scorching temperatures. For instance, visitors can explore the lush greenery of Amsterdam Bos or glide through the iconic canals on stand-up paddleboards, taking in the city's beauty from a unique perspective. Another option is to visit one of the numerous Dutch beaches that line the coast, where cooling sea breezes and crystal-clear waters promise the perfect summer beach escape.

Visiting amusement parks or the famous Efteling – known as the Dutch Disneyland – offers a fun-filled day for families. Aside from theme parks and urban adventures, the Netherlands also boasts a rich cultural scene. Sporting traditional Dutch clothing in Volendam or sipping on refreshing, locally brewed beers are but a couple of unforgettable exploits to undertake during a warm summer's day.

Beaches and Water Activities

Swimming and Sunbathing

On a hot day in the Netherlands, the country's splendid beaches are perfect for swimming and sunbathing. The Dutch coastline offers unlimited opportunities for water sports enthusiasts, nature lovers, and beach fans. Some popular beaches to visit include Zandvoort aan Zee, which is the closest beach to Amsterdam, and the beaches in the provinces of North-Holland, South-Holland, and Zeeland.

Sea and Sand

The Netherlands is known for its pristine sandy beaches stretching along the coast and the Wadden Islands. Visitors can indulge in various activities like building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or simply relaxing under the sun. The gentle sea breeze and the beautiful sunsets make for a perfect day at the beach in the Netherlands.

Beach Clubs and Bars

Many Dutch beaches have beach clubs and bars, providing an excellent place to unwind with a drink, enjoy delicious snacks, or dine with a sea view. These beach clubs often organize events and parties, so make sure to check their schedules for a fun-filled experience. When visiting beach clubs and bars, take advantage of the comfortable seating and enjoy the sunshine.

Sailing and Canoeing

For those who prefer exploring the waters, the Netherlands offers ample opportunities for sailing and canoeing. The Dutch coast has many water sports centers, where you can rent equipment or take lessons in sailing, canoeing, or other water-based activities. Embark on a nautical adventure and discover the beauty of the Dutch coastline.

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Outdoor Explorations

Bike Rides

The Netherlands is known for its bike-friendly culture, so one of the best activities on a hot day is to rent a bike and explore the country's beautiful landscapes. Numerous well-maintained bike paths, flat terrain, and picturesque routes make biking here a delight. For a scenic and unique experience, visit Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you can admire iconic windmills while cycling through the countryside.

Parks and Picnics

There are abundant parks in the Netherlands, offering great opportunities for picnics and outdoor relaxation. Westerpark, located in Amsterdam, is a popular choice among locals and visitors alike. With its vast green spaces, walking paths, and ponds, it is the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy picnics on a warm day.

National Parks and Forests

The Netherlands is not just about windmills and tulips; it also boasts a variety of national parks and forests, waiting to be explored. The Hoge Veluwe National Park, for instance, offers picturesque landscapes, diverse wildlife, and walking and cycling trails. Another option is the sprawling Loonse en Drunense Duinen, which features vast sand dunes, pine forests, and plenty of opportunities for hiking and birdwatching.

Windmills and Architecture

Discover the rich history of Dutch windmills and architecture on a hot day by visiting sites like the Zaanse Schans, a charming village that showcases traditional Dutch buildings and functioning windmills. For those interested in exploring castles, Castle De Haar stands out as a must-see. This impressive Gothic Revival castle boasts beautiful gardens and a stunning interior, making it worth a visit.

By spending time outdoors enjoying bike rides, parks, national parks, forests, windmills, and architecture, visitors to the Netherlands will be able to make the most of their trip even on hot days.

Museums and Galleries

The Netherlands is home to some of the world's most renowned museums and galleries, which makes it an ideal destination for culture enthusiasts. On a hot day, these air-conditioned spaces will provide a welcome respite and an opportunity to explore the country's rich artistic heritage.

One must-visit destination for art lovers is the Van Gogh Museum. This dedicated space showcases the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, housing the largest collection of his paintings, drawings, and letters. Visitors can marvel at iconic pieces such as "Sunflowers" and "The Bedroom" while learning about the artist's personal struggles and inspirations.

In Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum is another significant cultural attraction. It is the largest art museum in the country, containing masterpieces from renowned Dutch artists like Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Hals. The museum's collection spans from the Middle Ages to modern times, providing a comprehensive look at Dutch art and history. Of particular interest is Rembrandt's famous painting, "The Night Watch," which is prominently displayed in the museum's Gallery of Honour.

For those interested in history, the Anne Frank House is a poignant and essential experience. This preserved site was once the hiding place of Anne Frank and her family during World War II. Now transformed into a museum, visitors can explore the Secret Annex, view original diary pages, and learn about the personal stories of those who lived in hiding during this tumultuous time in history.

Additionally, there are numerous specialty museums and smaller galleries scattered across the Netherlands, allowing visitors to delve into a wide range of interests and niches. From contemporary art to historical artifacts, there is a museum or gallery to suit every taste.

In conclusion, the Netherlands' museums and galleries offer an enriching and educational experience, complete with awe-inspiring artwork and historical insights. When looking for a way to escape the heat, these cultural institutions provide a perfect opportunity to stay cool while gaining a deeper appreciation for Dutch art and history.

Island Escapes


Texel, the largest of the Dutch Wadden Islands, offers a perfect getaway for those seeking a break from the heat. This little 25km-long, 9km-wide paradise is abundant with powdery-white beaches, wildlife-filled nature reserves, quiet forests, and quaint villages. The island's unspoiled environment makes it ideal for relaxation and outdoor activities.

One popular attraction on Texel is the Ecomare, a nature center where you can learn about the island's diverse ecosystem. Beach lovers should head to De Koog, known for its soft white sand and vibrant beach bars. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the island's numerous biking and walking trails, with endless opportunities to explore beautiful landscapes.

Dutch Island Adventures

The Netherlands is home to several islands offering unique experiences and adventures for hot summer days. Alongside Texel, other islands such as Terschelling, Vlieland, and Ameland boast striking beaches, cozy villages, and unspoiled natural environments.

  • Terschelling: Known for its picturesque harbor town with red-roofed houses, this island offers miles of pristine beaches and a lively cultural scene, hosting the annual Oerol Festival.
  • Vlieland: The smallest of the Dutch Wadden Islands, Vlieland has a tranquil atmosphere, with only one village, car-free streets, and vast expanses of natural beauty. Ideal for nature walks and bike rides.
  • Ameland: Featuring charming lighthouses along with wide-open beaches, Ameland is perfect for sunbathing, outdoor sports, or exploring its four small towns, each with its own unique character.

Whether you choose Texel or another Dutch island, there's no shortage of island escapes to unwind and enjoy the Netherlands on a hot day.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best outdoor activities in the Netherlands during summer?

The Netherlands offers a variety of outdoor activities during summer. Popular options include renting a bike and exploring the picturesque countryside, picnicking in one of the many urban parks, taking a canal cruise through cities like Amsterdam or Utrecht, and attending outdoor festivals or concerts. Make sure to check local event calendars for the most up-to-date information on summer happenings.

Which beaches are popular in the Netherlands on hot days?

One of the most popular beaches in the Netherlands is Zandvoort aan Zee, which is located 30 kilometers outside Amsterdam, making it the closest beach to the Dutch capital. This beach is a favorite amongst locals, especially Amsterdammers, and is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying beautiful sunsets. Other notable beach options include Scheveningen, Bloemendaal aan Zee, and Texel Island.

What are the top water parks in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is home to several exciting water parks perfect for cooling down on hot summer days. Some of the top water parks include Duinrell's Tikibad in Wassenaar, which features a mix of indoor and outdoor water attractions; Aqua Mundo at Center Parcs, boasting multiple locations across the country and offering diverse water activities; and Aquaventura Slidepark in Hellendoorn, with its thrilling water slides and splash zones.

Where can I find nice spots for swimming in the Netherlands?

For those who prefer freshwater swimming, the Netherlands has numerous lakes, rivers, and natural swimming pools. Some popular spots include the Amstel River in Amsterdam, the Oosterschelde estuary in Zeeland, and the IJsselmeer, a large, shallow lake in the north of the country. Always research the safety and cleanliness of natural swimming areas before diving in, as some locations may have specific rules or restrictions.

What cool indoor attractions can be visited in the Netherlands?

If you're looking for an escape from the heat, the Netherlands has plenty of cool indoor attractions to choose from. Explore the remarkable collections of world-famous art museums such as the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam or the Van Gogh Museum, marvel at the fascinating exhibits in the NEMO Science Museum, or unwind with a visit to one of the many indoor shopping malls, like the Magna Plaza in Amsterdam or the Markthal in Rotterdam.

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Written by

Leo van den Berg
As a Dutchman I am extremely proud of the beautiful country in which I live. My goal is to convey my passion and love for the Netherlands to as many people as possible.

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