The Netherlands or Holland; whatever you choose to call it, this beautiful country offers so much to visitors of all ages. From museums to theme parks and market squares to churches, finding things to do and places to perform is never a problem – in fact, it’ll be whittling down the options that’ll be the biggest challenge!
The Netherlands is one of our most popular tour destinations for all types of music ensembles, and having recently returned from an inspection trip, it’s easy to see why.
There’s no doubt about it, Amsterdam has so much to do morning, noon and night. Bustling with locals and tourists alike, you won’t struggle to attract an audience as you perform at one of the many venues throughout the city.
One of my favourites is Oosterkerk. This church is now only used for concerts, but the original features of the church still remain. Whilst these days the church doesn’t have its own congregation, drumming up an audience doesn’t seem to be a problem. And with groups now being able to perform a mixed repertoire, it’s a great, versatile performance venue.
Everyone’s heard of Amsterdam and it’s definitely somewhere you should visit, but less than an hour away from the capital are some smaller yet equally attractive cities and towns.
Leiden is a beautiful city set about half way between Amsterdam and The Hague. You don’t have to look far to appreciate the beauty of Leiden; typically Dutch architecture line the canals that wind their way through the cobbled streets of the city. Parks, squares, shop and cafes galore, there’s plenty of places to perform come rain or shine. My top tip – take to the water to see the best of Leiden on an English commentated canal cruise.
Head west out of Leiden and you’ll soon be greeted by a number of seaside towns, some small and quaint, some bustling and vibrant. One of my favourites, and one of our most popular with groups, is Noordwijk-aan-Zee. It’s everything you would hope for from a Dutch seaside town – rolling dunes, beachside cafes, promenades filled with yet more cafes and pancake houses, market squares… the list goes on! With a wide choice of restaurants and activities, such as ten pin bowling and crazy golf, Noordwijk is a great choice to base your group.
Head south past The Hague and you’ll reach Delft – wow, a picture-perfect Dutch town, just what I imagined the Netherlands to be! This canal-ringed city offers that Kodak-moment performance. Imagine playing in the middle of the market square, with the beautiful town hall at one end and the magnificent New Church at the other, with both sides lined with typically Dutch buildings which are now home to vibrant cafes and restaurants. It’s a performance you’ll never forget!
Next head inland towards the city of Utrecht. Now just on the outskirts of the city there’s a hidden gem you have to see. You can visit to the beach without having to go to the seaside! Located in the centre of the country is the Soesterduinen, natural sand dunes created during the last ice age. Play beach games, have a picnic, take a stroll or simply relax for a while – a beach in the middle of landfall, not something you see every day.
I could go on… 5 days in this wonderful country have reignited my love for it and totally reaffirmed why it’s such a great choice for all music ensembles of any age. A close-to-home, low cost destination with so many great towns and cities to visit and a whole host of things to do – what’s not to love?
Have you been on a music tour to the Netherlands before or perhaps visited on a mini break? Tell us about your highlights in the comments below!
If you fancy finding out more about how the Netherlands could work for your musicians, contact one of my colleagues on 01332 347828.
Concert Tours Co-ordinator