10 Ways to make the best of autumn in the Netherlands
Autumn in the Netherlands to me is absolutely stunning with breathtaking landscapes where leaves turn different kinds of yellow and red, sweet-smelling moist soil, and mist drifting over the fields. It’s my favourite season. Dishes with pumpkins, bock beers, ice skating, venison, erwtensoep, tables filled with games, I love it all!
As the season changes quickly, you want to make sure you make the most of autumn in the Netherlands. For those ready to visit the Netherlands during autumn I will share the best things to do during autumn in the Netherlands!
When is autumn in the Netherlands?
The dates of the autumn season in The Netherlands are every year the same, from the 21st of September until the 20th of December. The air is becoming crisper, the daylight is less and the leaves are falling off the trees. The average temperature in the Netherlands during autumn is 10,6 celsius. Generally, autumn is the wettest season in the Netherlands, with November being the month with the most precipitation. Be prepared because the Dutch weather can be nasty and catch you blindsided!
Go for a walk in De Hoge Veluwe during autumn
Autumn is the perfect time of the year to go for a long walk and De Hoge Veluwe is the perfect place to do so. De Hoge Veluwe is the biggest national park in the Netherlands, featuring some of the country’s most remarkable natural landscapes of forest, heathland, marshland, sand drifts and lakes. It’s home to a wide diversity of plant and animal species. De Hoge Veluwe is easily reached from Amsterdam.
When walking in De Hoge Veluwe you might see a red deer, wild boar, mouflon (wild sheep) or roe deer. De Hoge Veluwe has about twelve walking routes that take you to the most beautiful parts of the national park. The length of the routes varies from 2.6 to 8 km. It’s the perfect place to enjoy nature during autumn in the Netherlands.
After the walk you might enjoy tasting the Veluwe. Thanks to its high volume of producers and growers of organic regional products, the Veluwe is one of the most exciting culinary destinations in the Netherlands. Think about responsibly sourced wild meat like venison and boar, artisan bread or local cheese and honey. A really good restaurant is ‘restaurant de Echoput’, well-known for its wild game and natural cuisine.
Visit a pumpkin farm in the Netherlands during autumn
In many Dutch villages and towns you will find individuals who use their garden or a piece of land to grow pumpkins and later sell them in front of their houses. Fun! For just a few euros you can buy pumpkins on the road. The only disadvantage of this is that these people don’t have a website and they can’t be found on the internet. So you must come across them by chance!
Of course, you can also visit a local pumpkin farm to pick pumpkins yourself or to enjoy some of the free activities like hayrides, corn mazes, and petting zoos. Some of my favourite pumpkin farms in the Netherlands are:
- Pompoenerie Best, Best (Noord-Brabant)
- De Pompoenwinkel, Geersdijk (Zeeland)
- De Swaan, Oud-Karspel (Noord-Holland)
- Sanders Pompoenen en Exoten, Sprang-Capelle (Noord-Brabant)
- De Pompoenerie Lopik, Lopik (Utrecht)
- De Leropper Tuin, Lerop (Limburg)
- Pompoenen Drenthe, Erica (Drenthe)
- Gerbens pompoenenschuur, Bornerbroek (Overijssel)
Taste autumn in the Netherlands: venison, stamppot, erwtensoep and pepernoten
Another great region to dine during autumn in the Netherlands is the Achterhoek. Around mid-October, when the hunting season is open and hares, pheasants, wild ducks and roebuck are freely available, many restaurants serve the best venison dishes. In addition to meat, the Achterhoek is also famous for its mushrooms. From chanterelles to oyster mushrooms, many types of mushrooms are combined with fresh venison to create the best venison dishes. A great recommendation!
Great places in the Achterhoek to eat the best venison dishes are Hotel Villa Ruimzicht in Doetinchem and Hotel café restaurant de Gouden Karper in Hummelo.
Autumn season in the Netherlands also calls for something else: stamppot! This really is a typical Dutch dish! It is a kind of stew with mashed potatoes and cabbage like; kale, sauerkraut, or endive. It is usually served with a juicy ‘rookworst’ and some gravy. Rookworst is made of ground meat mixed with spices and salt. You can buy all ingredients for stamppot in a regular supermarket. The rookworsten of the brand ‘UNOX’ are really good. The Dutch shop ‘Hema’ is famous for their own typical rookworst. You can buy it cold to heat it at home or buy it ready to eat with a nice warm bun.
The cold, wet weather in the Netherlands also calls for another traditional meal: erwtensoep. While you are in the Netherlands, why not try a traditional recipe such as erwtensoep which means traditional pea soup. This soup is also known as snert, which does not sound appealing but worth a try right?!
During autumn you can also find festive Dutch cakes and pastries in the Dutch stores. Think about candies, cakes and cookies associated with the festive seasons like Sinterklaas and Christmas. Try some speculaas or Sinterklaas chocolate.
Take a turn around an ice ring
On October 1st most (covered) ice rings in The Netherlands open their doors again. So if you fancy putting on your ice skates, go ahead and head to, for example, Vechtsebanen in Utrecht, the Jaap Eden ijsbaan in Amsterdam, the Optisport ice ring in Breda, the ice rink in front of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam or the Openlucht Museum in Arnhem. You can rent ice skates at most venues and don’t forget afterwards to get a hot chocolate.
Visit a Dutch island during autumn
If you didn’t already know, the Netherlands has some pretty cool islands. Autumn is a lovely time to visit these islands because it is less busy and you can probably find some cheap deals for accommodation. Texel, one of the islands, becomes ridiculously photogenic during autumn and will be really refreshing for you. I am sure it will not be a disappointment to visit Texel during autumn. Get a hot chocolate from the local café, go bird watching or read a book in your robe. The Dutch islands are really worth a visit during autumn.
Curl up with a book and Dutch apple pie
When it’s raining and storming outside, it’s a good idea to stay in and curl up with a travel book. You can do this at any cafe in the Netherlands. Order some tea or coffee and a big slice of Dutch apple pie. Dutch apple pie is always a good idea! Don’t forget to order the whipped cream too.
Visit a Dutch brown cafe and taste a herfst bokbiertje
There is nothing more lovely than leaving the cold street into a Dutch Brown Café. It is essentially a traditional Dutch bar and is full of Dutch culture at its best! They are cosy, dark in interior, probably have a warm fireplace, and of course many different types of beer on tap – lekker! Most of the well-known Dutch beer brands release a dark beer during autumn: bockbier (in Dutch: Herfst bok bier). These beers are often of low fermentation, ruby coloured with a malty and caramel like flavour. At the beginning of October, you can taste many bock beers at the Bockbier festival in Amersfoort or Bock & Rock in Utrecht.
Take a walk in the woods or a park during autumn
Early to mid-autumn is the prettiest time of the year, as the trees still have most of their leaves which have turned vibrant with the coming cold. The woods simply are stunning during autumn in the Netherlands. They seem to be on fire with all those different shades of yellow, red and orange. Some of the prettiest forests and parks to take a walk in are:
- Bossen Paleis Het Loo, Apeldoorn
- Wolfhezer bossen, Wolfheze
- Utrechtse Heuvelrug, Utrecht
- Vondelpark, Amsterdam
- Museumpark, Rotterdam
- Scheveningse Bosje, The Hague
Visit a botanical garden in the Netherlands during autumn
The Netherlands have several beautiful botanical gardens and in autumn it’s a treat to visit them.
If you’re in Amsterdam, visit Hortus Botanicus: one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. The gardens are very intimate, but the greenhouses are very pretty and the café is a good spot for some hot chocolate. You can book a small group bike tour in Amsterdam with a local and explore the garden together with a small group and local guide. You will also visit some other Amsterdam highlights. Another useful thing to buy when visiting Amsterdam is the Amsterdam City Card with Free Entrance & Public Transport. With this card you’re able to:
- Discover more than 70 major museums and attractions for free!
- Explore Amsterdam with unlimited free access to public transport!
- Enjoy a free canal cruise and 24-hour bike rental!
In Utrecht the botanical garden De Oude Hortus is really worth a visit. This botanical garden even made it to the UNESCO world heritage list. It is situated in the middle of the city centre and holds a collection of smaller themed gardens.
Celebrate Halloween in the Netherlands
Autumn season also means – Halloween! Halloween (also known as All Hallow’s Eve, All Saint’s Eve, and Samhain) falls on the 31st of October every year. Even though Halloween isn’t really a Dutch tradition it has taken hold over larger cities in the Netherlands and it is common for bars, clubs and cinemas to host special, spooky events around October 31. Go to a costume party, carve a pumpkin, enjoy ghost tours, play trick-or-threat, or many of the other activities.
So there you are, a guide to autumn in the Netherlands! I am sure there are many other amazing things to do. Try not to let the cold get you down and enjoy the Netherlands during autumn! Happy Herfst!
What’s your favourite thing to do during fall in the Netherlands?
Let me know in the comment section below!
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