Unmissable UNESCO sites in the Netherlands

For a small country, the Netherlands’ 11 UNESCO World Heritage Sites are an impressive collection. These sites are a must-see when you visit the Netherlands and tell a variety of stories, such as the way the Dutch manage water and the fascination the Dutch have for design.

Many people are aware of the beauty of the Amsterdam canals, but did you know they are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites? According to UNESCO, the canals are cultural heritage of “outstanding universal value”. The city of Amsterdam does its utter best to maintain and protect them. Every canal in Amsterdam is unique and has its charm. The “Golden Curve, the section of the Herengracht between Leidsestraat and Vijzelstraat, is lined with the most beautiful canal houses in Amsterdam. The bridge on the corner of the Reguliersgracht and the Herengracht offers an exquisite view. From the odd-numbered side, you can see as many as fifteen bridges! Truly a site not to be missed.

Continuing with the water theme, the Woudegemaal is visible from a great distance in the Frisian town of Lemmer. The 60-meter-tall chimney is one of the most splendid monuments in the Netherlands and is the only steam-powered water pumping station in the world. Built-In 1920, it is used to pump away excess water in Friesland. It is so powerful that at full force it can empty an Olympic-sized swimming pool in just over 30 seconds! Today it is still operational and open to the public for one week each year. It’s an event worth witnessing!

Vannelle Nellefabriek in Rotterdam.
Vannelle Nellefabriek in Rotterdam.

One of the most recent additions to the UNESCO World Heritage list in the Netherlands is the Van Nellefabriek, in Rotterdam. Using materials such as glass and steel and the resulting volume of light and space, UNESCO describes the plant as an “icon of Dutch modernism”. The building was erected around 1920 as a coffee, tea and tobacco factory and greatly impacted the development of modern architecture in Europe. The architects wanted to emphasize light, air, and space in the building, which is what they achieved in the Spanish Polder neighborhood in Rotterdam. The Van Nellefabriek was far ahead of its time in terms of the materials used and its shape.

There are many other interesting UNESCO sites to check out in the Netherlands, and each will truly make your trip even more remarkable!

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