Autumn in the Netherlands unveils the most charming and most colourful days of the year. As the days get shorter and chillier, the surrounding areas get enveloped in beautiful yellow, orange and crimson red leaves falling from the trees. Put on your cosy scarves and sweaters, and read more below about spending the fall season in the country. Discover the four best ways to enjoy autumn in the Netherlands.
Autumn months in the Netherlands are September, October, and November, ending on 1 December as winter takes over. Astronomically, autumn starts on 23 September.
Generally, fall is the wettest season in the country, with an average temperature of 10.6 degrees Celsius.
It doesn’t rain much here. The country gets an average annual rainfall of only 790mm.
Although November is the wettest month of all, it really isn’t that bad here in autumn. What the Dutch are complaining about is the unpredictability of the weather. It could rain anytime, all year long. There is no clear dry season or wet season in the Netherlands.
In September, the days are a little cold and clouds begin to appear. But what is so amazing about this month is the parade of colors, as the leaves change, signalling the start of fall.
Take a lovely stroll
One of the best ways to guarantee a memorable fall season is to simply stroll around and see the leaves welcoming frost. Experience the outdoors. The Netherlands boasts picturesque views that make for one amazing stroll, hike, biking, and camping in nature.
There are so many green spaces in the country where you can witness autumn arrive, but the best place to be is the forest. There are several nature reserves in the Netherlands. One of the most interesting parks is De Hoge Veluwe, the country’s biggest national park.
De Hoge Veluwe is 5,500 hectares of rich forests, heathlands, marshlands and sand drifts. This is one of the most beautiful spots to enjoy nature as autumn arrives.
There are 12 picturesque walking routes to choose from, all of which will take you to the most beautiful parts of the park. The routes come in varying distances, from 2.6 to 8 km.
Along the way, spend some time at the wild animal spotting stations located in several places throughout the park. You might see red deer, mouflon and wild boar. The best chances of coming across wild animals are in the late afternoon and evening.
You will also pass by four connecting routes that lead to important areas in the park, namely Jachthuis St. Hubertus, the Visitor Centre, and the Kröller-Müller Museum.
Check out the unique Kröller-Müller Museum to see its beautiful sculpture garden and the largest private Van Gogh collection in the world.
If hiking is not for you, hop on one of the park’s free white bicycles. (There are over 1,000 bikes waiting to be used for free.) Cruise on your bike and enjoy the autumn breeze along 40 km of bike paths. You can find these white bicycles in various locations throughout the park. Some are stationed at the Hoenderloo, Otterlo and Schaarsbergen entrances. There are also white bicycles especially for children.
Another popular nature reserve is De Weerriben-Wieden National Park in the northern province of Overijssel. Take a hike along the many hiking paths here or set up a pitch near the lakes, ditches, canals, meadows, or reed beds. The park has several forests and swamps that serve as home to amazing birds, insects, plant life, and wildlife, especially otters.
In October and November, expect heavy rains and some strong winds. Going outdoors isn’t an option during these months. The best way to enjoy your stay is to visit the Netherlands’ many important and unique museums.
The three most popular museums and most recognized in the art community are the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and Rembrandt House Museum.
The Rijksmuseum or the National Museum displays the best of the Dutch in arts, culture and history. Located in Museumplein in Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum is the home of so many priceless masterpieces, including Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid”, Avercamp’s “Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters”, and Rembrandt’s “The Sampling Officials of the Amsterdam Drapers’ Guild”, amongst other works. A wide collection of Salvador Dali’s surrealist paintings is exclusively displayed in the museum’s Surrealism wing.
The Rijksmuseum opened in 1798. Today, it displays over 8,000 important paintings, 35,000 books and many traditional handicrafts, medieval sculptures, and modern art works. Most of the artworks represent the evolution of Dutch art and culture through the years.
The museum is busy all year round, but less so in the later days of autumn to winter. Still, it is advised that you purchase tickets online prior to your visit.
Van Gogh Museum in the beautiful Rietveld building houses the most extensive collection of the master’s paintings and personal creations. The displays here reflect Van Gogh’s anxiety, suffering, love, and hope that he experienced in life.
Fans of the master and lovers of art will definitely want to see Van Gogh’s “The Potato Eaters”, “The Bedroom”, “Sunflowers” and “Almond Blossom”. Also on display are the paintings of Maurice de Vlaminck and Kees van Dongen, artists who Van Gogh personally inspired.
Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh museum are only walking distance apart in Amsterdam’s Museumplein.
On the other hand, Rembrandt House Museum is located in the artist’s home on the Jodenbreestraat, in the Jewish Quarter. This is where the artist spent the happiest and most successful years of his life, and where he found models for most of his works focusing on Biblical themes. He also painted the things he saw from his window at home, including Amsterdam’s lovely canals.
Take part in the autumn festivals
The Netherlands comes alive with several fun activities and festivals in the fall. The festival season happens throughout autumn and includes many important international events from September to November, one of the most popular of which is the annual Jordaan Festival.
The Jordaan Festival takes place in Amsterdam’s most charming, most popular, and most colourful folk district, the Jordaan. This three-day festival is Amsterdam’s most famous neighborhood party. It attracts many artists who love performing ballads and the traditional Dutch levenslied or “song of life”.
This huge street party started in 1975, and the goal is to celebrate Jordaan’s colourful history. The festival is around the Marnixstraat, Elandsgracht and Appeltjesmarkt, typically featuring drum bands, games, opera, cabaret, and massive sing-alongs, commonly held in De Twee Zwaantjes and Café Nol bars.
The Netherlands is ultra-popular around the world for its amazing flowers, particularly the tulip. This becomes so apparent during the Flower Parade or “Bloemencorso” in Zunbert, the world’s largest flower parade.
Every year, this parade draws in hundreds of volunteers who spend money and time to build fantastic floral floats made specifically of dahlias.
The Zundert Flower Parade has been turning the town upside down since 1936. It takes place on the first Saturday of September, but the volunteers begin preparing several months prior (preparation includes the cultivation of dahlias.) Tens of thousands of visitors come to Zunbert to experience the Flower Parade every year. Zundert is located on the Belgium border.
World Port Days is Rotterdam’s turn to grab the spotlight. This is a large, annual maritime event in Rotterdam, the world’s largest and most important seaport.
People come to this event to experience ship tours, naval activities, demonstrations, seminars, excursions, exhibitions, music, and many more maritime-related programs.
This is a popular family event in Rotterdam. Children love the breathtaking stunts and nautical shows, as families gather at Erasmus Bridge or the grandstand on the Wilhelminakade.
Visit a Cozy Village
Apart from Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, the Netherlands is also well-loved by tourists for its many unique villages and small towns. There are quaint neighbourhoods all over the country that boast unspoilt nature and forests that turn spectacularly colourful in autumn.
One of the most charming Dutch villages is Giethoorn, near the De Weerriben-Weiden nature reserve.
Giethoorn is known as the “Venice of the Netherlands” for its lovely canals and romantic sights. This small town is known to offer care-free living and picturesque boat rides in its waterways. The centuries-old thatched-roof houses, traditional cottages, and 180 wooden arch bridges create an enchanting surrounding like no other.
Stay a few days beyond autumn to see Giethoorn transform into a winter wonderland. The snow falling on the rich meadows and crystals forming on the lakes are fairy-tale-like and magical.
The Netherlands receives about 11 million people from around the world throughout the year. It is beautiful in all four seasons. From June to August, summer is the peak season, which means the most popular destinations and attractions could get very crowded. To avoid competing with throngs of travellers, come in late spring or early fall. The air is relatively humid in autumn and spring, and many travellers believe these are the loveliest times to visit the Netherlands.
Come in the fall and discover the four best ways to enjoy autumn in the Netherlands. It is lovely any time of the year, but autumn is like no other season, thanks to its unique colors, festivals, and the opportunity to stay indoors.