This western Dutch province bordered by the long, sandy beaches of the North Sea is home to many of the country’s most remarkable cities and sights.
The province of South Holland (Zuid Holland) takes in Rotterdam, The Hague, Delft and Leiden, among other major Dutch cities, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the world but also one of the most fascinating.
Start in The Hague, which is much more that the province’s capital alone. The city hosts the UN’s International Court of Justice, the Dutch King Willem-Alexander works from its Paleis Noordeinde and its Binnenhof is the seat of the government of the Netherlands.
Overlooking the Hofvijver, the moat-like lake of the Binnenhof, is in the elegant Mauritshuis. See its famous Dutch paintings from the Golden Age, including the Girl with a Pearl Earring. Take the tram to the coast to browse the iconic Scheveningen Pier or see a miniature version of the Netherlands in Madurodam.
Rotterdam, the province’s largest city, is an architecture lover’s dream. The Witte Huis (White House), in art nouveau style, was Europe’s first high-rise building. Extensively rebuilt after destruction suffered during World War II, Rotterdam is modern and daring in design. You won’t believe your eyes when you see the creative Kubuswoningen (Cube Houses), futuristic Central Station and swan-like Erasmus Bridge.
See the famous Rotterdam Port from the top of the Euromast or from the water during a narrated cruise. In the Museumpark, take in the contrast of the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, with its Dutch master paintings, and the Kunsthal, with its modern art.
South Holland’s university cities of Delft and Leiden have charming historic centers with beautiful monuments, canals and a wealth of museums. In Delft, buy the famous Delfts Blauw pottery for a precious souvenir. In Leiden, see the ancient treasures in the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden and walk over the Burcht van Leiden.
For something very different, drive to the coastal town of Oegstgeest to discover its eye-catching Corpus Museum, housed in a medically accurate model of a human body.
Of course you can’t leave South Holland before visiting the huge flower show of De Keukenhof, tulip fields of Lisse and the UNESCO heritage-listed windmills along the Kinderdijk near Dordrecht.
Get a taste of the entrepreneurial spirit and ingenuity of the Dutch by experiencing South Holland’s history, nature, architecture and culture.