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The Netherlands in autumn: top things to do

The Netherlands in Autumn: 15 must-do's | Your Dutch Guide

Autumn is my favourite season. Simply, because I think The Netherlands are completely stunning in autumn. The leaves turn colour beautifully, dishes with pumpkins, chestnuts and game fill our table and it’s the perfect time of year to go for a long walk. So, bundle up, come on over to The Netherlands in autumn. These are the best places to visit in The Netherlands in autumn.

Autumn in The Netherlands? Plan your trip

Autumn in The Netherlands: top things to do | Your Dutch Guide

The Netherlands in Autumn: top things to do

See Dutch moorlands in full bloom

Dutch moorlands, what to do in The Netherlands in autumn | Your Dutch Guide

When I say that The Netherlands are stunning in autumn, I am absolutely not exaggerating. From the beginning of September, the heather in the Dutch moorlands is in full bloom and big parts of The Netherlands are covered in a sloping blanket of 50 shades of purple and lilac. If you feel like taking a walk or a bike ride along the beautiful Dutch Moorlands (called ‘Heide’) take a look here to see which routes you can take or read my article about heather fields in The Netherlands.

Go apple picking

Apple picking in The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

The Netherlands in autumn, where to go apple picking | Your Dutch Guide

When I am on one of my afternoon bike rides in autumn, I just smile when I see trees and trees full of red apples. Autumn is truly apple season in The Netherlands. You can pick apples that don’t grow on private property. But to be honest: basically, everything is private property in The Netherlands. So I won’t let you commit any offences and kindly point you in the direction of places where you can simply show up and do some apple picking. De Olmenhorst estate is a beautiful place for apple picking.

Eat game, it’s the season for it

The end of October officially marks the beginning of game season and this is when dishes with game start appearing in restaurants all over The Netherlands. Most of the Dutch game comes from the east of the country and this is also where you can go for a really nice meal.  You can expect dishes with venison, wild boar, wood pigeon, duck and hare.

Planken Wambuis

Photo by Planken Wambuis, Ede | Your Dutch Guide

Planken Wambuis is one of the most famous restaurants for eating game in The Netherlands and is located in Eede, not too far from Hoge Veluwe National Park. Chef Manfred Majoor and his team always let the seasons guide them and in autumn they find the most harmonious combinations. Do leave room for dessert.

De Echoput

Photo by De Echoput | Your Dutch Guide

Both the location and the menu of De Echoput are unique. The restaurant is situated near ‘t Loo, one of Holland’s most famous castles and in the middle of Hoge Veluwe National Park, where a lot of game comes from. De Echoput has been there for over 65 years and is famous for its dishes with Dutch game and wild mushrooms. If you’re after a real Dutch autumn experience, I highly recommend also spending the night at De Echoput, so you can enjoy the restaurant and the atmosphere to its fullest.

Orangerie De Pol

Photo by Orangerie De Pol | Your Dutch Guide

One of the most exciting restaurants in The Netherlands is tucked away in the woods near Doetinchem and Gaanderen in the far east of The Netherlands, where they know how to prepare game properly. Orangerie De Pol has constructed a beautiful glass dome to dine in, so you will always have dinner under the stars, no matter what the weather is like. From October until the start of January you’ll find some amazing dishes with game on the menu, as well as their home-brewed dark beer. Worth the try.

Spend a night in Amsterdam’s top museums

Photo by Bas de Brouwer | Your Dutch Guide

Museum Nacht in Amsterdam, photo by Bas de Brouwer.

With Dutch masters like Vermeer, Rembrandt and Van Gogh I do feel kinda proud when it comes to our museums. And so I should be, right? Personally, I think some of the Dutch top museums are so good you could easily spend a day and a night there, exploring some of the best art in the world. And the good news is: every autumn Amsterdam organises Museum Nacht (night of the museums) on which it’s possible to visit the cities’ most awarded museums at night, including the Anne Frank House, Hermitage, Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. You’ll be able to roam the museums, see special exhibitions, join workshops and listen to live music. It’s one of the most fun events in The Netherlands in autumn. You can buy your tickets online: for €20 you can visit all 50 museums.

Visit a castle or a palace

Soestdijk Palace

Soestdijk Palace, The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Recently, I have discovered this palace close to my home. I especially fell in love with the grounds surrounding the palace. Soestijk palace is a little hidden away, tucked away in the woods and surrounded by lovely gardens. When the leaves turn colour, it’s simply stunning to take a walk here. You can easily visit the palace, jump on a train to Utrecht or Amersfoort and a bus will take you to Soestdijk.

Kasteel de Haar

Kasteel de Haar, Castle de Haar in The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Kasteel de Haar is the largest castle in The Netherlands and I happen to be its neighbour. So I am not unbiased, yet I daresay that this castle should be on your must-visit list when you visit The Netherlands. And the castle looks even more spectacular when the surrounding woods and gardens are turning to the colours of fall. The castle may look like a proper medieval structure, it was actually built at the beginning of the 2oth century. The noble family owning the castle loved using it in the 60’s to entertain the world’s rich and famous and Coco Chanel en Roger Moore loved visiting this castle. It’s a fun castle to visit with children, as there are several scavenger hunts for them to discover the castle and large grounds by.


Muiderslot, Amsterdam Castle | Your Dutch Guide

Muiderslot has recently been dubbed as Amsterdam Castle, due to its proximity to the Dutch capital. Though the castle is not actually located in Amsterdam, the castle is very easy to visit from there. From Amsterdam IJburg simply take the ferry to Muidersluit and fortress Island Pampus. You can simply use your I Amsterdam City Card for this and it’ll give you the perfect opportunity to discover the lovely village that is Muiden. Muidersluit, or Amsterdam Castle if you like, was built in 1285 and a visit will make you travel back to the middle ages as you walk up to the moated castle. Inside the castle the famous Dutch Golden Age plays the starring role, as all rooms have been brought back to how they looked in the 17th century.

Kröller-Müller Museum

Kröller-Müller Museum The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Talk about beautiful surroundings. The cutting-edge Kröller-Müller Museum has works by the greatest painters, like Renoir, Monet and Picasso. The Van Gogh collection can easily rival that of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and includes pieces like Weavers and The Potato Eaters. The sculpture garden includes works by Rodin, making Kröller-Möller one of Holland’s top museums out of Amsterdam, and an absolute must-visit.

Hoge Veluwe National Park

Autumn The Netherlands, visit Hoge Veluwe National Park | Your Dutch Guide

Autumn The Netherlands, visit Hoge Veluwe National Park | Your Dutch Guide

Kröller-Müller Museum is actually located at the entrance of the largest national park in The Netherlands: Hoge Veluwe National Park. So if you visit the museum, please take a few hours to hike or cycle through the national park. It’s one of the prettiest places to visit in The Netherlands in autumn. On the 5500 hectares of national parkland, you’ll cycle through marshlands, woods, moorlands, planes of drifts and in autumn your chances of spotting red deer, elk and wild boar are pretty high (make sure to keep your distance from them though). If you are pressed for time you can visit both Kröller-Müller Museum and Hoge Veluwe national park on a day trip from Amsterdam. If you’d like to spend a couple of days exploring Hoge Veluwe National Park I highly recommend you staying at Holiday Park Landgoed ‘t Loo or Holiday Park Miggelenberg.

Taste some Dutch apple pie

Apple pie, photo by Winkel 43 | Your Dutch Guide

To me, autumn in The Netherlands isn’t complete without a steaming cup of coffee (or tea) and a large piece of real Dutch apple pie. So, if you are staying in an Airbnb, simply walk to the nearest bakery, get yourself some pieces of ‘appeltaart’, head back and curl up with this delicious Dutch treat. If you’re staying in Amsterdam, the best places to try some proper Dutch appeltaart are Winkel 43 and Patisserie Kuyt. Not in Amsterdam? In Utrecht, Bakkerswinkel is great for apple pie, as well as bakery and restaurant Vroeg in Bunnik. Dudok is also famous for its apple pie and has branches in Rotterdam, The Hague and Arnhem.

Sleepover in a Dutch castle

Landgoed Oud Poelgeest

Landgoed Oud Poelgeest | Your Dutch Guide

Just north of Leiden you can spend the night in the gorgeous 17th-century castle Landgoed Oud Poelgeest, where Dutch scientist Herman Boerhaave used to live. You’ll be staying in comfortable rooms in the old carriage house and you can have dinner at the fantastic adjacent restaurant. On the grounds you can discover the lovely historical gardens, the old castle and chapel. Such a lovely environment. And the beach is only a stone’s throw away.

Stayokay Landhuis Rhijnauwen

Autumn in The Netherlands, Stayokay Bunnik | Your Dutch Guide

I always love suggesting a stay at Stayokay Landhuis Rhijnauwen, in Bunnik, just outside of Utrecht. It’s actually quite an economical place to stay, but you’ll be in a lovely old mansion, surrounded by one of the loveliest forests in The Netherlands. It’s an amazing place to stay during autumn in The Netherlands, as the fall colours will be amazing. The hotel has double rooms, but also family rooms and larger rooms for groups available. Just a short walk away are three great restaurant options, but you can also simply cycle, hike or kayak (!) to the historical city centre of Utrecht. Staying at this castle simply offers the best of The Netherlands.

Kasteel Sterkenburg

Sleeping in a Dutch castle, Kasteel Sterkenburg | Your Dutch Guide

Kasteel Sterkenburg is located near Driebergen in one of the most beautiful national parks of The Netherlands, Utrechtse Heuvelrug, which looks simply stunning in full fall colours. Kasteel Sterkenburg really is a proper medieval castle with turrets, a mysterious history, family feuds and a murder that was never solved. The rooms are extremely comfortable, spacious and decorated tastefully, with just enough nudges to the past. You can even stay in one of the tower rooms. From the castle, you can enjoy hiking and cycling in a pretty environment and in the evenings you’ll dine in style in the hotel restaurant.

Chateau Holtmühle

Chateau Holtmühle | Your Dutch Guide

A proper chateau in The Netherlands? Oh, absolutely. Limburg, the most southern province of The Netherlands, is full of them. And Chateau Holtmühle is definitely one of the nicest castle hotels in the country. So if you feel like treating yourself, do go and spend the night there. It’s a proper escape to the Dutch countryside, as the castle is surrounded by lovely landscapes. Enjoy your dinner there and take some time to relax in the spa. Staying at Chateau Holtmühle is the perfect excuse to visit nearby Thorn and Maastricht and since the castle is so close to the German border a trip to Aachen, Cologne or Düsseldorf is well within reach.

Amsterdam Dance Event

Amsterdam Dance Event | Your Dutch Guide

Did you know that one of the most important Dutch export product is actually our Dutch DJ’s? DJ Tiësto, DJ Maxwell, Afrojack and Armin van Buuren have been on the top of the international list for years, so The Amsterdam Dance Event turning into one of the world’s most leading dance events is hardly a surprise Every October 120 famous DJ’s play in clubs all over Amsterdam.

Plan your trip to Amsterdam

Spot fall colours in The Netherlands

The Netherlands in autumn, fall colours The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

The Netherlands in autumn, fall colours The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

Autumn in The Netherlands, fall colours The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide
Autumn in The Netherlands, fall colours The Netherlands | Your Dutch Guide

I have serenaded the foliage in The Netherlands throughout this article and I will continue to do so now, as autumn is simply stunning. The woods simply seem to be on fire with all those different shades of yellow, red and orange. Some of the prettiest forests to take a walk in are:

The Netherlands in autumn
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The best places to visit in The Netherlands in autumn | Your Dutch Guide

Autumn in The Netherlands: 15 must-do's | Your Dutch Guide

This article was updated in autumn 2023

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  • Reply
    Julie Cao
    October 8, 2017 at 1:54 am

    The featured photo of the colorful fall foliage has turned Netherlands into a dreamland. I would never thought Netherlands is so beautiful in the Fall. Stay in a Dutch Castle during the fall season would be my dream come true Esther!

  • Reply
    Tzina Varotsi
    October 9, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Seems so beautiful! I met Netherlands in spring and I loved it!

    • Reply
      October 9, 2017 at 6:05 pm

      Oh yes, The Netherlands are pretty in spring too! I hope you get to see it in autumn sometimes! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Mary {The World Is A Book}
    October 11, 2017 at 6:43 am

    I’ve always thought of the best time to visit the Netherlands is during Spring with all your tulips in bloom. But, Autumn also looks truly special. I love learning all about the culture and traditions in this post. Didn’t know about the music DJs and the opportunity to sleep in castles. What a great list of items to do.

  • Reply
    October 14, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    The list is really great!! we live as well in The Netherlands and I totally agree with your suggestions. Our kids love to pick apples and bake an apple pie. We just did last weekend 🙂

    • Reply
      October 15, 2017 at 11:06 am

      Cool! And I feel we are only a few weeks away from making the first split pea soup of the season. Yum!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2017 at 6:18 am

    Amsterdam is on my list of places to go next year. I wanted to go in spring but this post makes a convincing argument for autumn.

    • Reply
      October 15, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Ah yes, I think most foreigners have that ‘must visit Holland in spring and see a million tulips’ in mind. But the thing is: thousands and thousands of tourists think the same every year and the Dutch also have holidays in April and May, making things often very crowded and accommodation very expensive. Personally, I’d say September or October is a much better time to visit.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Wow you make Autumn feel like the ideal time to visit. Those moors! :O

  • Reply
    October 18, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Stunning photos! I like the sound of the game and the Dutch apple pie. The weather in the U.K. today’s was calling out for comfort food like that!

    • Reply
      October 19, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      LOL! Personally, I always like the idea of apple pie and game. But yes, autumn is absolutely perfect for it.

  • Reply
    California Globetrotter
    October 19, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Great guide to autumn in the Netherlands! We also have a Herbst bock beer that comes out during this time of year! It’s one of my favs!

  • Reply
    October 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Lovely to find out some insider’s tips such as staying in a castle and the night of museums. The moors look beautiful too and so unlike what I’d expect of Holland. We visited Delft and The Hague this summer which gave me an appetite for other Dutch cities. Amsterdam will always be a favourite but you’re right to suggest going further afield.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    The Netherlands seems like it would be stunning during autumn because of all the trees. I love exploring new places during the fall. It’s my favorite season and the one I find the most beautiful.

  • Reply
    October 19, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    You should add The Hague & Delft to the lesser known cities. I always preach to people that the Netherlands is more than just Amsterdam. I just linked up a post about our holiday in Texel. Such a beautiful Dutch island. Have you visited it yet?

    • Reply
      October 20, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Hi Jules! I recently wrote about Delft and The Hague. Loves these cities! You can find the city guides here if you’re interested: The Wadden Islands are indeed absolutely gorgeous! All of them, not just Texel! Thank you for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Vanessa Brune
    October 19, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Wow, I would love to experience the Heide! And staying in a castle must be extra special on those cold and dreary autumn days 🙂

  • Reply
    October 20, 2017 at 6:57 am

    My goodness! The Netherlands is beautiful in autumn. To be honest, I will like to experience most of these. The different walks are right on my league. I wasn’t aware you guys had such a variety of game. Ohhh, I will like to taste some of those! #FarawayFiles

    • Reply
      October 20, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Oh yes, food-wise autumn is so my favourite season! 😉

  • Reply
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)
    October 20, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    What a wonderful post, Esther! Your love for the Netherlands shines through. I feel like hopping on a ferry and making my way over to some of this autumnal beauty right now. I love your suggestions too – apple pies, palace, art at night and heather all around. Sounds enchanting.

  • Reply
    October 20, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I did not know that about heather and the Netherlands but I agree Autumn is beautiful – the perfect time for long walks, wrapping up, log fires, cosy nights etc etc. As much as I love warm temperatures, I am always embracing of Autumn. Great post.

    • Reply
      October 21, 2017 at 8:43 am

      Yes, I love autumn too. My favourite season!

  • Reply
    October 20, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. I would love to visit the Netherlands in autumn. Maastricht I must visit because my sister in law went to uni there and loved it. Though if I am honest, I’m most tempted by the apple pie!

    • Reply
      October 21, 2017 at 8:43 am

      LOL, there is no shame in wanting Dutch apple pie… ever!

  • Reply
    tracy collins
    October 21, 2017 at 5:47 am

    Such stunning photographs! I enjoy visiting the Netherlands though it is a while since I explored it properly (I had a friend in The Hague I used to visit about 25 plus years ago) I have visited with my husband but only to Amsterdam. Definitely a country I need to see more of!

  • Reply
    Wendy Maes
    October 21, 2017 at 9:57 am

    Ik blijf vergeten hoeveel leuke dingen er zo dichtbij te vinden zijn. Ik heb nog wat nieuwe dingen gezien, dus ik moet toch echt nog eens een tripje naar onze Noorderburen plannen!

  • Reply
    Paul and Carole
    October 21, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Surprised to read about the music scene as didn’t realise that. Lots of activities we would love to do. Your posts make us want to explore more so thanks for that!

  • Reply
    October 21, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    You’re indeed a fantastic resource on all things Dutch! With posts like this, I now have more items to add to my list on things to do and see in Netherlands, regardless of the season 🙂 I do love art, so a visit to the museums in Netherlands is something I would definitely look forward to.

  • Reply
    October 21, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Your photos are simply stunning, especially the first one!

  • Reply
    October 22, 2017 at 8:47 am

    Ah, autumn in Europe is breathtakingly beautiful and the Netherlands is no exception. I’d love to come visit your country someday.

  • Reply
    October 22, 2017 at 11:16 pm

    Ah…I can’t wait to go to Netherlands and see an autumn for myself! Gorgeous photos!!! I love the big picture!!!

  • Reply
    October 24, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Esther, I loved so much your post! It is filled with all these small details I love the most about Autumn! Indeed, I never thought autumn in Netherlands would be so so beautiful! Pinned & tweeted, thanks so much for sharing!

  • Reply
    Ava Meena
    October 24, 2017 at 5:36 pm

    This entire list is lovely! My favorites would be seeing the heather, staying a castle, and visiting one of the lesser known cities you mentioned – I’ve only been to Amsterdam and I’d love to see more of The Netherlands.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2017 at 10:41 am

    You’ve certainly got me keen to visit the Netherlands in Autumn.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    This is an awesome list! I love how you included something for everyone, from nature lovers to EDM fans to greedy people.. I mean, foodies.. like me! Dutch apple pie looks SO GOOD!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Apple picking, museums and dancing? Sign me up! The Netherlands is so much fun to visit! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday – hope to see you again this week! xo

  • Reply
    Janine Good
    November 2, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    This is a great list! I love apple picking! Such a fun thing to do as a family. I would then take the apples and make a Dutch Apple Pie 😀 I also would love to stay in the castle!

  • Reply
    August 28, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Lovely! The colors are so beautiful. I’d love to take photos in that field of purple! I really need to visit…

  • Reply
    Rhonda Albom
    August 29, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    The Netherlands does look pretty in autumn. I don’t see much of the season changes in New Zealand so I envy all those colours.

  • Reply
    August 30, 2019 at 8:59 pm

    Wow so many great ideas! we’ve friends in Amsterdam so hoping to see more of the Netherlands. The Kröller-Möller museum looks right up my street as does one of the Botantical Gardens. Oh and I thought the British moaned about the weather more than anyone else in the world! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 1, 2019 at 5:02 pm

    Such beautiful autumnal colours! I miss that. So are you going to try and visit all 50 museum in one night then? 😉

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