True! Responsible travelers have better experiences in the Netherlands.
Responsible travelers contribute to sustainable travel in the country of their visit.
The Netherlands is a country that is no stranger to mass tourism and the negative effects this has on people, traffic, nature and culture. Shops for locals are pushed out by souvenir shops and tourist traps. This decreases the livability of specific neighborhoods and even entire cities.
We will show you how you can travel responsibly and get an even better experiences in The Netherlands, than travelers who don’t.
Have a look at our sustainable experiences in the Netherlands.
What is responsible travel?
Responsible travel is the best way to travel. As it will give you the best experiences in the Netherlands. You don’t want to leave more then footprints. Think about the way you travel, where and what you eat, and the places you explore. You are a guest in someone else’s country. The least one can do is to respect the country, its nature, and its citizens. Is your accommodation sustainable? Who benefits from the money you spend? Does your tour reduces tourist crowds?
As the travel industry continues to grow, we need to think of the burden we lay on the visited places. Being a responsible traveler is even more than that. Ecosystems are fragile, especially in a small country like The Netherlands. Sustainable tourism ensures that your travel has a positive impact on the local community.
Mass tourism has been a big issue in The Netherlands for a while. Cities like Amsterdam get millions of visitors yearly. Tis mehans you have to wait in line, tickets are sold out, restaurants are fully booked, can’t walk your own pace, people are blocking your view, etc.
Outside of Amsterdam in the countryside of the Netherlands you see barely any tourists. When you travel here you’ll have a unique experience and avoid the negative consequences of crowds. You’ll be a responsible traveler as you avoid taking part in the overcrowding of specific places. You will also be the reason why less visited places will benefit from the positive impact from tourism.
The Netherlands is famous for its traditional windmills, tulips, and picturesque canal cities. Large group of tourist flock to Zaanse Schans or Volendam to get that experience. But these places have lost their authentic character and turned into ‘what-tourist-think-the-netherlands-is-like‘ theaters to earn most tourist dollars.
You do not need to travel to these tourist traps to see these Dutch icons. There are dozens of off-the-beaten path places where you can enjoy windmills, tulips, gouda cheese, etc. Just like the locals are and have been doing for centuries. And the best part is that people seldom visit these experiences in the Netherlands when they travel to the country.
Like any other country, The Netherlands is filled with rarely visited places. Hidden gems, only the locals know about. Including incredible nature reserves, historical monuments, and the most beautiful villages. Despite being a small country, you can find endless versatile experiences in the Netherlands. The local guides of Holland Private Tour are happy to share their favorite hidden gems with you.
Meeting with locals with give you an inside look into their daily lives. Find out what makes them tick and create meaningful engagements. You can do this in several ways.
Stay at a small Dutch farm, hotel, or bed and breakfast instead of a big hotel with branches worldwide. A big corporation doesn’t have the same care about the country and the city they’re in: they are in it for the money. The locals do care – and will be able to tell you all about the culture and will give you the best insider tips. This way, the money you spend does not end up in an international corporation but goes to the community. The local communities make a country, not a corporate giant.
A tour guide, born and raised in the Netherlands, can share his/her personal experiences about the country. Speaks the language and knows the unwritten codes of contact with other locals. They will tell you about the country and the local customs like only a Dutch tour guide can.
There are hundreds of souvenir shops in Amsterdam and throughout The Netherlands. Most of them pretty tacky and not selling items that are made in this country. The best way to support the local community is by buying Dutch made souvenirs.
You will have a true local souvenir, and you support keeping traditional crafts alive. It could be local produced Delftware, a bottle of Dutch gin, package of Stroopwafel cookies, farm made Gouda cheese, a bicycle lock or bell, stuffed ‘Nijntje’ (Miffy) or something completely different. With local souvenirs, there is a story from beginning to end. And, you will never forget the fond memories when you see the souvenir in your own home.
When you travel, you are looking for great experiences and want to feel that you have had a great time. Knowing that you only left footprints and your visit has made a contribution to the country, is great! It will enhances the positive feeling and memories of your experiences in the Netherlands.
Yes I want to travel responsibly, but how?
The easiest way to travel The Netherlands responsibly is to learn from the locals. See how they travel sustainable by train and bicycle. Locals know the tricks to avoid busy crowds and long lines. Ask the latest tips on where to go and great local places to eat.
You know what they say ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ The same thing counts when you’re traveling in The Netherlands.
Local tour guides want to protect their country so it stays in the best shape for future generations. You can go off the beaten track in The Netherlands easier with a local tour guide, as they know how to get around. The best part is that you will gain meaningful connections and learn about the culture with a Dutch guide. Visit the country with a new local friend.
Choose a certified sustainable tour company with local guides, for better experiences in The Netherlands. Don’t know where to start? It’s easy you can look at our private tours here.
You eat the most flavorful seasonal and regional products at local restaurants. This will give you literally a taste of the country so don’t miss out on delicious local cuisine. Eating local is more sustainable as it traveled less far, often locally produced (like cheese and bread), which supports small local businesses as well as the restaurants. Don’t be shy and discover the Dutch kitchen.
Every year a lot of plastic ends up in our water and soils, disrupting wildlife and ecosystems. Much of this plastic is single-use plastics, such as water bottles. The Netherlands has excellent tap water, which you can refill from every tap in the Netherlands. Often public water taps are provided by the local municipality. This means there is no need to use throw-away water bottles because you can fill up and reuse your bottle.
European law states that you have to pay for a plastic shopping bag. This rule has been in effect since July 2021, in order to reduce the use of disposable plastics. As a smart, responsible traveler you bring a reusable bag for shopping, of course. Just like the locals do.
Some tourism-related complaints from locals, involve the behavior of visitors.
A good example is a situation around the tulip fields in The Netherlands. These are private properties. Many Dutch farmers had to put up signs (and even barbwire!) on their land stating, ‘please do not walk into the flower fields.’ Unfortunately, many visitors walked, sat, and even lay in the fields. This damages tulip bulbs, spreads diseases and fungi, and costing the farmer money.
This does not help tourists’ reputation in The Netherlands, and it all has to do with respect. Same for littering. Most people don’t do it on purpose, but in the Netherlands there is often a lot of wind, which easily blows trash away. Do you see littering? Pick it up and throw it in the nearest garbage bin. Just like you would do at home.
Here are some useful tips about safety, what to pack and do’s and dont’s from foreigners that live in the Netherlands. Listen to their advice and for sure you’ll be prepared and have a better experiences in the Netherlands.
Written by: Manon van Schagen – Visiting the Dutch countryside.
Need any help to get better experiences in the Netherlands? We are happy to assist. Do get in touch with us before your next trip to Amsterdam, The Netherlands.