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Staying in Netherlands for 2 weeks with older kids

My husband and I would like to take our 3 children (ages 10, 12, and 15) to spend 2 weeks in the Netherlands. I'm open to other places to be our home base, but I was thinking of Haarlem because it's close to Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, and Bloemendaal... and my grandmother immigrated from Haarlem to the U.S. in the early 1900s, so I've always wanted to see her home town. I'm curious if others think this is a good place for our family to stay for a few weeks?

Also, my grandfather was from Smilde in Drenthe. I would like to visit his hometown, but it is too far for a day trip from Haarlem. Has anybody ever stayed in the countryside in Drenthe, or the capital of the province there, Assen? Is it worth staying there for a few days or a week?

Posted by
1012 posts

How will you be getting around for the Smilde part of your trip? Are you willing to rent a car? If not I wouldn’t spend a week there. That area of our country isn’t as densely populated as the rest of the country, so the public transport network isn’t as dense either. You really need a car if you want to spend a week there.

Posted by
1899 posts

Three years back I stayed a few days in Raverswoude near Smilde. The countryside of Drenthe is very lovely, you need indeed a car to explore. Didn’t visit Assen, besides some nice spots think it’s not very exiting.

Drenthe is well known for it’s Brinkdorpen, villages with farmhouses with thatched roofs located around a meadow. Otterlo is very well preserved and actually an open air museum and a good place to my idea for an impression about how life was 100 years ago. Same for a visit to open air museum Ellert en Brammert. Brinkdorp Dwingeloo is lovely as well. Further typical “Drents” are hunebeds, prehistorical tombstones. Nice for the kids the zoo in Emmen. (no English version)

Smilde is close to Kamp Westerbork, a moving place as it was once the main transportation hub of the Netherlands to the deathcamps in Germany and Polen during WW2.

Smilde is not that far from Giethoorn, you can visit it on the way to or back from Smilde. The same for Zwolle, Kampen or tiny Hattem. Following the northern route over the “Afsluitdijk” you can visit in Friesland for instance Makkum, Hindeloopen, Sloten etc. There are many options.

A few days minimum, easily a few more if this is what you are looking for.