Local festivals and public holidays in the Netherlands are based on ceremonies and traditions. Nature is linked to century old involvement by humans. Even seasonal Dutch food and artisanal products are not the same without looking at history. The European Heritage Days in South Holland make you live the Dutch life in present, past and future. Here are my 4 favorite places to visit on Open Monuments Day.


The European Heritage Days in South Holland and beyond are in Dutch better known as Open Monumentendag. It is an annual event that takes place in the second weekend of September and actually is a 2 day Dutch celebration. A fantastic selection of monumental buildings, from church to windmill, from castle to sluice are open to the public and entrance is free. Now you might know that with Verita’s Visit I like to take you into the countryside and to places that have a connection with artisanal products and show the story behind local festivals. So, the following 4 European Heritage Days in South Holland travel tips might not be what you expect. 

Grape greenhouse visit Verita's The Hague South Holland heritage

1. Grape greenhouse on the border of The Hague & Delft

This European Heritage Days in South Holland travel tip is on top of my list. There are an enormous number of great monuments to visit on Open Monuments Day in The Hague and Delft. If you have the chance drop by at the Knight’s Hall, part of the Houses of Parliament area or the Old Church in Delft. The local product of the season is the grape, best in the month September. So, a visit to one of the oldest grape greenhouses in the Netherlands should be on anyone’s list. The volunteers at the Sonnehoeck tell a fantastic story about the grape cultivation back in the 19th century and shows the evolution from the cultivation on a fruit wall to the first signs of a greenhouse to the present greenhouse. Open only on Saturday of the European Heritage weekend, make sure you also get a box of those tasty locally grown Dutch grapes.

bike tour Leiden city & countryside Verita's Visit South Holland heritage day

2. Heritage days South Holland: Leiden Pieterskerk


Leiden is by far one of the best museum cities in the province of South Holland. Let me be more specific: the city is a museum. For this European Heritage Days South Holland travel tip I had a hard time choosing just one monument. I mean, museum Boerhaave has a fantastic connection with castle Oud-Poelgeest, where we pass on the 3 hour cycling tour. Ánd you can see the anatomic theatre in the museum.  I would also love to highlight the city museum Lakenhal, as it has all these historical objects and artwork telling so much about the Relief of Leiden. At the end, my favorite place to visit on Open Monuments Day in Leiden is the Pieterskerk. Not just in this Heritage Days weekend, any time. This is a church that breathes history. 900 years in 2021 to be precise. It speaks of Jacqueline of Bavaria, Rembrandt, the Pilgrim Fathers and of my favorite local festival in South Holland: the Relief of Leiden.


3. Keukenhof castle ‘t Dever

Another difficult decision to make when it comes to favorite places to visit on the European Heritage Days in South Holland. I’m very much tempted to name Keukenhof itself. To see the castle from the inside and hear the beautiful story of the Van Lynden family and their role in the making of the Keukenhof tulip garden is quite remarkable. Or, museum the Black Tulip: the building itself a former bulbshed it tells the history of bulb cultivation in between Amsterdam and Leiden. My open monuments travel tip takes us to ‘t Huis Dever. Again, this is a place that breathes history. Built in the 14th century as a fortified dwelling, what is left ( after restoration) is the residential tower. The castle ruin tells part of the history of the oldest flower region in the Netherlands. For a real hidden gem take a look inside.  There is one item connected to Jacqueline of Bavaria, once owner of large part of Keukenhof area.

windmill visit Verita's Heritage Days South Holland

4. Gouda  Poldergemaal & Boezemmolen

Gouda is the perfect city to find out about the history of all those typical Dutch artisanal products. On the Heritage Days Gouda monuments open that are related to forgotten crafts such as pottery and linnen. Take for instance the Kleischuur and the Garenspinnerij.  For my travel tips South Holland in the 2nd weekend of September I have chosen two objects in Gouda countryside On my bike tour to the Gouda cheese farm and through the Dutch countryside we pass by these typical Dutch icons. The windmill Boezemmolen once was part of a mini Kinderdijk in Gouda area and now is the only surviving windmill. The 19th century Poldergemaal, a water pumping station,  is another important element of Dutch watermanagement. This is a so called polder museum, showing in an interactive way how the area where cows graze on meadows and cheese is made on farms kept its feet dry by pumping water first with a wheel, then by steam and later by electricity. 


For all activities on the Open Monuments Days in September check the organisation’s website

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