Autumn or Herfst in Dutch is one of the most charming seasons in the Netherlands. Beautiful yellow, orange, and crimson red leaves descend from the trees. The days get shorter and chillier so you wrap yourself in cozy scarves and sweaters. It’s also the start of many traditions that friends and family share. What isn’t there to love about this time of the year? To make it even more enjoyable here are seven ways to spend Autumn in the Netherlands.
1. See the Autumn Leaves Change Colors on a Forest Walk
Experiencing the outdoors is a great way to spend autumn in the Netherlands. Venture out to the forest and enjoy a leisure walk or hike. Admire the colorful foliage and the smell of earth around you. The scenery is also a great backdrop for photo opportunities. We went on a weekend visit to Heuvelrug in Utrecht which is the perfect autumn setting. You can also forage for mushrooms because it is the season for them. Find them attached to the stumps of trees. Can’t go to the forest? There are many green spaces where you can witness autumn in Holland take place.
2. Take a day trip to the Veluwe
The Veluwe is a wilderness area located in the Gelderland province. It has a variety of natural areas and landscapes like sand dunes, forests, lakes, and heaths. Discover its beauty by hiking, cycling, mountain biking, or go camping. Take a visit to the national parks, Hoge Veluwe National Park and Veluwezoom. I recommend bringing a pair of binoculars to spot all the game and wildlife (there are many deer here).
3. Visit a Cosy Village
The Netherlands has so many cute villages and small towns to choose from. On our way to the forest, we stumbled upon the cozy village of Lage Vuursche.
It’s surrounded by wooded trees, tiny shops, and charming restaurants. I recommend visiting to explore nature, recreational activities and to pass by the Soestdijk Palace. This village is known for where Princess Beatrix resides.
4. Enjoy a Steaming Cup of Mulled Wine
On a crisp and cold day, there’s nothing better than having a nice hot cup of mulled wine. This traditional German/Austrian drink is often served during the colder months.
Made with different types of spices, mulled wine is the perfect way to warm up during the fall season. All over the Netherlands, you’ll find them sold at restaurants, markets, and stalls. Try making your own concoction at home and serve warm!
5. Pumpkin Carving
Although this is an American tradition, pumpkins pop up all around the stores from September to October in the Netherlands. Grab yourself a couple of pumpkins, a good cutting knife then get carving away. Follow a funky pattern or come up with your own cool design. After discarding the seeds you can use the flesh for pie filling, and the seeds to make homemade pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin carving is a fun autumn activity that anyone can do.
6. Go on a Cycling Adventure
Don’t be reluctant to think that the Netherlands is completely flat. There are some hills and many biking trails across the country. Choose from landscapes such as the woods, forests, dunes, and even heaths. Utrecht Heuvelrug is popular amongst mountain bikers.
If you’re feeling adventurous head to the eastern part of the Netherlands to Drenthe. This part of the Dutch countryside is ideal for bikers and mountain bikers alike. Enjoy the fresh air, exercise, and a nice ride on the colorful autumn landscape. It can rain pretty steadily in the Netherlands so try to go when the forecast says it’s dry. Also, many locations will have cafes that sell delicious pancakes.
7. Have Some Comfort Food – Stamppot
Autumn also calls for delicious foods and meals. Cinnamon, sugar, and all the aromatic spices but also stamppot! There are so many variations of stamppot to choose from. There is kale (boerenkool in Dutch), apple, meatball, Hutspot, and sweet potato if you’re feeling fancy.
8. Party at Amsterdam Dance Event
Have you been to ADE or Amsterdam Dance Event? It’s an annual festival held every October. All the biggest DJs, producers, musicians, and artists from the electronic music industry come together in Amsterdam. For the festival, thousands of artists come and play in cool venues all over the city. The conference covers topics in the music industry and is a great opportunity to meet and network with others. No autumn in the Netherlands is complete for me with spending a fun night out at ADE.
9. Go Stargazing
Since the temperature is cooling down and the humidity condensing. This gives way for clear skies and stargazing. Pick a comfortable spot outside and try to identify constellations, cosmos, and stars. If possible, travel a bit outside the city to avoid light pollution and to better see the beauty around you. Observing the vastness of the universe is a great outdoor fall activity. Not familiar with astronomy? Download an app on your phone to help recognize the night sky surrounding you.
The ultimate autumn bucket list
There’s no need to wonder what happens during Autumn any longer. I hope you enjoy these fun things to do for the months of October and November. Make sure to add these fall activities to your list this year. If you’re seeking additional suggestions for autumn activities, here are six more must-try options.