Germany and Netherlands are neighboring countries, thus it is very easy to cross the border between these two countries. However, if you travel from Germany to Netherlands you should take into account the similarities and differences between Germany and Netherlands. I outlined the differences in driving style, roads and cultural differences in my blog the Differences between Netherlands and Germany for road trip travels. When you prepare your cross border trip, the next step to decide is which cities in the borders of these two countries to visit. I have written a blog about the German cities to visit close to the Netherlands. In this blog, I will highlight nice Dutch cities to visit in the Netherlands, which are close to the borders of Germany.
Which Dutch cities or towns to visit close to Germany?
There are many good places to visit in the Netherlands which are close to the border of Germany. Here are some of the recommended places, starting from the Northern going to the Southern part of the Netherlands (see map below). Each place is less than 30 minutes drive from the bordering German town or city.
Bourtange is a fortified village in the North of the Netherlands that was restored as a living museum resembling the medieval lifestyle during the 17th century. This fortress played an important role during the 80 years war between the Dutch and the Spanish. Visiting Bourtange is both educational and fun for families with children. There are some educational museums where children can play. For more information about Bourtange, you can read my blog Discover Bourtange Netherlands.
2. Drenthe Hunebeds and Zoo
Drenthe is considered as one of the oldest province in the Netherlands since the first inhabitants of this country lived there. You can find many of the ‘hunebeds’, of which some are over 5000 years old. Hunebeds functioned as passage graves or burial chambers made of stones that could weigh 40 tons each in Drenthe. These megalithic structures are comparable to the Stonehenge in England and dolmens and menhirs in France. If your family is more into history and interested in the past way of living, this place is definitely a good place to visit.
In addition to this Hunebeds, Drenthe is also famous for the Wildlands Emmen Zoo. Compared to other zoo in the Netherlands, this zoo has a “wild adventure set-up” encouraging family to experience adventure. Combining your weekend by visiting the hunebeds and zoo in Drenthe during weekends is a good family getaway.
3. Slagharen Theme Park
Interested to go on a theme park with Wild West Setting? Well, there is really no need to get out of the Netherlands since it can be found in one of the Dutch cities close to Germany. Slagharen theme park has a Wild West setting theme park in the Netherlands and it is only half an hour drive from Germany. It gives an authentic feeling on how the native Indians live in the American region many years back. This theme park offers variety of rides, which are very good for kids of different ages. A review of this theme park could be found on my blog Slagharen Theme Park.
Arnhem is one of the largest and closest Dutch cities to Germany. In fact, it is only a few kilometer away from the German border. There are so many nice things for family to do in Arnhem. The Arnhem city center has lots of restaurants and shops for a nice shopping experience. There is also the Burger Zoo, which is an indoor zoo setting inspired by different regions of the world such as the Mexican-American desert, the Indian Pacific Ocean coral reef, the Safari and the Malay forest. Arnhem is also rich in museums, for instance the Openlucht Museum features the culture and history of the Netherlands and the Airborne Museum features the battle of Arnhem that took place between the Netherlands and Germany during World War II. There are also many parks surrounding Arnhem and some children play area such as Ballorig, Monkey Town, and Chimpie Champ.
5. Nijmegen old city center
Nijmegen is a 12 minutes train ride from Arnhem and is around 20-30 minutes drive going to the German municipality of Kranenburg. Many Dutch who works in Nijmegen chose to immigrate in Kranenburg due to the lower price of housing in Germany as compared to the Netherlands. The city of Nijmegen could be quite very busy particularly during peak hours. Similar to Arnhem, Nijmegen has many nice experiences to offer for travelers. Nijmegen is considered the second oldest city in the Netherlands. You can still see the uniqueness in its architectures at the ‘Grotemarkt’ and the ‘Stevenskerk’. Nijmegen is also a great place for relaxation because there are many attractive parks to visit such as the Valkhof and Kronenburger Parks. Of course, simply shopping and dining out in the city center of Nijmegen is also a good experience. For beer lovers and foodies, there are nice beer tours with food throughout the center of Nijmegen.
6. Designer Outlet Roermond
If you are a fan of designer brands such as Gucci, Burberry, Michael Kors to name a few, but don’t want to pay for the full price, then the Designer Outlet Roermond in the South of the Netherlands is the place to visit. In fact, this place is quite popular to many internationals shoppers, including the Germans! Surprisingly only few Dutch go to Designer Outlet Roermond, some are not even aware that it is in the Netherlands. Designer Outlet Roermond also gives parents the opportunity to shop while having their kids with them. Inside Roermond is a free to use children’s play area and a carousel that requires payment per ride.
Maastricht is a region and one of the famous Dutch cities in the Southernmost part of the Netherlands. This place is not only close to Germany, but also to Belgium. There are many cool facts related to Maastricht. The Drielandenpunten or the Three-border region in Vaals is a specific place in Maastricht that marks the point where the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium meet! Is it not cool to stand in one place while being in three countries? In Maastricht, you can also find a church that is turned into a book shop-restaurants. The ambience of this old church in a present setting makes the experience unique. And of course, the euro was born in Maastricht in 1992 when the European Union (EU) countries sign an agreement to use a single currency (euro) throughout EU. This is called the Treaty of Maastricht or officially known as the Treaty of the European Union.