Hilversum is a city in the province of North Holland with a current population of approximately 86,500. Despite being surrounded by heath, meadows, woods and lakes, Hilversum is considered part of Randstad Metropolis. Traces of settlements dating back to the Bronze Age have been found at Hilversum, along with extensive pottery.
Recorded history first mentions Hilversum in the 1300s, and its main source of income was agriculture and cattle raising. In the 1700s, a network of canals was built to connect Hilversum with Amsterdam, increasing trade opportunities and prosperity. Hilversum has been one of the major television and radio centers throughout modern history, earning it the nickname “Media City”.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Hilversum:
1. Goois Nature Reserve
Hilversum is surrounded by beautiful open landscapes and luscious greenery.
Goois Natuurreservaat is one such area and it is the perfect destination for those who like to hike outdoors.
Located north of Hilversum, this nature reserve covers approximately 2700 hectares and is made up of many different independent reserves in the region.
Public parking is located on the eastern edge of the park and is accessible via the N524 road.
Within this vast natural area are vast woodlands, and many hiking trails meander through the trees.
Intrepid hikers can spend days walking through the forest and admiring the magnificent woodland scenery.
2. Raadhuis Hilversum
This famous building is known in the Netherlands for its modernist design and style.
Created in 1931, the Town Hall was designed by Willem Marinus Dudok and is considered a highly influential work of architecture.
Located just outside the city center, this is one of the few town halls in the Netherlands that is not directly located in the city center.
A large pool of water can be found at the front of the building, perfectly reflecting the structure.
The building is composed of many separate square and rectangular sections, showing many clean lines that are breathtaking.
3. Natural monument Corversbos
Goois Nature Reserve has large forests, while Corversbos presents a more intimate atmosphere.
Nestled in the western area of Hilversum, not far from the city centre, this nature park is a great place to explore.
With trails, forests and stunning parks, it really is an immersive place.
Perfect for hikers and cyclists, follow the trails and see what Corversbos has to offer.
There’s no better place in Hilversum on a clear day.
4. Hoorneboegse Heide
Completing the three stunning natural areas around Hilversum is the Hoorneboegse Heide.
This expansive connecting walkway area is a hiker’s dream.
While cattle roam freely in the pastures and heathland, it’s also a nature reserve where cattle actually help maintain heather growth.
Wild landscapes roll past and beautiful purple and green heather sway in the wind as you traverse a variety of different paths.
The strange tree stands proudly in the sea of flowers of the heather, and the cattle graze peacefully.
For dog lovers, ramblers and cyclists, it’s another natural haven and the perfect place to explore, whatever the weather.
5. Institute of Sound and Vision
Located within the Media Park in Hilversum North, the Academy combines splendid architecture with captivating interactive exhibits.
The building’s exterior contains a dazzling display of multi-coloured glass panels, an interesting attraction in itself.
The museum houses numerous audio and video recordings and collections, including more than 750,000 hours of television, radio, film and music.
The incredible architecture continues inside the structure, and you can take the time to understand its design and style.
In addition to the building, there is an interesting museum dedicated to the history of Dutch television and radio.
The Landgoed Zonnestraal, also known as the Sun Sanatorium, is a wondrous complex of buildings and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Formerly a medical center for tuberculosis patients, the complex has a modernist style and its famous architecture attracts people from all over the world.
With lots of glazing and lots of open space and airy hallways, it’s perfect as a nursing home design.
The complex is now open to the public, and you can walk through the stunning buildings and marvel at their open-plan design.
Additionally, there are some great hiking trails on the grounds, as well as a restaurant.
7. Hilversum Museum
This charming museum is located in a quaint square in the city center, surrounded by beautiful buildings and fine restaurants.
A delightful collection of local history and artifacts can be found inside, and the building is actually the old town hall before the impressive Raadhuis was built.
For an interesting look at the history of the area, this museum has it all.
In addition, there is a range of applied arts and crafts, including paintings and drawings from the 1800s.
The museum will also regularly host temporary exhibitions on various themes, which are always interesting.
8. St. Vitusque
In terms of churches built in the Netherlands, St. Vitus Church is relatively new, having been created in 1892. The church’s design is considered neo-Gothic, and it features a large bell tower topped with a spiked turret.
While the exterior of this church is spectacular, the interior is equally impressive.
The roof and side arches are richly decorated in light pink and green.
In addition, there are many stained glass windows on either side of the ornate columns supporting the arch, depicting various religious scenes.
Finally, the high altar is bathed in light and becomes a centerpiece as you walk past the wooden benches.
9. Savor delicious coffee at Doppio Espresso Café
Sometimes in life, it’s a good idea to simply sit back and watch the world go by.
At Doppio Espresso Café, you can do exactly that.
Located on a charming square on Schoutenstraat, this café has outdoor seating and a pleasant atmosphere.
There is a wide variety of coffee and espresso served here, and you can enjoy a variety of different flavors, such as salted caramel macchiato.
In addition, there is a selection of pastries, snacks and cakes to complement your drinks.
10. Visit Nardenstar Castle
Narden is a charming town north of Hilversum, famous for its starting fort configuration.
The town only began to rise to prominence in the 1300s when it was granted city rights and turned into a fortification.
A moat was built, forming a unique star shape.
Today, you can travel to Narden and marvel at its wonderful design.
In addition, it has many historical buildings such as the Grote Kerk, the Spanish House and the Dutch Fort Museum.
11. Spendersboth Golf Course
For golf lovers, the Spanderbosch course offers a beautiful range of holes in a wonderful natural location next to the Corversbos Natural Park.
The course is divided into two distinct sections, each with 9 wonderful holes designed by Gerard Jol.
In addition to a diverse and challenging curriculum, the hotel also features a restaurant and bar, as well as a delightful clubhouse.
Private lessons are also available for those looking to improve their game, and golf carts are available for hire for those unable to stand.
12. Pinetum Blijdenstein
This botanical and botanical garden was established in 1898 and has a wide variety of plants, trees and flowers.
This is a truly wonderful place to visit for those who love the natural world and plant life.
Over 400 stunning pine trees occupy a large area, and under these pine trees hide a variety of rhododendrons, cyas and ephedra.
In addition, there is a wide variety of conifers, many fern trees and plants, and native plants from Tasmania.
The Botanic Gardens, just northwest of the city centre, are the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Hilversum.
13. Dine at the atmospheric De Open Keuken restaurant
If you are looking for a good place to dine, Open Keuken Restaurant is a good choice, offering a variety of quality dishes.
The restaurant is located in the centre of Hilversum, close to the old town hall and the main shopping area.
There are a variety of food options, including T-bone and sirloin steak, smoked salmon with sauerkraut, fried sea bass and even venison.
You can also enjoy a selection of complimentary wines to enhance your dining experience.
14. Amsterdam Day Trip
The vibrant capital of the Netherlands is just a 25-minute drive northwest of Hilversum.
If you’re stopping in Hilversum to immerse yourself in the beautiful natural surroundings, a day trip from Amsterdam could be the perfect cultural outing and offer you a different experience.
Amsterdam is famous for its beautiful network of canals, sex tourism, cannabis cafes and historic sites such as the Anne Frank House.
If you visit this bustling city, make sure to take a boat trip on the canals, visit Dam Square and enjoy a drink or two during the Heineken Brewery Experience.
15. Cross the Old Harbour
This beautiful green space runs along Hilversum’s only canal system, starting just south of the city centre.
From the starting point you can stroll along the wide river and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Tree-lined, you can take a leisurely stroll and admire this peaceful waterway.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Hilversum, The Netherlands
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