Hoofddorp was created specifically after the Haarlemmermeer was drained in 1853 and is the main town of this region in North Holland with a population of around 73,000. With a relative short history, Hoofddorp was included in the defence line of Amsterdam and saw the creation of a fort and several gun batteries that interconnected with the canal network for transportation.
The town benefits from fantastic transport links to Amsterdam and Haarlem, and is also in close proximity to Schiphol airport.
As a tourist destination in its own right, Hoofddorp has a fantastic variety of outdoor and natural activities that are based around the Haarlemmermeer basin.
Lets explore the best things to do in Hoofddorp:
1. Haarlemmermeerse Bos
The premier park in Hoofddorp, the Haarlemmermeerse Bos spans over a wide area to the north of the city.
Here you will find a whole host of recreational activities and a well developed network of paths that wind around the park and the lake.
Additionally you will find man-made beaches, several children’s playgrounds, two restaurants and plenty of facilities for both fields sports and water sports.
You could spend hours here walking through the forests, paddling in the lake or enjoying a relaxing time on the lawns.
2. Zandvoort beach resort
A short 30 minute drive to the west of Hoofddorp and you will find yourself at the amazing coastal town of Zandvoort.
During the summer months this place is simply thriving and alive with locals and tourists alike who come for the beaches and attractions.
On this stretch of the Netherlands west coast, the beaches stretch for miles virtually unbroken from the Hook of Holland, up to IJmuiden.
At Zandvoort you will find a beautiful stretch of beach, plenty of beach bars and restaurants, a well developed promenade and a myriad of amusements and even a casino.
For a day trip with the family, Zandvoort is the perfect place.
3. Mysteryland festival
This is touted as the oldest EDM dance festival in the Netherlands and has been held annually at Hoofddorp since 2003. If you are a fan of dance and electronic music then this is the music festival for you.
Usually held in August, the festival is spread over several days and you can camp out in the grounds if you desire.
You can expect to see a huge range of well-known DJ’s and past acts have included Steve Aoki, NERVO, Avicii, Fedde Le Grand, Martin Garrix and Dimitri Veags.
Celebrating the fantastic genre that is EDM, this festival is a true spectacle and is renowned worldwide.
This fascinating complex of lakes is a truly wonderful and intriguing place to behold.
Located to the south of Hoofddorp, it stands as the largest freshwater body in the Randstad region.
With a history connected to commercial shipping and boating, the north end of the lake is composed of hundreds of small islands that can only be reached by boat.
You will not find any other place like this on earth and it provides the perfect opportunity to hire a boat and explore.
Moore up at the Starteiland (Start Island) and enjoy a picnic, or take time navigating around the many islands or across the expanse of the water.
5. Historisch Museum Haarlemmermeer
Located in the Haarlemmermeerse Bos parkland, this museum is highly interactive and informative.
Museum Haarlemmermeer details the history of this region and how a lake was turned into a habitable area for humans.
You will come to learn how the canals and dikes were made, and what the day to day life of the workers and people who lived here was truly like.
There is also a scale village showing traditional buildings and equipment, together with a host of historical artefacts and interesting displays.
6. Tool Burger Lake
A recent development in Hoofddorp, the Toolenburg recreational area was only created in 2010 but is already a fantastic place to visit and offers a great amount of opportunities for the family.
With 85 hectares of sculptured park land and the large central lake, Tool Burger is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and nature, or even some water sports.
Paths wind around the whole vicinity and you can enjoy a peaceful walk through the wooded areas, alternatively you can have a meal at one of the two restaurants.
Also include are a children’s playground, a man-made beach, and plenty of manicured lawns for playing sports.
7. De Groene Weelde
A fine public park on the borders of Hoofddorp, De Groene Weelde offers a fine selection of walking trails in the beautiful Dutch countryside.
Located next to the Haalemmermeersche Golf Club and Haarlemmermeerse Bos, De Groene Weelde is in a prime setting and can be enjoyed as part of a day out to this natural area.
The trails stretch for miles through small waterways, beautifully maintained woodland and open pastures.
During any season, this place is perfect to indulge in some exercise and to get to grips with the natural world.
8. Winkecentrum Vier meren
One of the main shopping complexes in Hoofddorp, the Vier meren center lies in the centre of the city and contains a whole host of restaurants, shops and bars.
This shopping area can be defined by a square section contained within the Hoofdweg, Jruisweg, Burgemeester can der Willigenlaan and Stamplein streets.
Inside this area you can find a large variety of shops, a cinema, a music venue and plenty of eateries – This really is the retail heart of the city.
9. Day trip to Haarlem
Another fantastic city that is only a short distance from Hoofddorp.
Haarlem is closer to Hoofddorp than Amsterdam and is equally as viable to visit as a day trip.
Within the city limits you can find stunning buildings like the Grote Kerk, the Cathedral of St.
Bavo and the Frans Hals Museum, plus attractions like the main market square, the Amsterdamse Poort gatehouse, and the NZH Public Transport Museum provide endless sight seeing opportunities.
Haarlem has firm historical roots in the middle ages and it is easy to see why it has been such an important city for centuries past.
10. Enjoy a meal at Den Burgh restaurant
If you are looking for a fine dining experience that takes you away from the busy city centre, Den Burgh has it all.
Set in the charming countryside surrounding southern Hoofddorp, this restaurant offers a peaceful and quality experience.
If you fancy a meal here, you can expect a wide variety of fine dishes including Oysters, Pike Perch, Tenderloin steak or Lobster Soup.
The ingredients used are second to none, and the quality of the food is undeniable.
If you do not mind travelling slightly out of town, Den Burgh is one of the premier places to eat in Hoofddorp.
11. Enjoy a local drink at the Jopenkerk Hoofddorp bar
One of the finest establishments in Hoofddorp, the Jopenkerk has a fantastic reputation for quality and its atmosphere.
If you are in the city centre, this bar/restaurant can be found approximately 10 minutes walk from the main shopping complex on the Marktlaan.
Aside from the food, you can also enjoy a fine selection of local beers, spirits and wines.
Housed in an old church, the Jopenkerk also operates its own distillery and you can sample some of the drink that is brewed here while admiring the old architecture and cool settings of this wonderful place.
12. Day trip to Amsterdam
Hoofddorp is located right next to Schiphol airport which is the main airport in the Netherlands and for Amsterdam.
The capital city is only a 20 minutes drive an has a host of fantastic sights and historical buildings.
If you are based at Hoofddorp, Amsterdam is a must see and is renowned for its famous network of canals, historical buildings like the Rijksmuseum and of course the red light district.
Full of culture, excitement and charm, Amsterdam remains one of the top tourist destinations in Europe, and as it is such close proximity to Hoofddorp, you would be silly to be take a day trip there.
13. Haarlemmermeersche Golf Club
Located to the north of De Groene Weelde park, this golf course is set in wonderful surroundings and a pure pleasure to play on.
With 36 holes spread over 4 separate courses, there is ample opportunity to test your golf skills and try your hand at both the long game and putting.
Also include on the course is a driving range and a smaller 9 hole par 3 practice course.
The club house is simply charming with friendly staff, a fine choice of food and drink, and fantastic views over to the range.
A truly delightful course to play, the Lynden club is perfect for those who want to relax and enjoy a round or two of golf, or for those looking to learn the sport.
14. Nationaal Park Zuid Kennemerland
One of the finest national parks in the Netherlands, the Kennemerland is a vast expanse on the west coast of the country approximately 30-50 minutes drive to the north of Hoofddorp.
With a wide variety of different landscapes from calcareous dunes, huge coastal forests and remnants of old settlements, there is plenty to explore.
Offering hundreds of kilometres of trails and open parkland, you could spend days exploring the area.
Furthermore there are many different activities to engage in including horseback riding, cycling, swimming or a visit to the visitors centre.
15. Sportpark Pioniers
Most people would consider baseball to be an American sport, however it does have a following in the Netherlands and is becoming more and more popular.
If you are interested in the sport, or would like to see a live game, the Hoofddorp Pioneers baseball club will deliver.
This club has a long history in baseball and has enjoyed success in Europe.
Check out the stadium at the pioneers Sportpark and check their website to see when the home team has a game – The atmosphere is fantastic and the skill of the players is world class.