• Photo: Sakhanphotography | Dreamstime.com


With a centuries-old reputation of being "the cleanest town in all the Netherlands," Broek-in-Waterland is still mostly immaculate—so much so that visitors are tempted to walk barefoot on the roads. It’s hard to imagine, but the picture-perfect 17th-century wooden houses are said to be even tidier inside. Note the color differences: gray houses belonged to "commoners," whereas the wealthy class distinguished theirs with a purplish tint. There are opportunities for lunch or picnics around the town’s big lake that freezes in the winter, making it an excellent spot for watching (or participating in) a Dutch obsession: ice-skating.


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