• Amsterdam. The gorgeous canals alone are enough to draw us here.

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  • Vincent van Gogh's "Orchard Bordered by Cypresses" (1888) at the Kröller-Müller Museum. Otterlo, Netherlands.

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  • The Peace Palace at the Hague houses the International Court of Justice. Netherlands.

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  • Gourmands beware: The Dutch like their cheese. (You will, too.)

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  • No other town around quite matches the charm of Bruges. Belgium.

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  • One taste, and you understand why Belgian chocolate is supreme.

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The Low Countries: the Middle Ages & Modern Kingdoms in the Netherlands and Belgium.

The Middle Ages are alive and well in the Low Countries, Holland (a.k.a. the Netherlands) and Belgium. Come see just what that means. Begin in the glorious Netherlands capital of Amsterdam. Then beyond the city limits to Otterlo, Delft, the Hague, Aalsmeer, and Zuid-Schermer. Valkenberg, Margraten, and Maastricht are our final stops in the Netherlands. Then into Belgium—Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent.

     There’s high culture in the Low Countries. Think Rembrandt and Vermeer, for instance. But beyond the painted canvas, the region has much, much more to offer: diamonds, genever, windmills, gardens, and mussels and frites...


Belgium, Netherlands (Holland)

Type:Custom Journeys

Mode:Land

Sample Journey

This is an 11-day sample itinerary. Remember that R. Crusoe can create a Netherlands and Belgium journey of any length to meet your exact specifications.

Day 1: United States
• Overnight flight to Amsterdam.
Overnight in flight
 
Day 2-3: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
• Land in Amsterdam.
• Walking tour of center city, including the de Bazel Building and visits in private homes on the Golden Bend.
• Rijksmuseum, saloon boat canal tour, Anne Frank House.
Overnights in Amsterdam

Day 4: Otterlo, Amsterdam
• Drive to Otterlo, Kröller-Müller Museum and Sculpture Garden.
• Return to Amsterdam or option to visit town of Apeldoorn and the Palace Het Loo.
• Afternoon at leisure.
Overnight in Amsterdam
 
Day 5: Delft, the Hague, Amsterdam
• Drive to Delft, walking tour including Stadhuis, Waag, Nieuwe Kerke, Oude Kerke with Vermeer tombs
• Delftse Pauw ceramics factory.

• Drive to the Hague, panoramic city tour including the Binnenhof (Parliament) and its Knights Hall, Palace Noordeinde, Lange Voorhout, and Peace Palace.
• Panorama Mesdag Museum.

• Return to Amsterdam.
Overnight in Amsterdam
 
Day 6: Aalsmeer, Zuid-Schermer, Amsterdam
• Drive to Aalsmeer, Aalsmeer Flower Auction, family-owner flower farm, lunch at a flower farm.
• Drive to Zuid-Schermer, cheese farm tour and lesson.
• Optional visit to Keukenhof Gardens (open mid-March to mid-May).
• Return to Amsterdam.

Overnight in Amsterdam

Day 7: Valkenberg, Margraten, Maastricht
• Drive to Valkenberg, Velvet Cave.
• Drive to Margraten, American War Cemetery.
• Drive to Maastricht, tour including the Markt, Vrijthof, Stokstraat Quarter, St. Servatius Bridge, Wyck, and the Céramique district.
Overnight in Maastricht

Day 8: Brussels, Belgium
• Drive to Brussels, Grand Place square, panoramic city tour including the Royal Residence, the Palace of Justice, the Synagogue, Louise Square, and European Union buildings.
• Private chocolate-making lesson.
• Gourmet walk and tasting.

Overnight in Brussels

Day 9: Ghent, Bruges
• Drive to Ghent, town tour including St. Bavo Carthedral and its altarpiece, "The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb," Gravensteen Castle, and Graslei Harbor.
• Drive to Bruges.
Overnight in Bruges

Day 10: Bruges
• Walking tour of the old quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage site, including the Béguinage, Basilica of the Holy Blood, Concertgebouw, Old St.-John's Hospital, St. Salvator Cathedral, Goeningemuseum, City Hall, Provincial Court, and the old city gates.

Overnight in Bruges

Day 11: Bruges, Brussels; United States
• Drive to Brussel.
• Fly home.

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Sample Pricing

Per person sharing room from $10,980 for this 11-day sample itinerary.

For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.

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Milling about.Milling About.

When an entire nation exists at—or below—sea level, its people become very adept at keeping water where they want it and away from places they don’t. The Dutch have addressed the issue for centuries, building dykes, fortifications, watermills, and windmills to keep their precious land dry.

     Holland’s oldest windmill dates from the eighth century. For generations, windmills pumped dry hundreds of lakes and swamps and prevented flooding. Today, old windmills dot the Dutch landscape, standing as a symbol of man’s struggle with nature.

     Many, but not all, of Holland’s windmills were built to battle water. Some were constructed for other jobs—grinding or creating power, for example.

     The most famous windmills of Holland? Kinderdijk’sgroup of polder mills, which are on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. These 19 mills, built in 1740, illustrate exactly how floods were prevented. (Besides being home to this creative form of water management, Kinderdijk is a wonderfully picturesque area.)

     Schiedam boasts the world’s five largest windmills. These behemoths, called smock mills, were not built to keep things dry, but rather to grind grain. In the 18th and 19th century, Schiedam became the jenever (Dutch gin) capital of the world. These windmills played an important role in the production of jenever as they ground the main ingredient: grain. Only five of the original 20 windmills survive: the Whale, the Three Cornflowers, the Freedom, the North, and the New Palm Tree. A sixth mill, De Kameel (the Camel), was rebuild in 2011.

     For more windmills, consider a visit to Zaanse Schans. Some 250 years ago, more than 600 windmills formed the first industrial site in the world. They performed a wide range of industrial duties, such as producing shelves, paint, mustard, oil, and paper. Today, the complex is an open-air conservation area and museum.

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