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Take to the waterways of the Netherlands aboard the newly renovated canal barge the M.S. Magnifique, and discover medieval towns and landscapes ablaze with spring's bright blossoms. Stroll through a patchwork of flowers at the Keukenhof gardens, or ride a bike past the windmills of Kinderdijk. Explore The Hague, Haarlem, and the picturesque canals and markets of Amsterdam. Trace the footsteps of Anne Frank and view the artworks of the Dutch masters, from Rembrandt and Vermeer to Vincent van Gogh.
Take to the waterways of the Netherlands on the privately chartered, 28-guest canal barge M.S. Magnifique
Discover the Keukenhof gardens, Amsterdam, the windmills of Kinderdijk, and the world’s largest flower auction at Aalsmeer.
Marvel at masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other artists of the Dutch Golden Age.
Drive past striped fields of tulips on the Flower Route, one of National Geographic’s “Drives of a Lifetime.”
Itinerary - 9 Days
Day 1 — Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Arrive in Amsterdam. After time to explore, gather for a welcome dinner.
Bilderberg Garden Hotel (D)
Day 2 — Amsterdam
Step into the renowned Rijksmuseum to examine masterpieces including Rembrandt’s Night Watch. Set out on a tour of the canals, and visit the Noordermarkt and the Anne Frank Museum. Board the Magnifique this evening.
M.S. Magnifique (B, D)
Day 3 — Haarlem
In the medieval market town of Haarlem, see the Town Hall and Grote Kerk, a 15th-century church that houses Holland’s largest pipe organ. Take a walking tour and visit the Frans Hals Museum.
Day 4 — Lisse/Leiden
Immerse yourself in a riot of colors and
fragrances at the breathtaking Keukenhof
gardens, where more than seven million blossoms display their bright hues. Later, travel the famous Flower Route to Leiden, home of the country’s oldest university and botanical garden.
Day 5 — The Hague/Delft
Explore Den Haag (The Hague) and view masterpieces by Vermeer, van Dyck, and Rembrandt in the Mauritshuis collection. Continue to Delft, and watch artisans at work at Royal Delft, a ceramics factory founded in 1653.
Day 6 — Rotterdam/Kinderdijk/Gouda
Sail through the busy port of Rotterdam on our way to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Kinderdijk-Elshout, where 19 windmills built around 1740 to drain the polders still stand. Explore Kinderdijk by bicycle if you wish. Our barge glides into Gouda this afternoon. See the Gothic Stadhuis (City Hall) and venture into St. John’s Church to see the world-famous stained glass windows.
Day 7 — Gouda/Groene Hart/Oude Wetering
Pay a visit to the local market and the De Goudse Waag cheese museum this morning. Learn about the history and production of Gouda cheese and sample several varieties. Then head out on a bike ride through the landscapes of Groene Hart (Green Heart), or stay on board for a cooking class. Enjoy a local beer tasting and dinner tonight.
(B, L, D)
Day 8 — Aalsmeer/Amsterdam
Rise early for an excursion to the world’s largest flower auction in Aalsmeer, where more than five billion flowers are sold every year. Witness the bargaining among flower vendors, and get an insider’s view of the tulip trade. Return to the ship for brunch as we cruise back to Amsterdam. Explore the city on your own before gathering to celebrate your journey with a farewell dinner tonight.
Day 9 — Amsterdam
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your
flight home. (B)
Art historian Paula Swart has been a museum curator for more than 20 years. Born in The Hague in the Netherlands, Paula studied at the University of Leiden and Amsterdam. Paula holds degrees in Sinology, art history, history, and archaeology. While studying in Amsterdam, she participated in the Witte Leeuw (White Lion) project studying the Chinese ceramics found in an early 17th century Dutch East India Company shipwreck. She speaks five languages, including Dutch and Mandarin, and has published several books and numerous articles on art and architecture. Paula has researched and lectured on Dutch trade and exploration, and has a special interest in 17th century Dutch still life paintings.
See the M.S. Magnifique, description, photo, and deck plan on our website.Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin, add $2,300. Airfare to/from Amsterdam is not included in the expedition cost.