From your base in historic Haarlem, immerse yourself in the world of Dutch fine arts, encountering the works of masters from Rembrandt and Vermeer to Van Gogh and exploring cultural hubs from Delft to Rotterdam.

Starting at: $5,240 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer
 Painting by Vincent Van Gogh at the Kröller-Müller Museum
 Vermeer's <i>Woman Reading a Letter</i>. Credit: Netherlands Tourism Bureau
 The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam
 Main square in Delft
 Market Square in Gouda
 Canal in Haarlem
 The Mauritshuis in The Hague
 Path through hills with blooming heather in Hoge Veluwe National Park
 Markthal in Rotterdam
 Gallery at the Mauritshuis, The Hague. Credit: Netherlands Tourism Bureau
 Traditional poffertjes
 Traditional Dutch cheese
 Traditional Delft porcelain and stroopwafel cookies
 Traditional blue and white Delft porcelain
 Hoge Veluwe National Park
 Gallery at the Mauritshuis. Credit: Netherlands Tourism Bureau
 The Mauritshuis in The Hague
 The main square in Haarlem
 Typical scene in Amsterdam

A Stay in Holland: An Art History Journey from Vermeer to Van Gogh

9 days from $5,240

From your base in historic Haarlem, immerse yourself in the world of Dutch fine arts, encountering the works of masters from Rembrandt and Vermeer to Van Gogh and exploring cultural hubs from Delft to Rotterdam.

or Call 855-330-1542

SPECIAL OFFER

Save $250 per person when you book by April 5, 2024!

Overview

Across the Netherlands, the legacy of famous Dutch artists is a palpable part of contemporary culture. World-class museums from the Mauritshuis to the Rijksmuseum house spectacular collections of the Old Masters of the Dutch Golden Age, and painters like Frans Hals and Johannes Vermeer are integral to the identity of their hometowns. From your base in the picturesque city center of Hals’s native Haarlem, immerse yourself in the world of Dutch fine arts, viewing iconic works such as Rembrandt’s Night Watch, Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, and van Gogh’s Sunflowers—along with a host of lesser-known gems. On full-day excursions and tours led by local experts, explore the arts and culture of the Hague and Delft; the architecture of Rotterdam and the cheesemakers of Gouda; and discover an enormous collection of van Gogh’s work deep inside a national park.

Highlights Include:

  • Haarlem: Settle into the rhythms of everyday life in Haarlem, a picturesque Dutch town of gabled houses, windmills, and cobbled streets. Close to Amsterdam and a short distance from the beach, Haarlem is an ideal base to discover the cultural hubs the Netherlands. Enjoy a guided tour of the Frans Hals Museum, dedicated to the works of Haarlem’s native son, and experience another side of Dutch cultural heritage during  an Indonesian “rice table” dinner.
  • Amsterdam: Surround yourself with phenomenal art: view the works of the Dutch Masters at the Rijksmuseum; see the world’s largest van Gogh collection at the Van Gogh Museum; and tour the artist’s home and studio at the Rembrandt House Museum. Experience the Keukenhof Gardens in full bloom on spring departures, or trace the city’s colorful history on a fascinating walking tour (2024) or at the Amsterdam Museum (2025) in the fall.
  • The Hague and Delft: Admire the work of Rembrandt, Bruegel, and Rubens on a guided tour of the Mauritshuis, home to one of the largest collections of Dutch and Flemish Masters. In Delft, hometown of Vermeer, see its namesake pottery and trace the town’s history at the Museum Prinsenhof Delftone.
  • Hoge Veluwe National Park: Traverse a sweeping landscape of grasslands, heath, and woods to the Kröller-Müller Museum, where a stunning array of 19th- and 20th-century European art includes paintings by Monet and Picasso and the second-largest collection of works by van Gogh. Soak up the symbiosis of art and nature on a stroll or a bike ride through lovely sculpture gardens.
  • Gouda and Rotterdam: On a city tour, decipher stories from the Bible and Dutch history in the famous stained-glass windows of Sint Jan Church and enjoy a tasting and history lesson about Gouda’s famous cheese. Continue to Rotterdam to encounter its innovative architecture and cap off your excursion with a harbor cruise.

2024 Itinerary

Day 1-2 — Depart U.S. for Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Depart on an overnight flight to Amsterdam, where you’ll be met by your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director. Transfer by motorcoach to the quintessential Dutch town of Haarlem, your home during your stay in the Netherlands. Upon arrival at your hotel, receive a welcome kit with a map and information about the city. Meet your Smithsonian Journeys Expert at this evening’s welcome reception and enjoy a festive dinner. (R,D)

Day 3 — Haarlem

After breakfast and a morning lecture by your expert, set out on a guided tour of the Frans Hals Museum, set within the poorhouse where the artist lived at the end of his life. The collection includes works by the greats of the Dutch Golden Age, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Brueghel the Younger, and the “house master,” Frans Hals himself. Enjoy a free afternoon to stroll the cobblestoned streets of Haarlem on your own. Consider a visit to the Teyler’s Museum, first opened in 1778 and home to an eclectic collection of inventions.

Late this afternoon, gather with fellow travelers and your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an informal discussion in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. Then sit down to a traditional Indonesian “rice table.” Dutch cultural heritage is inextricably linked with its former colony of Indonesia, once the headquarters of the powerful Dutch East India Company. Tonight’s dinner showcases Indonesian cuisine, now prevalent in the Netherlands, with a feast of sweet, savory, and spicy small plates. (B,D)

Day 4 — Amsterdam

A short journey by motorcoach brings you into the heart of Amsterdam. Arrive at the world-renowned Rijksmuseum. Built in 1885, the Gothic and Renaissance building and its surrounding gardens were designed by Pierre Cuypers to tell the story of Dutch art and history. Architect of many Dutch churches, Cuypers imbued parts of the museum with the vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows of a grand cathedral. On a guided tour, visit the Gallery of Honor, home to iconic paintings by the Dutch Masters, including Rembrandt van Rijn’s civic guard portrait, The Night WatchThe Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer; and Portrait of a Couple by Franz Hals. Then stroll through the extensive 17th-century galleries, viewing art and artifacts from the height of the Dutch Golden Age.

After lunch on your own, enjoy a scenic canal cruise through the center of Amsterdam. Then visit the Rembrandt House Museum for a guided tour of the artist’s home and studio.

Return to Haarlem late in the day and enjoy an evening at leisure. (B)

Day 5 — The Hague and Delft

There will be an early morning departure from Haarlem for a full-day excursion to the Hague and Delft. At the Mauritshuis, follow a guide through one of the largest collections of Dutch and Flemish paintings in the world. Highlights include Vermeer’s masterpiece Girl with a Pearl Earring and Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp as well paintings by Jan Steen,  Anthony van Dyck, and Peter Paul Rubens. Also on display are the works of Judith Leyster, one of the few female artists working in the 17th century and the first woman to be given the title “master painter” by the painters guild.

Enjoy lunch together before driving to nearby Delft, the hometown of Vermeer known for its distinctive blue-and-white pottery. Take a walking tour of the town. Trace the crafts, trade, and history of Delft on a tour of the Museum Prinsenhof Delft, a convent-turned monastery where William of Orange was assassinated in 1584.  Enjoy a free evening in Haarlem. (B,L)

Day 6 — Hoge Veluwe National Park and Haarlem

After breakfast, drive through the green heart of Holland to the country’s largest national park, the Hoge Veluwe, where heath and woodlands meet wild sand dunes. Inside the park, tour the Kröller-Müller Museum, home to the second largest van Gogh collection in the world, with almost 90 paintings and over 180 drawings. The Van Gogh Gallery displays varying selections of about 40 works by Vincent van Gogh, as well as works by Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian within. Walk or ride a bicycle through the sculpture garden, one of the largest in Europe, with some 160 sculptures displayed in stunning natural settings. Gather for a group lunch at the Park Paviljoen, located within the park.

En route back to Haarlem this afternoon, stop at the charming village of Laren for a coffee and the Dutch delicacy of “poffertjes”—small pancakes covered with powdered sugar and butter. Back in Haarlem, gather for a lecture on contemporary Holland by a local expert before dinner on your own. (B,L)

Day 7 — Gouda and Rotterdam

Travel by coach to Gouda, city of cheese. Stroll through the historic market square and visit Sint Jan Church, the longest church in the Netherlands, which is renowned for its medieval and Renaissance stained glass depicting scenes from the Bible and Dutch history. Your guided visit concludes with a gouda cheese tasting with an expert guide.

Continue to the delightful harbor city of Rotterdam. Largely destroyed during World War II, Rotterdam rebuilt with daring and inventive modern architecture. Visit the Markthal, an innovative food market built within an arched apartment building that features an 11,000-square-meter mural. Browse the market on your own to pick up lunch before embarking on a harbor cruise. Take in views of Rotterdam's sparkling skyline and unusual buildings, and then see the shipyards and docks where of thousands of containers are shipped using hypermodern techniques. Return to Haarlem for an evening at leisure. (B)

Day 8 — Amsterdam

Depart Haarlem this morning for a full-day excursion that will depend on the season.

On spring departures, journey to Keukenhof Gardens, where about 7 million blossoms—including hundreds of tulip species—cover 80 dazzling acres. On a short walk with an expert, hear how the gardens began and get a closer look at rare tulips, irises, hyacinths, lilies, and much more. Continue to Amsterdam, where you’ll have lunch on your own. Then arrive at the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest collection of van Gogh’s work in the world. View paintings that illustrate the artist’s rapid evolution over his remarkably short painting career, including The Potato Eaters (1885), Sunflowers (1889), and Almond Blossoms (1890) as well as numerous self-portraits. Examine his letters and drawings, and see several works by his close friend, Paul Gauguin.

On fall departures, return to Amsterdam and arrive at the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest collection of van Gogh’s work in the world. After lunch independently, enjoy a walking tour of some of the fascinating streets and canals of central Amsterdam.

Later, travel back to Haarlem a final time, and toast your art-filled adventure at a farewell reception and dinner. (B,R,D)

Day 9 — Depart for home

Transfer to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for flights home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

2025 Itinerary

Day 1-2 — Depart U.S. for Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Depart on an overnight flight to Amsterdam, where you’ll be met by your Smithsonian Journeys Travel Director. Transfer by motorcoach to the quintessential Dutch town of Haarlem, your home during your stay in the Netherlands. Upon arrival at your hotel, receive a welcome package with a map and information about the city. Meet your Smithsonian Journeys Expert at this evening’s welcome reception and enjoy a festive dinner at the hotel. (R,D)

Day 3 — Haarlem

A full buffet breakfast will be served each morning during your stay. After breakfast, set-out on a guided tour of the Frans Hals Museum, set within a poorhouse where the artist lived at the end of his life. The collection showcases works by the greats of the Dutch Golden Age, including Rembrandt, Vermeer, Brueghel the Younger, and the “house master,” Frans Hals himself. Enjoy a free afternoon to stroll the cobblestoned streets of Haarlem on your own. Consider a visit to the Teyler’s Museum, first opened in 1778 and home to an eclectic collection of inventions.

Late this afternoon, gather with fellow travelers and your Smithsonian Journeys Expert for an informal discussion in the Smithsonian Journeys Travelers Corner. Then sit down to a traditional Indonesian “rice table.” Dutch cultural heritage is inextricably linked with its former colony of Indonesia, once the headquarters of the powerful Dutch East India Company. Tonight’s dinner highlights Indonesian cuisine, now very popular in the Netherlands, with a feast of sweet, savory, and spicy small plates. (B,D)

Day 4 — The Hague / Delft

Travel south on a full-day excursion to the Hague and Delft. At the Mauritshuis, follow a guide through one of the largest collections of Dutch and Flemish paintings in the world. Highlights include Vermeer’s masterpiece Girl with a Pearl Earring and Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp as well paintings by Jan Steen,  Anthony van Dyck, and Peter Paul Rubens. Also on display are the works of Judith Leyster, one of the few female artists working in the 17th century and the first woman to be given the title “master painter” by the painters guild.

Enjoy lunch together before driving to nearby Delft, the hometown of Vermeer known for its distinctive blue-and-white pottery. Trace the crafts, trade, and history of Delft on a tour of the Museum Prinsenhof Delft, a convent-turned monastery where William of Orange was assassinated in 1584.  Enjoy a free evening in Haarlem. (B,L)

Day 5 — Amsterdam

A short journey by motorcoach brings you into the heart of Amsterdam. Arrive at the world-renowned Rijksmuseum. Built in 1885, the Gothic and Renaissance building and its surrounding gardens were designed by Pierre Cuypers to tell the story of Dutch art and history. Architect of many Dutch churches, Cuypers imbued parts of the museum with the vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows of a grand cathedral. On a guided tour, visit the Gallery of Honor, home to iconic paintings by the Dutch Masters, including Rembrandt van Rijn’s civic guard portrait, The Night WatchThe Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer; and Portrait of a Couple by Franz Hals. Then stroll through the extensive 17th-century galleries, viewing art and artifacts from the height of the Dutch Golden Age.

After an independent lunch, visit the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the largest collection of van Gogh’s work in the world. View paintings that illustrate the artist’s rapid evolution over his remarkably short painting career, including The Potato Eaters (1885), Sunflowers (1889), and Almond Blossoms (1890) as well as numerous self-portraits. Examine his letters and drawings, and see several works by his close friend, Paul Gauguin.

Return to Haarlem late in the day and enjoy an evening at leisure. (B)

Day 6 — Gouda / Rotterdam

Travel by coach to Gouda, city of cheese. Stroll through the historic market square and visit Sint Jan Church, the longest church in the Netherlands, which is renowned for its medieval and Renaissance stained glass depicting scenes from the Bible and Dutch history. Your guided visit concludes with a gouda cheese tasting with an expert guide.

Continue to the harbor city of Rotterdam. Largely destroyed during World War II, Rotterdam rebuilt with daring and inventive modern architecture. Visit the Markthal, an innovative food market built within an arched apartment building that features an 11,000-square-meter mural. Browse the market on your own to pick up lunch before embarking on a harbor cruise. Take in views of Rotterdam's sparkling skyline and unusual buildings, and then see the shipyards and docks where of thousands of containers are shipped using hypermodern techniques. Return to Haarlem for an evening at leisure. (B)

Day 7 — Amsterdam

Depart Haarlem this morning for a full-day excursion that will depend on the season.

On spring departures, journey to Keukenhof Gardens, where about 7 million blossoms—including hundreds of tulip species—cover 80 dazzling acres. On a short walk with an expert, hear how the gardens began and get a closer look at rare tulips, irises, hyacinths, lilies, and much more. Continue to Amsterdam, where you’ll have lunch on your own before a tour of the Rembrandt House Museum. Set within his home and studio, the museum offers an intimate view of the artist’s everyday life as well as an extensive collection of his etchings.

On fall departures, return to Amsterdam in the morning and visit the Rembrandt House Museum for a guided tour of the artist’s home and studio. Later, head to the Amsterdam Museum for a look at five centuries of the city’s history through a dynamic exhibition that covers everything from royal furnishings and portraiture to life in a 17th-century orphanage (the museum is housed in one).

Before returning to Haarlem, stop for coffee and a Dutch sweet known as poffertjes or small pancakes covered with powdered sugar and butter.

This evening, dine independently and enjoy a leisurely evening. (B)

Day 8 - Hoge Veluwe National Park

After breakfast, drive through the green heart of Holland to the country’s largest national park, the Hoge Veluwe, where heath and woodlands meet wild sand dunes. Inside the park, tour the Kröller-Müller Museum, home to the second largest van Gogh collection in the world, with almost 90 paintings and over 180 drawings. The Van Gogh Gallery displays varying selections of about 40 works by Vincent van Gogh, as well as works by Claude Monet, Georges Seurat, Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian. Walk or ride a bicycle through the sculpture garden, one of the largest in Europe, with some 160 sculptures displayed in stunning natural settings. Gather for a group lunch featuring local specialties then head back to Haarlem and the hotel.

This evening, Smithsonian Journeys travelers gather for a special farewell reception at the hotel followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant. (B,L,R,D)

Day 9 — Depart for home

At the appropriate time, transfer to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for return flights to the U.S. (B)

The progression and inclusions of this program are subject to change based on operational considerations.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)

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