8.30am (depending on location)
Meet and greet with your English-speaking guide in the hotel lobby, from where you will be taken for a scenic walk to, and guided tour of the famous Rijksmuseum.
The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of Dutch art and history and houses in a late 19th century building built on the edge of the famous Amsterdam Canal District. The Rijksmuseum is a masterpiece in itself, both inside and out. Over 800 years of Dutch art and history are on display in 80 recently renovated rooms.
Your guide will introduce you to a time period known as the Dutch Golden Age, a time of great wealth and prosperity but also of unbridled cultural and artistic growth.
In the so-called Eregallerij (Gallery of Honor) you will find a large selection of paintings dedicated to this time period. Here you will find renowned Dutch artists such as Vermeer (The Milkmaid), Rembrandt, Hals, Steen, but also Ruisdael, Heda and others. The Gallery of Honor extends to a room that was specifically created to display Rembrandt’s most famous painting, The Night Watch.
Apart from this must-see section, there are different areas to acquaint oneself with other art forms, which are just like the paintings, such as furniture, tapestries, Delftware, silver, glass, uniquely late 17th century Dolls houses and much more. They will fill you with delight!
Depending on your interests and / or if there are any must see exhibits, we will take you to the “Philips (temporary exhibitions) Wing”. www.rijksmuseum.nl
Van Gogh Museum
We continue the tour with a short scenic walk to, and guided tour of the Van Gogh Museum, where you will step into Van Gogh’s world. You enter the Van Gogh Museum through the glass entrance building, located on Museum Square that beautifully complements the exhibition wing created in 1999 by Kisho Kurokawa Architect and Associates.
Discover what Vincent wanted to express in the redesigned exhibit of Van Gogh Museum’s collection.
In the layout, you step directly into Van Gogh’s world. You obviously see his masterpieces like the Potato Eaters and the Bedroom, but also his drawings and letters. You discover the ideas and ambitions behind his art. Van Gogh experienced life and the world intensely and wanted his art to portray the great themes of life, such as anxiety, suffering, love and hope. You follow the on-going search of an artist who was constantly trying to improve himself. In this way, you get a new view of an artist you thought you knew. www.vangoghmuseum.nl
Private Canal Cruise
After this exciting tour, there will be a short scenic walk to the historical canal belt area, where you will board a historic Saloon Boat for a private two-hour cruise through the Amsterdam canals. The most relaxed way to get to know Amsterdam with a VIP treatment!
During the cruise a fresh and tasty lunch will be served including coffee and tea. There is a full bar onboard at an additional charge. Your guide will tell you all about the sights you will see along the way.
From the beginning of the 20th Century until the early thirties, saloon boats were built in the west of the Netherlands and in the province Friesland. These boats shared a couple of features like a load water line; an elegant body and a beautiful build of teakwood and mahogany. The design of a saloon boat was entirely made to measure and initiated by the constituent.
These boats were used to transport people on the Frisian lakes, the river Vecht and the Amsterdam canals. Saloon boats were nicknamed notary-boats or doctors-boats because the first owners, and often constituents were well to do citizens like doctors, notaries or lawyers. The boats were an easy and classy way to get to their clients or patients. It did not take long to find out it was a great pleasure to invite friends and family on board for a relaxing trip or to cruise the canals and rivers in the weekend to impress the crowd.
Times have changed, but the charm of the saloon boats remains. The boats are still providing the same service as in 1920, the year of its construction, plus a great deal more. Its narrow shape and low structure allow the beautifully refurbished vessel to go anywhere, from the narrow canals of the Amsterdam “Jordaan” to the heart of the famed red-light district.
Fully refreshed, we continue with an interesting walking tour of the historic city center.
Amsterdam, the city that was named after the Amstel river, is world-famous for its canals, locks, bridges and well-preserved centuries-old buildings. Most of which can be seen in the ‘canal district’. This unique area was laid out in the early 1600s and would obtain its final shape by the 1660s. Amsterdam, by then, was Europe’s third most populated city and admired for being so well organized, tolerant in religious matters and for the system of aid for the poor it had developed to deal with the needs of the urban poor and sick. An international and accommodating city that forms the splendid embodiment of what has been named ‘The Golden Age’. The architecture of the elegant town homes that were built in the residential sections of the ‘New Town’, continues to impress up to today.
The Van Loon Mansion is housed within the former residence of the Van Loon family and together with its garden and carriage house, constitutes an ensemble that is typical of the ‘Golden Age Grand Town Home’. Today, it is the only remaining architectural ensemble in town. The rooms inside all reflect on fashions associated with wealth and refinement. The walls are graced with family portraits that are grouped so as to showcase the unions between Van Loon and other powerful families.
Since Amsterdam is an excellent walking city, strolling down the paved streets, your guide will point out famous landmarks such as the Royal Palace on Dam Square, the former civic orphanage on Kalverstraat and the neighboring Begijnhof (scenic courtyard complex of centuries-old homes still in use by a community of women, formerly addressed as “begijnen” – a lay catholic sisterhood established in 1389), the Sephardic synagogue in the former Jewish district and the former home of Rembrandt van Rijn. All are within walking distance of most hotels.
De Jordaan or de Pijp neighborhoods are lovely areas than can easily be incorporated in your tour, should you so desire. Both are home to famous street markets and offer plentiful opportunities for a lunch or coffee break. The Nine Street district with its local stores and boutiques is also interesting to walk through.
The walking tour will end back at your hotel, where you have the remainder of the day for your own leisure.