Meet and greet with your English-speaking guide / driver in the hotel lobby, from where you are taken for a 30-minute drive by luxurious private vehicle to Zaandam for a guided tour of the Zaanse Schans.
With its traditional characteristic green wooden houses, charming stylized gardens, small hump-backed bridges, tradesmen’s workshops, historic windmills and engaging little shops the Zaanse Schans gives the feeling of stepping back into the 17th and 18thcentury, however this is not an open-air museum but a colorful living and working neighborhood on the banks of the river Zaan.
There are many windmills at the Zaanse Schans. Windmills were used, for example, for sawing wood, drying land, hulling and threshing grains, and the production of nut oil, paint and mustard. Your guide will take you to several mills like the wood cut mill The Young Sheep and spice mill De Huisman. Learn how the mills work traditionally, climb the steep stairs and have a spectacular view over the river Zaan. www.zaanseschans.nl
We continue the tour with a 60-minute drive to the “Royal City” The Hague, where you will be taken on a guided walk of the historical city center. The Hague is a historical city from the 13th Century, but it is also the city where King Willem Alexander lives and where you will find many world-famous museums. Most consider The Hague more upscale and local than Amsterdam. A surprising city!
Upon arrival in The Hague there is leisure time for lunch. On the main square, you will find many local restaurants for a nice lunch.
Fully refreshed, will start our walk in the oldest part of The Hague, the medieval parliament buildings ‘Inner court’ with the Knights Hall from the 13th century.
Here, you will be taken for a guided tour of the famous Mauritshuis Museum, one of the most prominent and oldest museums in the Netherlands or even in the world! Their collection is in the top 3 world-wide.
The Mauritshuis Museum is home to the very best Dutch Golden Age paintings. The compact, yet world-renowned collection is housed in a 17th century building. Masterpieces such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp by Rembrandt, The Goldfinch by Fabritius and The Bull by Potter are on permanent display in the intimate rooms.
More than two hundred top works from Dutch and Flemish masters are on display in the historic yet intimate interior, with its silken wall covering, sparkling chandeliers and monumental painted ceilings. Genre paintings by Jan Steen, landscapes by Jacob van Ruisdael, still lives by Adrian Coorte and portraits by Rubens offer a rich and varied representation of the best 17th century Dutch and Flemish painting. www.mauritshuis.nl
We continue the walk towards the spectacular Panorama Mesdag Museum, for a guided tour. Along the way, we will walk through the Passage (1884) and there will be a stop at the Palace Noordeinde, the working Palace of King Willem Alexander.
The Panorama is a cylindrical painting, more than 14 meters high and 120 meters in circumference. The vista of the sea, the dunes and Scheveningen village where painted by Hendrik Willem Mesdag in 1881. His wife Sientje Mesdag and several other painters of The Hague School also worked on this amazing painting. It is the oldest 19th century panorama in the world in its original site. Amazing and for sure a must-see in The Hague and for many the highlight of their stay in the Netherlands! www.mesdag.nl
After this exciting tour, there will be a walk through the Lange Voorhout, back in the direction of the vehicle. The Lange Voorhout is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Here you find the Escher Museum, which was the former winter Palace of Queen Emma, the luxurious Des Indes Hotel and the smallest house in The Hague. Did you know that this area stood sample for the Champs Elysees in Paris and Unter den Linden in Berlin?
From here, you will be taken back to your hotel in Amsterdam, where you have the remainder of the day for your own leisure. You will arrive back around 6pm.