Meet and greet with your English-speaking guide / driver in the hotel lobby, from where you will be 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 18th century, 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
After this exciting tour, we continue with a scenic 30-minute drive to the historic and picturesque village Edam.
Edam is a village in the northwest Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Combined with Volendam, Edam forms the municipality of Edam-Volendam. Approximately 7,380 people live in Edam. The entire municipality of Edam-Volendam has 28,492 inhabitants. The name Edam originates from a dam on the little river E or IJe where the first settlement was located and which was therefore called IJedam. Edam is famous as the original source of the cheese with the same name. The old town center, within the borders of the old city walls, is nowadays protected by the government, both the main structures and architectural details. A number of notable buildings survive in good condition.
Upon arrival or after the walking tour, there is leisure time for lunch in one of the local restaurants.
Fully refreshed, we continue with a 45-minute drive to the picturesque village Limmen, for a guided tour of the Historical Hortus Bulborom.
The Hortus Bulborum is the only museum garden in the world where you can find over 4,000 different tulip, hyacinth, daffodil and other bulbous cultivars, species and varieties in bloom. Nowhere on this globe you will find such a fine selection of old bulbs in one place. Every spring the Hortus transforms into a treasure trove full of dazzling colors, beautiful shapes and overwhelming fragrances at the foot of the picturesque, parish church in Limmen village, near the historic city of Alkmaar.
The collection boasts tulips dating from 1595, the famous ‘Duc van Tol Red and Yellow’; the oldest known cultivar and dozens of other cultivars which were prized possession as far back as the Golden Age. But also 17th century daffodils. The most antique daffodils are said to come from around 1601, like ‘Double Campernelle’ and ‘Albus Plenus Odoratus’.
Fundamental in this garden, however, is the preservation of heirloom bulbs. Many of them have no commercial value for modern mass production whatsoever. The aim is to maintain these cultivars and safeguard them for the future generations. The preservation work of the Hortus Bulborum goes hand in hand with the work of the professional growers to obtain better cultivars for today’s needs. The collection is a second to none pollen bank in the world to the bulb growing sector. www.hortus-bulborum.nl
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 5pm.