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The Old Masters: Art Treasures of Holland by River

Program Number: 19504RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/11/2013 - 4/20/2013; 5/5/2016 - 5/14/2016; 6/9/2016 - 6/18/2016; 8/18/2016 - 8/27/2016; 10/6/2016 - 10/15/2016;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Netherlands
Price starting at: $2,625.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Barge Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 21; 8 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    


Built in 1908 as a cargo ship, the Allure was converted into a passenger boat in 1998 and underwent a total renovation in 2012. Chartered exclusively for Road Scholar participants, the Allure is a comfort class barge, with a salon where meals are served, a sitting area with a TV, a reading-corner, sun deck and a small bar. There are 10 double occupancy cabins with twin lower beds, plus a private bath.


When Antwerp fell to Catholic Spain in 1585, wealthy Calvinists fled north to the United Provinces, which kept up the Dutch Revolt until victory 63 years later. This influx of the wealthy and educated spurred the Dutch Golden Age and turned tiny Amsterdam -- the “new Antwerp” -- into the world’s most important port. Today, the Netherlands sports an international outlook as a member of the EU and home to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Amsterdam: Three-star hotel. Double-occupancy barge cabins, each with twin-lower beds, basin, toilet, shower and central heating. Ship features day room, small bar, outdoor seating on upper deck.
Meals and Lodgings
   Museum Square Hotel Amsterdam
  Amsterdam, Netherlands 1 night
  Amsterdam, Netherlands
Haarlem, Netherlands
Leiden, Netherlands
Delft, Netherlands
Gouda, Netherlands
Vianen, Netherlands
Amsterdam, Netherlands
7 nights
 Museum Square Hotel Amsterdam
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Within walking distance to museums
  Ship Information: N/A
  Contact info: De Lairessestraat 7
Amsterdam,  1071 Netherlands
phone: +31 (0) 20 6719596
  Room amenities: En-suite bathrooms, television, wireless internet, safe deposit box, minibar, air-conditioning
  Facility amenities: Hotel Garden Cafe
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Prices may vary Contact IBT for current rates
  Check in time: 2:00 PM

Type: Barge
  Ship Information: The Allure was built in 1908 as a cargo ship and converted into a passenger boat in 1998. A total renovation was completed in 2012. The barge is 138' x 22' wide.
  Contact info: No street address available as
the barge continually moves,   Netherlands
phone: +31 (0) 651552268
  Room amenities: Private bath with shower, toilet, and sink. There is a porthole in the bathroom and cabin which opens.
  Facility amenities: Chartered exclusively for Road Scholar participants, the Allure is a comfort class barge, with a salon where meals are served, a sitting area, a reading-corner, sun deck, and a small bar. There are (10) double occupancy cabins with twin lower beds.
  Smoking allowed: No

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
10:30 Group meets at Schiphol Airport for transfer to de Zaanse Schans. You will be staying at Museum Square Hotel Amsterdam that night.
  End of Program:
8:00 Early morning group transfer to Schiphol Airport. You will be staying at Allure the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Release and Assumption of Risk is required.
  Parking availability:
No parking available.
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Taxi, bus & train available. Refer to Amsterdam Schiphol's website for specifics and to review schedules & fares:
To Start of Program
  Location:  Amsterdam
  Nearest airport:  Amsterdam Schiphol
  Transportation to site: If you cannot make the 10:30 AM meeting time, take a taxi from the airport to the Conscious Hotel Museum Square. Travel time is about 25 minutes and taxi will cost approximately €50. Museum Square Hotel de Lairessestraat 7 Tel: 020-6719596
  From End of Program
  Location: Amsterdam
  Transportation from site: For those not utilizing the group transfer at the conclusion of the program: Take a taxi from the barge in Amsterdam to Schiphol Airport; approximate travel time is 25 minutes. Taxi will cost about €50. You may also take a train from Centraal Station to Schiphol Airport. Centraal Station is a 15-minute walk from the barge. Travel time by train is 15 minutes. Review schedules and fares online:
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: International Flight
(Thursday, April 11)
 Afternoon: Board an overnight flight.

Day 2: Arrive in Amsterdam/ Zaanse Schans/ Welcome Dinner
(Friday, April 12)
 Morning: Arrival at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Transfer to de Zaanse Schans, a village with windmills, a klompen maker (wooden shoes) and a fabulous pancake house.
 Lunch: Pancake house.
 Afternoon: After lunch we continue to Amsterdam and check into our hotel located in the heart of Amsterdam. The balance of the afternoon is yours to relax or explore the city.
 Dinner: Welcome dinner in a local restaurant.
 Evening: All evenings are free to explore on your own or relax.
Accommodations: Museum Square Hotel Amsterdam
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Kroller Muller Museum
(Saturday, April 13)
 Breakfast: Hotel dining room.
 Morning: Coach to the Kroller Muller Museum, home to the largest private collection of Van Gogh paintings. Located in a dense forest, this one-level museum and sculpture garden will satisfy the most critical art connoisseur.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the Kroller Muller Museum cafeteria.
 Afternoon: Coach to Amsterdam and board the barge, our home for the next seven nights. Meet the crew and pay close attention to the captain's safety orientation.
 Dinner: Aboard the barge.
Accommodations: Allure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Frans Hals Museum
(Sunday, April 14)
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: We start the day barging to Haarlem. You'll see locks, bridges and lots of traffic on the rivers and canals. Heavy cargo such as stones and steel is still transported by barge. In addition, the Dutch are passionate about water sports and all kinds of crafts will pass us from sailboats to yachts. When arriving in Haarlem, look to your left for a large building with a glass dome. You don't want to be inside; it is a prison.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: After lunch we visit the Frans Hals Museum. A lecture will introduce this famous Dutch painter (1581-1666). Hals was commissioned to paint Amsterdam's civic guards with the understanding that he paint in Amsterdam. However, he became tired of traveling between Haarlem and Amsterdam and, when pressed to finish the painting, missed the deadline and didn't get paid. His contemporary, Pieter Codde, finished the painting, called Meagre Company, a reference to the short men in comparison to guards in other paintings. After a lecture you are set free to independently explore this fine museum. Returning to the barge, we stop at the statue of Koster, who, according to the Dutch, was the inventor of printing.
 Dinner: Dinner aboard the barge.
Accommodations: Allure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Flower Auction House
(Monday, April 15)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the barge.
 Morning: This morning we bus to Aalsmeer, to the largest flower auction in The Netherlands. Here we take a field trip through acres of flowers and plants. We will also watch the bidding as buyers from all over Europe compete with one another. Soon afterwards, the trucks leave for the distributors, and some flowers head for the airport on their way to the USA. The next day they may be for sale in your flower shop. Our journey continues to Cruquius, a former steam pumping station used to drain the area around Amsterdam which was threatened with flooding. After lunch we bus to Leiden, Rembrandt's birthplace and, appropriately, our home for the night.
 Lunch: Free to sample local cuisine.
 Afternoon: You are free for independent exploration of Leiden this afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner aboard the barge.
Accommodations: Allure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Delft Porcelain Works
(Tuesday, April 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the barge.
 Morning: Our morning starts with a visit to Gemeente Museum in The Hague. Accompanied by a docent, we marvel at the collection of Old Masters.
 Lunch: Lunch on barge.
 Afternoon: We barge to Delft and visit The Porceleyne Fles, the oldest surviving porcelain factory in The Netherlands. Here we enjoy a lecture and field trip before heading back to our floating hotel.
 Dinner: Dinner aboard the barge.
Accommodations: Allure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Pilgrim Church/ Boijmans Museum
(Wednesday, April 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the barge.
 Morning: We barge this morning to Rotterdam and walk to a church where the pilgrims said their last prayers before sailing for England where they boarded the Mayflower for the United States. A lecture on this important part of our history will surely captivate you.
 Lunch: Aboard the barge.
 Afternoon: After lunch we attend a lecture on the different schools of painting. Then we explore the Boijmans Museum with its fine collection of Old Masters (Van Eyck, Fabricius, J. Bosch) with a lecture and field trip. Afterwards we continue to Gouda, our home for the night.
 Dinner: Dinner aboard the barge.
Accommodations: Allure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Catharina Gasthuis/ St. John's Church
(Thursday, April 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast aboard the barge.
 Morning: In Gouda we visit the Catharina Gasthuis for an unusual lecture and field trip. The museum exhibits altar panels, painted in the Golden Age, by Dirck Barendsz, Antonie Blocklandt, Pieter Pourdus and Jan Steen. Across from the museum is the St. John's Church where we attend a lecture on the famous old windows with biblical scenes. You may want to consider buying some Gouda cheese, delicious and the real thing.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Relax on deck as we barge towards Amsterdam. Weather-permitting, you'll enjoy the ever-changing scenery from a deck chair. We will moor in Oude Wetering.
 Dinner: Dinner aboard the barge.
Accommodations: Allure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Independent Exploration
(Friday, April 19)
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: An early departure brings our barge back to where it all started one week ago, Amsterdam, or Mokum as the Dutch call it. Your program leader will lead the group to the center of Amsterdam to Rembrandt Square, to the flower market and finally the beguinage.
 Lunch: Free to explore local restaurants.
 Afternoon: This afternoon you'll have time to visit a museum or see the Anne Frank House. Amsterdam has many terraces where you can watch the locals (and tourists) go about their business while you enjoy a Heineken or a cup of coffee.
 Dinner: Enjoy your farewell dinner on the barge.
Accommodations: Allure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 10: Departure
(Saturday, April 20)
 Breakfast: Aboard the barge.
 Morning: Transfer to the airport for departure.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Worldly Art

Author: Mariet Westermann

Description: This appreciative analysis of Dutch art in its Golden Age (1585-1718) features 100 exemplary illustrations by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Pieter de Hooch, Frans Hals and other masters.

Amsterdam Map

Author: Borch Maps

Description: A laminated, folded map of the city center, at a scale of 1:11,000.

Amsterdam, A Traveler's Literary Companion

Author: Manfred Wolf (Editor)

Description: Organized by district, these 17 contemporary short stories by modern Dutch writers, including Cees Nooteboom and Geert Mak, are set among the canals, cafes and neighborhoods of Amsterdam.

Dutch Painting (World of Art)

Author: Rudolf Herman Fuchs

Description: Starting with Van Eyck and his 15th-century contemporaries, this volume in the "World of Art" series surveys nearly 500 years of painting in the Netherlands, ending with a discussion of late 20th-century artists. Featuring almost 200 illustrations.

Eyewitness Guide Amsterdam

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: A wonderful guide to Amsterdam, filled with detailed drawings, photographs and thumbnail sketches. Slim and attractive, it also includes detailed maps and cutaway drawings of landmarks. Includes The Hague, Rotterdam and Delft.

Eyewitness Guide The Netherlands

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: Gorgeously illustrated and filled with excellent maps, this compact book covers Holland, its history, traditions, cultures and sights. With hundreds of color photographs and illustrations.

Fodor's Amsterdam's 25 Best

Author: Fodor's

Description: This slim guide to essential highlights includes an excellent map of the city center and can easily be slipped in your pocket.

Murder in Amsterdam, Liberal Europe, Islam, and the Limits of Tolerance

Author: Ian Buruma

Description: Buruma, a Dutch expat who spent years in Japan, turns crime reporter as he travels back to Holland to examine the murder of filmmaker Theo Van Gogh by an Islamic extremist.

Netherlands Map

Author: Hallwag

Description: A detailed map of the Netherlands at a very nice scale of 1:200,000.

Rembrandt, Master of the Portrait

Author: Pascal Bonafoux

Description: With over 200 illustrations, this pocket-size encyclopedia traces the life and career of Rembrandt. It offers insight into his influence on the art of the portrait -- an illuminating companion for any visit to Amsterdam and its museums.

The Autumn of the Middle Ages

Author: Johan Huizinga

Description: A pioneering work of social and cultural history, this well-translated classic is a richly detailed portrait of life, thought and art in 14th- and 15th-century France and the Netherlands.

The Diary of a Young Girl, The Definitive Edition

Author: Anne Frank

Description: The classic story of an adolescent Jewish girl's life and thoughts while in hiding with her family in Nazi-occupied Holland. A new edition with added material.

The Embarrassment of Riches

Author: Simon Schama

Description: An engaging cultural history and much more, this book is a study of the Dutch in the 17th century and their surprising challenge to Spanish rule.

The Undutchables

Author: Colin White

Description: A laugh-out-loud, irreverent guide to Dutch character and habits, including how to drink coffee and why you shouldn't even think about haggling over prices.

Tulip Fever

Author: Deborah Moggach

Description: A surprise bestseller, set in 1630s Amsterdam; in this gripping novel, a man contracts the talented painter Jan Van Loos to paint a portrait of him and his beautiful wife, Sophia. A vivid drama unfolds as a mutual attraction develops between Van Loos and Sophia.


Author: Mike Dash

Description: The story of the world's most coveted flower and the extraordinary passion it aroused, this vivid history traces the story of the tulip from its origins on the Turkish steppes to an absurdly coveted object in Europe and its key role in the financial follies of 17th-century Holland.

Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art

Author: Rudd Priam

Description: This handsome book reproduces highlights from the astounding collection of 17th-century masterpieces at the Rijksmuseum.

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