10137
Netherlands/Belgium

Tulipmania

From the floor of the world’s largest flower auction to prized botanical gardens to the works of the Golden Age Masters, discover the history of the iconic tulip.
Rating (5)
Program No. 10137RJ
Length
13 days
Starts at
3,649
Flights start at
775
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13 days
12 nights
25 meals
11 B 5 L 9 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
Van der Valk Hotel Haarlem
DAY
2
Arrive Amsterdam, Check-in, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Haarlem
D
Van der Valk Hotel Haarlem

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Orientation: 4:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Breakfasts will typically be European-style buffets with cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, breads, milk, juice, coffee, tea, water. Lunches are usually plated meals and dinners are typically 3-course plated meals. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll enjoy a 3-course plated meal with water and a glass of wine included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
3
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum
Haarlem
B,L,D
Van der Valk Hotel Haarlem

Activity note: Walking about 3 miles over approximately 4 hours; some unavoidable stairs and cobblestones; periods of standing in the museum. Use of public transportation.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, and breads, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Joined at the hotel by an art historian this morning, we’ll settle in for a lecture about art in the Dutch Golden Age, which began in approximately year 1600 when the Dutch gained independence from Spanish Catholic rule, and continued up to about 1672. We’ll then set out for an expert-led walk through the beautiful old city center of Haarlem followed by a visit to the St. Bavo Church, which holds the biggest church organ of the Netherlands.

Lunch: At a restaurant in town, we’ll have a plated meal with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then set out on foot led by our Group Leader and go on a field trip to the Frans Hals Museum, dedicated to one of the famous painters of the Golden Age. Upon arrival at the museum, a staff member will lead the group for a chance to see art of the Dutch Golden Age, which we learned about during in the morning lecture.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: Our historian will then join us for a lecture on the history of tulips and their cultural role in the region.

DAY
4
Flower Auction in Aalsmeer, Bulb Farm
Haarlem
B,L,D
Van der Valk Hotel Haarlem

Activity note: Driving about 30 miles (50 km); approximately 1.5 hours total for the day, with stops. Walking up to 4 miles total throughout the day, some places can be very crowded; some stairs in the flower auction building; uneven terrain at gardens and bulb farm.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Boarding a motorcoach at the hotel, we’ll travel with a local expert and go on a field trip to the flower auction in Aalsmeer where nearly 14 million flowers and 1.5 million plants are sold daily. While here, we will learn how the auction works and walk above a sea of flowers. Then, we will drive a short distance to visit the Aalsmeer Historic Garden where we will learn from a local expert about the history of flower production in the Netherlands. These iconic botanical grounds exemplify four centuries of living history and represent the evolving significance of flowers in Dutch life. Afterward, we will make another short transfer to visit the Cruquius Museum, a former steam pumping station, which pumped all the water out of the former Haarlemmerlake. A member of the museum staff will show us around and explain how this facility functioned.

Lunch: In the museum restaurant, we’ll have a set plated lunch with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After a short motorcoach ride, we’ll meet a bulb-farmer who will lead us around the fields while explaining all about his company and bulb growing in general. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Canals, Amsterdam Historical Museum
Haarlem
B,L,D
Van der Valk Hotel Haarlem

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 37 miles (60 km) throughout the day; approximately 1 hour total, with stops. Walking up to 4 miles total throughout the day, some places can be very crowded; cobblestones and stairs; periods of standing in the museum. Getting on/off boat; ride is approximately 1 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Arriving to the dock in Amsterdam via motorcoach, we’ll go on a field trip through the canals of Amsterdam by boat as our Group Leader offers commentary. Continuing our field trip, we’ll go on a walk led by a local expert through the city center, which will end near the flower market. On our way, we’ll pass by such sites as the Old Church, the National Monument, the Royal Palace, and the New Church. We’ll travel to and arrive at the Amsterdam Historical Museum in time for lunch.

Lunch: At the museum restaurant, we’ll have a set plated lunch with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: On site, we will have a field trip at the Amsterdam Historical Museum to see the glory of the Dutch Golden Age. As we move through the museum led by a museum staff person, we will learn about the history of Amsterdam and the significance of certain pieces in the exhibitions.

Dinner: At an Indonesian restaurant, we’ll have a “rice table,” or rijsttafel, meal with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll then return to the hotel by motorcoach for the remainder of the evening at leisure.

DAY
6
De Keukenhof Gardens
Haarlem
B,D
Van der Valk Hotel Haarlem

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 30 miles (48 km) roundtrip; approximately 1 hour total. Amount of walking at de Keukenhof Gardens dependent on personal interest; some uneven terrain in the gardens.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll travel by motorcoach for an all-day field trip at the Keukenhof, the Netherlands’ most famous open-air flower park with about 6 million blooming bulbs. At your own pace, take time to explore the expansive grounds seeing many types of flora, stroll through greenhouses, and learn about the gorgeous flowers on site.

Lunch: On your own to explore the local fare.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our self-led morning field trip at the Keukenhof. At a predetermined time and place, we’ll meet for group transfer back to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Rijksmuseum, Free Time
Haarlem
B
Van der Valk Hotel Haarlem

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 37 miles (60 km) roundtrip; approximately 1 hour total. Walking about 2 miles; approximately 2 hours; city sidewalks and in the museum; some places may be very crowded. Opportunities available for additional walking during free time.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Via motorcoach, we’ll arrive for a field trip led by a museum expert at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. On site, we’ll see the art of the Golden Age, including work by masters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. Our group activity will conclude in the late morning, but tickets will be valid for the entire day, for multiple entries. If you are interested in visiting the Anne Frank House or Van Gogh Museum, this would be a good opportunity to do so, but you must book your tickets online in advance for an entrance at a set time.

Lunch: On your own to sample more of the regional cuisine.

Afternoon: Free time. This period of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in Amsterdam. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Transfer to Ghent, Royal Delft Factory
Ghent
B,D
Ghent River Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 136 miles (229 km) total throughout the day; approximately 2.5 hours total, with stops for field trips. Walking about 2 miles; approximately 3 hours in the Delftware factory and Rotterdam; some places may be crowded.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will transfer to Ghent with a stop en route at the Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles, the largest remaining handmade Delftware factory, famous for its porcelain since the 17th century. An onsite expert will lead us through the factory while explaining the significance and legacy of these iconic wares. We will then continue our transfer to Rotterdam.

Lunch: On your own explore the local fare in the famous Market Hall of Rotterdam.

Afternoon: Before we continue our transfer to Ghent, we will enjoy a drive with a local expert through Rotterdam to learn about the city's architecture. During our field trip, we will see such sites as the famous Cubic Houses, which are like an M.C. Escher drawing brought to life. Upon arrival in Ghent, we will check into the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll enjoy plated meals with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Welcome to Ghent, Historical Walk, Independent Exploration
Ghent
B
Ghent River Hotel

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles during group activities; approximately 2.5 hours; city sidewalks and unavoidable cobblestones. Opportunities for additional walking according to personal interest during time for independent exploration.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as cold cuts, cheeses, cereals, yogurt, fruit, and breads, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll begin by setting out on an expert-led walk in the city of Ghent, a medieval city where the Industrial Revolution began in the 19th century. Walking along the canals through the historical center with its many squares (Vrijdagsmarkt, Groentenmarkt, and Koorenmarkt), we’ll see sites such as the medieval fortress of Gravensteen, the meat market, and St. Bavo Church, which houses the famous Van Eyck altarpiece. (Please note that we will not go inside St. Bavo Church to see the altarpiece as a group. You might like to see it during time for independent exploration this afternoon.)

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: After some time for independent exploration, we’ll gather at the hotel later in the afternoon to take in a lecture given by an art expert on Flemish art.

Dinner: On your own to explore the regional cuisine.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Antwerp, Rockoxhuis Museum, Cathedral of Our Lady
Ghent
B,L,D
Ghent River Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 75 miles (120 km) total throughout the day; approximately 2 hours. Walking up to 4 miles total throughout the day, uneven pavement, cobblestones in the old city center; periods of standing in the museum; some places can be very crowded.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Arriving via motorcoach, we will visit Antwerp, which, from the medieval riverside fortress to modern waterfront creations, is full of enchantments. While here, we’ll take an expert-led field trip to the Rockoxhuis Museum with a special emphasis on the symbolic meaning of flowers. Many of the flowers and plants in paintings and Western art are easy to recognize, but lesser known are their deeper meanings, which we will explore.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll enjoy plated meals with a chance to try some of the famous Belgian waffles with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we will set out on an expert-led walking field trip in the old medieval city center of Antwerp, including a visit to the famous Cathedral of Our Lady. The 14th Century Gothic cathedral is the home of several paintings of Peter Paul Rubens and other Baroque artists, which we will see accompanied by commentary.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Ghent, we’ll have plated meals with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
Zeeland Flanders, Visit a Private Garden, Polder Landscape
Ghent
B,L,D
Ghent River Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 75 miles (120 km) total throughout the day; approximately 2 hours total, with stops. Walking about 2 miles throughout the day; uneven terrain in the garden and by the polders.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we will drive to Zeeland Flanders where we will visit an impressive private garden of two owners who have worked on it for decades. After learning the story of the garden, we’ll be free to explore the 5,200 square meter garden independently.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Sluis, a town within Zeeland Flanders, we’ll have plated meals with water included, other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After some time for independent exploration, we will board the motorcoach for an expert-led field trip through the polder (reclaimed land) landscape. While here in “polder country,” we will learn about the water management system (historically the famous windmills) that the Dutch use to reclaim land from the sea.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to have a stroll into Ghent.

DAY
12
Bruges, Groeninge Museum
Ghent
B,D
Ghent River Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving about 62 miles (100 km) total throughout the day; approximately 2.5 hours, with stops. Walking up to 4 miles total throughout the day; city sidewalks, some unavoidable cobblestones and stairs; some places can be very crowded.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: On an expert-led walk in the beautiful, fairytale city of Bruges, we will stroll along the Minnewater Park, the Begijnhof (courtyard of the Beguines – secular nuns), the city's medieval street, and finishing at the Belfry of Bruges on the market square.

Lunch: On your own to explore the local fare.

Afternoon: We will then regroup to be provided with tickets to explore the Museum of Flemish Primitives (also known as the Groeninge Museum) independently. This museum houses a beautiful exhibit of paintings by Flemish primitives in the 15th and early 16th centuries. Then, enjoy independent exploration for the remainder of the afternoon.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll enjoy a delicious plated farewell dinner with a glass of wine and water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
13
Program Concludes
Ghent
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:30 a.m. See your program’s “Transportation Information” regarding transfers. Driving transfer to the airport is about 42 miles; approximately 1.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we will transfer to the airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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