Independent Amsterdam: The Best of Dutch Art and Architecture

Discover Amsterdam — once home to artistic greats including Rembrandt and van Gogh, and now a thriving city known for its rich, modern culture.
Rating (5)
Program No. 18101RJ
9 days
Starts at
Flights start at

At a Glance

Amsterdam — "Venice of the North" — comprises some 90 islands linked by rings of canals and about 400 bridges. Founded as a marketplace for farmers and fishermen, it became the world's wealthiest and most powerful trading center during the Dutch Golden Age. Discover the neighborhoods, culture, art and daily life of this unique city amid beautiful 17th-century architecture and inside prestigious museums reflecting an extraordinary cultural heritage.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking and standing for up to 3 hours per day; downtown city streets, some uneven terrain.
Independent City Discoveries
Independent City Discoveries
Learn with a Group Leader and enjoy educational programming while also getting independent time to explore on your own. Most Independent City Discoveries include lectures, self-guided excursions and passes for public transit and museums.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Enjoy an expert-led city excursion highlighting the history of Amsterdam through its architecture.
  • Local scholars discuss Dutch painting and add context to independent visits inside the city’s greatest art museums.
  • Explore the life and art of Vincent van Gogh and the incredible impact he had on 20th-century art.

General Notes

Included in the program-only price: 7 nights hotel accommodations, all breakfasts, 2 dinners, 6 lectures by local experts, detailed outlines for 4 self-guided excursions, substantial free time. The program also includes a public transportation pass.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Max Put
After studying painting and graphic art and working as an artist, Max Put attended Leiden University and earned a master’s in art history. In 1995, while still at university, he started giving talks on Dutch art and culture. He has been a charismatic figure leading Road Scholar groups for more than 15 years.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Carmen Rademaker
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Max Put
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Sanne Pleiter
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Eyewitness Guide Amsterdam
by Eyewitness Guides
A wonderful guide to Amsterdam, filled with detailed drawings, photographs and thumbnail sketches.
by Mike Dash
The story of the world's most coveted flower and the extraordinary passion it aroused, this vivid history traces the tulip from its origins on the Turkish steppes to its status as an absurdly desired object in Europe and its key role in the financial follies of 17th-century Holland.
Amsterdam Map
by Borch Maps
A laminated, folded map of the city center, at a scale of 1:11,000.
The Netherlands in a Nutshell
by Frits Van Oostrom
With information on the Dutch East India Company, Huygens, Spinoza, Van Gogh, the Great Flood, the Dutch overseas colonies and much more, Van Oostrom's popular primer covers the essential highlights of Dutch history.
Why the Dutch are Different
by Ben Coates
Mingling history with travelogue, Coates speaks to why the Netherlands is such fascinating country. He explains the significance of milk, beer and the color orange in the lives of the Dutch, their world-famous culture of tolerance and much more.
Rembrandt, Master of the Portrait
by Pascal Bonafoux
With over 200 illustrations, this pocket-size encyclopedia traces the life and career of artist Rembrandt von Rijn. It offers insight into his influence on the art of the portrait -- an illuminating companion for any visit to Amsterdam and its museums.
Tulip Fever
by Deborah Moggach
In this surprise bestseller, set in 1630s Amsterdam, 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.
Amsterdam, A Traveler's Literary Companion
by Manfred Wolf (Editor)
Organized by district, these 17 contemporary short stories by modern Dutch writers, including Cees Nooteboom and Geert Mak, are set amid the canals, cafes and neighborhoods of Amsterdam.
The Amsterdam Canals
by Cris Toala Olivares
Published for the 400th birthday of Amsterdam’s world-famous canal system, this luxurious photographic portfolio highlights the characteristic places and everyday life of Amsterdam from the air, the ground and the water.
In the City of Bikes
by Pete Jordan
Pedaling around the city on a "lumbering and sluggish" single-speed bicycle named Brownie, American expat and bike nut Pete Jordan turns his love of Amsterdam -- and of bicycles -- into an acutely observed cultural history of the city.
Van Gogh, The Life
by Gregory White Smith, Steven Naifeh
Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers Naifeh and Smith reconstruct the life of Van Gogh with authority. Never losing sight of the artist’s profound achievements, the authors square Van Gogh’s talent with his depression and madness.
Amsterdam, A History of the World's Most Liberal City
by Russell Shorto
Russell Shorto opens this delightful ode to an adopted city with his daily journey, by bike of course, through his neighborhood to drop off his toddler son. He spins a tale of a diverse city wrestled from the sea, its coffee shops, canals and its personalities and politics, with panache.
A Worldly Art
by Mariet Westermann
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 Old Masters.
The Embarrassment of Riches
by Simon Schama
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 Anatomy Lesson
by Nina Siegal
A fictionalized account of the events surrounding Rembrandt’s first commissioned piece, the Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp. Well-researched and vivid with period details that transport the reader back to 1600s Amsterdam at the height of Dutch artistic vigor.
Lonely Planet Dutch Phrasebook
by Lonely Planet
This handy pocket phrasebook includes pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary.
The Diary of a Young Girl, The Definitive Edition
by Anne Frank
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.

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