NETHERLANDS: AMSTERDAM - UTRECHT - THE HAGUE - ROTTERDAM
May 28 TO June 8, 2019
There is a plethora of things to experience in this clean, organized, advanced country. Known for it's tolerance and diversity, this destination is sure to not disappoint you with the array of eclectic industries, phenomenal architectural displays and world renown museums, and if you like Vincent Van Gogh's art, I gave over 30 lectures on the subject in Universities and Museums and will be happy to take you to the three largest collections of his paintings: the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam and the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo.
The below descriptions of sites are ideas about what can be seen as major "attractions," but on my tours we are flexible. It is a private tour, where you are guided, which doesn't mean that you have to see places you don't want to visit. There many other things we can do, exploring neighborhoods, going shopping, visiting galleries, sitting in a cafe watching people go by. You have a choice and because we are not a group, we have the freedom to change the schedule of the day. Being guided, give you the insurance that you are not going to get lost, that you will see the important places you want to see and that you can rely on my knowledge to discover places you didn't know existed.
DAY ONE: May 28: Leave the US to fly to Amsterdam.
(Air fare not included)
Night in Amsterdam
DAY TWO: May 29: Arrive Amsterdam.
Pick up at airport to go to hotel. Dinner with the group.
Night in Amsterdam - Dinner with the group.
DAY THREE: May 30: Visit of Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a combination of its 17th century history with a modern metropolis, 17th century canals (with UNESCO status), works by Dutch architect Berlage and the architectural movement Amsterdam School, plus innovative new projects in The Zuidas and the Eastern Docklands,
a neighborhood being developed in the center of Amsterdam. on several islands and peninsulas. The former docklands have been changed into a new, attractive living area.
Amsterdam is an interesting mix of innovative, internationally renowned modern architecture and stylish historical buildings related to the maritime history of the area.
We will visit interesting buildings like the EYE, which is the museum of cinema.
The National Rijks Museum: The Rijksmuseum is one of Amsterdam’s grandest and most popular museums. Its vast collection showcases iconic art and a wide variety of artifacts that reflect more than 800 years of Dutch and global history, including jaw dropping paintings by the likes of Rembrandt, Van Gogh and countless more Dutch greats.
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn’s home and workshop. For twenty years the Netherlands’ greatest artist lived and worked in this impressive building in the heart of Amsterdam, now a museum giving visitors a complete Rembrandt experience. The house has been meticulously refurbished with furniture, art and objects from that time.
Night in Amsterdam- Dinner on your own.
DAY FOUR: May 31: Amsterdam.
Van Gogh Museum: the museum which opened in 1973, was designed by a great 20th Century Dutch architect, Gerrit Rietveld and enlarged in 1998 by a leading Japanesee architects with major works World wide, Kisho Kurokowa. We will also have the pleasure to visit one of the most important 20th Century house designed by Rietveld when we travel to Utrecht: the Rietveld Schröder House.
The Van Gogh Museum had another renovation and modernization in 2012 and contain the World's largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings. Some off course are very famous:
His selected works from Saint-Rémy (1889–1890):
I can tell you a lot about each of them and about a few hundreds more as well as details of a dramatic life, during which his intense desire to have a loving relationship with a woman was never fulfilled.
The museum provides opportunities to track the artist's development and compare his paintings to works by other artists from the 19th century – those who inspired him and those who drew inspiration from him.
Ann Frank House: Anne Frank was a Jewish girl who went, together with seven others, into hiding in a secret annex of a commercial building in Amsterdam during World War Two, to escape from the Nazis. After two years and one month in hiding they were anonymously betrayed to Nazi authorities, arrested and deported first to Auschwitz and later to the Bergen-Belsen camp where she died of malnourishment and of a Typhus epidemic that killed 17,000 prisoners. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, who was imprisoned in Auschwitz, is the only one of the eight people to survive. After her death Anne becomes famous because of the diary she wrote while in hiding, which was kept throughout the war by Miep Gies, one of the persons who helped the group with what they needed in order to survive.
Night in Amsterdam - Dinner on your own
DAY FIVE: June 1:
We will go to Haarlem once a major North Sea trading port surrounded by a defensive wall, it retains its medieval character of cobblestone streets and gabled houses. It's the center of a major flower-bulb-growing district, and famous for its outlying tulip fields, as well as its art museums and hofjes (almshouses built around leafy courtyards). We will visit a few of them, because they are wonderful and somehow enchanting. There are also the art deco railway station, Haarlem’s Central Square “Grote Markt”, City Hall, St. Bavo Church, Teylers Museum, Frans Hals Museum.
Back for the night in Amsterdam.
DAY SIX: June 2:
The Amsterdam School of Architecture is a movement, a style that has roots in Expressionist architecture, borrowing elements from the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) and Art Deco design aesthetic, and the aim was to create a total architectural experience – so designers paid great attention to both the interior and the exterior of each building.
Due to the socialist ideals of its founders, the Amsterdam School style was often applied to housing estates for the working class, government institutions and schools.
Many examples of this style can still be found in Amsterdam today, with some of the finest examples including Het Schip (now housing a museum dedicated to the movement) and Het Sieraad.
Stedelijk Museum. A visit to the Stedelijk Museum takes the visitor on a journey through the last 150 years of art, presenting the best of modern art in Amsterdam. Iconic works by Karel Appel, Cézanne, Chagall, Marlene Dumas, Kandinsky, Edward Kienholz, De Kooning, Koons, Malevich, Matisse, Mondrian, Picasso, Pollock, Gerrit Rietveld, Warhol and many others are on show.
The Stedelijk Museum’s design collection also traces the history of design from the turn of the last century to the present, showcasing furniture, ceramics, posters, jewelry and other objects.
Night in Amsterdam
DAY SEVEN: June 3:
One hour after leaving Amsterdam, we will just drive through a neighborhood of the town of Amersfoort, comprised of 649 houses of which, 501 houses are powered by solar panels as well as a school and a sport center. This creates about 54% of that neighborhood’s needs. Being from Florida and knowing how North this town is, I wonder why our sunny state is not with cities with roofs covered with solar panels like Amersfoort.
Then 40 minutes later we will be at the Kröller-Müller Museum, located in the Hoge Veluwe National Park, a wonderful place with a sculpture garden within the forest park, of more than 75 acres and one of the largest in Europe, with a fine collection of modern and contemporary sculptures. The garden reflects Helene Kröller-Müller's conception of a symbiosis between art, architecture and nature.
The collection includes works by Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Jean Dubuffet, Mark di Suvero, Lucio Fontana, Claes Oldenburg, Fritz Wotruba, Joep van Lieshout and many more.
The Kröller-Müller Museum has the second largest collection of Van Gogh's paintings. In the collection one can find works by Piet Mondrian, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Odilon Redon, Georges Braque, Paul Gauguin, Lucas Cranach, James Ensor, Juan Gris, and Pablo Picasso.
The museum was designed by Belgian architect Henry van de Velde, who also was the Director of the School of Arts and Crafts at Great Ducal Saxon Art School in Weimar prior to WWII, where he designed the school buildings. After the war, he refused to go back as a director and suggested Walter Gropius for the position. Gropius then changed the name of the school. It became the Staatliches Bauhaus, and became one of the most influential school in the development of modern architecture and modern furniture.
The flat packaging very dear to IKEA was developed at the Bahaus School after it moved to Dessau in 1925 and so was the first chair made out of tubes, the B3, also known later as the Wasily Chair, designed by Marcel Breuer in 1926.
We will have lunch at the Museum.
Then we will have a short drive to Utrectch.
Night in Utrecht - Dinner with the group.
DAY EIGHT: June 4:
At 11am we will visit a very important 20 Century house built in 1925, the year of the great exhibition called: Exposition internationale des arts decoratifs et industriels modernes," held in Paris frpm April to Octoberm which will be known as the Art Deco Expo, and would give its name to the architectural and decorative movement.
The Rietveld Schröder House constitutes both inside and outside a radical break with all architecture before it, making no attempt to relate to its neighbouring buildings.
"...We didn't avoid older styles because they were ugly, or because we couldn't reproduce them, but because our own times demanded their own form, I mean, their own manifestation. It was of course extremely difficult to achieve all this in spite of the building regulations and that's why the interior of the downstairs part of the house is somewhat traditional, I mean with fixed walls. But upstairs we simply called it and 'attic' and that's where we actually made the house we wanted." Gerrit Rietveld
The ground floor is traditional, for having walls creating three sitting rooms/bedrooms and a kitchen around a central staircase. The living area upstairs, was declared an attic to satisfy the fire regulations of the planning authorities. It widely open except for a toilet and a bathroom. Rietveld wanted to leave the upper level as it was. But his client, Mrs Schröder and her three children, felt that as living space it should be usable either opened or subdivided by the movement of sliding and revolving panels. This living area, when subdivided has three bedrooms, the bathroom and a living room. The interesting thing, off course, is that there are multiple combinations.
After lunch in Utrecht, we will have a short drive to the Hague to visit another great museum: the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.
The museum, a magnificent Art Deco building, designed by the Dutch architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage was built 1931–1935. He is considered the father of Dutch modern architecture. After a visit to the US in 1911, he became influenced by F.L. Wright and helped the dissemination of Wright's ideas in Europe, and especially in Germany.
The museum has the largest Piet Mondrian collection in the world. His last work, Victory Boogie-Woogie, is on display here. There are also works by Monet, Picasso, Kandinsky, Sol Lewitt, Francis Bacon and Louise Bourgeois. While we are visiting, there will be a very interesting temporary exhibition called "Architecture and Interiors. The desire for Style."
Very short drive to Rotterdam.
Dinner with the group. Night in Rotterdam
DAY NINE: June 5: Rotterdam
Rotterdam is an interesting city even for those people who are not necessarily always excited by modern architecture. On May 14 1940 at around 1:30 PM, the Nazi obliterated the city. They had to rebuilt it , first in a style that was close to their architectural history, but later needing to consider sky-scrappers, and large buildings to house, not only people but businesses since Rotterdam is the largest cargo-port in Europe and the 10th largest port in the World.
Maybe you are not convinced of its intrinsic values, but you should know that it was listed eighth in The Rough Guide Top 10 Cities to Visit and fifth in Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2016 and was voted 2015 European City of the Year by the Academy of Urbanism. The city of Rotterdam is known for the Erasmus University, riverside setting, lively cultural life and its maritime heritage.
Central Station has had a total makeover in recent years, making the station one of the most iconic architectural features in Rotterdam. The roof over the tracks is partly covered in solar panels, continuing uninterrupted into the angled roof over the station hall. Its point aims towards the city center. A number of historic elements from the former station building (1957) by Sybold van Ravesteyn have remained intact, such as the original clock in the front façade, the letters spelling out Centraal Station (now in LED lights) and the ‘speculaasjes’, two granite sculptures on platform 1.
De Markthal: You'll find an indoor market hall in various world-class cities, but the combination with luxury housing makes Rotterdam's Markthal the first of its kind. The apartments are draped over the food market in a horseshoe configuration. The Markthal has about 100 fresh food stands, nearly 15 food shops and various restaurants, with a supermarket and a four-level underground car park below. As you wander among the market stands, look up to enjoy the massive artwork sprawling across the ceiling: the 'Horn of Plenty' by Arno Coenen and Iris Roskam. Thanks to this grand span of art, the Markthal has been referred to as the Dutch version of the Sistine Chapel.
The Markthal also includes the Tijdtrap: an exhibition of archaeological finds from mediaeval Rotterdam excavated during the building's construction, now on public display for free. The Markthal is open seven days a week until 20:00.
The Cube Houses (or Pole Houses or Tree Houses) designed by architect Piet Blom are part of the Blaakse Bos development which borders on the Laurenskwartier district and the Waterfront area. The Kijk-Kubus (Show-Cube) is a furnished museum house, specially designed and constructed to let the visitor experience what life is like in a Cube House. Models, photo-panels and screens provide extra information about the Blaakse Bos housing development.
The architect wanted to design a kind of village within the city and saw the houses as trees and the whole development area as a wood. The Cube Houses are tipped to one side, making three sides face the ground and three face the sky. Small-scale businesses, shops, a school and a children’s playground are on the traffic-free promenade below.
Witte de Withkwartier. The Witte de Withkwartier is the vibrant heart of the Rotterdam art scene and is known for its dynamic nightlife. Sometimes referred to as Rotterdam's ‘Axis of Art’, the Witte de Withstraat runs from Museumpark to the Maritime Museum and is lined in various cultural institutions.
Browse the art on display at TENT or Witte de With or immerse yourself in avant-garde film and music in WORM. While galleries, cultural institutes and fashion boutiques are open all day, the focus shifts to cafés and restaurants in the evening. Grand café NRC (which stands for Nieuw Rotterdams Café) is a great place to start your evening with a plate of spaghetti or fish&chips. Prefer a juicy hamburger? Join the patrons at Ter Marsch. The most famous pub in the street is De Witte Aap, an institution in the city's nightlife for ages; Lonely Planet even nominated it as the best bar in the world! More recent arrivals to the bar scene, like Ballroom and La Bru, are popular with the young and trendy crowd. The gin and tonics sell like hotcakes across the meticulously hip designer counters. Hoping to rub shoulders with local artists and authors? Head over to De Schouw, a classic café that's quickly packed on good nights.
DAY TEN: June 6: Rotterdam
We will visit the Maeslant storm surge barrier that the last part of the Dutch Delta Works and is the world’s largest movable barrier. This impressive construction cannot be described in words, only experienced, which why we will be going to see how the Dutch protect their land. Over 30% of it is below see level. A third of wind mills you see all over the country were mostly to power a pumping system to prevent floods. The other were mustard mills, hemp mills, grain mills, snuff mills, cocoa mills, oil mills, chalk mills, paint mills and saw mills.
The Delta Works was started in 1953 after several dykes gave way under a violent storm that killed over 1850 people. Our visit will make us understand what happened and how a similar problem could be solved and will introduce us to some amazing construction and technological wonders.
DAY ELEVEN: June 7:
Van Nelle Fabriek As the most prominent industrial monument in the Netherlands, the former Van Nelle Factory was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2014. Designed by Brinkman & Van der Vlugt, the factory is a classic example of the Nieuwe Bouwen school of Dutch modernist architecture, built between 1927 and 1930. The ingenious building was designed to provide all the facilities for the employees close at hand, keeping the building fully above-ground to create air, light and space.
Until well into the 1990s, the Van Nelle Factory still produced tobacco. The complex was renovated and redesigned in 2000. Since then, it has housed a wide range of media and design firms and offers 12 rooms that can be booked for meetings, conferences and events for up to 5,000 people.
Kunsthal Rotterdam is housed in a striking building designed by Rotterdam's OMA/Rem Koolhaas architectural practice and was opened in 1992. Since then, the Kunsthal has put culture in the widest sense of the word on show, from elitist to popular. There are always a number of exhibitions to see, both large and small-scale, from old masters to contemporary art, from innovative design to engaging photography.
Sonneveld House Museum, situated on the edge of Museumpark in Rotterdam, is one of the best-preserved homes built in the Dutch Functionalist style. It was designed in the 1930s by architecture office Brinkman and Van der Vlugt, renowned for the Van Nelle Factory and Feyenoord Stadium. They also worked on the interior in close collaboration with W.H. Gispen. Sonneveld House shows how a prominent Rotterdam family embraced modernism, and how that choice coloured their everyday surroundings. The interior has been enriched with art and utensils acquired through donations, purchases and loans. A ‘designer-in-residence’ programme invites contemporary designers to respond to the house and interior with present-day design interventions.
DAY TWELVE: June 8:
You will be driven to the airport. You should be home by late afternoon.
June 17-29, 2015
$ 4525 Per Person Double Occupancy
$ 5375 Per Person Single Occupancy
5 nights in Amsterdam
1 night in Utrecht
4 nights in Rotterdam
10 Breakfasts - 6 Lunches - 5 Dinners
Pick-up at Amsterdam Airport - Drop-off at Rotterdam airport
Entrance fees to all sites including spur-of-the-moment ones
Transportation to sites - Private guide - Reference books
Accident/Medical Insurance Maps
Tax and Gratuity
Call 942 365 5214 to Register