I am about to spend a week on an art tour of Holland. Hope to see some of Vermeer’s work

Yes I would like to see some of Vermeer’s work. I particularly like the puzzles offered by his domestic scenes, as well as their tranquillity. See The Lacemaker below – click to enlarge. Note now he portrays the detail!

The following is the itinerary my friend John and I have got planned. We used an old online article from a British newspaper as the basis. We may make alterations as the days go by but this is what we have planned:

Sunday 17th June

12:00, Head to Gatwick from London.
13:05 (approx), Arrive at Gatwick, Check in, Security etc. Do some reading.
16:25, Lift off.
18:40, Arrival at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. Park plane, collect baggage etc.
20:00 (approx), Head straight for the campsite, familiarise ourselves with facilities and get an early start on Monday.

Bike rental (not possible to reserve bikes apparently) €10 per day/€19 2 days/€24 3 days/€32 4 days/5,6 and 7 days €40 – deposit €50 per bike.

Monday 18th (Amsterdam)

0830, shop opens for breakfast but instead of buying breakfast on the campsite at 0830 it’s a 30-40 minute cycle into Amsterdam where we can find a nice cafe to have a pastry and a coffee for breakfast.

Hermitage Amsterdam: extended opening to 15th June(!) Alas, we will be three days too late but there’s always the chance that they will extend it further. We will check.

Rijksmuseum (Jan Luijkenstraat 1 1071 CJ Amsterdam): Includes Rembrandt’s Night Watch and master pieces by Vermeer: Milkmaid, The Woman Reading a Letter, Woman Holding a Balance etc.


Rembrandt House Musum (Museum Het Rembrandthuis Jodenbreestraat 41011 NK Amsterdam)

Stanislavski is the latest in an upmarket chain of restaurants and hotels. Situated in the imposing entrance hall of a theatre in the hub of the city, the stylish eaterie is said to buzz with atmosphere. A three-course meal for two with a bottle of wine and coffee comes in at a not too dramatic 100 Euros. (www.stanislavski.nl, +31 207959996)

Tuesday 19th (The Hague via Leiden)


Amsterdam Central to Leiden Central (35min)

Pieterskerk church, Leiden. Fine 14thC church contains the tombs of Jacob Arminius and Jan Steen.


Leiden to The Hague (10min)

Mauritshuis Art Gallery (closed for renovation) have sent a lot of their art work to Gemeentemuseum (Stadhouderslaan 41 2517 HV Den Haag), this was also the second museum on the original itinerary so we will be killing two birds with one stone.

Mooch around The Hague/possible tour/The Fred (shopping district).

DINNER – Indonesian (some historic links to Indonesia apparently – yes I have read Nathaniel’s Nutmeg – see on foot of this post)  then head back to the campsite.

Wednesday 20th (Rotterdam)


Amsterdam Central to Rotterdam Central (40-70min)

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen


A walk along Europe’s largest port, crossing the Erasmus bridge.



Head back to campsite.

Thursday 21st (Utrecht)


Amsterdam Central to Utrecht Central (30min)

Museum Catharijneconvent – former monastery, a lot of religious artefacts and painting.


Centraal Museum

Apparently the Dom (cathedral) is worth a visit and the post office apparently has an amazing art deco interior.


Head back to campsite.

Friday 22nd (Amsterdam)


Bijbels (Bible) Museum (The Cromhouthouses, herengracht 366-368)


Westerkerk (church) – holds remains of Rembrandt; Zuiderkerk (church) – inspired Wren and Monet, Amsterdam’s first Protestant church; Anne Frank’s House.


Van Gough Museum (worth booking advance tickets) – Open until 10pm on Friday nights.

Saturday 23rd June

0700, Check out of campsite.
0800, Check in at Airport
10:10, take off, and back to Gatwick.

Well that is the plan. I will report how it goes.


Re Nathaniel’s Nutmeg:

On Christmas Day, 1616, an English adventurer, Nathaniel Courthope, stepped ashore on a remote island in the East Indies on a most secret and dangerous mission

He had to persuade the head-hunting islanders of Run to grant a monopoly to England over their nutmeg, a fabulously valuable spice in Europe.

The welcome he received infuriated the Dutch, who were determined to seize control of the world’s nutmeg supply.

For five years, Courthope and his half-starved band of thirty men were besieged by a force one hundred times greater. His heroism set in motion the events that led to the founding of the greatest city on earth.

Great book!

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