Some of the most notable masters in European art history were Dutch: Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Vincent Van Gogh, Hieronymus Bosch, to name a few. On this leisurely itinerary around Holland, you'll learn all about their legacies. Visit the region where Van Gogh lived and worked, peek inside Vermeer's studio, revel in street art inspired by Bosch's fanciful paintings, and view masterpieces on exhibit at a museum inside Hoge Veluwe National Park. The tour isn't only about art, though — there's time set aside for boat tours, sampling Dutch cuisine, and cycling to the coast at your own pace.

Highlights

  • Learn about the Dutch Masters at museums around the Netherlands
  • See original paintings by Vincent van Gogh near his hometown
  • Marvel at Hieronymus Bosch inspired street art in Den Bosch 
  • Tour Johannes Vermeer's artist studio and shop for earthenware in Delft
  • Explore Hoge Veluwe National Park, home to Kröller-Müller Museum
  • Cycle to Scheveningen Beach for a seafood dinner by the water

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam and Visit the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Day 2 Tour the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Day 3 Travel to Groningen and Groninger Museum Groningen
Day 4 Explore Hoge Veluwe National Park & Kröller-Müller Museum Otterlo
Day 5 Experience Masterpieces by Hieronymus Bosch 's Hertogenbosch
Day 6 See Rotterdam's Museumpark Rotterdam
Day 7 Learn About Vermeer's Life and Work in Delft The Hague
Day 8 Tour the Museums of Leiden Leiden
Day 9 Finish the Trip in Haarlem & Visit the Frans Hals Museum Haarlem
Day 10 Return to Amsterdam & Dapart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Amsterdam and Visit the Stedelijk Museum

A young artist painting on the street in Amsterdam

Welcome to the Dutch Lowlands! After arrival at Amsterdam's airport, transfer to your hotel in the city center. You'll kick off your art-focused tour of the Netherlands by visiting the Stedelijk Museum. This museum houses one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary art and design, displaying visual art from about 1860 to the present day. Highlights include key works by Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse, and Piet Mondriaan, among others. After your visit, go for dinner in one of the many excellent restaurants in the city center. 

Day 2: Tour the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum

Admiring "Almond Blossom" by Vincent van Gogh

This morning, you'll enjoy a two-hour cruise on a private boat through the canals of Amsterdam. The boat will drop you off right in front of the Rijksmuseum, the most famous museum in the Netherlands, which houses the country's most famous painting: The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn. Besides this masterpiece, you'll also see The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer and many other 17th-century works by Dutch Master painters. 

Right next to the Rijksmuseum, you will find another Dutch highlight: the Van Gogh Museum. Stop into the museum's café for lunch before exploring the collections. The Dutch post-Impressionist painter created more than 2,000 paintings in just over a decade. The museum houses some of his most famous works, like The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, Almond Blossom, and one of his very last works, Wheatfield with Crows.

Day 3: Travel to Groningen and Groninger Museum

A striking view of the cathedral in Groningen

After breakfast, catch a train for the northern city of Groningen. Like Amsterdam, this university city has a canal system, but it doesn't attract many tourist crowds, so there's a pleasantly laid-back atmosphere. The main attraction today is a visit to the Groninger Museum, located inside an impressive building by the Italian architect Alessandro Mendini. Inside, you'll find four pavilions housing a great variety of art. The works of De Ploeg, a local artist collective, are particularly worth seeking out, as is the world-renowned collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain.

Later, enjoy a leisurely evening in the city. Consider having dinner at Café Restaurant Goudkantoor, a great Dutch restaurant housed in a building that dates from 1635. It's located near the main square.

Day 4: Explore Hoge Veluwe National Park and Kröller-Müller Museum

A forested path in De Hoge Veluwe National Park

The adventure continues with a trip to De Hoge Veluwe National Park, one of the largest forested areas in the Netherlands. It once served as the private hunting grounds for Dutch royalty. Check into your hotel in Otterlo, right next to the park gate, and travel by e-bike to the Kröller-Müller Museum. The museum has the second-largest Van Gogh collection in the world, with almost 90 paintings and over 180 drawings. Among these are a version of The Potato Eaters (1885), Cafe Terrace at Night (1888), Sorrowing Old Man (1890), and Country Road in Provence by Night (1890). You'll also find masterpieces by Georges Seurat and Pablo Picasso.

In the sculpture garden, one of the largest in Europe, stroll around hundreds of works sculptures by artists including Aristide Maillol, Jean Dubuffet, Marta Pan, and Pierre Huyghe. Spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the surrounding park on your e-bike.

Day 5: Experience Masterpieces by Hieronymus Bosch

Detail of a piece by Hieronymus Bosch

After breakfast, you'll take a train to ’s Hertogenbosch, or Den Bosch for short. Den Bosch is the capital of the province of Brabant, the province where Vincent van Gogh was born and raised, and features a charming old town with beautiful buildings, historic churches, and many excellent cafés and restaurants.

Begin by visiting the Noordbrabants Museum, home to several paintings from Van Gogh's early period, and many paintings by other local artists like the great Hieronymus Bosch (or Jeroen Bosch as he is locally called). To dive deeper into Bosch's life and work, head over to the Hieronymus Bosch Art Center. You'll see reproductions of his fascinating and highly detailed works here — the center's ceilings are adorned with 3-D sculptures inspired by images from his paintings. Walking around the city center afterward, keep your eyes open and you'll see elements of Bosch's work on almost every corner, especially in colorful street art. Finish the day with a boat tour through the city and dinner in one of Den Bosch's many restaurants.

Day 6: See Rotterdam's Museumpark

Modern architecture in Rotterdam

Have a quick coffee and a pastry before continuing by train to Rotterdam. This diverse city is known for its colorful port history, vibrant nightlife, and unusual architecture. Enjoy lunch at a café before heading off on a private excursion to the Museumpark, a creatively landscaped outdoor space that connects Rotterdam’s major museums, including the Kunsthal Rotterdam art museum. Another museum nearby is the famous Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. Currently undergoing extensive renovations, it's home to masterpieces by Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh, Rothko, and others. From 2021, even as construction continues at the main site, it will be possible to view parts of the collection at the Depot Boijmans van Beuningen.

Day 7: Learn About Vermeer's Life and Work in Delft

Vermeer's most famous work reimagined in mosaic

Next, you'll catch a train to the city of Delft, home of the painter Johannes Vermeer during the mid-17th century. Stroll along the canals to the Vermeer Center, where you'll familiarize yourself with the artist's life and work. Visit his studio, which feels like being taken back in time, and view reproductions of his best-known works, including The Milkmaid and View of Delft. Afterward, relax over a leisurely lunch in the historic center.

Catch the train onward to Den Haag (known as The Hague in English), seat of the Dutch government and home to one of the most magnificent paintings in the country, Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring. View it inside the Mauritshuis, a museum that also displays works by Rembrandt and Hals. Afterward, take a break from art with an e-bike tour of the Hague. Pedal out to nearby Scheveningen Beach for a seafood dinner with a view of the ocean. 

Day 8: Tour the Museums of Leiden

A quiet courtyard in Leiden

After breakfast, you'll take a short train ride to the charming city of Leiden. A university city, it's full of wonderful museums, scenic canals, and inner courtyards called hofjes. The town center itself is gorgeous and busy with bicycles; Leiden University, founded in 1575, is the oldest university in the country. You'll explore it all with a private guide with expertise in art history. First, you'll see ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek objects at the National Museum of Antiquities, then you'll visit the Latin School, where Rembrandt famously studied. Stop into the Lakenhal Museum to see some of his famous works in person. The rest of the day is free for sightseeing or just walking around and enjoying the city.

Day 9: Finish the Trip in Haarlem and Visit the Frans Hals Museum

A windmill in Haarlem

On your last day of exploring Dutch art history, you'll start with breakfast and a 20-minute train ride to the city of Haarlem. Here, you'll spend some time at the Frans Hals Museum. Hals, together with Rembrandt and Vermeer, is one of the greatest painters of the Dutch Golden Age. Known as an exceptional portraitist, he lived and worked in Haarlem for more than sixty years until his death in 1666. 

If time allows, stop at the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands, home to an impressive art collection. The rest of the day, you're free to enjoy the charming streets and cafés of the relaxed city center.

Day 10: Return to Amsterdam & Depart

A map of the Netherlands

The trip comes to a close today. Catch a train for a quick ride to Amsterdam, where you'll connect to the airport or train station for onward travel. Safe journey!

More Great Netherlands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Netherlands? Check out these other Netherlands itineraries, including a 5-day Discover the Dutch Masters tour, a 7-day Cycling Tour of the Netherlands, and a weeklong Highlights of Holland adventure.

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