Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer, Frans Hals: Dutch art history is full of famous names. On this short trip, you'll view their masterpieces on display in world-class museums and visit the places where they lived and worked. Stroll along the cobblestoned streets and charming canals of Den Haag and Haarlem, step into Vermeer's former residence in Delft, and see where Rembrandt painted his iconic works in Amsterdam.

Highlights

  • View the greatest works of famed Dutch painters
  • Visit the artists' former homes and studios
  • Explore the charming cities of Delft, Leiden, and Haarlem
  • Enjoy a private canal cruise in Amsterdam

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Amsterdam and Visit the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
Day 2 Visit the Rembrandt Huis and the City of Delft Delft
Day 3 Explore the Mauritshuis and the University City of Leiden Leiden
Day 4 Learn About the Dutch Golden Age at the Frans Hals Museum Haarlem
Day 5 Train to Amsterdam & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Amsterdam and Visit the Rijksmuseum & Van Gogh Museum

Museum crowds in Amsterdam

Welcome to the Dutch Lowlands! After arriving at the Amsterdam airport, you'll transfer to your hotel in the city center, a picturesque labyrinth of canals and small streets dotted with old houses and buildings. 

Kick-off your art tour on a private boat cruise through the city's canals. After about two hours on the water, the boat will drop you off in front of the Rijksmuseum, the most famous museum in the country. It's home to The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn, considered one of the most important paintings ever created in the Netherlands. Near this massive artwork, you'll also see The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer and many other 17th-century works by Dutch Masters. 

Next, you'll stop by the Van Gogh Museum. Take a break for lunch in the museum's café, then explore the collections at your own pace. Van Gogh famously created over 2000 paintings in a little over a decade. The museum houses some of his most famous works, including "The Potato Eaters", "Sunflowers", "Almond Blossom", and one of his very last works, "Wheatfield with Crows".

In the evening, have a leisurely dinner at one of the many restaurants near your hotel. 

Day 2: Visit the Rembrandt Huis and the City of Delft

A local artist works on a sidewalk chalk version of "Girl With a Pearl Earring" 

This morning, dive deeper into the life and work of Rembrandt van Rijn by visiting the Rembrandt Huis. This museum is located in the house where Rembrandt lived and worked for almost two decades. The house was later turned into a museum, the interior restored to look the way it looked during Rembrandt’s residence. In addition to learning about his painting practice, you'll find out what he was like as a teacher, collector, tradesman, and citizen of Amsterdam.

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 meal in the historic center.

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Day 3: Explore the Mauritshuis and the University City of Leiden

A Dutch canal mirroring the sky

After breakfast, catch the train for a quick ride to Den Haag (The Hague), the seat of the Dutch government. It's also home to one of the most magnificent paintings in the country: Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring", on display in the government collection at The Mauritshuis. Vermeer only made 37 paintings during his lifetime, and three of them are on exhibit here. In the same space, you'll also have the chance to see works by Rembrandt and Frans Hals.

The next stop on the journey is Leiden, just a short train ride away. A lively and youthful city with pretty canals and inner courtyards, it's always busy with cyclists traveling to and from Leiden University. Founded in 1575, it's the oldest university in the nation. Pay a visit to Lakenhal Museum, featuring a collection of paintings from the past four centuries, including several works by Rembrandt. Other museums worth a visit nearby include the Museum of Archeology and the Museum of Ethnology. In the evening, walk around the city center and enjoy dinner with a local crowd.

Day 4: Learn about the Dutch Golden Age at 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 a 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 laid-back city center.

Day 5: Train to Amsterdam & Depart

A map of the Netherlands

Your art tour of the Netherlands has come to an end. From Haarlem's grand Art Nouveau-style train station, take the train to Amsterdam to make your connection home or traveling onward. Safe travels!

More Great Netherlands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Netherlands? Check out these other Netherlands itineraries, including a 5-day Flower Tour of Holland, a 7-day Best of Holland & Flanders trip, and a longer 10-day Highlights of Holland adventure.

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