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The Netherlands

The Netherlands once lay under water. On the delta of three major rivers – the Rhine, Maas and Scheldt – the country owes its existence to the conquest of water through astonishing feats of hydraulic engineering. From the 16th century windmills were used not just to keep the land dry but also to drain entire inland lakes. With around half of the country still at or below sea level, the fertile, pancake-flat stretches of land known as polders are bisected by a network of drainage ditches and canals which control the water table beneath huge open skies – while miles of protective dunes protect the long coastline to the west and north.But the Netherlands is just as remarkable in many other ways. One of the most urbanised and densely populated nations on earth, almost 17 million people (on average the tallest in the world) live in an area little more than half the size of Scotland. The towns and villages of the country’s twelve provinces are often picture-perfect places of gabled townhouses, pretty canals and church spires .

Amsterdam
The Netherlands’ largest city, Amsterdam has been an international port and financial center for 400 years, endowing it with a lively cosmopolitan feeling to match its historic architecture. A fascinating city of picturesque canals, world class museums, the Rijksmuseum Museum home of Dutch Master painting’s or the Van Gogh Museum next door, theatres and streets lined with cafés. Admire the city’s beautiful centuries-old homes and picturesque churches on a guided canal boat tour by glass-topped boat to see architecture from the city’s charming neighbourhoods. Anne Frank is one of Amsterdam’s most well known former residents. The Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam is where she lived in hiding with her family for more than two years during World War II. Now converted into a museum it contains a sobering exhibition about the persecution of the Jews during the war, as well as discrimination in general.

Arnhem
Arnhem, a relaxed city bursting with inviting green parks and gardens. Still more famous than its much-admired green spaces is Arnhem’s wartime history. Join us on an included excursion to delve into the city’s role in Operation Market Garden, an ill-fated Allied World War II operation. Witness a battle reenactment during your visit to the Airborne Museum, and pay your respects at the Airborne Cemetery.

Hoorn
Hoorn, which was once a base for the Dutch East India Company, making it a prosperous and powerful trading town.
Today, this 13th century town is home to many listed buildings and the former Oostereiland prison.

Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk is a village, which includes a set of 19 windmills and other ingenious technologies built in the 18th century to control flooding. The name Kinderdijk means “child’s dike”; it is based on a 15th-century tale about a sleeping baby in a cradle floating, safe and dry, on flood waters after a terrible storm. Kinderdijk is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and you can tour an actual working windmill to see its pumping mechanism and living quarters.

Keukenhof Gardens

Most spring itineraries include an excursion to the amazing gardens at Keukenhof Park. Translated as Kitchen Garden, with over 7 million tulips, daffodils & hyacinths covering about 80 acres it really is a spectacular sight.

Rotterdam
Rotterdam, the Netherlands’ second largest metropolis, situated where the Rhine flows into the North Sea. Known as the ‘Gateway to Europe’, it is the largest European cargo port and has been a conduit for trade since the 14th century.

Veere
Veere, an area that was heavily flooded in 1953, and led the Dutch government to commission the Delta Works to protect the province from the open sea. The Delta Works project, known as the Storm Surge Barrier, due its series of dikes, sea walls and locks all the way up to Rotterdam in South Holland.

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Christmas & New Year on the Rhine & Moselle

12 Days   |  Basel, Breisach, Strasbourg, Ludwigshafen, Rüdesheim, Rhine Gorge, Trier, Moselle Valley, Bernkastel, Cochem, Koblenz, Cologne, Amsterdam

From £3,112 pp

Pages from fairytales come to life as you find inspiration along the castle-laden Rhine and its breathtaking tributary, the Moselle. Spend Christmas Eve in Strasbourg and New Year’s Eve in Amsterdam with an optional extra night in Amsterdam to leave on 2nd Jan 2019.

Five Star Tulips Cruise

8 Days   |  Amsterdam, Battelfields, Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp, Arnhem, Keukenhof

From £1,395 pp

Easily one of the most enduring images of The Netherlands, in particular the spectacular Keukenhof Gardens make for a spellbinding attraction.

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