Day 1: Amsterdam
FEATURED EXCURSION: The Famous Rijksmuseum & Amsterdam Canal Cruise
Start your morning with a tour of the Rijksmuseum. You’ll walk to the famous museum, where an expert guide will help you navigate the largest and most renowned collection of Dutch and Flemish art and artifacts in the world, now arranged to reveal the history of Dutch art. After your guided tour, you’ll have some time to explore the museum on your own.
Additionally, your tour manager will provide a canal cruise ticket for you to use at your own leisure. Amsterdam is called the Venice of the North for a reason: canals crisscross the heart of the old city, and bridges link approximately 90 islands. As the principal city in a newly independent Holland, Amsterdam was a boom town in the early 17th century, rapidly outgrowing its medieval walls. The city’s fathers responded by demolishing most of the old city and building anew, creating Europe’s first planned city. That “new” district is now 400 years old, and as you glide along the main canals, you’ll pass stately merchants’ houses-built centuries ago. But the canals are not merely scenic; they are essential thoroughfares—people take water buses to work and live in houseboats along the banks—so a canal cruise gives you a look at the busy modern city too.
Day 2: Amsterdam
How do you choose among Amsterdam’s sights and delights? You could ramble through the Jordaan district, not far from the Anne Frank house. It has always attracted artists—Rembrandt himself is buried at the West Church here. Today you’ll find charming and unique little shops, just like in the nearby Nine Streets neighborhood. Enjoy the street performers on Leidseplein Square or check out the huge and lively Albert Cuyp Market, home to a vast array of international foodstuffs. Visit the unique former Jewish Quarter where the Portuguese synagogue seems virtually untouched since the 17th century. Next door is the former Ashkenazi synagogue complex. Nowadays, it hosts the biggest Jewish Historical Museum outside Israel. Call upon your guide’s deep local knowledge for recommendations; they will be happy to suggest sights and destinations that will delight you.
MASTERPIECE COLLECTION EXCURSION*: Polders and Windmills, or Hidden Amsterdam
Polders and Windmills: Windmills, cheese, clogs—if these are the first things you think of when you hear Holland, this excursion is for you. Perhaps you should add one more word to that list: polder—land claimed from the sea. There's an old saying: “God created the world, but the Dutch created their own land.” Today, as you head off to Zaanse Schans, a wonderful living-history village, you'll get a close-up look at the land the Dutch created.
Zaanse Schans stands on the banks of the Zaan River, amid the Kalverpolder—land reclaimed from the sea 500 years ago and put to work supplying the needs of booming Amsterdam in the 17th century. Though water was pumped away from the land via windmills, the windmills you see in Zaanse Schans were early industrial mills, dedicated to grinding spices, oil, flour—whatever the city growing nearby needed. Some 600 windmills operated here, forming the country’s earliest industrial zone; today six working mills stand atop the dike on the banks of the Zaan. One of them will be in full operation when you arrive, and you can tour the interior with its operator, listening to the wind whirling through the blades of the mill and powering the heavy stones as they turn. Traditional arts and crafts are practiced in the historic cottages lining the dike: You can watch klompen (wooden clogs) being made—go ahead, try on a pair; it's fun! See how sails for windmills are woven, and sample liqueurs made at the distillery. As for cheese, your tour includes a stop at a farm where you will, of course, be treated to a taste of some traditionally made cheeses.
Hidden Amsterdam: Embark on an exploration of Amsterdam’s icons, starting with a look behind the scenes at something most visitors only admire from the outside: one of the city’s most beautiful canal houses. You’ll see many of them as you walk around town, but Museum Van Loon stands apart from the rest. Built in the 17th century, this private-residence-turned-museum is an immaculately preserved homage to Dutch Golden Age style.
Next, stop for a cup of coffee and a slice of the country’s famous apple pie before heading to a colorful flower market or a hidden courtyard known as the Begijnhof, the historic home of a collective of unmarried religious women.
Day 3: Amsterdam
You have sampled culinary delights and experienced the best that Amsterdam has to offer. Now it’s time to check out of the hotel and be transferred to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport for your trip home. Your Uniworld adventure may be over, but we know you’ll enjoy the memories you’ve made for years to come.
*Masterpiece Collection are optional experiences that go above and beyond our daily selection of included excursions and can be booked for an additional fee. Masterpiece Collection excursions may not operate if they occur on a holiday or if they require a minimum number of participants and that minimum is not met.