When Jan van Eyck mastered the techniques of oil painting in the early 15th-century, he ushered in a golden age of painting in the Netherlands that lasted nearly 300 years. On this encapsulating six-day trip, we examine the results. Van Eyck’s Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, Rubens’ Descent from the Cross, Rembrandt’s Night Watch, Vermeer’s Milkmaid to name a few, the highlights are many and bright. As we tour the region’s wonderfully charming towns and beautifully stocked museums, we consider the happy coincidence of talent, ideas, wealth and opportunity that sustained this artistic revolution. We also pay our respects to the star who shone so brightly in the 19th century: Vincent van Gogh.
Starting in Belgium, we leave Brussels Midi Station at 1.30pm and start with the Old Masters Museum, the largest collection of Flemish masterpieces from van der Weyden to Rubens. Transfer to Ghent for our first lecture and have dinner together.
Walk to St Bavo’s Cathedral for The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb by the Van Eyck brothers. We continue to beautiful Bruges to see the exquisite paintings by Memling in St John’s Hospital and Van Eyck’s Madonna with Canon van der Paele in the Groeningemuseum. Return to Ghent, free evening.
We make our way to Rubens’s home city of Antwerp. Visit the house where the artist lived and worked and the cathedral, home to three of his most magnificent paintings. Drive into Holland and stay the night in The Hague.
After a morning lecture, we walk to the recently renovated Mauritshuis, whose small but masterly collection includes two paintings by Vermeer. Later we drive to Haarlem to see the spectacular group portraits in the Frans Hals Museum. Transfer to Amsterdam.
We spend the morning at the Rijksmuseum, with its incomparable collection of 17th-century Dutch painting, beautifully displayed. The afternoon is free to enjoy one of the many other cultural highlights in Amsterdam – maybe Rembrandt’s House or the Royal Palace. Dinner together.
A short walk takes us back to Amsterdam’s Museum Quarter where Van Gogh is the final treat. At the Van Gogh Museum, we explore various phases of his artistic life. Return to the hotel where the trip finishes by 12.30pm.
Dates and prices
31 May–05 June 2018
£1,295 per person sharing in a double room
£1,580 for one person in a double room
Flights are not included.
Accommodation and meals
The hotels: Ibis Gent Centrum St Baafs Kathedraal Hotel (3 star); Novotel Den Haag City Centre Hotel (4 star); Apollo Museumhotel Amsterdam City Centre (3 star). Included meals: daily breakfasts and two dinners (with wine).
This is a busy trip, with three changes of hotel, a fair amount of driving, and quite of a lot walking and standing, as we tour the region’s monuments and museums. But there is also free time for rest – or to explore and visit other museums.
Joining and leaving the trip
Eurostar operates trains from London St Pancras International railway station to Brussels Midi railway station. Returning you could either take a train from Amsterdam Centraal railway station to London St Pancras via Brussels or fly back to the UK from Schiphol Airport. Please note CTC does not arrange international or domestic travel.
There is no minimum number of clients required for this trip to run.
Maximum group size
Joining and leaving the trip
Flights and trains are not included, you make your own way to and from the starting and finishing point of the trip. Eurostar operates trains from London St Pancras International railway station to Brussels Midi railway station. The tour finishes at the hotel in Amsterdam, you could either take a train from Amsterdam Centraal railway station to London St Pancras and change at Brussels or fly back to the UK from Schiphol Airport. From the hotel, you can take a taxi or a tram (line 2 or 5) to the station and from there the train to the airport and Brussels. More information regarding public transport is available at https://9292.nl/en. Please note The Cultural Travel Company does not arrange international or domestic travel.
Please check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice before you book to make sure you are happy with the advice for the places you are visit