Floral Holland in the Spring 2021 Fred Olsen River Cruise

Visiting towns, cities and gardens as you sail along picturesque waterways, you’ll delight in Holland’s springtime splendour. After starting your journey in Amsterdam it’s on to Hoorn, where you can immerse yourself in tales of the Dutch Golden Age on a walking tour amongst the town’s streets and canals. Then there are visits to Kampen, one of the Netherlands’ best-preserved Hanseatic cities and home to the historical gardens and mazes of Maxfeldt; Arnhem, gateway to the exceptional Open Air Museum; and Kinderdijk, to see, and learn the history of, 19 iconic UNESCO-listed windmills.

Kinderdijk

Itinerary

Amsterdam originally emerged as a fishing village in the late 12th century, following the construction of a dam on the Netherlands’ Amstel River. Since those humble beginnings, Amsterdam’s development has been rapid and vast. Through the ‘Golden Age’, when Amsterdam was the world’s leading centre for finance and diamonds; the age of gold and silver; and periods of recession and recovery, the city grew to become the charming Dutch capital that’s adored by so many.

Amsterdam boasts one of the largest and most beautiful historic centres in Europe. Spread across 90 islands – linked by 400 bridges spanning the city’s iconic canals – the centre is packed with around 7,000 historic buildings, including many which date back to the ‘Golden Age’. Among the most impressive are the Royal Palace, which dominates Dam Square; a number of churches including the 17th century Westerkerk, Amsterdam’s tallest church; and the medieval houses of Begijnhof. Not to be missed is the UNESCO-listed Canal Ring district. Here you’ll see some of the city’s finest houses and grand mansions perched on along the canal sides; as well as traditional white drawbridges.

Believed to have been founded in the early 13th century, Hoorn quickly became one of the Netherlands’ most important harbour towns, serving as a link to the Baltic and Flanders regions. However it wasn’t until the prosperous times of the Dutch ‘Golden Age’ that Hoorn really began to thrive as the centre of the Netherlands’ international trade industry.

The historic old centre in particular is a must-explore, showcasing quintessential Dutch architecture typical of the ‘Golden Age’ era. Among the highlights are the former Statencollege from 1632, which today houses a collection of 16th to 18th century paintings and a number of other exhibits; the statues and tall houses of Rode Steen square; the 16th century Hoofdtoren tower, which overlooks the busy harbour; and Oosterkerk church, built circa 1519. Visiting the West Fries Museum, with its richly-adoned facade, is highly recommended for an interesting, in-depth insight into the influence the 'Golden Age' had in Hoorn.

Situated on the banks of the lower River Ijssel in the pretty Overijssel province, Hanseatic Kampen is always a memorable stop on a river cruise along the Netherlands’ winding waterways. Cruising to this charming city via the still waters of the Ijssel will present you with unspoilt views of gorgeous lush-green countryside, before the impressive sight of Kampen’s imposing, gothic-style Bovenkerk hints at the type of centuries-old structures awaiting your discovery ashore.

Experience a relaxing journey along the picturesque Ijssel River as your river ship sails between two of the Netherlands’ oldest Hanseatic cities, Kampen and Deventer. Gliding along this winding section of the Ijssel is sure to be memorable, with views of the beautiful city of Zwolle, a string of pretty villages and towns, and the gorgeous countryside scenery of the Gelderland and Overijssel provinces to enjoy as relax on board.

Arnhem is best known for its role in World War Two when, thanks to the city’s prime strategic location on the banks of the Nederrijn river, it was the site of one of the war’s most famous battles. The epic Battle of Arnhem in 1944 – later dramatised by iconic war-film A Bridge Too Far – was one of the key Allied losses in the war, and a number of attractions in and around Arnhem – such as the interesting War Museum and the Airborne Museum – offer a fascinating insight into the city’s wartime heritage.

There’s much more to Arnhem than its battle scars from the Second World War though. Believed to have been first settled in the Stone Age, the capital of the beautiful Gelderland province boasts a rich and eventful history stretching back way beyond 1944. This is reflected by a number of impressive structures, monuments and attractions dotted around the city’s various districts, including the striking, gothic-style St Eusebius Church and it’s imposing 93 metre-high tower; Bronbeek Museum; the 12th century Doorwerth Castle; and much more.

Relax on board Brabant as you glide along the Lek River towards Rotterdam, drinking in the beautiful Dutch countryside, and the picturesque views of windmills and riverside towns.

The beautiful, UNESCO-listed village of Kinderdijk is one of the most famous locations in the Netherlands. Situated in the heart of the Dutch polder lands at the confluence of the picturesque Lek and Noord Rivers, Kinderdijk is home to the largest collection of historic windmills in the world and attracts thousands of visitors from around the globe every year.

While Rotterdam’s origins in fact date back to around 900CE, there is little to suggest that the Netherlands’ stunning second city is actually centuries old. After the city was almost completely obliterated by German bombing raids in World War Two, Rotterdam was razed to the ground and redeveloped over many years into the futuristic metropolis and thriving economic centre that it is today.

From the moment Rotterdam appears on your horizon as you sail the winding Nieuwe Maas, the city’s vast and dramatic post-war regeneration is clear to see. Magnificent towering skyscrapers line the riverbanks and impressive bridges – such as the iconic cable-stayed and bascule Erasmusbrug – span the waterway, hinting at the uber-cool modern districts awaiting your exploration ashore. In the vibrant heart of the city, you will discover an abundance of diverse sights and attractions, from the innovative 1970’s Cube Houses to the ultra-modern Markthal, which hosts a bustling indoor market. Rotterdam also boasts a number of interesting galleries and museums, as well as a large zoo and beautiful botanical gardens that are ideal for escaping the hustle and bustle.

The charming, medieval city of Antwerp is Belgium’s second largest, and is a popular destination for both riverboats and ocean-going ships. For many visitors, it is the combination of art, fashion and of course the world-famous diamonds that entices them in. Indeed, over 80% of the planet’s rough diamonds pass through here in their lifetime! The renowned Diamond District is located near the popular ‘Green Card’ zoo, and provides many opportunities to purchase your own jewels.

Although it is believed that the original settlement appeared here on the banks of the Oude Maas in around 1049, Dordrecht officially became a city in 1220, making it the oldest city in the Netherlands’ historic Holland province. Situated on a vast island, and surrounded by various tributaries and channels, Dordrecht – like so many other Dutch riverside cities – was a vital trading centre for centuries, exporting and importing goods such as wine, wood and cereals.

Amsterdam is home to a collection of incredible museums and galleries, many of which are world-renowned for their cultural, artistic and historical importance. There’s Anne Frank House, where Anne Frank and her family famously hid from the German occupiers in World War Two; Rijksmuseum, exhibiting ‘Golden Age’ paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and Frans Hals; the Van Gogh Museum, celebrating the life and works of legendary Vincent Van Gogh; and much more. In the spring and summer months, trips to the Tulip Museum and the Keukenhof Gardens are a must.

Your journey ends with breakfast this morning.

Price Guide

Date Price (pp)
8 April 2021 £1,699

What's Included

  • Return flights & non UK transfers
  • Comfortable en suite accommodation with TV, hairdryer, safe and individually controlled air conditioning
  • Tempting cuisine every day throughout your cruise – with ‘early riser’ breakfast, breakfast buffet, casual lunch, five-course à la carte dinner and late-night snacks
  • Complimentary tea & coffee station 24 hours a day
  • Complimentary afternoon tea & coffee with sandwiches and cakes
  • Welcome Cocktail, Welcome Dinner and Captain’s Gala Dinner
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Use of leisure facilities including Fitness Room and Wellness Tub
  • Lounge music by pianist, or duo every day
  • All local taxes and port charges (where collectable in advance)
  • Complimentary bike hire