The Charms of Holland

Trip Highlights

Experience Dutch life, art, culture and history on this engaging, seven-night journey through the Netherlands. Cruise through Amsterdam’s canals, learn about politics and justice in The Hague and admire the architecture as you stroll through Hoorn and Rotterdam.

Attend the world’s largest flower auction in Aalsmeer as millions of colorful blooms are traded. Visit the Hoge Veluwe National Park and see a 20-mile dike at the North Sea. Admire the art of the Dutch masters at the Mauritshuis; the Frans Hals Museum for modern and contemporary art; and the Kröller-Müller, noted for its van Gogh collection. Along the way, sample classic specialties, including fresh cheese in Gouda and sugar-dusted poffertjes.

Exclusive departure: This departure is considered exclusive. The participants are U-M travelers, consisting of alumni, family, and friends.


Day 1 – Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Amsterdam, Netherlands. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: AMS.

Day 2 – Amsterdam, Netherlands | Haarlem

Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals


Arrive at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

Transfer to the Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals, located in the heart of Haarlem off the Grote Markt square. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Just 10 miles from Amsterdam, the pleasantly compact city of Haarlem offers you a more intimate experience of Dutch life than you might find in its larger neighbor. Packed with a thriving cultural scene, interesting historical sites and a vibrant waterfront along the winding Spaarne River, it’s also the capital of the Noord-Holland province. It even has its own windmill, the Molen de Adriaan!

Enrichment: Dutch Masters featuring Frans Hals and Haarlem. Haarlem native Frans Hals, Rembrandt van Rijn and Johannes Vermeer form the illustrious triumvirate recognized as the greatest artists of the 17th-century Dutch Golden Age. Get an overview of Dutch history and the country’s artistic contributions prior to today’s guided excursion.

Frans Hals Museum. Take a short stroll from your hotel to this museum, which houses the largest collection of Hals’ paintings, along with masterpieces by other artists. Hals’ groundbreaking use of bold, looser brushstrokes fascinated later artists such as Manet, Monet and van Gogh. Study the lively faces captured by this virtuoso portraitist, who had a long career painting Haarlem’s most prestigious citizens. (Moderate)

Get better acquainted with your fellow travelers at this evening’s Welcome Reception at the hotel. Then walk to a nearby restaurant to enjoy a Welcome Dinner together.

Day 3 – Gouda | Rotterdam

Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals


Begin each day with a satisfying buffet breakfast at the hotel.

Discovery: Gouda and Rotterdam. Travel into South-Holland to Gouda, famed for its namesake cheese. See the bustling market square dominated by the splendid, 15th-century town hall. Visit Sint Janskerk, the country’s longest church. Inside, you’ll be awed by more than 70 of Europe’s finest, 16th-century painted-glass windows. Afterward, nibble on varieties of fresh Gouda cheese and learn how they are created. Head next to Rotterdam, brimming with innovative architecture, such as the fantastic, arched indoor Market Hall, where you’ll have free time for lunch. From classical to contemporary, take in the city’s architecture on a guided walk, and step inside one of the quirky, 1970s-era Cube Houses.  On a scenic tour, see the sleek Erasmus Bridge and the non-stop activity of the huge harbor. (Moderate)

Free Time: Choose your own special spot for dinner tonight. Throughout your stay, your Travel Director can offer suggestions on dining, sightseeing and shopping in Haarlem.

Day 4 – Haarlem | Hoorn | Afsluitdijk | Bergen

Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals

B | L

Enrichment: Water Management in the Netherlands and the World. With much of the nation below sea level, the Netherlands has long battled to protect its people and land from flooding. Discover how this expertise gained over centuries puts them at the cutting edge of climate-change innovations.

Discovery: Exploring Noord-Holland. Begin with a guided walk through Hoorn, a picturesque, 17th-century harbor town that was once a key Dutch East India Company port. In its heyday, trading ships returned to Hoorn from around the world with valuable cargo such as pepper, nutmeg and cloves that commanded high prices. Then enjoy a ride on an antique steam train before visiting the engineering marvel, Afsluitdijk, a 20-mile dike that separates the North Sea and Ijssel Lake. Completed in 1932, this important dam protected the region’s towns from flooding due to high tides. Finally, stroll through Bergen, a longtime artists’ community, dotted with thatched-roof homes and art galleries, and enjoy lunch in town. (Moderate)

Free Time: Make your own plans this evening when you return to Haarlem.

Day 5 – Amsterdam | Zandvoort

Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals

B | D

Discovery: Amsterdam. Arrive by high-speed rail and take a cruise along the city’s iconic canals past gabled houses. Follow your own passions for the rest of the day! Perhaps you’ll admire the art at some of Amsterdam’s world-class museums or walk leisurely through its colorful districts and relax at a canal-side café. (Active)

Return by train to Haarlem. Tonight, dine in seaside Zandvoort, overlooking the beaches of this much-loved resort town.

Day 6 – Hoge Veluwe National Park

Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals

B | L

Discovery: Hoge Veluwe National Park and the Kröller-Müller Museum. Journey through pretty countryside to the Netherlands’ largest national park. Stop in Laren to sample traditional poffertjes, tiny, puffy pancakes topped with powdered sugar and butter, at a family-owned café. Then, enjoy the natural beauty of the vast Hoge Veluwe Park on your way to the Kröller-Müller Museum, where you’ll view remarkable artwork, inside and out. It boasts the second largest van Gogh collection in the world, as well as one of Europe’s largest sculpture gardens with more than 160 pieces. After your museum tour, take a break for lunch before exploring outdoors. (Moderate)

Enrichment: Contemporary Netherlands. Join a local expert to examine relevant topics making headlines.

Free Time: Enjoy the evening on your own in Haarlem.

Day 7 – Aalsmeer | The Hague

Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals

B | L

Discovery: Royal Flora Holland and The Hague. At Royal Flora Holland’s massive auction facility in Aalsmeer, 30 million flowers and plants are sold each day on its trading platform. Watch the lightning-fast, kaleidoscopic process in action as colorful blooms are briskly traded and whisked off for shipping. Travel next to The Hague, the political heart of the Netherlands known as the City of Peace and Justice. Long associated with international law, The Hague hosted its first international peace conference in 1899 with 26 countries in attendance. It’s also the royal headquarters for King Willem-Alexander, who conducts official business at Noordeinde Palace. Walk with your guide past the city’s many elegant landmarks and delve into its intriguing history. See the Binnenhof along Hofvijver Lake and the Peace Palace, where the International Court of Justice, the United Nations’ principal judicial organization, hears cases.

No trip to The Hague would be complete without tasting the Indonesian cuisine that the Dutch long ago embraced from their former colony. Savor a wonderful Indonesian rice-table for lunch. Afterward, visit the acclaimed Mauritshuis to see superb art by Dutch and Flemish masters, including Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and one of Rembrandt’s last self-portraits. (Moderate)

Free Time: After arriving back in Haarlem, spend the evening at leisure.

Day 8 – Haarlem

Amrath Grand Hotel Frans Hals

B | D

Free Time: Create your own agenda for the day! Perhaps you’ll stay in Haarlem and shop on the Gouden Straatjes, or Golden Streets, named for their wonderful assortment of independent stores and boutiques. You may also decide to return by train to Amsterdam for more sightseeing. Consult your Travel Director if you need help with planning.

Discovery: St. Bavo’s Organ Concert. This evening, visit St. Bavo’s Church to hear the rich sounds of the church’s ornate organ during a short performance. Handel and Mozart both played this Christian Müller barrel organ, featuring 5,000 pipes, which was built in 1738. (Moderate)

As your delightful Dutch journey comes to a close, celebrate with your fellow travelers at tonight’s Farewell Reception and Dinner.

Day 9 – Depart for gateway city


After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.


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Your Journey

The Charms of Holland

By participating in an Alumni Association of the University of Michigan travel trip, you have stated that the Alumni Association has the exclusive right to use video and other visual/audio portrayals of You or Your likeness taken during Your trip in any medium of any nature whatsoever for any purpose, including advertising or promoting the services of the trip without any compensation being paid to You. Any such portrayal or likeness shall be the exclusive property of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.

(9 days)
Starting price: $3,295
Deposit per person: $600
Type: Land, Exclusive U-M Departure

You must be an Alumni Association member to travel with us. Questions? Email Michigan Alumni Travel at

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