Dutch Tulips | Netherlands Small Group Tours
Our small group guided tour in the Netherlands provides us with a delicious taste of its delights. We view the main sights of old Amsterdam, a World Heritage Site, first on foot and then from the comfort of a cruise along its 17th century canals. Our exploration of Dutch gardens includes the Hortus Botanicus, an impressive university garden. Timed to enjoy what is perhaps the highlight of the program - a visit to Keukenhof’s bulb gardens. They contain more than 7 million tulips, daffodils and hyacinths which fill over 32 hectares.
- 1. See the glorious gardens and palace of Het Loo.
- 2. See the most beautiful spring garden in the world at Keukenhof.
- 3. Take an early morning visit to the world’s largest plant and flower auctions.
- 4. Visit Hortus Botanicus, one of the world's oldest botanic gardens.
|16 April 2023 |
Ends 22 April 2023 • 7 days
|15 April 2024 |
Ends 21 April 2024 • 7 days
Dutch Tulips Small Group Tour
Spend 6 nights in The Netherlands on this specialist small group Dutch tulip tour. Our trip provides us with a taste of the country’s many delights, with special focus on the world-famous Keukenhof Flower Garden.
The Keukenhof garden has some 7 million bulbs planted each year to present a truly spectacular festival of colour every year at tulip time. This blend of varieties of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths fills over 32 hectares of flower gardens with colour and fragrance on an almost unimaginable scale.
The Dutch Tulip tour also views the main sights of old Amsterdam, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, first on a walking tour with local guides, followed by a barge tour along its 17th-century canals. We also make sure to visit the iconic Zaanse Schans Windmills.
Dutch Tulips Tour Itinerary
Our exploration of Dutch gardens includes the Hortus Botanicus, an impressive university garden. Founded in 1594, this is the oldest botanic garden in the Netherlands and one of Europe’s oldest as well. It was here that botanist Carolus Clusius planted the first tulip bulbs. This planting eventually led to ‘Tulip Mania’ that gripped the country in the 1600s.
Travelling onto Utrecht we join a boat cruise through the city’s medieval heart. We visit the ancient wharves, warehouses, bridges and historical buildings. This lesser-known city is regarded by some as Europe’s most beautiful city – a hidden gem.
Our guided tour continues on to De Hoge Veluwe National Park. The park houses a highly unusual landscape of woodlands and heaths with a fascinating natural history that we explore. Located within the park is the Rijksmuseum’s Kröller-Müller Museum housing the world’s second-largest Van Gogh collection of 90 paintings and 180 drawings. Here we will also find paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. Walking in the garden, we will see over 160 sculptures by iconic artists, such as Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore.
This trip also explores, with our local tour guide, the Het Loo Palace (Paleis Het Loo) built by the House of Orange-Nassau. Its first inhabitants were King William III and his wife Queen Mary II. The palace now serves as a museum, and is surrounded by fountains and Baroque-style gardens with its perfect symmetry, axial layout and radiating gravel walks, parterres, fountains, basins and statues.
Our Netherlands tours also make time to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at a local restaurant each day, so that you can have an authentic experience of the local food culture.
There is plenty to do on this tour of the Netherlands during tulip time. To learn more, check out Odyssey's blog about about the history and culture of tulips in The Netherlands, or these external articles on the history and the meaning of tulips in the Netherlands. Should you wish to learn more about the Netherlands itself, visit our country page where all the other tour departures are listed as well.
For more details, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
Other Garden Tours offered by Odyssey Traveller
This is a fully escorted 7 day program for a small group and appeals to a couple or single traveller with a particular interest in gardens. The Dutch Tulip Tour allows travellers to join the Chelsea Flower show that immediately follows the conclusion of this program. Odyssey has a collection of small group garden tours offered each year. Our garden tours seek to educate travellers and provide them with opportunities to explore some of the truly great gardens of Europe. Odyssey seeks to pick the best time to examine each garden and often the associated houses.
Day 1: Amsterdam
Accommodation: 3 nights at Westcord Hotel or similar.
Arrive in Amsterdam and make your own way to the hotel. Meet your Odyssey Programme Leader in the hotel for a tour briefing before dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 2: Amsterdam
Accommodation: Westcord Hotel or similar
We spend the morning on a guided tour exploring the World Heritage listed historical heart of Amsterdam and taking in the fascinating architecture of the luxurious houses with their gabled facades, built by wealthy merchants during the Dutch Golden Age. We join a canal cruise that provides us with a unique perspective of the city.
We visit the famous Rijksmuseum and take a short excursion north of Amesterdam to explore a famous and highly photogenic collection of windmills at Zaanse Schans.
Day 3: Amsterdam
Accommodation: Westcord Hotel or similar
An early morning departure allows us to view the famous Aalsmeer flower auctions, the largest in the world, and the frenetic activity on the ‘shipping floor’. Travelling via the bulb fields we proceed to the highlight of our tour – the Keukenhof Flower Garden. Set amongst glorious woodlands and water gardens we explore the spectacular colours of the seven million tulips planted each year. As well, the world’s largest lily show is housed in one of the pavilions; while in another hundreds of orchids are displayed in the most artistic exhibitions.
Day 4: Utrecht
Accommodation: 1 night at Star Lodge or similar.
Leaving Amsterdam, our first stop is the historic Hortus Botanicus, at Leiden. Founded in 1594, this is the oldest botanic garden in the Netherland’s and one of Europe’s oldest as well. It was here that botanist Carolus Clusius planted the first tulip bulbs leading to the ‘Tulip Mania’ that gripped the country in the 1600s. Many fortunes were made and lost during the obsession of the Dutch people with the tulip.
Following free time to explore Leiden we travel on to Utrecht and join a canal cruise through the city’s mediaeval heart from which we view ancient wharves, warehouses, bridges and historical buildings. This lesser-known city is regarded by some as Europe’s most beautiful city – a hidden gem.
Day 5: Zwolle
Accommodation: 1 night at Best Western Hotel Zwolle, or similar.
De Hoge Veluwe National Park houses a highly unusual landscape of woodlands and heaths with a fascinating natural history that we will explore at the Museonder. Also located within the park is the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, that houses the world’s second-largest Van Gogh collection of 90 paintings and 180 drawings. Also found here are paintings by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. Distributed throughout its garden are over 160 sculptures by iconic artists, such as Auguste Rodin and Henry Moore.
The Palace of Het Loo was built in 1686 for William and Mary who later became King William 111 and Queen Mary 11 of England, serving as the hunting lodge and summer residence of members of the House of Oranje, the current Dutch royal family, until 1970. The palace displays original furniture, objects and paintings of the House of Orange-Nassau. The palace is a rijksmonument or national monument.
The glorious Baroque garden with its perfect symmetry, axial layout with radiating gravel walks, parterres, fountains, basins and statues was designed by the nephew of André Le Nôtre, the most famous French garden designer of all time.
Day 6: Amsterdam
Accommodation: 1 night at Westcord Hotel or similar
In the morning we depart Zwolle and start our journey back to Amsterdam with two stops along the way.
First, we take in the delights of Vollendam a traditional fishing village with quaint, uniquely gabled, green-painted wooden houses. Vollendam is well known for its traditional and colourful costumes which we may be lucky enough to see.
We visit a cheese factory with an unbelievable and delectable array of cheeses and accompaniments!
Our Programme Leader will guide us on a short walk through the delightful small town of Edam, the original home of Edam cheese, to view its attractive alleys, tree-shaded canals, canal bridges and locks. Some say it is like entering a Dutch Master painting.
Late this afternoon we return to Amsterdam.
Day 7: Amsterdam
Our tour finishes after breakfast at the hotel.
- The Keukenhof Gardens will be open from 21 March to 10 May 2020.
- The 2021 dates are subject to change until the garden opening dates are announced at the final day of Keukenhof season 2020.
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 6 nights of accommodation.
- 6 breakfasts and 2 dinners.
- Entrances and tipping.
- All travel is in modern, air-conditioned coaches if not listed otherwise.
- Services of a Tour Leader for the duration of tour.
What’s not included in our Tour
- Comprehensive international travel insurance.
- International flights.
- Items of personal nature such as table drinks, laundry, telephone calls, and medical expenses.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, moderate walking on uneven surfaces between 3 - 5 kilometers per day. Suitable for most fitness levels
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
This was a great tour. I saw more of Holland than I expected. Great tour of Kukenhoff and the going to the flower market was a highlight. If you want to see tulips in all their glory, do this tour, what a wonderful day we had tip toeing through the tulips. Marcia L. April '18
The Netherlands is chock full of tourists, yet Odyssey has managed to create a tour which takes you away from the crowds to many interesting places and educational activities. Participant May 2018
Reading List Download PDF
Short History Of The Netherlands
The development of the Netherlands over the centuries has been a remarkable one. Situated at "the end of Europe," between land and water, its people have, for more than three thousand years, fought to makethe best of a country unfavoured by nature. They have shaped it into one of the world's foremost economic powers but also, and even more importantly, into a society that prides itself on having reached a fair balance between material and social well-being. The history of this achievementis a fascinating one. Since time immemorial, it is the history of the struggle against the sea, of man seeking to dominate the forces of water. It is the history of the early medieval Dutch traders, who travelled all over Europe to sell their wares. It is the history of the activities ofthe world's first multinationals, the Dutch East and West India Companies, that spanned the entire globe. It is also the history of the loss of colonial empire and of the triumphant rebuilding of a mainly commercial economy into a mainly industrial one, whose activities, once again, span the globe. It is, of course, also the history of a culture to match, of commonsense and realism, of the wonderful works of art produced by the Dutch "Golden Age" of the seventeenth century and of the many attainments of Dutch civilization in more recent years. For all those who are often amazed at the industry and achievementsof this small nation, the "Short History of the Netherlands" offers a succinct historical tale that goes a long way to elucidate the country's past and, thus, explain its present.
By Pjan RietbergenAmazon
Holland - The History of the Netherlands
Thomas Grattan commences his history with the Roman invasions of what is now the Netherlands. Although the Roman Empire held sway and brought organisation to the locality, but were eventually driven out by successive assaults of Frankish tribes. The strategic bargain the province of Frisia took, in order to retain native control over the lands north of the Lower Rhine, and the growing organisation of the region in the Dark Ages is hereafter discussed.
The temporarily dominant position of Frisia eventually gave way to the province of Holland, which became a formal entity in its own right and a province of the Holy Roman Empire. Self-perceptions of Frisian culture were retained until around the 12th century. Thereafter, in part due to the lengthy rule of the House of Holland, the peoples developed a distinct, Hollander identity.
Grattan keenly explains the Medieval and Renaissance history of the Netherlands, in terms of the various alliances and conflicts the nation undertook with Belgium, Spain and France. Although a small nation, the prosperous Dutch were able to negotiate strongly on terms of trade.
The later portions of the text examines the circumstances of the Dutch Rebellion against the Habsburgs during the Eighty Years' War. The development of gunpowder and naval power was instrumental in the rebellion, and represented a turning point in conflict during the 16th century.
The later rule by France over Holland, and the emergence of William V, the Prince of Orange is detailed. Finally, the book concludes with an examination of Holland's role in the closely proximate Battle of Waterloo during the Napoleonic War.
Thomas Grattan's account of Dutch history is intensive yet accessible. Those seeking insight into how the Netherlands developed its distinct culture to the point of playing a decisive role in the geopolitical events of wider Europe will find Grattan's researches, writing style, and attention to detail satisfying and comprehensive.
By Thomas GrattanAmazon
Tulipomania : The Story of the World's Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused
In the 1630s, visitors to the prosperous trading cities of the Netherlands couldn't help but notice that thousands of normally sober, hardworking Dutch citizens from every walk of life were caught up in an extraordinary frenzy of buying and selling. The object of this unprecedented speculation was the tulip, a delicate and exotic Eastern import that had bewitched horticulturists, noblemen, and tavern owners alike. For almost a year rare bulbs changed hands for incredible and ever-increasing sums, until single flowers were being sold for more than the cost of a house.
Historians would come to call it tulipomania. It was the first futures market in history, and like so many of the ones that would follow, it crashed spectacularly, plunging speculators and investors into economic ruin and despair.
This is the history of the tulip, from its origins on the barren, windswept steppes of central Asia to its place of honor in the lush imperial gardens of Constantinople, to its starring moment as the most coveted--and beautiful--commodity in Europe. Historian Mike Dash vividly narrates the story of this amazing flower and the colorful cast of characters--Turkish sultans, Yugoslav soldiers, French botanists, and Dutch tavern keepers--who were centuries apart historically and worlds apart culturally, but who all had one thing in common: tulipomania.
By Mike DashAmazon
Tulipmania: Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age
In the 1630s the Netherlands was gripped by tulipmania: a speculative fever unprecedented in scale and, as popular history would have it, folly. We all know the outline of the story—how otherwise sensible merchants, nobles, and artisans spent all they had (and much that they didn’t) on tulip bulbs. We have heard how these bulbs changed hands hundreds of times in a single day, and how some bulbs, sold and resold for thousands of guilders, never even existed. Tulipmania is seen as an example of the gullibility of crowds and the dangers of financial speculation.
But it wasn’t like that. As Anne Goldgar reveals in Tulipmania, not one of these stories is true. Making use of extensive archival research, she lays waste to the legends, revealing that while the 1630s did see a speculative bubble in tulip prices, neither the height of the bubble nor its bursting were anywhere near as dramatic as we tend to think. By clearing away the accumulated myths, Goldgar is able to show us instead the far more interesting reality: the ways in which tulipmania reflected deep anxieties about the transformation of Dutch society in the Golden Age.
“Goldgar tells us at the start of her excellent debunking book: ‘Most of what we have heard of [tulipmania] is not true.’. . . She tells a new story.”—Simon Kuper, Financial Times
By Anne GoldgarAmazon
The New York Times bestseller and international publishing sensation.
Greed, desire, anguish, and devotion have all played their part in the development of the tulip from a wild flower of the Asian steppes to the worldwide phenomenon it is today. No other flower has ever carried so much cultural baggage: it charts political upheavals, illuminates social behavior, mirrors economic booms and busts, and plots the ebb and flow of religious persecution.
Sumptuously illustrated from a wide range of sources, this beautifully produced and irresistible volume has become a bible, a unique source book, a universal gift book, and a joy to all who possess it. Now available in paperback, it's as irresistible as its subject.
By Anna PavordAmazon
Articles about Dutch tulips
Escorted Tours of European gardens with Odyssey Traveller
Questions about the Netherlands for seniors
The Delicate Art of Art Restoration
The Delicate Art of Art Restoration The Netherland’s Rijkmuseum recently announced that it will be restoring Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, its most famous and most treasured painting by the Dutch master. Rembrandt’s group portrait masterpiece,…