It’s the 17th century, an age of economic and cultural prosperity in the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The Golden Age! The tiny Republic dominates world trade thanks to an enormous commercial fleet and a strong navy. The seafaring County of Holland is the richest region in the world. The world’s first stock exchange is founded here by the East India Trading Company (VOC). As the rich grow richer, science and art gain importance and flourish.
Easy to reach from just about everywhere, The Hague, city of justice and peace, is beautifully situated just behind the dunes on the North Sea coast and has a worldly sophistication. It is unlike any other city in the Netherlands. The city centre is looking more modern by the minute, but you can still visit the Houses of Parliament, reputedly the oldest in Europe that are still in use as parliament buildings. If you look at them from across the pond (moat), you will see that the site was constructed as a castle; and when you step into the inner courtyard it’s like going back in time. The Hague has the same wide variety of tourist attractions as Amsterdam, but then less crowded and with the beach around the corner. For our Golden Age theme you shouldn’t miss Mauritshuis art museum with paintings by Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Paulus Potter, Jan Steen, Frans Hals and others.
Discover The Hague by bike. The route we have in mind for you takes you through a string of parks right through the middle of, and all the way around the city. Alternatively, use your bike as a means of transport from one place of interest to the next. You’ll be spoilt for choice. The following museums are well worth a visit: the Escher Museum of optical illusions, Gemeente Museum, Panorama Mesdag. Outdoor Madurodam (miniature Holland) is fun for all ages. For a culinary crown on your day, dine at The Penthouse, the highest restaurant in the country; or at fish restaurant Catch near the seaside / harbour.
On the banks of the River Schie you will reach Delft. The town has a historical town centre with beautiful buildings and canals. Say “Delft” and a Dutchman will tell you about the royal family of Orange-Nassau, about the world-famous blue and white ceramics known as Delftware, and about Johannes Vermeer, the painter. If you’re a Vermeer fan or if you like painting, visit the Vermeer Centrum to find out all about the artist’s techniques. Please note: It’s not a museum; there are no original paintings on display. However, the detailed background information on his life and works is illuminating!
The bicycle route continues to Schiedam. It’s an odd little town where six giant windmills rise up above the (ware)houses. They are the only six remaining out of twenty mills that used to grind wheat for Schiedam’s 390 genever distilleries and malthouses. Today, one distillery remains where the juniper-berry flavoured liquor is still brewed: The Jenever Museum. They call their gin “Old Schiedam”.
Finally, round off the day in Rotterdam. In 2016, this city is in the Lonely Planet’s top ten cities in the world. The skyline is modern, the architecture extraordinary. Enjoy views of the town and port from Euromast tower. The latest attraction is the brand new Market Hall. Words cannot do it justice, so google images of it now and then go and visit it when you come to do the tour! In the 17th century, the port of Rotterdam developed from a fishing harbour for herring ships into a cargo port with ships sailing all the way to South America and back. It was (and is still) a transfer point for cargo between sea ships and cargo boats sailing inland waterways. It is said that 17th century foreigners visiting harbour towns in the liberal Republic were amazed that the bustling streets were dominated by women, buying, selling, and running businesses. Because their husbands were away at sea for much of the time, women were used to managing everything by themselves. Moreover, in their 17th -century travel journals, foreigners remark on the beauty, freedom, meddlesomeness and neatness of Dutch women. They were described as clever, thrifty, headstrong, house proud and very bossy. Rotterdam has changed unrecognizably since the Golden Age - except for the women…
In the morning, visit the famous windmills at Kinderdijk. This is a World Heritage Site demonstrating how windmills were used to regulate water levels in polders. You can go inside one of the mills. The tranquil site is very beautiful. Continuing your bike ride through a typically Dutch polder landscape with grassland criss-crossed by ditches and canals, you will reach the market town of Gouda. For the Dutch, Gouda is inextricably linked to cheese, candles, syrup waffles and a lovely historical centre. We like the stained-glass windows in St. Johns Church, the fairy-tale town hall and the picturesque canals. In the Golden Age, Gouda was specialized in clay pipes and pottery. Of course it was also a market town, where farmers from the surrounding countryside brought their cheeses to be weighed at the weighing house (1668) and sold at the Thursday morning market (still going!). The weighing house is now the museum of cheese and trades.
The start of this leg of the tour takes you through an area known as the Green Heart where you can enjoy peace, wide-open spaces and recreation: countryside, with lakes and rivers, canals and ditches; green meadows bordered by pollard willows. From Bodegraven make your way back to The Hague.
After breakfast, your cycling holiday comes to an end and it’s time to make your way home.
|Daily from April 1 till September 25.|
|Single room, breakfast||620.00|
|Double room, breakfast||470.00|
|Extra night (breakfast only)||70.00|
|Bike Breakdown pass||€ 2.75 x 5||13.75|
|Child seat||€ 5.00 x 5||25.00|
|Bike theft insurance||€ 3.00 x 5||15.00|
|E-bike theft insurance||€ 6.00 x 5||30.00|
|Add on bike||€ 6.00 x 5||30.00|
|Child trailer||€ 17.50 x 5||87.50|
|Bike helmet||per piece||10.00|
Den Haag - Best Western Den Haag***
Rotterdam - Hotel SS Rotterdam****
Gouda - Best Western Hotel Gouda****
5 Nights included
3/4 Star Hotels
Breakfast included, Halfboard optional
Tourist information on all the places of interest
The possibility of renting our bikes
7-days a week service-hotline
Luggage transport to your next hotel
Parking possibilities at the hotel
Any ferry crossings are not included
...We all enjoyed the bike trip. It was a different way of seeing the country and country side...