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The 5 best cruises in Holland
This week we would like you to discover the Netherlands, more precisely Holland, under a new light to uncover this part of Europe's rich heritage and unique craftsmanship. Holland is historically the territory of diamond makers, potters and painters. The Van Gogh museum is located in Amsterdam and contains the world's largest collection of the Dutch master's paintings. CroisiEurope lets you discover the province of Holland, whose name is used to designate the entire country. The picturesque trip will start in Belgium.
As you can see, a Holland cruise is the best way to rediscover this territory from a purely artistic angle, from Anstwerp in Belgium, to Amsterdam, Delft, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
Our first port of call is Antwerp, the historic capital city of Flanders and a Belgian city renowned for diamond making. This highly artistic place, where the painter Rubens was born and lived, boasts wonderful 16th and 17th century buildings facing the renaissance town hall and confering great prestige to the central square, where a fashion academy stands. This trendy establishment attracts designers and artists, and while numerous museums demonstrate Antwerp's openess to the rest of the world.
If you fancy an in-depth tour of Belgium, the 8-day holland and Belgium cruise is just what you need.
Delft is renowned for its earthenware, also called blue delft, which refers to the fine china produced locally since the 17th century and famous worldwide. Blue delft could be found on the table of rich families. No less then 33 manufacturers used to produce Blue delft when it was at its most popular. Nowadays, it is still produced, which shows how precious such skills are, bearing in mind how sought-after they are worldwide. A visit to one of the manufacturers' workshops is part of the programmes during the 5-day Authentic Holland cruise.
For more than 400 years Amsterdam has been the capital of diamonds.
The biggest diamonds such as the Koh-i-Noor, which decorates the United Kingdom's Royal Crown Jewels, Dresden's green diamond, which belongs to the Saxony royals, were cut and polised in the famous workshops in a specific corner of the city and is part of the tour.
Amsterdam is a city famous for its romantic canals, along which one can happily ride their bike, and where numerous museums can be visited.
One of the most popular museums, which CroisiEurope will let you discover while cruising holland, is that dedicated to Vincent Van Gogh, the 19th Century Dutch impressionist painter. "The Sunflowers", "The Bedroom", "The Yellow house", "Almond trees Blossom" - some of the most famous masterpieces can be admired as the part of the world's most impressive collection, containing 200 paintings and 500 drawings.
Vincent Van Gogh, the son of a Dutch priest only took up painting at the age of 27. He killed himself 10 years later, unknown by the public. It is thanks to his brother Theo that this impressive artistic heritage could be gathered in a museum in Amsterdam.
Rotterdam, the third biggest port in the world, is also worth a visit. The trip from Rotterdam to Antwerp is particularly exciting, as you sail the Holland Diep, passing through the Volkerak and the Kreekak locks, to arrive in the port of Antwerp, the second biggest one in Europe.
4-day cruises from Antwerp to Amsterdam and from Amsterdam to Antwerp, as well as 5-day Holland cruises, are ideal to discover the Keukenhof floral parc. Stroll freely inside this beautiful flower garden extending on 32 hectares (79 acres). You'll be delighted by its wonders, from the enchanting colors and fragrances of the many tulips, narcissus, daffodils and other ornamental bulbs to the orchid pavilion and the Japanese country garden. Do not miss the breathtaking view over the tulip fields from the 1892 windmill located at the back of the garden! In the 15th century, the garden as we know it today was nothing but hunting grounds where aromatic herbs were grown for the kitchens of the castle belonging to Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut, hence its current name, "Keukenhof” - "kitchen garden” in English.
Holland is an invinting destination at any time of the year. Spring is when you can enjoy the Keukenhof garden and its endless tulip flower beds. Summer time in Holland sheds a new light on the city's treasures.