Top ten Holland
Date Posted: 24/10/2011
Ten top attractions and cultural gems for groups visiting Holland.
Travel Event Holland 2011, hosted by the Netherlands Board of Tourism & Conventions, presented the opportunity for Group Leisure’s Rebekah Tailor to find out more about the host of attractions and cultural gems which await groups visiting this popular short-break destination. Here, we highlight ten top options for group travel organisers to explore.
• Airborne Museum ‘Hartenstein’, Oosterbeek
A must see for groups with an interest in war history, the Airborne Museum is housed in the former Hartenstein Hotel in Oosterbeek - the former headquarters of the British command during the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. A humbling experience bringing the stories of British, Polish and German soldiers to life, the museum presents a vast collection of artillery and equipment, as well as documents, films and pictures. One of its highlights is the award-winning interactive Airborne Experience, casting visitors into the chaos of the battle. Discounted rates are available for groups of 20 or more people.
• Amsterdam Canal Cruise
View Holland’s capital from a different perspective and sample key sights on a relaxing canal cruise. Amsterdam Canal Cruises & Blue Boat Company is located opposite the Heineken Experience, with four coach stops enabling groups to hop straight onto the boats. Drinks cruises and all-inclusive dinner cruises are available. Operating the hop-on, hop-off Canal Bus, the Canal Company offers candlelit and cocktail cruises, as well as canal bike tours for more active groups.
• Dolfinarium, Harderwijk
Open from the end of February to October, the Dolfinarium promises a magical and memorable experience for visitors, offering insight into these sea mammals. Groups can get up-close to dolphin mothers and their babies through extensive glass walls, and a total of 11 shows and performances can be enjoyed throughout the course of the day. Special rates are available for 15 people or more. The Dolfinarium is part of Compagnie des Alpes - the European leisure and theme park operator, which also owns family-friendly theme park Walibi Holland.
• De Hoge Veluwe National Park and Kröller-Müller Museum
In contrast to Holland’s popular city break destinations, a visit to the 5,000-hectacre De Hoge Veluwe National Park offers a completely alternative experience. The second oldest national park in the Netherlands, it’s best known for its diverse landscapes and wildlife which thrives in its combination of woodlands, moorland and sand drifts. With 40-kilometres of paved cycle paths and 20 different footpaths, active groups will be in their element, with organised safaris, guided tours and hikes available.
Located in the centre of the park is the Kröller-Müller Museum exhibiting works by masters such as Van Gogh, Picasso and Mondrian. Certainly a key attraction for art-enthusiasts, the museum’s vast sculpture garden will also be enjoyed by gardening groups.
• Heineken Experience
One of Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attractions, the Heineken Experience is housed in the former Heineken brewery itself and features four floors revealing the story behind this international brand. A self-guided tour will enable groups to indulge in a host of interactive experiences, including a tasting bar, mini brewery, and the Stable Walk - enabling visitors to view Heineken’s magnificent Shire horses. Group rates are available for parties of 20 or more people, and GTOs should contact Luc Curvers (email@example.com) for further information.
• House of Bols: The Cocktail and Genever Experience
For further alcoholic indulgence, pay a visit to House of Bols in Amsterdam. This interactive experience may prove especially popular with female groups, introducing traditional Dutch drink Genever and offering insight into the world of cocktail-making. With a number of options for visiting groups, the self-guided tour presents a host of aroma and flavour experiences with the chance to sample a personalised cocktail. Additional options include cocktail workshops, cocktail parties, liqueur tasting, and Genever tasting.
A seasonal attraction for groups visiting in the spring, Keukenhof is open from the 22nd March to 20th May next year. Boasting more than seven million blooms, the park’s inspirational gardens and flower displays are enduringly popular with green-fingered groups.
Options for groups visiting in 2012 include lectures, bicycle hire, and the ‘Whisper boat’ tour. Parties of up to 25 can also enjoy an organised guided tour, providing an insight of Keukenhof’s history.
2012 marks an exciting year for the miniature city of Madurodam. As well as celebrating its 60th anniversary, the visitor attraction is currently undergoing a complete renovation and will open once more in April. The new and improved Madurodam aims to offer an interactive appeal, and will introduce numerous hands-on activities for groups to enjoy. The familiar miniatures will be divided into three new areas; ‘water as friend and foe’, ‘old town centres’, and ‘The Netherlands as a source of inspiration for the world.’ New experiences will include operating a scale model of the Eastern Scheldt storm surge barrier, pumping a polder, and loading and unloading ships in the Port of Rotterdam. Groups of 20 plus are entitled to discounted admission rates, with lunch and dinner packages also available.
• Nederlands Openluchtmuseum, Arnhem
Translated as the Netherlands Open Air Museum, this vast attraction is spread throughout a park on the outskirts of Arnhem. Providing visiting groups with a great insight of Dutch living history through its authentic buildings and objects which aim to bring the past to life; it is advised to allow a minimum of four hours for your visit. Highlights include a ride on the historic tram which operates a hop-on, hop-off service around the museum park; the Tilburg labourers’ houses; and the Veluwe Paper Mill. Groups of up to 20 people can take advantage of a guided tour which can be based around a variety of themes. Catering packages are also available.
• Paleis Het Loo Nationaal Museum
Located in the heart of the Netherlands, close to the town of Apeldoorn, the Paleis Het Loo is a palace built more than 300 years ago. Visiting groups can explore its beautifully furnished interior to gain an impression of how the Dutch royal family lived here for over three centuries, while the gardens are reflective of its 17th century origins. Groups can take a self-guided tour of the palace and gardens; however the best way to get the most out of a visit is by booking a group tour.