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Need some opinions on an Itinerary

My son will be studying in Maastricht for the Spring 2022 semester. We plan to join him when the semester ends in June, and spend about 10 days in the Netherlands, before moving on to Denmark and Norway.

Current plan is to fly into either Brussels or Amsterdam (depending on where I can get the best deal), spend the first day getting over jetlag an doing some basic walking around, then travel the next day to Maastricht to meet our son and stay for one night.

From there, my initial plan was to travel to Delft and stay for 3 nights with day trips to Rotterdam and the Hague, then onto Amsterdam or Haarlem for 5 nights, allowing at least 2 of those days for day trips, then onto Copenhagen.

However, one place that has me intrigued is to visit the Arnhem area, to go to the Open-Air Museum and the Kroller Muller Museum. It seems like a bit much to do in one day as a side trip from Amsterdam, and if we stay overnight in Otterlo, it makes little sense to then go back to Amsterdam. So one idea I had is to go to Arnhem from Maastricht, visit the Open-Air Museum, stay overnight in Otterlo, then see the Kroller Muller and head from there to Delft, or possibly Amsterdam/Haarlem first, then Delft.

But if we do that, I have to cut back on a night somewhere else. My inclination would be to cut back in Delft and skip a day trip to the Hague, since it seems the main reason to go there is the Mauritshuis musem, and we would be substituting the Kroller Muller instead.

What do others think of this idea? If you had to pick one museum over the other, which would you choose?

Also, regarding day trips from Amsterdam, there are four obvious ones we could take, but with all there is to see in Amsterdam, can't see doing more than two of them. Just wondering which ones you would prioritize. They are:
• Alkmaar and Zaanse Schans
• Edam, Volendam, and Marken,
• Hoorn and/or Enkheisen Zuiderzee Open Air Museum,
• Utrecht

I know I see posts from a lot of people who don't like Zaanse Schans, but others seem to have fun, so I am not sure what to think about this one.

Posted by
11368 posts

I am in the skip Zaanse Schans group. The buildings were moved there from other places.
Go to Kinderdijk near Rotterdam instead ( take a river boat there) to see the 19 windmills in their original locations, much more worthwhile.
Also include the beautiful canal laced university city of Leiden which is near Delft. John Quincy Adams attended the university there. The Pilgrims lived there for ten years after leaving England and before taking the Mayflower to the New World. Don’t skip The Hague!! There is so much to see and the small museum Mauritshaus holds the Royal collection.

Posted by
332 posts

I like your idea of stopping for an overnight in Otterlo to do Arnhem Open Air and the Kröller-Müller Museum on your way to Delft. You are correct, as a day trip from Amsterdam, it is a bit of a haul. From our Museumplein area hotel in Amsterdam the trip to Otterlo took about 2 hours on one tram, two trains, two buses and a bicycle - each way! We left Amsterdam at 8:00 am and returned at 4:00 pm. And we just did the Kröller-Müller - I’m not sure how you could reasonably fit both into a day trip. As huge Van Gogh fans, the trip was worth it. The art, the forest setting and bike ride were memorable trip highlights.

If I had to skip something to make room in your itinerary, I’d take a night from Amsterdam and skip Zansee Schanse - cute but maybe a bit touristy.

Posted by
6670 posts

Current plan is to fly into either Brussels or Amsterdam

Don't rule out Frankfurt as well. That can be a good airport if you are going to Maastricht.

Posted by
2035 posts

We spent two nights in Otterlo coming from Amsterdam. Our travel was by train and the local bus. We spent our first day entirely at the K-M Museum and riding the free bicycles in the nearby national park. It was a very short walk from the hotel to the bikes for the museum and the park. Day two was spent at the Open Air Museum in Arnhem. I can recommend the Hotel Sterrenberg in Otterlo as a friendly, convenient and comfortable hotel. The town is rather small but there were restaurants enough for us (not fussy eaters) to choose among. I can’t imagine doing both sights in one day and actually have trouble imagining just one night, but we had plenty of time to work with. We visited Zaanse Schans decades ago and had a great time but it was our first trip to Europe and everything was wonderful. Everyone is of course welcome to their own opinion (I’m that magnanimous) but I always try to remember that folks who advise against visiting somewhere have already gone there themselves, so. We visited Edam, Volendam and Marken on a one day ride out of Amsterdam using the Waterland Bus pass which back then was € 10 and gave us access to a big range of destinations all easy to reach with convenient bus schedules. Utrecht has a large train museum but I can’t say I recall much else. For just walking around I preferred Delft. Or Leiden. Good luck choosing your itinerary but my feeling is it’s hard to go wrong anywhere in the Netherlands. We’ve made 5 visits and plan to return, so perhaps I’m biased. Safe travels.

Posted by
7024 posts

Regarding day trips, I absolutely loved Hoorn and really enjoyed my day trip there. I also enjoyed Zaanse Schans, but I would definitely pick Hoorn over it (and Leiden - see below).

Another day trip you might consider is one to Leiden. I chose it at the last minute and wish I could have stayed longer. It was so charming and lovely and there was so much to see and do there.