My husband and I are ending a Rhine river cruise in Amsterdam in August, and will be spending a few days. We were there last summer but will make sure to see sights we missed. We are looking for recommendations for a tour, van or bus, of sights outside of Amsterdam, but not the cheese factories and wooden shoe makers. Perhaps more into the Dutch history or the ship building culture. Thoughts will be appreciated!
Take a train to Delft and Leiden, a nice history filled day trip. Leiden was home to the Pilgrims for the ten years before they left for the New World.
Delft and Leiden are both nice historial cities, although not very rural. They are easily combined, being on the same railway line with connections every 15 mins. You could also combine a visit to Delft with totally unvisited Schiedam, less than 10 mins further on the same railway line. It has an impressive history as the centre of the gin industry, of which the huge wind mills around the city centre are a reminder.
Alternatively you could go north of Amsterdam and visit Hoorn and/or Enkhuizen, both founder cities of the Dutch East India Company. Hoorn is more monumental, Enkhuizen is more intimate, even village-like. Half-hourly direct train connection with Amsterdam.
If you really want it historical and rural, and easy to reach, go to Weesp or Abcoude, south of Amsterdam. Weesp is a fortified town; Abcoude a village. Abcoude is probably the best base for a shorter or longer walk in the endless green of the Dutch countryside. Both are around 15 mins from Amsterdam with 4 trains per hour.