Trip to Holland - Cycling in Amsterdam and flower fields Easter break

  • Apr 17, 2014 · 6:30 PM
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Enjoy the most colourful time of the year with the LEC on the other side of the North Sea in Holland (or the Netherlands for the people from the north, east and south of the country) during the long Easter weekend. 

We will explore Holland based in Amsterdam; we visit this wonderful and often mis-represented city, as well as other towns, villages and the characteristic (extreme flat) countryside in a period of year the famous flowers fields are in full bloom. 

Holland is famous and notorious for many things, and the nation's addiction to cycling is definitely one of the best known. We primarily get around on a humble bike, or 'fiets' in Dutch, so only sign up when you feel sufficiently capable of spending a few hours per day on a bike. We aim to get around in Amsterdam by bike, and there are two longer day trips planned in which we cover 40-60 km each day. 

The Dutch landscape might lack sufficient topographical relief, but it makes up in great length with the notorious and ever-present westerly headwinds.

Amsterdam needs little introduction, its reputation is often larger than life (to hilarious effect):

Admitted, it is a bit easy to bring up Fox News reporting, but it shows how strong the reputation still is. Besides all this, Amsterdam is one of Europe's most beautiful and pleasant cities, that has smartened up considerably over the last 20 years and is well-worth a visit that does not focus on the liberal cliches.

There is more to Holland than its capital alone and we will also cycle through the iconic flower fields near Leiden and the North Sea beaches, as well as the Waterland region just north of Amsterdam.

This is a 4-day trip, planned from the evening of Thursday the 17th of April until Monday evening the 21st of April. You will only need to take the Thursday afternoon off, Friday and Monday are UK public holidays. 

Suggested flights

If you want to come on this trip I recommend booking some flights on Easyjet as soon as possible, it is the Easter weekend and prices will rapidly increase. There are a few options:

• London Gatwick - Amsterdam - London Gatwick:

Outbound flight 17/04/14, depart LGW 16:30, arrival AMS 18:45
Return flight 21/04/14, depart AMS 19:10, arrival LGW 19:10

Return flight price currently £106

• London Luton - Amsterdam - London Luton:

Outbound flight 17/04/14, depart LTN 16:20, arrival AMS 18:30
Return flight 21/04/14, depart AMS 19:00, arrival LTN 19:10

Return flight price currently £107

There are many other flight options, but Easyjet generally offers the best deals.


• Thursday 17 April. Arrival in Amsterdam in the evening and transfer to the accommodation in Central Amsterdam. A first exploration of the city centre, gentle walk through the Jordaan area. First sampling of some (fully legal) Dutch delights in the local kroeg (bar).

• Friday 18 April. Day of exploration of Amsterdam. Pickup of rental bikes in the morning. Visit to the Rijksmuseum, housing more Rembrandts, Vermeers and other Dutch masters than any other museum in the world. It re-opened in April 2013 after a 10 (!) year renovation, to great critical acclaim:

The afternoon will be spent cycling/walking through the old city, with an optional guided tour around the Red Light District. Your organiser has done this a few years back and it was very interesting to hear many anecdotes about the history and current situation of this notorious neighbourhood.

• Saturday 19 April. Visit by bike to the flower fields in the surroundings of Leiden. A 50 km circular cycle ride is planned, departing from the beautiful city of Leiden. We will have all day to explore the flower growing region with a potential stop-over at the local beach. Dinner is planned in Leiden.

• Sunday 20 April. Cycle ride through the Waterland region. This is indeed very watery land, situated just northeast of Amsterdam. Over the centuries, the seawalls protecting this area have been breached often, causing widespread flooding. These flooding event have left their mark: bendy dikes wind along the former Zuiderzee (Southern Sea, complementing the North Sea), often skirting former breaches that are visible as lakes. Waterland is dotted with picture-perfect villages and it makes for a lovely day out, very close to Amsterdam. The length of the cycle ride is variable, although the most scenic loop is about 50 km long, including a coffee break at the parents of your organiser in Monnickendam!

• Monday 21 April. Further discovery of Amsterdam, with some suggestions for visits:

• Hermitage Amsterdam museum. An official subsidiary of the original Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg, showcasing some of the best pieces of the original collection in temporary exhibitions.

• Visit (and sampling) in a local brewery. There are a few independent microbreweries in Amsterdam that provide tours and have usually very tasty beers.

• Canal boat ride. A classic way to see the city, but highly rewarding.

The departure to Schiphol airport is scheduled at 5pm.


This is a nice one: we are going to stay onboard the traditional Dutch sailing ship Lauwerszee! These ships were used until the early 20th century for transporting freight over shallow Dutch lakes and canals. In the colder months the ship is moored in the Houthaven (Wood Harbour), only a 10-15 minute walk to Central Station and the City centre. 

The ship is fully equipped to accommodate groups, based on twin (bunk bed) rooms with private wash basing and shared sanitary units. This type of accommodation is surely the most atmospheric and one of the most affordable way to stay in Amsterdam. Due to the limited size of the ship the maximum number of participants on this trip is 16.

More information about the ship:

Price and payments

The full sum for the trip is £300.

A first deposit of £150 is due by the end of December 2013, and the remaining £150 by the end of February 2014. 

The accommodation needs to be booked as soon as possible as places fill up quickly over the Easter period, so please do not delay any payments.

Price includes:

• Four nights on board zeiltjalk Lotus

• Breakfasts

• Bike rental for all days 

• Entrance to museums

• Additional travel (trains to/from Schiphol, to/from Leiden)

• Possible guided walks

Price excludes:

• Flights/travel to from Amsterdam

• Lunch/dinner

Additional information

• Unfortunately, Holland has the same unpredictable climate as the UK. In general April is a pleasant month, but it can be cold, rainy and windy. If the weather forecast is very adverse, the long cycle routes will be replaced by walks and/or some more indoor-oriented visits. Please come prepared and bring wind and rainproof clothing, as well as clothing suited for cycling.
Helmets and high-viz are absolutely not necessary, the cycling infrastructure in Holland is sublime. Most Dutch people would make fun of you if you were to wear it.

• The ship is fully equipped with bedding and linen, but can be more chilly than a hotel room at nights due to the cold surrounding water. Bring some warm clothing for the evenings and nights.

Join or login to comment.

  • Andrea

    This was the most wonderful trip. Loved it all: living on the boat, cycling everywhere, the tulips, seeing so many places I would have never seen without the local guidance by Sybrand, which was just excellent. Everybody said it already. This trip was put together with a lot of thought and it showed. Thank you all for the wonderful company. Happy times!

    April 23, 2014

  • Yelda K

    This was an excellent trip that far exceeded my expectations with many highlights: new friends, tulips, cycling, headwinds, beauty of the waterlands, family hospitality & fleet day/ fair in Monnekedam, raw herring, craft beers, hipster docklands. But the highlight for me was Syb skippering us around the harbour for a stunning sunset and 'intimate' dinner in the cabin. Thanks Syb for your great leadership, organisation, patience and energy throughout. Thanks to the rest of my fellow travellers for your humour and friendship over the weekend.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sybrand

    Horrible weather, horrible cheese, horrible tourists, horrible heavy bikes, horrible headwinds. Just a very bad, bad trip, never go to Holland! Let it just drown, something that should have happened ages ago!
    Seriously, it was great having a group of very enthusiastic and genuinely interested people over and be tourist on my own turf. I saw new and beautiful things every day and was happily surprised by all the friendliness along the way!

    3 · April 22, 2014

    • Yelda K

      Sounds like you're describing the UK here!

      1 · April 23, 2014

  • Marzia

    My first trip with the group and it was great!! I really enjoyed it and I am already looking forward to the next one. Thank you all!!

    p.s.: I also loved the Carcassonne night entertainment :)

    April 22, 2014

  • Aleksandra

    What a fantastic trip! Big thank to Sybrand and everyone in the group for making it such a memorable experience. Guys, I loved the Carcassonne night entertainment! :-)

    1 · April 22, 2014

  • Tony

    A wonderful and unique trip! All of it was great: the cosy and very clean accommodation on a sailing boat built in 1910, the fun cycling in the landscape of canals, fields and flowers, brewery tour and Rijksmuseum and of course the excellent company. Very well organised in Sybrand's efficient but relaxed Dutch style making it even more pleasant an experience. Thanks again!

    3 · April 22, 2014

  • Marion

    Thanks Syb, for organising this amazing trip. I think I speak for most, if not all, people when I say a lot of careful thought and organisation has gone into this trip - and it showed. I'm glad we were a relaxed group that was open to last-minute changes and got on pretty well. Holland is amazing and I'm definitely going back soon to see the rest of the Rijksmuseum and some of the other cultural offerings. I hope everyone enjoys their cheese and waffles!

    2 · April 22, 2014

  • Payal J.

    It was a great trip :)

    April 22, 2014

  • Marion

    Gatwick people. We're in EAT upstairs.

    April 17, 2014

  • Ozlem


    April 6, 2014

  • Sarah

    Hi Sybrand, sorry I couldn't make the ride on Sunday, but really looking forward to the trip!
    See you soon, Sarah

    March 31, 2014

  • Dul

    Hi Sybrand, are we still meeting for a ride and trip preps next weekend? Cheers!

    March 22, 2014

    • Marion

      Regarding tomorrow. Clocks are going forward, so we're meeting at 11am winter time, 12pm summer time.

      March 29, 2014

    • Sybrand

      Very good point Marion!

      March 29, 2014

  • sabrina

    If accommodation is full we can stay nearby cheers Sabrina

    1 · February 25, 2014

  • Marion

    Hi Syb, just noticed that we're going to meet your parents. Have you prepared them yet? And in anticipation of our trip I'm now reading "De ontdekking van de hemel" by Harry Mulisch. In German though, as my Dutch is still not fluent enough.

    January 28, 2014

  • Mehdi

    Flights booked from Gatwick too :)

    January 14, 2014

  • Dul

    flights booked from/to GTW too. Looking forward :)

    January 10, 2014

  • Attila

    Hi guys, is it too late to sign up for this event?

    January 2, 2014

  • Hugues

    Flights booked from Gatwick as suggested...Thanks for organising Sybrand! H

    December 6, 2013

  • Marion

    Booked the flights from/to Gatwick as suggested above.

    December 6, 2013

    • Sybrand

      Good girl! I will be in touch this weekend with all people that have signed up by then to discuss alternative travel options.

      December 6, 2013

    • Eser

      Marionche, are you coming to Meribel for the New Year celebrations?

      December 6, 2013

  • Eser

    Sounds like a very good trip. We haven't booked our Easter Trip earlier this morning, would seriously consider joining you. Hope another time.

    December 6, 2013

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