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Amsterdam History Tour: The Dutch Golden Age

Learn how the Dutch Golden Age changed the face of Amsterdam
From US$388 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • West India House
  • Amsterdam Canal Belt
Photos & Highlights
  • Discover the Dutch Golden Age on Amsterdam walking tour
  • Led by a local historian
Tour Description
The Amsterdam that we know today owes a great debt to seafaring traders and savvy politicians of many centuries ago. On this 3-hour Dutch Golden Age Tour, we'll join a local historian to explore Amsterdam's canals, following the paths of the long-ago adventurers and merchants who transformed this port into a major European capital. Together, we’ll look at how trade, power, and art intersected during the 17th century to produce the so-called Dutch Golden Age.

Trade Routes to the Colonies

During the 1600s Amsterdam experienced a tremendous boom, fueled in part by colonial ambitions, overseas expansion, and a unique social and political situation at home. Our walk begins at the West India House, which was once the headquarters of the Dutch West India Company. Here, the decision to start a small colony on the island of Manhattan was made. In the company of a trained historian, we’ll look at how these colonial endeavors unfolded in the Netherlands and the impact they had on Amsterdam as a world city. 

Life in the Dutch Golden Age

Leaving the economic center, we’ll stroll through neighborhood districts such as the Jordaan, where some of the canal houses are found. Many of these were owned by wealthy burghers and some have been converted into small but excellent museums, which afford a unique glimpse into the domestic and social life of the upper classes during the period. We may also take an opportunity to stop in a local café for a pause and further discussion, choosing from the wealth of authentic spots in this part of town. (Our Jewish Amsterdam Tour also provides an in-depth look at this period in Dutch history and this part of the city—but through a different lens.)

Dutch Golden Age Tour

We'll head on through the world-famous canal belt, strolling along the water and marveling at the architecture of these charming and wonderfully preserved buildings. Here, we'll compare Amsterdam then and now, contemplating this historical landscape from where we stand in the present. With these years of history more vivid than ever, we'll consider how the development of the canal system has radically determined the city Amsterdam has become, while also questioning what this tells us about Dutch life and values. We may conclude our tour with a visit to Dam Square and the Royal Palace, an icon of 17th-century Dutch architecture and site of great importance to the city. By the end of our time together, we'll have gained a deeper understanding of this significant period of Dutch history and how this history has shaped the Netherlands of today.

For a more in-depth look at the art of the Dutch Golden age take a look at our Rijksmuseum Tour.
Where You'll Start
177 Reviews (4.5)

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Eric Armitage was an amazing and knowledgable guide
She was knowledgeable. Professional and flexible. Excellent tour.
Enrique provided a very in depth explanation of the golden age and how it built on the then existing structure of Dutch social organization, as well as how current Amsterdam is influenced by the golden age.