You’ll discover a kaleidoscope of colorful images along our 8-day cruise along the lovely waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium, from flower boxes abloom with tulips and an array of colorful potted plants in villages and towns discovered on walking tours and bicycle rides… in the seasonal pageantry of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths abloom in Keukenhof Gardens… in Kinderdijk windmills and coastal villages steeped in cultural treasures… at a Tauck Exclusive dinner in a palace museum rich with Old Dutch art masterpieces… in gabled houses dressed in maritime lore along Amsterdam’s tree-lined canals… on walking tours of cobblestoned Ghent and the fairy tale streets of Bruges… during discoveries about immigrant voyages and local brew in Antwerp and sculpted monuments and chocolate in Belgium. Gardens grace the landscapes everywhere you look, paying homage to an economy which is largely horticultural based… and our 2022 April and May river cruise includes a once-in-a-decade visit to Floriade, the “world’s fair” of horticultural exhibitions.
A little about the Kinderdijk Windmills: Kinderdijk was named after a watershed moment in its history, a great flood that overwhelmed the drainage canals of the Alblasserwaard in 1421 and caused vast devastation. A farmer standing on a dike saw a cradle floating on the water with a cat in it, jumping from side to side. When he pulled the cradle ashore, he found a child in it, safe and dry; the cat had saved the baby by its deft maneuvers, which kept the rocking cradle from being swamped with water. The legend gave the town its name, Kinderdijk (“Child’s Dike”), and engendered a folktale, The Cat and the Cradle, but the story is most useful as a metaphor for the balancing act required to control floods in this polder 21 feet below sea level, and the ingenious water-pumping windmills on the canals.
There are only 19 windmills left of the 150 that once decorated the landscape, most of them built in the 18th century, but those that remain are national monuments, and fully operational, every one a complex machine of massive gears, shafts, sails, ropes and pulleys, aligned in a perfect bucket brigade to shift flood waters from one canal to the next, until the overflowing Rivers Lek and Noord empty themselves into the sea. What you will take away from Kinderdijk is more than a picturesque image of Dutch windmills, but an appreciation for centuries of water management technology in a country where half the land would otherwise be under water. As a local saying goes, “God created the Earth, but the Dutch created Holland.”
On Belgium & Holland in Spring, your visit to Floriade 2022 is designed so you can stroll through the blooming, themed gardens as you discover a wonderland steeped in nature:
Take the boat across the Weerwater, get an impression of Floriade’s themes at an array of international pavilions and explore the site on the scale-model railway
Ride a cable car cable car between the southern and northern parts of the Floriade park for amazing views
Experience a living pageantry of art, cultural programs and exhibitions, energized by live music, workshops, demonstrations and tasting surprises
Discover Dutch horticulture and international exhibits dedicated to sustainable living with innovations and solutions for energy, health, food and greenery, and walk through a Green City of the Future that will live on after the Expo ends.