Beyond Amsterdam: Exploring The Netherlands with Carnegie Museums

In October 2017, Carnegie Museums travelers went on a memorable trip, The Netherlands: Old Masters to Modern Masters with Rachel Delphia, the Alan G. and Jane A. Lehman Curator of Decorative Arts & Design at Carnegie Museum of Art.  Although the group was centered in Amsterdam, many days were spent exploring all that the country had to offer.  They explored 5 of the best 16 spots outside of bustling Amsterdam that Condé Nast Traveler suggested visiting.  Read on to get our take on these not-to-be-missed spots, and to see pictures from our trip.

Amsterdam is probably the first stop on anyone’s trip to the Netherlands—and for good reason. But there is so much more to this small country (about one-third the size of Pennsylvania) than its capital city. Think rows of windmills, fields of tulips, and cities bursting with culture and charm. Luckily for you, it’s all just a short drive or train ride away from that main city hub. –   & , “16 Places to Visit in the Netherlands That Aren’t Amsterdam


One of  the greatest Dutch cities, Delft is home to the great Dutch masters of the Golden Age Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt van Rijn, as well as the iconic blue pottery.

Our travelers visited the Royal Delft (De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles) to witness the history and production of the classic Delft Blue pottery. The factory is the only remaining factory of the original 32 that were established in Delft during the 17th-Century.

Visitors can gain further insight into one of the nation’s most significant traditions that dates back to 1653. Our travelers enjoyed a beautiful private tour through the site, and observed pottery painters and craftsmen at work.

Zaanse Schans

Although visiting Zaanse Schans can be considered a tourist trap, its charm and quintessential Dutch activities are sure to delight visitors. Sample cheese from the Zaanse Schans cheese factory, and tour the De Kat windmill. The De Kat windmill was originally built in 1781, and since 1960, the mill has manufactured paint dyes and pigments in traditional Dutch fashion. Our travelers got a private tour with the miller himself, pictured below wearing traditional Dutch clogs!

“If you’re looking for a snapshot of Dutch history, head to Zaanse Schans: Here, in this collection of windmills and houses, the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are brought to life.” –   & , “16 Places to Visit in the Netherlands That Aren’t Amsterdam

The Hague

Den Haag in Dutch, is home to the Dutch Parliament and some of the best museums in The Netherlands.

Our travelers enjoyed a private tour at the renowned Mauritshuis Museum with Edwin Buijsen, Head of Collections. This spectacular museum is home to the best Dutch Golden Age paintings, including masterpieces such as Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicholaes Tulp.

An absolute highlight of the Carnegie Museums trip was the visit to the Peace Palace, an international law building established with funds provided by Pittsburgh’s own Andrew Carnegie. Our travelers enjoyed a tour and private luncheon with General Director Erik de Baedts. A bust of Andrew Carnegie is proudly on display, a reminder of his contribution to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The foundation still owns and manages the building, which is now recognized as a national monument.

De Hoge Veluwe National Park

This park is one of the largest in Holland, and within its 13,343 acres, counts rare wildlife, some of the most iconic buildings in the Netherlands, and the Kröller-Müller museum.” – Caitlin Morton & Katherine LaGrave, Condé Nast Traveler

Our trip to The Netherlands took travelers to two iconic buildings within De Hoge Veluwe National Park,  the Kröller-Müller Museum and Jachthuis Sint Hubertus, the  Kröller-Müller family’s hunting lodge. In the summer, ride on one of the park’s free rental bikes to explore more areas.

The Kröller-Müller Museum, built by the Kröller-Müller family, proudly houses the largest private collection of Van Goghs, as well as a large collection of nineteenth and twentieth century art. There you can stroll through one of the largest sculpture gardens in Europe, enjoying art and nature.

The Kröller-Müller family also commissioned the famous architect H.P. Berlage to build them a hunting lodge in the center of the estate. Notable for its center watchtower, clean lines, and specially-glazed brick interior, the Hunting Lodge is a must-see for architecture lovers.


Experience this centuries-old university town with charming canals, almshouses, squares, and parks. A must-see for architecture enthusiasts is the Rietveld Schröder House run by the Centraal Museum in Utrecht, a stop on our Carnegie Museums trip. As an icon of modern and De Stijl (think Mondrian) architecture, the Rietveld Schröder House features vivid primary colors, asymmetrical composition, movable walls, and several Rietveld classics like the Red and Blue Chair (1917).


If you are interested in visiting The Netherlands and using its capital city, Amsterdam as your central hub like our travelers did, see more tips from the Barbara’s Best Amsterdam edition!

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