Cultural Hotspots of the Low Countries
The region that covers modern day Belgium and the Netherlands has produced some of the world's greatest artists. So when Simplexity's discerning clients ask their personal Travel Managers where they should go for a cultural luxury holiday, the answer can be as simple the Low Countries.
Many travelers are familiar with Amsterdam. It offers a complete package, a European city, both modern and historic, liberal and traditional, for the partygoers and the families.
But it is surely the cultural power of Amsterdam that must draw in the largest share of its 7 million visitors a year. As the wealthiest city at the time of the Dutch Golden Age, Amsterdam saw some of the greatest work from master such as Vermeer, Frans Hals and Rembrandt.
Any visitor eager to drink in this rich history must visit the Rijksmuseum. This vast collection holds somewhere in the order of one million objects. It famously closed in 2003 for nearly a decade. Ten years of work have paid off and now it is a stunning cultural cathedral with masterpieces old and new, such as The Night Watch, Children of the Sea, and self-portraits by Rembrandt and Van Gogh.
For more Van Gogh, head to his museum, a mere five minutes' walk down Paulus Potterstraat where you can find out everything about one of the world's greatest painters. There is much modern art here too. Head to the east side for P/////AKT, a gallery known for its site-specific modern installments.
While in the city, our Travel Managers recommend staying at the Dylan, a charming 5-star luxury hotel on the Keizergracht historic canal. Within minutes you can walk to the Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank's House. The hotel's Signature Suites pay delightful homage to the canal-side building's typical Dutch architecture while being refreshingly modern and stylish.
Over the Belgian boarder, Antwerp is a terrific culture destination. Here you can find the museum-home of Antwerp's most celebrated artist, Peter Paul Rubens. Rubenshuis is now home to Rubens' iconic self-portrait and several other significant works, plus a fascinating history of his adventurous career.
Your Travel Manager will book one of ten exclusive rooms at the boutique luxury De Witte Lelie. In a region known for its beautiful flowers, a stay at the stunning Flower Suite won't be forgotten soon.
From this central location, you will be able to see the spires of the stunning Cathedral of Our Lady to the south-west in the historic riverside district of the old town. A World Heritage Site, the Cathedral contains several Rubens paintings and constitutes a paradigmatic gothic design.
From here, travel north to be jolted back into the modern world. Symbolically placed where the old town meets the new port (Antwerp is Europe's third biggest), the Museum Aan de Stroom is a modern red brick building in a striking design. Here the city introspects, asking through art what its role was, is and will be as the world continues to change around it.
A cultural exploration of Brussels will yield many happy discoveries. But if nothing else, it is a fantastic opportunity to stay at the sublime Hotel Amigo. On the cobbled streets near the Grand Palace, Hotel Amigo's 5-star luxury will fit perfectly into your Belgian culture holiday.
WIELS Contemporary Art Centre is the perfect place to juxtapose the historic buildings of the city with the vibrant new Brussels art scene. Here you can find cutting edge exhibitions of contemporary artists from around the world as well as residencies from up-and-coming artists.
Back towards your stunning hotel room you will find the René Magritte Museum. Magritte is one of the most iconic surrealists of the 20th Century. At once accessible and deeply thought provoking, Magritte is a national celebrity, and his museum is filled with his exceptional work.
Staying so close to the Grand Place, it would be madness not to make a cultural pilgrimage to this fantastic World Heritage Site. Surrounded by museums and historical houses such as the Maison du Roi and the Broodhuis, this area is a must-see.
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