Holland at Tulip Time

Tulips, Windmills & Canals of Holland & Northern Belgium

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"God made heaven and earth," the saying goes, "but men made Holland." With more than a quarter of its landmass below sea level, Holland's diked, drained and "reclaimed" polderlands never fail to impress as one of the most unusual human-influenced landscapes on Earth. Though the Netherlands is one of the world's most densely populated countries, the Dutch pride themselves on being at the vanguard of the environmental revolution of the past 25 years. And even more important, they have figured out a way to make money while being green by exporting their innovative environmental technologies around the globe.
"Great tour for color and variety! The tour leaders know where the best spots are and get there at the right time of day. They work with you to improve your techniques as you photograph the icons of Holland's traditions in flowers, gardens, villages and windmills. Bruges is not to be missed—historic, continental and easy to wander."
- J. Menard

Our Holland at Tulip Time photo tour concentrates largely on the northwestern provinces of Noord and Zuid (North and South) Holland from which the Netherlands get their "Holland" moniker. Colorful commercial tulip fields and a world famous tulip garden are an important part of our photography. First, we visit the spectacular 80-acre Keukenhof garden park—the world's largest spring bulb garden—where seven million exuberant tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and other bulbs are planted in a tailored woodland setting. The Keukenhof garden is literally a trade show for Holland's major bulb producers. The newest hybrids are presented here en masse, and a remarkable glass-enclosed pavilion offers thousands of tulips and other flowers in perfect light and near-windless conditions for photography.

The commercial tulip fields of Noord Holland are next on our agenda, along with the picturesque hamlet and working windmills of Zaanse Schans. The density of tulip and hyacinth fields in this area is the highest in Holland. Field after field of vivid color gives us much to do.

We photograph one of the best-known examples of the typical Dutch landscape—the windmills of Kinderdijk. Images of this unique windmill landscape are featured in virtually every photo book of Holland. And, in 1997, the 19 Kinderdijk mills were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

holland-photo-tour-1.jpgFor our final stop, we travel to northern Belgium to the "Venice of the North," the delightful medieval city of Bruges. One of the most visually-stunning cities in Europe, the historical center of Bruges was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Here, as we walk the egg-shaped maze of cobblestoned streets, follow the winding canals, and explore the town squares, we find ourselves in a photogenic world of colorful brick and stone—brilliant in the spring sunlight. We climb the winding staircase of the Belfort, the belfry of Bruges, a medieval bell tower, to capture panoramic images of red brick facades, steep Flemish rooflines, and the market square below.

Each evening, just at dusk, the landmark buildings along the canals are illuminated to create an exquisite palette for photography—medieval gables and spires, and gracefully-arching stone bridges are reflected in a warm golden glow during the magical hours of transition.

Travel with us to where the North Sea meets the land—and the present and past await our cameras. In Holland, vibrant springtime flower bulb gardens and fields of unimaginable hues stretch to the horizon. Iconic windmills pierce the softly-lit sky and reflect in the calm waters of the polderlands. Bruges, in Belgium, is a timeless world where architectural imagery abounds throughout the day and into the luminous night.


Check out Kevin McNeal's trip report from our 2016 Holland photo tour.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Depart from home.

Day 2 (Apr 10)

Arrive in Amsterdam. Meet for dinner at our airport hotel. (D)

Day 3

We drive to the Keukenhof garden park. After lunch and hotel check in we spend the afternoon exploring the spectacular garden with our cameras. (BLD)

holland1.jpgDays 4–5

Keukenhof is a photo-rich environment with sweeping garden vistas and intimate close-up possibilities. In the event of rain, the garden offers a huge indoor pavilion featuring thousands of flowering bulbs under an immense glass ceiling with wonderfully diffused light. The surrounding area is also home to a substantial number of commercial bulb fields. We pick and choose from the best photo opportunities both within the garden and the adjacent fields. (BLD)

Day 6

We drive north to the vibrant bulb fields of Noord Holland. Our trip is timed for the predicted height of the bloom—and prior to the flower harvest! (BLD)

Day 7

After morning bulb field photography, we enter private land to shoot a remote and picturesque windmill in the midst of the flowering fields—a scene not easy to find in Holland today! This evening we shoot the charming hamlet and working windmills of Zaanse Schans. In one of these working windmills, the parchment for the ceremonial copy of the US Declaration of Independence was fabricated. (BLD)

Day 8

We drive to Kinderdijk, Holland's quintessential landscape, in hope of late afternoon light on the photogenic windmills. (BLD)

holland2.jpgDay 9

We rise early and attempt to catch the windmills in silhouette in the lavender predawn light. Following breakfast, we shoot the windmills until early afternoon before heading to Bruges, Belgium. (BLD)

Day 10

A full day of photography in the historical city core of Bruges. From our conveniently-located hotel, we explore on foot—the best way to experience this wonderfully-preserved remnant of the medieval world. In the evening, warmly-lit buildings and bridges with their colorful flickering reflections in the canal waters are our prime subjects. (BLD)

Day 11

Morning photography in Bruges before returning to our Amsterdam airport hotel. (BLD)

Day 12 (Apr 20)

Depart for home. (B)

If you want a care-free photographic experience and top notch photographic leaders you won’t be disappointed if you select Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris as your tour operator.
—A. Boney

A fabulous trip. The leaders did a great job in getting us to the right locations in the right light.
—J. Helderman
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Holland at Tulip Time

Apr 09, 2018 - Apr 20, 2018

A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.


All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days priors to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of entire trip fee
100% of entire trip fee

No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to info@photosafaris.com.

Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay or changes in air or other services, sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine or other causes. All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in air schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 4) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Holland at Tulip Time
  • Two full days to photograph the largest spring bulb garden in the world
  • Endless fields of colorful tulips in North Holland provide the material for creative graphic compositions
  • Capture windmills silhouetted against a lavender dawn sky
  • Photograph the dramatically-lit canals of Bruges, Belgium, shimmering below medieval stone bridges at dusk
Apr 09 - Apr 20, 2018
Fee: $5,595 from Amsterdam, Netherlands
Deposit: $800
Limit: 12
Tour Leaders
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