Travel with Australian Book Review, Australia’s leading cultural magazine, and relish the extraordinary art, architecture and history of Germany and the Netherlands, attending performances at world-class venues in congenial company. This 14-day tour travels from Frankfurt, birthplace of famed writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, to Cologne, Hamburg and Amsterdam, some of western Europe’s most dynamic cities. In each city, we explore rich histories and fabulous art collections, from Dutch Golden Age brilliance to Germany’s modern and contemporary masters. Four fine performances round out the touring program.
Seven centuries of European art, from medieval treasures to modern works by German artists, including Gerhard Richter, Josef Beuys and Anselm Kiefer
Rembrandt and Vermeer’s masterworks at Amsterdam’s recently renovated Rijksmuseum
The Dutch Golden Age at the Mauritshuis, The Hague
Lubeck, medieval capital of the Hanseatic League, and its distinguished Gothic in brick
Fascinating contemporary art collections, including Paul Klee and Salvador Dali at Dusseldorf’s K20 museum
Four performances, including a concert at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, one of Europe’s premier concert halls
Days 1–2: Arrive in Frankfurt, explore the city’s art collections at the Stadel Museum and take a walking tour including the Goethehaus.
Days 3–6: Travel to Cologne via Bonn to visit the Kunst Museum. Admire Cologne Cathedral and visit Augustusburg Castle. Day trip to Dusseldorf to visit the contemporary art museum K-20.
Days 7–9: In Hamburg, attend a performance at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall and visit the Kuntsthalle Hamburg. Day trip to Lubeck.
Days 10–14: Travel to Amsterdam. Take a city walking tour, visit the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum and survey the masters at the Rijksmuseum. Spend the day at The Hague to visit the Mauritshuis.
The tour begins at our hotel in Frankfurt and ends with a group transfer to Amsterdam airport. Qatar, Singapore and Emirates offer direct flights into Frankfurt and out of Amsterdam from most Australian cities.
Included meals are shown with the symbols B, L and D.
Wednesday September 16: Arrive Frankfurt
If you have booked your air travel through Academy Travel, we will organise a transfer from Frankfurt airport to our hotel. Please note that hotel rooms may not be available until early afternoon. In the evening meet Christopher Menz at the hotel bar for welcome drinks followed by a light dinner. Overnight Frankfurt (D)
Thursday September 17: Goethe’s Frankfurt – Performance I
Following an introductory talk in the hotel, we enjoy a guided walking tour through Frankfurt that includes a visit to the Goethe House, where Germany’s most famous writer was born. In the afternoon we visit the Städel Museum, an exceptional art museum with masterpieces by Van Eyck, Vermeer, Botticelli, Picasso, Bacon and Baselitz. It is one of Germany’s premier art collections with works ranging from medieval to contemporary. Tonight we will attend a performance together. Overnight Frankfurt (B)
Performance details Venue: Oper Frankfurt
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced
Friday September 18: The Rhine
Today we leave Frankfurt for Cologne. Our coach takes us first to Bonn to see the Kunstmuseum, with its outstanding collection of twentieth-century German art displayed in a dramatic modern building designed by Axel Schultes. After lunch at leisure in Bonn we head to Cologne, where we will check into the hotel and enjoy dinner together in a local restaurant. Overnight Cologne (B, D)
Saturday September 19: Cologne – Performance II
This morning we visit the Museum Ludwig, famed for its collection of art from the early twentieth century to the present day. In addition to holding one of the most important collections of German expressionist art, the Ludwig has an outstanding collection of works by Picasso, Pop Art, photography and the Russian avant-garde. In the afternoon we visit the majestic baroque palace Schloss Augustusburg in nearby Brühl. In the evening we attend a performance together. Overnight Cologne (B)
Performance details Venue: Oper Köln
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced
Sunday September 20: Düsseldorf
Today we have a day trip to Düsseldorf for a guided walking tour through this attractive city on the Rhine. Cologne and Düsseldorf have a centuries-old rivalry – they even brew beer using different methods. While Cologne’s museums are certainly impressive, Düsseldorf has been the pre-eminent centre of German art after World War II – Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Keifer, Candida Höfer and Andreas Gursky are just a few of the leading artists among its alumni. Today we explore the city and its exceptional collections, including visits to K20, the Kunsthalle and the Kunstpalast and enjoy a group lunch. Each gallery has a distinct collection, interesting history, and quite wide-ranging special exhibitions. We return to Cologne in the early evening. Overnight Cologne (B, L)
Monday September 21: Cologne Cathedral
After a morning talk we have a guided walking tour of Cologne that ends at the cathedral. The medieval Cologne cathedral, was completed in the nineteenth century and damaged during World War II. Nevertheless, it remains one of the great cathedrals. It contains many treasures, including the Shrine of the Magi, one of the greatest examples of medieval goldsmithing, and a magnificent stained-glass window designed by Gerhard Richter. The afternoon is free to enjoy Cologne. Overnight Cologne (B)
Tuesday September 22: To Hamburg
Today we take the coach via Osnabrück to enjoy some sightseeing. Then we make our way to Hamburg in the north of Germany. This important ancient trading city is picturesquely located on waterways. Despite extensive war damage, Hamburg has been rebuilt as a most dynamic and attractive city. After checking into our hotel, we enjoy dinner together. Overnight Hamburg (B, D)
Wednesday September 23: Hamburg – Performance III
After a talk in the hotel, we head to the Kunsthalle, which has one of Germany’s finest art collections. It is especially noted for its holdings of famous paintings by the German Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich. In the afternoon we take a boat cruise to enjoy Hamburg from the water. This evening we head to the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg to the Elbphilharmonie for a concert. The Elbphilharmonie is one of the largest and most acoustically advanced concert halls in the world. The new glassy construction resembles a hoisted sail, water wave or quartz crystal; it sits on top of an old warehouse building near the historical Speicherstadt and is designed by architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. Overnight Hamburg (B)
Performance details Venue: Elbphilharmonie
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced
Thursday September 24: Hanseatic League
Today we visit Lübeck, the important Hanseatic city and birthplace of Thomas Mann, winner of the 1929 Nobel Prize for his novel Buddenbrooks, which charts the decline of a merchant family. We take a walking tour through Lübeck, ending at the St Annen-Museum which has an outstanding collection of late medieval altar pieces, including a spectacular one by Hans Memling. We also enjoy a group lunch. Overnight Hamburg (B, L)
Friday September 25: To Amsterdam
Today we depart Hamburg by coach for Amsterdam. En route we make a stop in Bremen, Germany’s second largest port (Hamburg is the largest). Together with Hamburg and Lübeck, Bremen was an early member of the merchant-run Hanseatic League, and its rivalry with the larger port on the Elbe River is still tangible. We take a guided tour of the town before continuing on to Amsterdam, where we will have a group dinner. Overnight Amsterdam (B, D)
Saturday September 26: Amsterdam – Performance IV
After a talk in the hotel, we go on a walking tour of this beautiful city. Stroll along Amsterdam’s World Heritage-listed canal belt. These rings of canals are feats of hydraulic engineering – a series of timed locks and sluices keep water flowing almost uphill – and were a new model of rational town planning for a burgeoning city. The merchants, artists and religious minorities who flocked here made it one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan cities and its canals are lined with the townhouses of the wealthy burghers of the Golden Age. In the afternoon we visit the Rijksmuseum for its unrivalled collection of Dutch seventeenth-century art, including Rembrandt’s TheNightwatch, and Vermeer’s The Milkmaid. Tonight we enjoy a performance together. Overnight Amsterdam (B)
Performance details Venue: Concertgebouw
Program: to be announced
Performers: to be announced
Sunday September 27: The Hague
Today we visit The Hague, a city whose fascinating history is inseparable from the House of Orange and as the modern seat of the International Court of Justice. The great prize of our visit today, however, is the extraordinary collection in the Mauritshuis, famed for its Golden Age Dutch paintings, whose impressive collection includes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft, Carol Fabricius’ The Gold Finch, and many excellent portraits by Rembrandt. Overnight Amsterdam (B)
Monday September 28: Van Gogh and Modern Art
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced” – Vincent van Gogh.
On our final full day in Amsterdam, we visit the Van Gogh Museum. Van Gogh is one of the modern world’s most prolific artists, although recognition of his work and its impact on modern art only came after his untimely death. This morning we visit one of the most significant collections of the master’s work. This stunning collection of masterpieces – including Sunflowers, Almond Blossom and nine self-portraits – spans the artist’s whole life, from his early works and influences through to his final paintings. In the afternoon we visit the Stedelijk Museum for modern and contemporary art. We end the tour with a farewell dinner at local restaurant. Overnight Amsterdam (B, D)
Tuesday September 29: Departure
The tour ends after breakfast. Departing group members transfer to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for outgoing flights. (B)
A former art museum director and curator, with expertise in the arts and music throughout Europe, the USA and Australia.
Christopher Menz is a former art museum director and curator and has been leading cultural tours in Europe, the United States and Australia since 2013. He has expertise and interest in the visual arts and music.
Christopher has a BA (Hons) from Flinders University. He is a former director of the Art Gallery of South Australia. Before that he was a curator, specialising in decorative arts, and worked at the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of South Australia, and National Gallery of Victoria. He has published and lectured extensively on Australian and European decorative arts, notably on the design work of William Morris, and curated numerous exhibitions. Christopher is based in Melbourne where he is an art consultant and valuer, and Development Consultant for Australian Book Review.
Christopher has led cultural tours to Germany, England, the United States, as well as in Australia. He has also been a tour leader on European river cruises.
We asked Christopher, what do you think clients get from travelling with you?
“It is always a great thrill to be able to introduce clients to new experiences and to places they might otherwise not have visited or not have visited recently. I always hope to give tour guests something that adds to the experiences of the places, cities, museums and art galleries, and performances that they would not get if travelling alone.”
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity
You will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of these conditions when you book a place on a tour.
A deposit of $500 per person is required to confirm your booking on a tour. Final payment of the tour fee, insurance and any additional travel will be due 60 days before departure.
If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:
More than 60 days before departure: $500*
60-45 days before tour start: 25% of total amount due
44-15 days before tour start: 75% of total amount due
14 days or less before departure: 100% of total amount due
*This amount may be credited to another Academy Travel tour within 12 months of the original tour you booked.
Unused Portions of the tour
We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.
Academy Travel requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. We offer a comprehensive policy with a reputable insurer if required.
Passport and Visa
A valid passport is required for all international travel. If you do not hold an Australian passport you may require a re-entry permit. Some countries require a visa to be issued before you depart Australia. We will advise you of all passport and visa requirements, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you meet passport and visa requirements before you depart.
Will the tour price change?
If the number of participants in a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates Academy Travel reserves the right to amend the advertised price. If this occurs you will be given the option of cancelling your booking and obtaining a full refund. If an Academy Travel tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all monies paid.
Will the itinerary change?
Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of Academy Travel make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make slight amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes as soon as they occur.
Full and final payment for the tour, airfare travel, insurance and any additional travel you book is due 60 days before departure. Payment may be made by bank deposit, cheque, cash or credit card. Please note there is a surcharge for payments made by credit card.
Academy Travel reserves the right to decline the booking or terminate the holiday of any traveller. We aim to be fair and reasonable in all our dealings with our clients. We aim to provide full and accurate information about our tours and promptly provide information of any changes or alterations that take place before departure.