Return to the main Vincent van Gogh Gallery page

In December, 1996 I was lucky enough to take holidays in both Amsterdam as well as southern California. The Dutch airline, KLM, was offering an excellent deal for a trip to Amsterdam: round-trip airfare, four days and three nights in a four star hotel, as well as tons of discounts on museums and attractions--all for only $725 Canadian. This was too good a deal to pass up.

I decided to add on three more days to the Amsterdam trip and then tack on a second holiday as well--this time to southern California. Again, an excellent deal for the airfare was one of the motivating factors, but I also thought that a trip to California would give me a chance to see several more Van Gogh paintings while at the same time enjoying some warm and sunny weather.

Both trips were, without question, very different from each other (from an evening cruise along the Amsterdam canals to the incredible Joshua Tree National Park in the Mojave Desert). If you're planning a Van Gogh trip of your own to either Amsterdam or southern California, then I hope that you find the information I pass along to be of some value. I highly recommend a visit to the official Netherlands Board of Tourism website in order to help you plan your holiday.

Throughout the course of my holidays in both the Netherlands and California, I visited a total of 7 museums and saw 221 Van Gogh paintings. I don't have to tell you how wonderful (and overwhelming!) this was since, up until now, I'd only seen 33 Van Gogh paintings in person in my entire life. Below I include some information about each of the museums along with some friendly advice.

The Museums

A non-Van Gogh recommendation: The Ann Frank House (Prinsengracht 263, Amsterdam, tel. 020 556 71 00): Be sure to pay a visit to the Ann Frank House while in Amsterdam. It's an incredibly moving and profoundly sad experience. Anne and her family spent two years in hiding here during World War II, behind the famous revolving bookcase. Eventually they were betrayed and Anne and her family were deported by the Nazis. Anne and her sister, Margot, died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen in March, 1945--only a few weeks before the concentration camp was liberated.

For me, the most wrenching moment of the visit came while visiting the very room where Anne slept. In order to keep up her spirits, Anne covered the walls with pictures of movie stars and drawings of happy, laughing children. The pictures are still there. So are the memories . . . .

Return to Van Gogh travels page

Return to main Van Gogh Gallery page