Frankfurt – Mainz – Cologne – Ghent – Vimy – Ypres – Adegem – Leopold Canal –
Middelburg – Bergen op Zoom – Antwerp – Holten – Arnhem – Katwijk – Otterlo –
Groesbeek – Reichswald – Apeldoorn – Rotterdam – Amsterdam
Tentative dates: April 27 – May 10, 2022 (14 days)
✔ See most of the great historical locations of two world wars, and follow in the footsteps of our Canadian veterans through Belgium and Holland, plus a visit to Vimy Ridge, accompanied by a military historian.
✔ Celebrate the much-anticipated 75+2 anniversary of VE Day, one of the most historic moments of our time, in Holland.
✔ Visit the war cemeteries of Tyne Cot, Langemark, Adegem, Bergen op Zoom, Holten, Otterlo, Groesbeek and Reichswald.
✔ Explore the beautiful cities of Cologne, Ghent, Antwerp, Arnhem, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and discover the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens, one of the largest flower gardens in the world.
Depart for Germany.
After arrival in Frankfurt, transfer to your hotel in the nearby Rhine Valley. Those arriving in the morning will be transferred to the centre of Mainz, known for its old town with half-timbered houses and medieval market squares, and visit the Gutenberg Museum. The invention of the printing press in 1439 by Johann Gutenberg was one of the most significant inventions for mankind, enabling the dissemination of knowledge throughout the population and classes. Dinner at the hotel. (D)
Gutenberg Museum, Mainz
Enjoy a 2.5-hour river cruise, past the castles and vineyards of the Rhine between Rüdesheim and Boppard. See the statue of Lorelei, a lovely young maiden whose beauty was so bewitching that she caused sailors to wreck their ships.
Proceed to Cologne for a brief visit; the incredible cathedral is the largest Gothic church north of the Alps. Continue on to Ghent, Belgium. Dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Rhine panorama, Cologne © Dieter Jacobi, Köln Tourismus GmbH
Depart for Vimy Ridge. Visit its tunnels and learn about the battle that took place in April 1917 and is such an important milestone in Canada’s history at the visitor centre.
Continue to Ypres, site of WWI’s first gas attacks and home to many memorials and cemeteries, indicative of the horrors this area saw. Visit Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery in the world, with 11,965 graves and a further 33,783 commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing. Continue to the German Cemetery at Langemark (44,000 graves), the St. Julien Canadian Monument with Vancouver Corner, and John McCrae’s field station. Discover the impressive Passchendaele Museum. After an early dinner in Ypres, join the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate. Return to Ghent. (B,D)
Last Post ceremony, Ypres © Last Post Association Ieper
Morning city tour of the historic town of Ghent, followed by time for lunch.
Drive to the Canadian Cemetery at Adegem, visit the Canadian Museum at Maldegem and explore the Leopold Canal area, before returning to Ghent for dinner. (B,D)
Graslei Ghent © Visit Flanders
Today cover the route of the Canadian Second Division through the Scheldt Estuary, an interesting region which was partly flooded during the war. In Holland, stop in Middelburg, whose historic centre was heavily damaged by German bombers in 1940.
Then drive to the Bergen op Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. Return via Antwerp and stop at Fort Bredonk, built in 1906 and later used as a Nazi prison camp. Dinner in Ghent. (B,D)
'Buffalo' amphibious vehicles taking troops of the Canadian First Army across the Scheldt, September 1944
Early departure for Holland. Take part in the very special commemoration ceremonies at Holten Canadian War Cemetery.
Holten has a long-standing tradition of honouring the special contributions of Canadians in the fight to liberate the country and it is a profound experience to travel to the cemetery. In the afternoon proceed to Arnhem, your home base for the next week. (B,D)
Holten Canadian War Cemetery © Gertjan Schutten
Today join the locals in Katwijk, a seaside town at the mouth of the Rhine which once marked the northern border of the Roman empire. There will be a parade and wonderful local festivities as you celebrate their liberation in 1945. Return to Arnhem for dinner. (B,D)
Liberation of Holland © VND
Today visit the nearby Airborne Museum, dedicated to the Battle of Arnhem. Time at leisure to explore Arnhem, location of the famous John Frost Bridge of the movie A Bridge Too Far.
In the afternoon take a drive to the nearby village of Otterlo. (B,D)
Visit the Canadian cemetery at Groesbeek before driving to Germany. Explore Reichswald Forest War Cemetery, the largest WWII Commonwealth Cemetery. On your return journey, cross the Rhine at Rees-Bienen, where the Nova Scotia Highlanders of the 3rd Canadian Division crossed in April 1945. Dinner in Arnhem. (B,D)
Full day excursion to Amsterdam. On arrival, embark on a canal cruise.
Afternoon at leisure to further explore the Dutch capital on your own. You may wish to visit the Van Gogh’s Museum, the Rijksmuseum or Anne Frank’s House. Late afternoon return to Arnhem. (B,D)
Today join the main parade in honour of the Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland in Apeldoorn. Thousands of people line the streets to pay tribute to returning veterans, reconfirming the special ties that connect Holland and Canada. (B,D)
Anniversary of the Liberation of Holland, Apeldoorn
Depart Arnhem and drive to Rotterdam. Enjoy a cruise of the largest seaport in Europe. See Rotterdam's impressive skyline with its imposing buildings glide by, and get a unique view of the harbour’s shipyards, docks and the hypermodern transshipping of thousands of containers.
This afternoon visit the famous Keukenhof Gardens and experience the full glory of tulip fields in bloom. Late afternoon arrival in the Amsterdam area. Join fellow travellers for a farewell dinner. (B,D)
Tulips, Keukenhof Gardens
Transfer to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for your flight(s) home. (B)