For a small region of Europe – which in the 17th century was famous for having no great composers except for Pieter Sweelinck, who died in 1621 – The Netherlands produced an extraordinarily wide range of pictures showing people making music.  Why this should be so and how it relates to the most fascinating moment in Dutch history is the theme of this tour.

Organised by Peter Medhurst for SHALFORD DFAS

From £1390.00 per person (based on two sharing a twin room, single supplements will apply)

Press start to hear Gerard’s Mistress – Anon c1663 played by Peter Medhurst on the virginals


Day 1

We leave Guildford in the morning by private coach and make our way to Ebbsfleet to take the Eurostar to Brussels, where we will be met by coach and taken to the 4-star Hampshire Delft Centre Hotel near to the centre of Delft.  The hotel is in easy walking distance of all the historic attractions in the old town.

For those who wish it, Peter Medhurst will take us on an orientation tour of the town taking in Oude Delft, the Catholic quarter, as well as the spot from which Vermeer painted his famous view of Delft. After this we return to the hotel for a welcome drink and dinner served in the resataurant (included).

Day 2

After breakfast, the day begins with a lecture by Peter Medhurst on the history of The Netherlands.  This is followed by a guided walk around the Market Square area of Delft, and will include visits to the Nieuwe Church (left), Vermeer’s assumed birthplace, and the Vermeer Centre – a permanant exhibition devoted to the life and times of Vermeer.  Lunch will be at leisure.

In the afternoon we will visit the Paul Tetar van Elven museum, situated on the Koornmarkt.  The 17th century building possesses a perfectly preserved late 19th century interior and is one of the most important of its type to be found in Holland.  Paul Tetar van Elven 1823-1896 (right) was a painter and teacher at the Polytechnical School – the predecessor of the Technical University of Delft – and his output was mainly portraits, history paintings and copies of old masters. Van Elven lived in the house in Koornmarkt from 1864 till 1894, and after his death he left it and its contents to the town of Delft.  The house is an enchanting time-capsule of Van Elven’s life and work, and on display is a fine collection of porcelain, furniture and copies of old masters painted by him.

We will finish the afternoon with an optional wander around the Oude Church, where Vermeer is buried.

Dinner is included at a local restaurant.

Day 3
Following a lecture on the history of the Panorama Mesdag, and an introduction to the Mauritshuis collection of paintings, we will spend a full day in The Hague.  Our time there begins with a visit to the Panorama Mesdag to view the immense painting of Scheveningen (left) which was completed in 1881 by Hendrik Willem Mesdag and his team of artists. The panorama is a cylindrical painting (also known as a cyclorama) more than 14 metres high and about 40 metres in diameter (120 metres in circumference). From an observation gallery in the centre of the room the cylindrical perspective creates the illusion that the viewer is on a high sand dune overlooking the sea, beaches and village of Scheveningen.  No words can ever prepare the viewer for the impact that the panorama when seen for the first time.  It is, quite literally, breathtaking.

We then travel by coach to view, and to walk on, the beach at Scheveningen, where lunch will be included at a local fish restaurant.

In the afternoon we  visit the Mauritshuis, a 17th century house in the centre of The Hague, which contains masterpieces from the Golden Age of Dutch art. In 1631, army officer John Maurice, Prince of Nassau-Siegen (1604–1679), who was a cousin of stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange, bought a plot of land bordering the Binnenhof and the adjacent pond named known as the Court’s Pond.  The Mauritshuis was built between 1636 and 1641, the period when Prince John Maurice was the governor of Dutch Brazil; and was designed by the Dutch architects Jacob van Campen and Pieter Post. The building houses the Royal Cabinet of Paintings and these include The Bull by Potter, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp by Rembrandt, The Goldfinch by Fabritius and The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer.

Evening at leisure

Day 4

Today we will have a morning visit to the Prinsenhof Museum (right). The Prinsenhof (Court of the Prince) is a medieval palace built originally as a monastery (St Agathaklooster). Later it served as a residence for Stadtholder William of Orange (left), the main leader of the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs that instigated the Eighty Years’ War.  William was murdered in the building in 1584 and the holes in the wall made by the bullets near the main stairs are still visible.  Today, the museum houses a collection of 17th century art and handicrafts depicting Delft in the Golden Age.

The afternoon will be spent at leisure, and later, dinner (included) will be served at a local restaurant.

Day 5

The lecture this morning focuses on Constantiyn Huygens, the 17th century poet and diplomat.  Huygens was a keen amateur writer and musician who was knighted by James I for his outstanding performances on the lute. At 10.00, we depart on foot for the Vielt Canal where we will take a private boat for a trip to the Hofwijck (left), the small moated country house built by Huygens as a retreat from court life. On arrival we will be given refreshments, which are followed by a private viewing of the house.

A real highlight of the tour will be an organ recital in the afternoon given by Peter Medhurst on the 17th century chamber organ and the large 19th century organ (right) in Voorburg’s parish church.  Music will drawn from the 16th and 17th cnenturies and will include Variations and Toccatas by Sweelinck, Dances by Gisbert Steenwick, selections from Susanne van Soldt’s Virginal Book, and Hexachordum Apollinis by Johann Pachelbel.

A farewell dinner is included this evening.

Day 6

After checking out of the hotel. we leave Delft by coach and travel to Antwerp.  We will have a short guided tour of the fine Market Square

before visiting the Vleeshuis collection of musical instruments. The Vleeshuis Museum houses one of Europe’s most important collections of early musical instruments, and one of the Vleeshuis’ great treasures is a virginals by Jean Couchet (right) and of a type that is depicted in the paintings of Vermeer.

There will be time for lunch before visiting Antwerp Cathedral, one of the finest Gothic buildings in Europe. The Cathedral is an iconic treasury with an impressive collection of major art works including a series of paintings by Rubens.

We rejoin the coach and transfer to Brussels Station to take the Eurostar back to Ebbsfleet.  We then pick up our private coach for transfer to Guildford and the close of the tour.

Hampshire Delft Centre Hotel, Delft

This family-owned three-star hotel is located in the heart of Delft, on a canal just behind the New Church, within a few minutes’ walk of the main square and all the main sights. With stylish and modern public areas, facilities here include a bar, restaurant and very comfortable bedrooms with private bath or shower, TV and telephone. Please visit for more information.


  • Return coach transfers from Guildford to Ebbsfleet
  • Return train travel by Eurostar from Ebbsfleet to Brussels
  • Five nights’ bed and breakfast at the Hampshire Delft Centre Hotel
  • Four dinners and one lunch
  • Transfers and full coach touring itinerary
  • All entrance fees and guided tours as per the itinerary
  • Gratuities
  • Accompanied by Peter Medhurst and Tour manager throughout

Not included

  • Holiday insurance
  • Single room supplement – £249.00 per person
  • Personal items such as meals (other than those mentioned) drinks, laundry, telephone calls etc)
  • Porterage at the hotel

How to book

The tour is for Shalford DFAS members only.

A deposit of £100 per person (plus insurance premium, if applicable) is required to secure your booking.

Bookings will be taken on a first come first served basis, so please book as soon as possible to ensure your place.

We recommend you book by credit or debit card, call: 020 7251 0045 quoting Shalford DFAS Netherlands. (Please note that there is a surcharge of 2% on credit card booking. No fee on debit cards). Cheques should be made payable to TRAVEL EDITIONS LTD.

The balance payment will be due 8 weeks prior to departure and will be detailed on your confirmation invoice from Travel Editions. Final payments should be made directly to Travel Editions.

Peter Medhurst

Peter Medhurst is well-known in the world of the arts as a singer, pianist, scholar and lecturer, who in addition to his appearances on the concert platform and in the lecture hall, sets aside time to devise and lead tours abroad for small groups of art and music connoisseurs (including NADFAS societies).

His particular interests are centred on the music, art and history of Vienna, Salzburg (with its strong Mozart link), Berlin, Halle (Handel’s birthplace), Dresden, Venice (Vivaldi’s birthplace), Rome, and Delft (with its Vermeer and 17th century Dutch School connections) and over the years Peter has been associated with a number of companies including Travel Editions, Cox and Kings, Success Tours, Heritage Travel, Tailored Travel, and Voyages to Antiquity.

Peter always includes unusual places and events in the itinerary (private reception, local concert, special viewing) and – if the situation allows – will give a recital in a suitable location or venue.