AIA Spring Tour
The Randstad

North & South Holland and Utrecht
15th - 21st May 2017
6 nights, full board, from GBP 795
This tour is now fully booked
To join the waiting list for possible cancellations please email:
The Randstad is an area in the central-western Netherlands consisting primarily of the four largest Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht) and their surrounding areas. 
With a population of 7,100,000 it is one of the largest metropolitan regions in Europe and covers an area of approximately 8,287 km².

It's also one of the most important and densely populated economic areas in north-western Europe. Historically it encompasses the county of Holland and the bishopric of Utrecht.

The AIA Spring Tour for 2017 includes visits to sites in the Amsterdam area, Rotterdam and Utrecht most of which have not been visited by the AIA before, or at least not for over 20 years.

Those few that are revisited are important enough to warrant a return visit and one of those at least has been returned to productive work from the dereliction that was seen before.

We will be including evening talks which give a background to some of the visits and a half-day, joint Anglo-Dutch seminar with our friends in Dutch IA groups on the theme of adaptive re-use.
The main themes of the trip are:
  • Living below sea level - Integral water management, drainage and flood control
  • Bulb cultivation
  • British technology heritage in Holland
  • Adaptive reuse of abandoned industrial sites
In a programme rich with visits to unique and fascinating sites we plan to include:
  • Leiduin Waterworks
  • Cruquius pumping station
  • Halfweg pumping station, in steam
  • Kinderdijk (a UNESCO World Heritage site)
  • The Maas silo
  • The S.S. Rotterdam
  • The former HMS Elfin
  • The former Dutch ordnance works
  • The bulb-field area
  • A former German Schnellboot bunker
  • An oil windmill
  • A paper windmill
  • A modern rice hulling mill in a restored mill building
  • A rope works
  • A ride on a preserved steam railway in the Tata Steel works
  • Two re-used shipyards
  • Three boat trips
The tour is all-inclusive: Dinners, lunches, bed & breakfast.

We have been approached by a number of people expressing their interest in the tour but saying that transfers by coach to and from London are not useful for them. We have therefore decided to define the tour as starting and finishing at our hotel in Holland and to offer the transfers to and from London as optional extras.

Non-AIA members are most welcome.

Several of the visits listed below are still subject to confirmation. We cannot at this time guarantee that they will all be included but we will make every effort to do so. The order of visits may also change.

Monday 15th May
Members of the group make their own way to our hotel in Sassenheim, roughly half way between The Hague and Amsterdam.

Group members using the optional coach transfer from London assemble early in the day at Victoria station.

Dinner at the hotel.
Evening talk: “The History of Integral water management in Holland”.

Tuesday 16th May

Haarlem area (nr Amsterdam): waterworks, drainage, British technology heritage
In the morning we will start with a coach trip through the bulb field area. It will probably be too late in the year to see the bulbs in flower but we can gain an impression of the scale of production hereabouts.

The first stop is to see an 1853 Pumping Station designed by the British engineer William Tierney Clark (also known for the famous Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest and Marlow Bridge) with an introductory talk which will also cover plans for reuse of the building.

Then we will have a guided bus tour of the Leiduin waterworks complex, part of ‘Waternet’ – Amsterdam’s water supply. We will be able to see pumping stations in various architectural styles including Art Deco and Expressionism.

Lunch at the ‘Cruquius Tea Garden’ restaurant followed by a guided tour of the famous Cruquius pumping station, which will be in motion but driven by compressed air.

After that we will visit the Halfweg reservoir pumping Station (left) which will be in steam specially for our party.
Dinner at the hotel
Evening talk: “The history and heritage of the Dutch bulb fields

Wednesday 17th

Rotterdam area: drainage and adaptive reuse of industrial buildings

We will make an early start in the morning with a visit to the Kinderdijk drainage windmill complex which is a UNESCO World Heritage site comprising some 18 windmills. We will have a private boat trip to see inside one of the windmills and a 1924 pumping station.

Then we will take a boat for a cruise from Kinderdijk into Rotterdam passing the 1956 Storm surge barrier Krimpen, the former waterworks of Rotterdam, its modern skyline and many bridges like the 1927 railway lift bridge De Hef, a scheduled monument. Lunch will be provided on board.

After lunch we will visit the RDM campus. This former shipyard is now home to a range of exciting private-sector, education and research initiatives. In the heart of the port area – but still surprisingly close to the city centre – they work on a range of innovations that will contribute to a ‘smarter port’. This is complemented by a wide array of business and cultural events.

There should also be time to include a short walk to see the Maas Silo Creative factory. Built in 1906 as a Grain silo it was the largest concrete building in Europe at the time.

We will end our visits this day on board the S.S. Rotterdam. Launched in 1958 she was perhaps the last of the great transatlantic liners but after a refit for cruising continued in service until 2000. There will be a chance to visit the engine room and drinks will be served in the Ocean Bar.

Dinner at the hotel
Evening talk: “The industrial heritage of the Zaan District” by Jur Kingma.

Thursday 18th May

Zaan Area (nr Amsterdam): windmills, adaptive reuse of industrial buildings, British technology heritage
The first visit is to Hembrug, the site of the former Dutch ordnance works. The site is in the process of redevelopment and conversion for re-use. We will hear an introduction by the project director, Bas Boeker, and then have a walking tour of the site with volunteers from the Ordnance museum.
Then we will have a short visit to the Lassie rice hulling mill, an historic 1928 factory, built in modernistic style. The site was included in the 1996 AIA visit as an industrial ruin. It was then restored and used as an archaeological depot. But the original owners have now bought back the restored building to re-start barley hulling.

From Lassie we will take a boat trip during which we can see the whole Zaan industrial landscape, the Zaansche Schans windmills, the open air museum, a 1908 Fairbairn crane and many other items of interest. A sandwich lunch will be served on board.

The afternoon is taken up by visits to two windmills: One half of the group will visit the Ooievaar (the Stork) oil windmill of 1622, operating on this site since 1669, while the second will visit Schoolmeester paper windmill built in 1692 (left). The bus will shuttle between the two mills so that both groups can visit both windmills.

Dinner at the hotel
Friday 19th May
Utrecht area

On Friday morning we will visit the Van der Lee Ropeworks and the 16th Century ropery at Oudewater

Lunch will be at Cereolfabriek in Utrecht. Formerly a linseed oil mill and later a cattle fodder mill, it has been restored for other uses through community activity. It lies on the 1885 Merwede canal (the New Amsterdam – Rhine connection) and there is a lock and draw bridge also of that date. Also it is possible to see the 1904 Muntsluis (lock) with double bascule bridge. Nearby are the Royal Mint (building of 1910) with a swing bridge made in 1887 at the Prins van Oranje foundry. The swing bridge has been recently restored and we plan to include a walk around some of these features.

After lunch we will participate in a joint Anglo-Dutch seminar with the theme of adaptive reuse of industrial buildings. Topics may include:
  • De-industrialisation. What is the function and role of industrial heritage?
  • Industrial heritage: A common European heritage or National Glory?
  • How to develop a site with 22 listed monuments
  • The role of a non-profit property developer in the re-use of industrial sites
  • The role of creative factories
Amongst the organisations represented will be:
  • Histechnica, the National Dutch industrial and technical heritage association
  • BOEI ‘a social enterprise with a passion for restoring and reallocating heritage
  • FIEN The Federation of Industrial Heritage in the Netherlands
  • And ourselves
For partners in the afternoon we can offer as an alternative a cultural tour of Utrecht led by Gu Kingma, who knows the City well.

At the end of the afternoon there will be a closing reception or ‘borrel’ as it is known in Dutch.
Dinner at the hotel

Saturday 20th May

Noordzeekanaal area (nr Amsterdam): adaptive reuse of industrial sites, steam railway, British technology heritage

We begin our day with a visit to the NDSM former shipyard, the vast buildings now being used for ‘creative hotpots’ and we can take a look at the tower crane now used as a B&B.

We will then split the party into small groups to visit either the engine and boiler rooms of the Elfin - the only British Navy pre-war steamship still in steam (left), or the 1908 German Imperial icebreaker Von Bötticher.

After lunch we will visit Tata Steel at IJmuiden for a ride on the preserved steam railway and visit the Hoogovens (steel works) museum, open specially for us, which concentrates on the history of steel making and of the site.
Also in IJmuiden we will walk around the Zuidersluis (South Locks) which were built 1870 by Henry Lee & Sons, Westminster and designed by Sir John Hawkshaw and Justus Dirks. The lock has been upgraded many times and is still in use.

On our way from there we will pass the former German Schnellbootbunker which was built in 1944 and has 2 MTB pens. Then part of the German Atlantic Wall it is now in use as an offshore supply base. It is a very rare example of adaptive reuse of a German bunker as an industrial site.

We may also see an 1878 cast iron light house although it is not now accessible.

In the evening we will have a farewell dinner.

Sunday 21st May

The tour ends after breakfast at our hotel.

Group members using the optional coach transfer to London depart after breakfast.

We will be led by Jur Kingma. Jur is a member of the Association and of the Newcomen Society and will be known to many of you. He will be assisted by Fred Versfelt (Histechnica) and Giel van Hooff (FIEN). We will also be led by local English speaking guides at a number of the sites. We have attempted to secure guides who will give us information at a level suited to the knowledge and experience of the group but this is not guaranteed.


We will be staying in a modern, 4* hotel in Sassenheim in the province of South Holland, roughly half-way between The Hague and Amsterdam. All rooms are en-suite. Sassenheim is in the bulb field area.

Travel during the tour will be by luxury, air-conditioned coach. All site visits will include some walking which may include stairs and ramps may not be available.


All participants must carry a valid passport for travel in the European Union.

The cost of the trip is £795 per person sharing with a single supplement of £200. The supplement represents the additional cost applied by the hotel for single occupation of a double room. The cost includes:
  • A very strong programme packed with visits to fascinating sites
  • 6 nights dinner, bed & breakfast accommodation
  • Lunch on 5 days
  • Entrance fees at all sites, private boat trips and visits, special steaming arrangements and local guiding fees, all of which amount to more than EUR 120 per person
  • Luxury air conditioned coach transport throughout including driver tip
  • Expert guiding and services of an experienced tour manager throughout
  • Research for the visit and professionally produced, comprehensive tour notes
Excluded are:
  • Drinks and any other expenses at the hotel
Additional cost options:
  • Monday 15th : Transfer from Victoria Station, London to Sassenheim, £40 per person
  • Sunday 21st : Transfer from Sassenheim to Victoria Station, £40 per person
All prices are quoted in Pounds Sterling (GBP) whilst most of our costs are in Euros (EUR) and, as you know, the exchange rate as we head towards ‘Brexit’ is a rollercoaster ride. Major changes to exchange rates, accommodation, transport costs or taxes may necessitate a price change.

For this unique and very full itinerary we believe the price represents excellent value for money.


Please note that cancellation charges will apply from 20th March 2017 and, although these will be modified to the extent that costs are not actually incurred, you are strongly advised to insure against the need to cancel and to cover medical treatment and repatriation charges in the event of illness etc. Participants who do not have travel insurance must nevertheless accept full responsibility for these eventualities.

To get state-provided healthcare in Europe you will need a current EHIC which you can obtain free online at or by phone: 0300 3301350. If you already have an EHIC you should check the date as they expire after 5 years.

If you do not already have travel insurance then you may like to contact Avanti Travel Insurance, who specialise in providing cover tailored for those with pre-existing medical conditions and with no upper age limit. For both single-trip and annual policies, quote reference “Heritage of Industry” for a competitive quote. Website:  Email: Telephone: 0800 888 6195

Booking and management of this tour has been entrusted to Heritage of Industry Ltd which is run by Bill Barksfield. Bill is Overseas Tour organiser on the AIA Council and will accompany the tour.

Bookings will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to space availability. Booking is subject to a minimum of 40 people. Book as soon as possible and by 20th March 2017 to ensure a place but please feel free to enquire after that date if a place is still available.

We will contact you as soon as possible to confirm the booking and, in due course, to issue an invoice for the balance of the price. A non-refundable deposit of £75 per person is required on booking. Bookings can be made definite only when the booking details and deposit are received and accepted in writing by Heritage of Industry Ltd. The company's standard terms and conditions apply.

The balance of the price is to be paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd on presentation of the invoice.

All monies paid to Heritage of Industry Ltd will be held, in accordance with government regulations**, in a customer protection account until the tour is complete so that your money is safe no matter what happens.

Payment should be made by electronic banking, full details are shown on the booking form. Please send an email note when you have made payment. If you are unable to use electronic banking then please send a sterling cheque drawn on a UK bank. There is no extra charge for using cheques at present.

This tour is now fully booked
To join the waiting list for possible cancellations please email as below.

Enquiries about this tour should be directed to:
Bill Barksfield
Managing Director
Heritage of Industry Ltd, The Gables, 20 Main Road, East Hagbourne OX11 9LN 
Tel/Fax: +44 1235 352275 

** The Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992 (SI 1992 No. 3288)