Amsterdam is often referred to as the “Venice of the North.” Small wonder. The city has always had a near-symbiotic relationship with water.
The very name ‘Amsterdam’ is derived from the fact that the city started out around a dam (the current Dam Square) in the river Amstel.
In time, the new city became an important harbor. As the city grew, canals were dug both as a means of defense, and a way to distribute products from around the world — cocao beans, spices, hides, wood, coffee, and what not — to their warehouses (many of which, by the way, have long been converted into expensive houses and apartments)
Nowadays, Amsterdam is criss-crossed by 160 canals, creating 90 islands, which are connected by 1281 bridges.
Seafaring Past and Present
The area around Central Station provide lots of reminders of Amsterdam’s seafaring past and present. In the harbor, huge modern cruise ships share the water with freight ships from countless countries.
Floating hotels take hordes of tourists via the Rijn river as far as Switzerland. Private yachts and much smaller vessels sail proudly across the water — on their way to the North Sea, the IJselmeer, or simply back to the canals.
The water in front of the Maritime Museum — which is closed for renovation through the summer of 2009 — usually sports a 48-meter replicate of a VOC ship, the type of ship used to sail to the Far East. During the museum’s renovation the ship, the ‘Amsterdam,’ is berthed at the nearby NEMO museum. (See photo above)
Sailing Home — Bike & Boat Tours, Chartered Trips
Right next to the ‘Amsterdam’ you’ll find ‘Sailing Home.’ Originally built in 1927 as a freighter, it was completely renovated in the year 2000.
The vessel emerged as a comfortable, 5-star passenger ship.
From April through September the ship fulfills various functions. When ‘Sailing Home’ is not carrying passenger on a week-long bike & holiday tour of Holland, it may be chartered for day trips or for on-board parties.
Sailing Home — Restaurant, Hotel
During the Winter months, the Sailing Home serves as a quality restaurant, offering a unique dining experience with a first class, four-course French or Italian dinner.
It also provides an excellent alternative to land-based hotels.
The Sailing Home has 13 comfortable, 2-person rooms available, each with private toilet, shower, and air-conditioning.
After a good of night of sleep there is a buffet breakfast.
It pays to contact Sailing Amsterdam even during the summer months, as the ship may be at its home in the Oosterdok harbor during the time you will be in Amsterdam.
Berth 3, Oosterdok, Amsterdam [Google Map]
For information, contact Ilia Bendeler: firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call Bas Tamis: 06 5257 3696 (Mobile)
Sailing Home (Dutch language only, at the moment)
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