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2001 Sailing Trip to the Netherlands:


Our plan is to make a clockwise path through the Markermeer, the IJsselmeer and the Waddenzee. All sailing itineraries have to be viewed as optimistic works of fiction, since our course will be determined by wind, weather, tides and touristing opportunities. With that in mind, here is our current plan.

Monnickendam to Enkhuizen

Our sailing area for this trip will be on two enclosed bodies of water: the Markermeer, and the IJsselmeer; and another body of water called the Waddenzee, which is between the mainland of the Netherlands and a set of barrier islands. On the other side of these islands is the North Sea. Until the Afsluitdijk (a dike) was completed in 1932, this entire body of water was called the Zuiderzee. Starting at Monnickendam on the Markermeer as we approach Enkhuizen, we will leave the Markermeer and enter the IJsselmeer by passing through a lock. Enkhuizen, an interesting town to walk around in, has as a highlight, the Zuiderzeemuseum which contains both an indoor section, and an outdoor section. The later consists of 130 buildings from the period 1880-1932, which seems similar in concept to Mystic Seaport. There is also the Flessenscheepjesmuseum (ship-in-a-bottle museum). From Monnickendam to Enkhuizen is about 17nm.

Den Oever, Oudeschild (Texel), Oost Vlieland (Vlieland)

From Enkhuizen, we will continue north to den Oever, where we will lock out of the IJsselmeer and probably head to Oost Vlieland on the island Vlieland. Oost Vlieland is the only town on the island. Since there are no cars on the island, renting bicycles seems like the way to get around. You can check the Oost Vlieland weather or examine a small map of the island. The map is part of a larger site in Dutch about Vlieland. If you look carefully at the map, you will notice by the different colored blue waters that much of the Waddenzee is shallow, so we will be watching our tide tables, and keeping to the marked channels. As an alternative we may stop at Oudeschild, which is on Texel, which is due north of den Oever. From Enkhuizen to Oost Vlieland is about 39 miles, while Enkhuizen to Oudeschild is 28 miles.

West Terschelling (Terschelling)

From Oost Vlieland, our next stop is a short romp eastward through the Waddenzee to the next barrier island Terschelling. There is information on the yacht harbor including charts. And you can always check the weather. Here is a bit more information on the island. Things to do include a bird sanctuary on the island of which tours might be available, and a maritime museum with information on the home boy Willem Barents of Arctic discovery fame. Barents discovered Spitzbergen (a future sailing trip?). Oost Vlieland to West Terschelling is a short 6nm hop.


After cycling around Terschelling, we will head back to the main land, stopping at Harlingen, a center for traditional dutch boats. This trip requires some tide planning, so we both have enough water, and also so that the tides are in our favor.

Once a center for Dutch tiles, Harlingen is once again a place where traditional tiles can be purchased. At Harlingen, we will enter the Van Harinx kanaal on our way to the Princess Margriet kanaal. We will be spending the next 2 or 3 days in canals in the province of Friesland. Actually, our two previous island stops were also part of this province. [Texel is part of the province of North Holland]. Basically, we are going to make a U shaped path from Harlingen east to Leeuwarden (the capital of Friesland) and then southwest to Lemmer, possibly stopping in Sneek on the way to Lemmer. Here is another map to get your bearings. West Terschelling to Harlingen is a 13nm hop.


There is no shortage of things to do in Leeuwarden. The Fries Museum, which has an extensive collection and includes an exhibit on their home town girl, Mata Hari. There is also the Nederlands Keramiek Museum in the Princessehof, which has one of the leading collections of ceramics in the world. Harlingen to Leeuwarden is about 15nm.


Depending on time, we may take a quick right turn to Sneek, a maritime center in the fifteenth century, with a maritime museum, the Sheepvart Museum en Oudheidkammer, but we may press on. Leeuwarden to Sneek is about 15nm.


Though this article is 10 years old, and they had a much smaller boat than we do, Afloat in Friesland by Alan Murphy (1990) gives a flavor for what it is like to sail in the canals. Here is a little information on Lemmer, and some pictures. Leeuwarden to Lemmer is about 21nm.

And now where?

Well, we have to get back to Monnickendam, but how much time will we have? Will we have one day or three days. It will depend on the weather we've seen, and how long we stay at each previous stop. At Lemmer we are on the east side of the IJsselmeer and need to get back to the west side. From Lemmer to Monnickendam it is about 32.5nm. Maybe we'll stop at Edam, famous for cheese and being the site of the shipyard that built the Halve Maan (Half Moon) which brought Henry Hudson in 1609 to Manhattan and its Grote Kerk, or Volendam (either of which is a short sail to Monnickendam) or maybe we will have to head directly back to Monnickendam.


After getting off the boats and cleaning up, the sailing part of the trip is over. For those interested, the trip leaders will have organized transportation so we can head off to Amsterdam. You could easily spend a month in Amsterdam and not see everything. The trip leaders are planning on spending 3 days in Amsterdam, and flying out Saturday June 16. Hotels in Amsterdam are expensive and tend to book up earlier. The trip leaders will be staying at a medium priced hotel near the train station, which is within walking distance to many of the city's attractions, but there are many other lodging options available. There are many Amsterdam sites on the web, as well as travel guides galore. Some options are: canal rides, shopping districts, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, the Netherlands Maritime Museum Amsterdam, Rembrandthuis, the Jewish Historical Museum, Ann Frank House and more. There are easy group trips to Zaanse Schans a windmill park, and I think we will be near the end of tulip season, but a trip to Keukenhof (tulip heaven) or Aalsmeer Flower Auction might be in order. It is entirely possible that one of the trip leaders will arrange a trip to the Kröller-Müller Museum with its amazing art collection and sculpture garden in the Hoge Veluwe National Park near Arnhem.

If your interests are farther afield, there is no difficulty in hopping a train to destinations such as Delft, Leiden, den Hague, or even Belgium. The hotel that the trip leaders will be staying in is within walking distance (or using the excellent trolley system) of most of the sites. To start you planning, here are some nice city maps. There are many online sites about Amsterdam including this Amsterdam Info site, a Holland site, World Factbook 2000 information on the Netherlands, and climate information.

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