boat safari through the port of Amsterdam


Haven safari Amsterdam

The port of Amsterdam is not as big and famous as the port of Rotterdam, but it’s still quite impressive and certainly worth a visit.
In August and September a 3 hour boat trip called the Havensafari (harbor safari) is organised every Saturday night. The trip takes you to spots and areas that are normally not open for visitors. Story tellers enrich the experience with thrilling true stories and lots of interesting information.

Tickets: € 25,- for the 3 hour tour
Do make reservations (and do it quick, the tours are usually fully booked)
The trip starts at the NDSM pier across the Botel.

experience the old trade route between Amsterdam and Zaandam

Photo: De Telegraaf, Vaarkrant

Only this month you can travel the ancient trade route between Zaandam en Amsterdam on the Zaanboot. Indeed on a boat, because that’s the way we used to travel and transport goods in Holland. The boat trip is a try out, therefore it runs only in September 2012.
At pier 14, behind the Central Station you get on a historic ferryboat from about 1930. In  45 minutes it will take you along the Amsterdam IJ river, ancient factories, wind mills, historic wooden houses and all kind of ships. All of these of course in between the modern buildings, houses and roads that are build along this route, but that doesn’t make it less interesting.

Once in Zaandam you can take the next boat back, or take a walk through the city. Zaandam and its surrounding villages, called Zaanstreek are not that well known to foreigners, but it is called the motor behind the success of the Dutch Golden Age and it is still a very important production centre with lots of top food factories in Holland. Or visit Zaanse Schans, an open air museum with authentic Dutch windmills, houses, factories and shops.

The Zaanboot runs in September 2012, on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Costs: € 2,- p/p, kids and bikes for free
Depart: Amsterdam Central Station, Steiger 14
From 10.30 to 18.30, every hour (on the half hour)
Return: Zaandam, Wilhelminasluis, south side (attention: you leave the boat at the north side, so this is not the same place)
From 11.30 to 19.30 every hour (on the half hour)

pllek, a new great Amsterdam beach

It’s on the north shore of IJ river and just a 15 minutes boat trip by the free ferry from Central Station: Pllek. Pllek is more than just a fine beach: it is sun facing, it has simple organic food, drinks and there are cultural events as well. Pllek is situated on the former premises of NDSM shipyard, which gives an industrial feel. It’s not Amsterdam’s first city beach (being Blijburg), but Pllek certainly adds to the hip feel of the Northern IJ shore.

+3120 2900020

picknick in the park – or on a boat

Amsterdam citizens like to picknick. Whenever it is sunny wheather we take our baskets into the park, on to a boat, or to whatever sunny spot we can find; to have a good time.
And if the locals do it, it’s probably a good idea for tourists and visitors too. The problem of not having your own basket and a kitchen to prepare the picknick is solved easily: just order and pick up. Here are a few addresses where you can do that (don’t forget to order chilled wine/water):

Restaurant Christophe
‘Boat Box’ with 4 or 5 freshly prepared seasonal dishes
€ 30,- for 2-3 persons, € 60,- for 4-5 persons
Reservations only by phone: (+31)06 5025 7826, allow 24 hours
The website has many links to boat rental companies
(And although it is a boat box, you can of course take it to the park or any place you like)

The Picknick Company
From € 17,50  to € 25,- p/p
Reservations online, allow 24 hours
Last minute reservations (if possible): (+31)06 2423 9009
“Boat friendly’ pick up spot on a boat house

Restaurant Vertigo in the Vondelpark
From € 19,50 to € 25,- p/p
Reservations online
Problem: accepts only payments through iDeal
Maybe you can explain by phone  (+31)020-6123021 that without a Dutch bank account you cannot make use of iDeal
Great spot, in the middle of the Vondelpark

see Amsterdam from the water, on your private rental boat

A very authentic way to move through Amsterdam is of course by boat. You’ll experience the city in a different way, traveling at your own pace with great views on the canal houses and the rest of Amsterdam. Bring drinks and a picknick or stop at a sunny terrace. You decide, you’re the captain.
And if you don’t want to be captain, you can rent a captain with the boat.

You can rent an electric boat, from 3 hours at:
Mokum Boot
, (boats up to 6 people and up to 20 people-with captain)
, (boats max. 6 people)

it’s architecture, but not as we know it: Kraanspoor

Kraanspoor, Photo by Peter Paulsen

It’s a crane gentry build in 1950, turned into an office in 2007. And it is sure a milestone in Dutch Architecture. Designed by Ontwerpgroep Trude Hooykaas (OTH) Kraanspoor, which translates to “crane track,” is a suspended office three meters above the existing concrete gantry.  The area was well known as Amsterdam’s main wharf: NDSM.  Now it houses offices as well. Here is more. If you take the NDSM ferry, from Central Station, you are almost there.

just take the ferry

a free ferry trip up north

Viewing Amsterdam by boat is the best way. There are many ways to do so, but the cheapest way is taking a ferry: it’s free. The Amsterdam ferries take you to the northern part of town. They depart right next to Central Station. Several ferries bring you to different parts of town. Just being on the ferry and viewing Amsterdam from a different perspective is great. After arrival you can immediately go back, or take a look at this interesting part of Amsterdam. You can take a walk, make a bike tour of have a drink at one of the trendy terraces, with a great view over the water of course: IJ-kantine, Noorderlicht.