With her big white sails full of wind, the ship cleaves through the waves. You can smell the salty air and feel the ferocious wind in your hair as you tighten the winch. For true sailors this is ultimate enjoyment.
Sailing on the Wadden Sea gives a feeling of freedom and adventure. It is dealing with the unpredictable of the wind and the sea with all its secrets. But it is also being close to nature and enjoying all the flora and fauna that the area has to offer.
Sailing has been woven into our existence for centuries. The Dutch, water, wind and ships have been connected since time immemorial. We sailed in all directions. But our own waters were also full of thousands of so-called flat-bottomed boats, carrying their cargo to the tiniest corners of our polder landscape.
Today there are still a few hundred authentic sailing ships, which can give you the feeling of a real Dutch sailor. Just like we did hundreds of years ago. In this way we maintain a unique Dutch tradition. Namely the life of a sailor who does not recoil, but rather enjoys the elements of nature.
Sailing is working together
Some people have sailing in their blood. Once out of the harbour they can’t wait to hoist the jib and feel how the ship is suddenly carried away by the wind.
They want to feel the waves disappearing under the hull while the ship is slanting more and more. Fast is never fast enough for them as they set course for one of the Wadden Islands.
Once back ashore they are so enthusiastic that if you’re not a real sailor you get tired at the thought of their endless stories.
But even if you’re not a sailor at heart, you can enjoy a day, a weekend or even a whole week of sailing. You can sail on one of the original flatbottoms and how intensive the trip will be is up to you.
Under the guidance of an experienced skipper and his crew, you can help hoist the sails yourself or relax on deck and watch the dozens of meters long ship split through the waves.
On board you will experience how inclined you can be, how many sails have to be hoisted and how they have to be reefed. On the aft deck you can try how it feels to steer such a large ship in a strong wind or through the shallow channels ofthe Wadden area.
For the more competition driven sailors, if you are with more people, you can also rent two ships and have a sailing race! Which team is best at working together and can beat the other team under the leadership of the captain.
You’ll experience what playing with elements like wind, water and current can do in an adventurous setting and you’ll also have a fun team outing. Provided, of course, that you are the winning team, because the loser will hear this for a long time to come.
Is a day on board a ship also fun if you don’t like sailing?
A day – or even a multi-day trip – aboard a sailing ship is also fun if you want to relax, are looking for a slow travel experience close to home and don’t feel like playing sailor for a while.
You really don’t have to have sea legs to be able to go and if you prefer not to go so lob-sided you won’t be keeled. Then we just set a little less sail so you can enjoy the surroundings more.
We all live in a country with one of Europe’s most beautiful Unesco areas, the Wadden Sea with its special nature reserves.
To cruise through it during a day out or a vacation in the Netherlands on board a sailing ship is a very special experience. And of course we moor so you can walk through the area yourself.
What can you do on board if you don’t like sailing?
While sailing from A to B you can completely relax. Many people are looking for a quiet place to meditate, do yoga exercises or read. Each flatbottom is more than big enough to take some time for yourself.
You can also relax by letting yourself be carried along in the rhythm of the tide on deck or in the cabin. The swell of the sea is experienced by many people as very relaxing.
There is no ETA, no hurry and the destination is rarely what it is all about. Unless you sail a race, you too will soon find out.
Local dishes on board of the sailing ships
Being able to surrender to the murmur of the sea and the wind, while the cook prepares delicious, healthy and fresh for you. Preferably with local products from the region.
Think of a lunch made of cockles you picked yourself. Or you can taste local wines, beers or fruit juices on deck.
Get in touch with new people while sailing
A stay on board an antique sailing ship can also be a special experience if you have no sailing ambitions of your own. A sailing trip is also a very accessible way toget in touch with new people. This can be done by turning a winch together, but also by talking at dinner in the evening.
Which sailboats are there?
Of course, the historical flat-bottomed ships are not the only types of ships sailing on the Wadden Sea. There are also modern and luxurious yachts, small sailing ships and for example catamarans.
If you can sail yourself then it is also fun to rent a small boat and cross the Vinkeveen ponds. For the more experienced sailors you can even make the crossing to England in a modern sailing boat. Flatbottoms and small sailing ships are not suitable for this.
If you do not own a sailboat or do not have any sailing experience at all but do get excited when you see a sailing ship passing by with full sails then you have plenty of choice. But the most authentic experience remains sailing on the Wad or the IJsselmeer on an authentic tjalk or clipper.
Wake up the traditional Dutch sailor in yourself
Under the guidance of an experienced skipper and his crew you become part of the crew and you can really feel what the wind does to the ship when you hoist the sails together with the sailor during a strong breeze.
Where can you sail in the Netherlands?
The Netherlands consists for a large part of water. That is why it is not strange that you can sail in many places. For example, there are several lakes and rivers in the south of the Netherlands to the northern province of Friesland.
The Markermeer, the IJsselmeer and the Wadden Sea are the most popular for longer sailing trips. You can choose to visit several old port cities around the IJsselmeer or to moor at one or more of the Wadden Islands.
Where do the sailing trips leave from?
If you decide to embark on a sailing adventure, you don’t even have to travel far! You can sail from the harbour of Harlingen towards the Wadden Islands, or from the harbour of Enkhuizen to tame the IJsselmeer and the Markermeer.
If you want to know more about sailing trips on real authentic sailing ships, please contact us or check our homepage for the latest short term offers!