boat cruise Netherlands


Two years ago, we enjoyed an amazing river cruise in France. Well, now it’s possible to do this in The Netherlands, and because you are on your own boat, with you as the captain, it’s completely safe!

Last summer I sailed across the Saône river in France with a huge boat owned by Nicols, a boating company that offers a variation of boats that you can rent at different locations across Europe. The cool thing is, that you don’t need a boat or sailing license to do this. Boating holidays like these are popular with the French, English and the Germans, but in the Netherlands it is relatively new. Until now.

boat cruise
Last summer in France

How to book your river cruise is the company that’s going to roll out the Nicols boats in The Netherlands and for the first time it’s possible to sail across the rivers in Holland without a boat license. Jachthuren offers 4 different boats from 4 to 8 people. All boats are equipped with a bedroom, a bathroom and kitchen. You can relax on the back deck or sit at the top, where the captain (hey, that could be you!), can sit also.

Estivale DUO Nicols
The Estivale DUO, perfect for a couple

Pass endless Dutch landscapes along the way

There is no need to be an experienced captain, but there are some things that will be explained before you depart. On most routes you will pass a few locks (sluizen) that you will need to open before you can continue. This is a bit nerve-racking at first, but also a lot of fun! After 2 locks you are a pro.

Nicols boot cruising
In one of the locks

The Dutch Route

There are 9 Dutch routes to choose from, but some are only available for those that book a midweek or longer. All boats start from Kerkdriel, located in the South of Holland. From there you have many options. If you want to cruise the river Maas for a weekend for example, you’ll make your way up to Heusden – Woudrichem and back to Kerkdriel. On your way you pass characteristic villages with places to relax and eat. If you have more time on your hands, opt for the full week river cruise where you pass some of Hollands prettiest cities like Utrecht, Maarsen, Leiden, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. You can decide yourself where to stop, as long as docking is permitted and you are following the route.

Here are of some of the best routes for river cruising:

Weekend – Kerkdriel > Heusden > Gorinchem > Kerkdriel
100 kilometer / 2 locks / 12 uur varen

Midweek – Kerkdriel > Biesbosch > Kerkdriel
120 kilometer / 0 locks / 15 uur varen

1 week (retour) – Kerkdriel > Rotterdam > Gouda > Gorinchem > Heusden > Kerkdriel
200 kilometer / 9 locks / 25 uur varen

1 week ( 1 way) – Kerkdriel > Gouda > Amsterdam > Utrecht > IJsselstein > Montfoort
220 kilometer / 8 locks / 28 uur varen

2 weken – Kerkdriel > Bois-le-Duc > Veghel > Maastricht > Venlo > Ravenstein > Kerkdriel
350 kilometer / 22 locks / 60 uur varen

boat cruise

We might see you sailing across Dutch waters this spring!



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  • Jabagi Kok
    Posted at 17:20h, 05 April Reply

    This would be a wonderful way to discover the Netherlands with my wife, Serap. We love to try different ways of travel.

  • Eliane Roest
    Posted at 10:15h, 07 April Reply

    Ja duh, wie wil dat nou niet. Ik zou mijn papa (Bob Roest) meenemen. Hij werkt al jaren op een werf in Loosdrecht en brengt vlak voor de zomer alle boten naar hun eigenaar. Hoe leuk zou het zijn hem als kapitein te hebben en een herinnering voor het leven samen te maken door ons mooie Nederland. Fingers crossed.

    • Wander-lust
      Posted at 13:39h, 08 April Reply

      Klinkt als een mooi plan!

  • Ammar
    Posted at 11:43h, 07 April Reply

    Yes yes please… I moved for my Friedan boo 12 years ago to Amsterdam from Dubai! We have worked hard to make it out new home, but there is more to Holland than just Amsterdam, and no better way to see it than on the water

  • Janis
    Posted at 17:55h, 07 April Reply

    We weten dat Nederland mooi is. Leuke steden, mooie bossen en gezellige stranden. Ondanks dat zou ik Nederland heel graag van een andere kant willen zien en dus vanaf het water willen ontdekken. Dat is iets wat Arne Pons en ik nog niet eerder hebben gedaan.
    Wie weet binnenkort!

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