Boot huren Amsterdam arrangementen

Cruise Western Islands

Duration: 1.5 hours
Lowest bridge No. 161 Singelgracht: 1.33 m +NAP
Source: The Amsterdam sailing guide
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cruise western islands-amsterdam
This cruise leads from starting point café 't Smalle in the Jordaan, through the Westerdok to the Western Islands: Bickerseiland, Realeneiland and Prinseneiland. These islands, especially in the Golden Age, were of great importance to Dutch shipping. While the Eastern Isles were used for shipbuilding, the Western Isles served mainly as goods storage. While sailing, you will see that a very large portion of the warehouses, also called spikers (derived from spiker: granary), have been preserved.

Consequently, the canal belt has been on Unesco's World Heritage List since August 2010.

cruise western islands-amsterdam2Warehouses are important corporate landmarks. There is no city in Europe with such a large property of such monuments as Amsterdam, which was the world's staple market in the seventeenth century. Almost all goods traded globally found storage in Amsterdam warehouses. Until about 1600, goods were stored in packing attics in the merchant's residence. As trade became more important, the need for storage space increased. Therefore, in the early seventeenth century, warehouses were built on a large scale with characteristic design: narrow, deep and high.

We varen vanaf café ‘t Smalle in noordelijke richting. 
Onder brug nr. 124 gaan we bakboord uit.
We varen nu op de Prinsengracht. We varen onder brug nr. 60 door.

On the starboard side are two cafes: the Gilded Gaeper and the Two Princes. Both are worth visiting with their spacious terraces. Further ahead on the port side we see the North Church. The wooden roof and ornate turret are a clever piece of carpentry. There was originally a cemetery around the church, but it was dissolved in 1688.

We komen nu aan bij de Eenhoornsluis, die het Westerdok met het centrum verbindt.

Beware, at this point more tour boats often enter the center in succession. They don't budge!

Nadat we de sluizen zijn gepasseerd, varen we het Westerdok in. 

Two centuries ago, there were no technical means to prevent a port from silting up. The Oosterdok and Westerdok were constructed at the beginning of the nineteenth century to prevent the siltation of the harbor and thus ensure sufficient draught for shipping.

On the port side are the three Western Islands.

The first island is Bickerseiland, named after Jan Bicker. The shipbuilder, merchant, alderman (city administrator) and mayor, bought the island in 1631 and had a house built with a tall tower to keep an eye on his ships. The tower also served as an orientation point for approaching ships. The street names on Bickerseiland, such as Touwslagerstraat, Zeilmakerstraat and Blokmakerstraat, give a good idea of the trade and industry of the time.

sailing route western islands-amsterdamWe pass the Realengracht, a cross canal that separates Bickerseiland and Prinseneiland from the further Realen Island. We leave the Realengracht for what it is and sail straight ahead.

Realen Island is named after the ships Reynier Reaal. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, it took considerable effort to fill this island with businesses. Initially, the community targeted herring packers. When this did not exactly take a storm, attention shifted to carpentry yards and shipbuilders.

On the port side we see the Sand Corner and Realen Island Marina located on Realen Island.

Zandhoek gets its name from the sand barges that were only allowed to dock here in Amsterdam to load and unload sand, which was used to raise building land. The Zandhoek boasts one of the most beautiful rows of facades in Amsterdam. Saved from demolition in the early 1940s, these properties are now among Amsterdam's most desirable homes.

We gaan bakboord uit de Zoutkeetsgracht op.

On the starboard side we see a colossal bucket cruiser called Nimphaea. Until World War II, the Nymphaea served as a private yacht for Albert Goudriaan and his family. From its permanent berth, the Veerhaven in Rotterdam, the ship made many weekend and vacation trips to places such as Zeeland (Veere), the Wadden Islands and the Baltic Sea. Of these trips, Albert Goudriaan kept meticulous records in various, fortunately preserved logbooks.

Further along on the port side is the Bierenbroodspot shipyard, where ships up to 22 meters can be roofed for maintenance.

We draaien voor de brug nr. 318 bakboord uit de Smalle Padsgracht op.

On the port side, we see as much as fifty meters deep, former wine warehouses of Paarlberg and Levie. These properties listen to the names Potaschvat, Liege, Aleida and Gerrit.

Voorbij deze pakhuizen draaien we bakboord uit de Realengracht op.

We are now sailing under the Three Herrings Bridge. This connects Realen Island to Prinsen Island and takes its name from the first house on the island where above the door hung The Three Herrings. On the starboard side is sales studio Ans Markus. "I paint women who want to be free," she once said of her own work. If you are free, a visit to her permanent exhibition space is well worthwhile. Visiting groups of up to about 100 people can be received by boat via the Ans Markus Pier.

Na het passeren van de brug varen we stuurboord uit de Bickersgracht op. 
Aan stuurboordzijde ligt Prinseneiland.

Prinsen Island's buildings consist mainly of warehouses. This warehouse island is named after a house with an image on the gable stone of Prince William of Orange along with his two sons Maurice and Frederick Henry. This house, by the way, is gone.

We varen nu onder de Galgenbrug door die Bickerseiland met Prinseneiland verbindt.

In line with this bridge is Galgenstraat. The bridge and street owe their name to the view one used to have here of the Volewijk in Amsterdam North. Here the execution gallows were set up for the "teaching and amusement" of the people. For many a witch, thief or murderer, the city government here literally made it a necklace.

We vervolgen onze tocht en volgen het vaarwater richting stuurboord, 
parallel aan de zogeheten ‘tussen de bogen‘ onder het spoor.
Aan het einde draaien we stuurboord uit de Prinseneilandsgracht op.

On the port bank we see the New Tar Gardens. The name is derived from the many tar distilleries that were located here in the past. On the starboard bank we see a beautiful row of warehouses with telling names like Teerpon, Kaphout and Koornschuur.

We varen langs de Teertuinen wederom de Smallepadsgracht door. 
We gaan bakboord uit brug nr. 318 onderdoor.
Als we de brug gepasseerd zijn, varen we bakboord uit het Westerkanaal op.

We pass the Westerkeersluis (for opening times see Sailing Information) and see the Haarlemmerpoort on the port side.

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, measures were taken to curb the increasing carriage traffic. A driving ban was even issued for out-of-town coaches. They had to stay in wagon plazas outside the city. Haarlemmerplein was one of the results of the parking policy of the time.

We pass bridge No. 151 and sail straight ahead on the Singelgracht. Before bridge No. 155, keep to port and follow the Singelgracht.

Like the Weteringschans, the Marnix Street located behind the Singelgracht was originally part of the seventeenth century defensive belt around the city. The belt consisted of a defensive moat (today's Singelgracht), a stone-clad earthen wall and an inner moat (today's Lijnbaansgracht). From Realen Island in the northwest to Oostenburg Island in the north-east of the city, the ramparts included twenty-six bastions and eight gates.

We blijven rechtdoor varen en passeren brug nr. 161. Pas op: lage brug, 1,33 m +NAP!

After we pass bridge No. 165, we go directly port side.
On the starboard side is Raampoort Police Station. The building dates back to 1888 and was designed by architects De Greef and Springer, who were also the spiritual parents of the Blue Bridge over the Amstel River. From the water, the building looks something like a medieval fortress or castle.

We varen onder de Marnixstraat door en gaan gelijk bakboord uit brug nr. 118 onderdoor. 
We varen nu op de Lijnbaansgracht.

The Lijnbaansgracht owes its name to the many rope mills (liners) that were located here in the past.

We gaan stuurboord uit onder brug nr. 127 door de Egelantiersgracht op 
in de richting van ons vertrekpunt café ‘t Smalle.

If you have time to spare, it is worth visiting the Sint Andrieshofje (Egelantiersgracht 105-141). The Sint Andrieshofje is, apart from the Begijnhof, the oldest surviving hofje in Amsterdam. In 1614, the wealthy, unmarried cattle farmer Ivo Gerritsz. testamentary stipulated that his estate should be spent on a hofje, for "alsulcke eerlicke arme persoonen. Thus it happened. The hofje was built in 1617 and housed indigent Roman Catholic widows.


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