Houseboat Charter in Netherlands - Houseboat Rental

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Sailing on a houseboat in the Netherlands

A houseboat rental in the Netherlands is the best choice for anyone who wants to explore this beautiful and flat country like a local. Sure, you could also rent a bicycle for a day, but with a houseboat you basically bring your holiday home everywhere you go and don’t need to worry about wind and weather.

How many people fit on board a houseboat in the Netherlands?

There is a large variety of houseboat rentals available in the Netherlands that fit different needs and can house different amounts of people.

What you need to pack when going on a houseboat in the Netherlands

Sure, you should definitely pack the right clothes for the right season, but there is more to pack than that. Most houseboats come equipped with a kitchen and basic utensils. This allows you to prepare all your meals on board your houseboat if you prefer to do so.


  • Kitchen rolls, soap for the dishes, tea towels and other kitchen utensils you might need
  • Towels and bedsheets - while many houseboat rentals in the Netherlands provide towels and bedsheets, this is not always the case and sometimes you even have to pay extra
  • Bring a good book - whether you are renting a houseboat in the Netherlands in summer or in winter, a good book allows you to fully enjoy your holiday and get away from various electronic devices that dominate everyday life ever so often

When is the best time to rent a houseboat in the Netherlands?

First of all, anytime is a good time to charter a houseboat in the Netherlands. As houseboats are basically tiny houses on the water you can sunbathe outside when the sun is shining or stay dry and warm inside the boat if it’s not. This makes houseboats incredibly versatile and even allows you to sail here in the winter.

However, the best time to rent a houseboat in the Netherlands is from April to September. During this period, the weather is generally mild and pleasant, with longer hours of daylight and more comfortable temperatures. The canals, rivers, and lakes come alive with vibrant colors, and the surrounding landscapes are lush and beautiful.

The months of April, May, and June offer a great balance of pleasant weather and fewer crowds compared to the peak summer months of July and August. This is an ideal time to explore the Dutch countryside, admire flowers such as tulips that are in full bloom during this time, and enjoy the peacefulness and serenity of the waterways.

July and August are the peak tourist months in the Netherlands, attracting larger crowds, especially in popular cities like Amsterdam and places like the Keukenhof Gardens. While it may be busier, these months also offer the warmest temperatures, perfect for swimming and water activities.

How much does it cost to charter a houseboat in the Netherlands?

Renting a houseboat in the Netherlands doesn’t have to break your bank. Of course it also depends on the season, the type of houseboat and the amount of bedrooms & bathrooms that are available on board. You can charter a houseboat in the Netherlands for as little as 1700 EUR per week during the summer months or opt for a more luxurious houseboat rental in the Netherlands that you can rent for around 5600 EUR per week.

Do I need a boat license to rent a houseboat in the Netherlands?

Anyone who wants to charter a houseboat in the Netherlands should be in possession of a valid boat license - at least if you plan on operating one that can go faster than 20 km/h and is longer than 20 meters. However, this is only covered by the so-called Small Licence. Boats that are rented for pleasure and measure 15-25 meters require you to carry a so-called Pleasure Boat Licence. EU-boat licenses are generally accepted in the Netherlands. Other licenses could be accepted if they fulfill the requirements of the Dutch boat license. If you are unsure about that it is recommended to carry the International Certificate of Competency or short ICC.

The best routes for houseboats in the Netherlands

The Netherlands are, of course, mainly famous for their extensive network of canals, rivers, and lakes, making it an ideal destination for houseboat holidays. Whether you want to drive on the different canals and rivers that the Netherlands are famous for or try yourself at sailing in the sea, but close to the shore, the choice is yours. Even different types of houseboat can determine what is possible on your trip and what isn’t.

Sail from Amsterdam to Utrecht on a houseboat: This route takes you through the heart of the Netherlands, starting from the vibrant capital city of Amsterdam and ending in the historic city of Utrecht. Along the way, you'll pass through the picturesque Dutch countryside, charming villages, and scenic waterways. Highlights include cruising along the famous Amsterdam canals, while admiring the Royal Palace Amsterdam, De Nieuwe Kerk and Rembrandtplein.

Explore the Friesland Lakes on a houseboat: Friesland, located in the northern part of the Netherlands, is known for its beautiful lakes and waterways. The region offers a variety of routes that allow you to explore the serene lakes, charming villages, and vibrant cities. You can navigate through the famous Sneekermeer, which is also a particularly popular spot for sailors, visit the historical town of Leeuwarden, best known as the former royal residence, and enjoy the tranquility of the Frisian countryside. You can choose from 24 lakes to make the most of your houseboat holiday in the Netherlands.

Sail on a houseboat in Giethoorn and explore the Overijssel Canals: Giethoorn, is a picturesque village with no roads, only canals and footpaths. Cars simply cannot access this lovely town and the resemblance to Hobbiton from ‘ The Lord of the Rings ’-series is uncanny. Starting from Giethoorn, you can navigate the tranquil canals of Overijssel, passing through quaint villages, lush countryside, and charming windmills. Kampen is a very interesting city to stop by and to admire the magnificent historical architecture.

Sail in Rotterdam and Zeeland on a houseboat: Explore the bustling city of Rotterdam and then venture into the beautiful province of Zeeland, known for its stunning coastline and unique delta region. A fun fact is that New Zealand was actually named after this beautiful region when Dutch explorers first arrived there in the 17th century. In Zeeland you can visit the Flood museum, which dives deep into the flood that took place in the region as well as in parts of the UK. In the Berkenhof Tropical Zoo you get to discover tropical animals and bring your kids to have fun on the playground. In Rotterdam you should make the most of visiting a couple of restaurants that are very good here. As the population is relatively young with many students and entrepreneurs living here, you also find a wide range of great bars in the city.

Explore the Randmeren by houseboat: The Veluwerandmeere is a network of lakes that connects major cities such as Amsterdam, Utrecht, and Zwolle. This route allows you to explore both urban and natural landscapes. You can sail further north to the IJsselmeer, but keep in mind that it would be more suitable for a sailboat charter. Also visit the fortified town of Naarden that comes in an interesting and artificially curated shape, enjoy water sports and other fun activities on the lakes.

These routes offer a mix of cultural, historical, and natural attractions, providing a wonderful houseboat experience in the Netherlands, but ultimately the choice is yours.