Enjoy an alternative side of the Netherlands on your next sailing holiday. Sail from Amsterdam or Kortgene in Zeeland, experience the Frisian Island chain that stretches across to Germany up to the Danish Islands and enjoy the culture and cuisine of this beautiful corner of Europe when you charter a yacht in the Netherlands.
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A Western European country bordering Belgium and Germany, the Netherlands’ expansive coastline and long chain of Frisian Islands make it an excellent location for sailing. Sailing holidays in the Netherlands are best in summer when you get the warmest weather and the calmest waters. As a Schengen area member, visiting the Netherlands does not require a visa for visitors from many countries.
Amsterdam is the main international airport, and is just a 20-minute drive from the principal harbour which leads into the Markermeer and then up into the North Sea. Texel also has a small international airport which will bring you directly to the Frisians. The local currency is the Euro, and a number of marinas and harbours will be at your disposal. These include the port towns of Kortgene and Kudelstaart.
Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most popular destinations. The city offers a range of historic attractions such as Anne Frank's House and major artworks showcased in the Van Gogh Museum. Also of particular interest is the National Maritime Museum which exhibits the country’s proud seafaring history. Amsterdam is also famous as the most bike-friendly city in the world, and touring its canal-flanked streets by bike is an experience not to be missed. Den Helder is also a historic town with a strikingly unique lighthouse, a marine museum and a 19th century fortress.
The Frisian Islands, known as the Dutch Waddens, are Texel, Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland and Schiermonnikoog, among other uninhabited isles. Expect calm beaches and great seafood restaurants and bars, such as Whiskybar Het Kompas a short distance from the beach.
Islanders also love cycling, which is a great way to see the coastlines ashore. All the main hotspots have extensive beaches usually stretching across the extent of their northern coastlines. A sailing holiday in the Netherlands also allows you to explore more of Northern Europe. For scuba diving, head to Borkum, another charming island that marks the beginning of the German Frisians, with its own great beach. Further north is the isolated Helgoland, a stunning location at the heart of the North Sea with undisturbed natural beauty where you can go seal watching.
Learn more about sailing in Northern Europe.
Beginning your sailing holiday in the Netherlands from Amsterdam, you can head up the scenic coastline of the Markermeer and IJsselmeer lakes. Lemmer is an excellent starting location for a boat holiday on the Ijsselmeer. You can continue north up to Den Helder, which offers excellent mooring and boat service facilities.
There are a number of uninhabited islands offshore from Den Helder including Noorderhaaks, Richel and Griend. The best places for mooring overnight are usually off the mainland in marinas such as Breskens or Delfzijl. It’s therefore a good idea to moor temporarily for day trips on the islands and then head back to the mainland overnight during your boat trip.
Sailing in the area allows you to see the vast array of islands, each with its own distinct personality. You can stick to the Dutch Waddens or explore the islands further along the chain, across the German Frisians and to the Danish Waddens. Rømø Island has a stunning national park (Denmark’s largest) or stop at Cuxhaven in Germany and visit its scenic seaside resort. Sailing holidays in the Netherlands will allow you to explore parts of the country only accessible by boat, and too often overlooked by those who stick to land-based accommodation.
the Netherlands’ expansive coastline and long chain of Frisian Islands make it an excellent location for sailing
Sailing in the Netherlands on the North Sea requires a bit more attention compared to sailing destinations in the Mediterranean. Depths are sometimes shallow at the shorelines of the islands, so approaching is recommended for more experienced sailors. If you need help to navigate, you can always book a skipper through Zizoo together with your saliling holiday.
The larger islands have mooring buoys, so anchoring is usually not a concern. The waters can be choppy, with waves reaching up to 1.5 metres at times, and winds sometimes up to 20 knots but usually lower. Expect summer air temperatures approaching 30°C and water temperatures in the middle of summer at about 18°C.
Commercial traffic is fairly busy around the German Frisians, especially towards the German Bight. Take particular care around the Osterams, east of Borkum, with shallow waters and occasional strong north-westerly winds. Sailing the Frisians is an exciting experience whether you want to take the helm or sit back and relax on a crewed boat in the Netherlands.
Sailing holidays in the Netherlands are best in summer when you get the warmest weather and the calmest waters.