Something for everyone: historical port towns at the ‘Zuiderzee’ and the extensiveness of North Holland
You will leave Amsterdam and after passing the Oranje Locks you enter the wide and open IJssel Lake. You arrive in Hoorn, during the Golden Age a thriving trading town on the Zuiderzee. The many warehouses and rich mansions at the harbour front witness of this rich past. In Enkhuizen a visit to the Zuiderzee open-air museum is a special experience. Sailing to Medemblik you may notice the contours of castle Radboud already arise from the water. Via two locks your ship will sink six meters (!) to navigate the canals of the Wieringermeerpolder. In case you like ships the Museum Harbor Willemsoord in the naval port of Den Helder is something for you!
Heading for the cheese town of Alkmaar, halfway you can get off the ship to go for a long walk to the North Sea beach. In Alkmaar on Friday mornings during the summer the famous cheese market takes place. On the way back to Amsterdam it is possible to stop a while at the windmills of the Zaanse Schans.
We leave Amsterdam and will pass the Oranjesluizen (locks) and we arrive at the Markermeer. The ship heads north for Hoorn. Entering the harbour of Hoorn you’ll see many beautiful traditional sailingships moored at the Houten Hoofd. Walking through the old city centre pay attention to the old warehouses. These warehouses date from the17th century, Hollands Golden Age.
Today we leave for Enkhuizen that (like Hoorn) also had its boom in the 17th century. In those days the Dutch company that traded with the East-Indies (V.O.C.) had its headquarters in Enkhuizen. A row of former warehouses now house the Zuiderzeemuseum. This museum contains also an open-air museum, that shows how people lived and worked around the Zuiderzee (which is now called IJsselmeer) in former days.
Also worth seeing are: the Flessenscheepjesmuseum (more than 800 ships in bottles), the Dromedaris (a tower) and the Koepoort (a town-gate). It is also possible to visit the local swimming-pool or the beach at the IJsselmeer nearby.
In the afternoon we leave Enkhuizen to Medemblik. From here on we shall be sailing the inland canals of North Holland.
Approaching Medemblik, we notice the contours of the Radboud castle. We moor in the small centre.
Just after Medemblik the ship is locked down about six meters through two locks. In this way we can enter the reclaimed land Wieringermeerpolder. Through the villages Middenmeer and Kolhorn (where we will regain the six meters lockage by passing only one lock) and the Amstelmeer (a nice lake to anchor and to take a swim), we come to the Balgzand Kanaal and sail to Den Helder.
Den Helder has always been connected with the sea. Two museums confirm this connection: The National Lifesaving museum Dorus Rijkers and the Navy museum. Excursions which can be organised from Den Helder: Fort Kijkduin; a sea-aquarium and restaurant situated in a fortification which was build by Napoleon, the beach at Huisduinen or take the ferry to the Island Texel. The centre of Den Helder has a pleasant shopping area.
Today we will sail to Alkmaar. During the day we can stop for a taking a walk at the beach at Sint Maartenszee or pay a visit to the nature reserve at Schoorl (dunes).
On the way we can enjoy the typical North Hollands landscape: dunes, meadows, polders and windmills. In spring there are many bulb fields flowering. We also pass many modern windmills which are used for gaining electricity.
In Alkmaar we moor at the Kanaalkade, nearby the historic center of the city. Every Thursday evening shops are open till 9 o’clock p.m.
On Friday the world famous cheesemarket starts at 10.00 o’clock at the market square (only during the season). After a short visit we sail to our final destination: Amsterdam.
When you choose for not visiting the cheese market, you have time to visit the Zaanse Schans. This big free open air museum is made up of windmills, houses and shops as they have been in the past centuries in the Zaan area. There is a woodenshoe exposition, a paint mill, a cheese farm and a mustard mill.
During the final part of our tour we sail the river Zaan, the Noordzee Kanaal and the harbour area of Amsterdam back to the pier near Amsterdam Central Station.
This tour is weather dependant. If the weather forecast is bad it could be necessary for the skipper to make changes in the tourprogram.