Amsterdam to Antwerp by Canal


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The Standing Mast Route runs through the Netherlands inland waterways and canals from the border with Belgium in the south to the German border in the north. It’s referred to as a standing mast or mast-up route because sailboats can travel with their masts up as no non-opening, low bridges are en route. Our 2.1m draft was a little too much for the northern section, but the southern section has a maximum depth of 2.5m, so we were able to follow the route from Amsterdam through to Antwerp.

We’ve just posted a video of the 137-mile run, where we passed through 47 bridges, 6 locks, touched bottom twice and moored in the historic towns of Haarlem and Leiden. Boat traffic was light in the canals, but commercial traffic was heavy in the rivers. On our final two nights in the Netherlands, we enjoyed overnight stops at Dordrecht and Hansweert with great view to the passing traffic. We also passed several projects of the Delta Works protection system, built following the disastrous North Sea flood of 1953 that killed 1,836 people in the Netherlands.

Following the video are links to blog posts with more photos with detailed descriptions of the trip.

 

 
Read more about the trip below:

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Return to Haarlem
When we visited Haarlem last year by train, we didn’t even consider that we could bring Dirona here through the narrow inland canals with our 2.1m water draft and 9.1m mast. But a route does exist, and in mid-February we set off on a trip from Amsterdam to Antwerp via the Netherlands’ inland canal system.

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Haarlem to Leiden
The run from Haarlem to Leiden is only seventeen miles, but passes through sixteen bridges, nearly one per mile. The day started with a trip along the narrow and intimate canal through the center of Haarlem, almost close enough to touch the buildings on either side, and on past the Cruquius Pumphouse. We’d visited the museum there, with the world’s largest steam engine, last year and never expected we’d be bringing Dirona through the same canals. We were very excited to be making the trip.

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Leiden
Historic Leiden is home to the oldest university in the Netherlands, established in 1575. The university achieved international prominence during the Dutch Golden Age, has produced sixteen Nobel Laureates, attracted lecturers such as Albert Einstein, and currently is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world. The city also has several excellent museums, including a working windmill, scenic cafe-filled canals, striking historic buildings, and the vibrant energy of a university town.

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Leiden to Dordrecht
We departed Leiden at 6:00am on a Monday morning, making a 38-mile, 8-hour run to Dordrecht and passing through 20 bridges and one lock. We got an early start because the first 5 bridges would open on-demand between 6:00 and 6:45, but were then closed for rush-hour until 9:30. The pre-dawn run was the prettiest of the entire trip, along intimate, narrow canals with building lights reflected in still waters.

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Dordrecht to Hansweert
From Dordrecht we ran 41 miles over 7 hours to Hansweert, our final stop in the Netherlands. We passed through two locks and only one bridge, and returned to saltwater for first time in four months. Pleasure craft normally can’t moor in the commercial harbour at Hansweert, but we were allowed to overnight there because the nearby marina had no space for us. We very much enjoyed this location with its great view to the commercial traffic in the canal.

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Antwerp Arrival
On our final day of travel from Amsterdam to Antwerp, we passed through two locks and one bridge on a 30-mile, 7.5-hour run through the river Scheldt. Antwerp is the second largest commercial port in Europe after Rotterdam and commercial traffic was heavy in the river.

Most of the Port of Antwerp is behind the port’s many locks. These include the three largest sealocks in the world, the biggest measuring 1,600ft (500 m) long, 223ft (68m) wide and 58ft (17.8m) deep. We passed through a much smaller lock with five other commercial boats to reach the interior docks and spend our first night at Antwerp.

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4 comments on “Amsterdam to Antwerp by Canal
  1. Trond Sætre says:

    Very nice to see a video of your transit of the standing mast route, in addition to the usual great pictures. Hope you have a nice time! Can’t wait to my own boating season begins in 2 weeks, with the new boat.

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