Never too far away from water, in the Netherlands you can enjoy some of the most beautiful coastlines of the North Sea and also navigate the safe waters of the IJsselmeer. A land with a strong maritime tradition and with great infrastructure for yacht charter.
The Netherlands are a great place to visit on a yacht charter for a number of reasons. Apart from being one of the most populated and flat countries of the EU, Holland is much more than a place where tulips, windmills and the famous Red Light District coexist. It’s a place of vibrant cultural life, of great tradition and untold beauty, which also happens to offer great sailing territories, since you’re never too far away from water here.
Most of the sailing is done in and around the Ijsselmeer which occupies a great deal of the center of the country. It used to be connected to the Sea (when it was called Zuiderzee) but today it’s been dammed off and provides a cruising ground for boat rental. The western part (Monnickendam) is deeper and can accommodate keel boats, while the southern part (Lelystad, Lemmer, Makkum) is shallower and can accommodate boats with a smaller draft. The North Sea coast is also open for sailing though somewhat more challenging due to the strong tides, the sand banks and the onshore winds.
Another great sailing location is Zeeland, located in the southwest of the country, as are the Frisian islands that have many sheltered harbors on the east side, facing the Wadden Sea. All in all, a country that has such a high percentage of water like the Netherlands is bound to have a long and strong powerful tradition and thus, a good infrastructure for boat rental. Along its shores and in the many internal seas you’ll find plenty of marinas and small harbors.
Law & Order
Though part of the European Union and the Schengen Agreement, a valid passport is required to enter the country (with at least 3 months validity left). No visa is required for most European countries for a 3-month-stay, as well as for citizens of the United States, Canada and Australia.
When it comes to arriving by boat, the skipper must fly the Q flag and report to the harbor master on arrival as well as on departure, a fact which is strictly enforced by the Dutch authorities. The Customs will issue the yacht charterer a certificate of entry valid for a maximum of 12 months during which time the boat can leave and re-enter the country with no restriction. Also, you’ll need to complete an entry form in triplicate (a Schengen Form).
The skipper must have the original registration form of the boat, an insurance policy and the ship’s radio license. At least one more crew member must be certified to operate a VHF radio. For boats from the EU, a proof of VAT status is also required. This does not apply for charter yachts.
As far as restrictions go, firearms are the main criteria. While allowed, they do need to be licensed and a copy of that license carried at all times. Signaling pistols also have some restrictions applied. For instance, a certain type of flare gun must be accompanied by a firearms certificate from the country of origin. Visitors are also prohibited to bring unpreserved meat into the country unpreserved.