From Almere Haven, Naarden or Huizen you sail over the Randmeren, past land that was only recently created by the hands of man. Nevertheless, this area has an ancient history. Moor at the inviting islands and cities, sail through majestic locks and experience the calm and spaciousness of the polder. Take a few days to really experience this route!
If you are starting in Almere Haven, you can rent an open boat at Ally Bootverhuur.
The first cappuccino in Almere Haven (junction 34)
Start your open boat tour from Almere Haven. The Havenkom (inner harbour) is a fine base camp with a boulevard full of terraces, right by the Gooimeer. After your first cappuccino of the day, take hold of the rudder. You are exchanging the land for the water.
Sail over the Gooimeer towards the Stichtse Brug. Soon after departing, the first uninhabited island comes into view. Huizerhoef is green and an intimate location with twenty places to moor where the civilised world seems very far away. For a small fee you can spend the night here.
After the Stichtse Brug you enter a true bird paradise. In this part of the Eemmeer lake, numerous bird species find shelter between the bridge and the various islands. De Dode Hond* island is not surprisingly known in the nearby fishermen’s village of Bunschoten-Spakenburg as ‘Voegeleilangd’ or ‘Vogeleiland’ [bird island]. In the summer you can see here the sedge warbler, Eurasian reed warbler or bearded reedling – or at very least hear them.
*De Dode Hond [the dead dog] is an artificial island, created in 1964 from the leftover sand during the construction of the polder dike of Zuidelijk Flevoland. Read here how this island got its name…
Côte d’Azur of Flevoland
At the level of Spakenburg, sail into the Nijkerkernauw. On the port side (left) you see the Côte d’Azur of Flevoland; a modern, luxurious marina in a Mediterranean decor. It’s a fun place to moor and promenade along the harbour for a short while. Grab a spot on a terrace at Brasserie Zuiderzoet or the Beachclub.
As you continue, the first lock comes into sight, the Nijkerkersluis. Notify the service via marine radio channel 18 or call +31 (0)88-7974333 and moor at the waiting quay until the light turns green for the next turn. Is it late? Then spend the night in the marina at EuroParcs Bad Hulckesteijn before you get to the lock. Once you are through the lock, you can stay at Camping Erkemederstrand or Postillion Hotel Amersfoort Veluwemeer.
The best water recreation area of Flevoland
After the lock you enter the Nuldernauw: the best water recreation area of Flevoland. It runs through as far as the Veluwemeer. In the summer, it can get busy with water sport enthusiasts and people enjoying being on the banks. There are many great places here to moor or to drop anchor by the beach. TIP! At the marina of RCN Vakantiepark Zeewolde, there is Brasserie ’t Wolderwijd, a fine address for a bite to eat and drink.
De Zegge island
De Zegge island in the Wolderwijd now comes into view. It’s a fun-filled family island just off the coast of Zeewolde, with a beach and a climbing frame. You can light a fire in the firepit. Another fun tip: moor in the port of call of Zeewolde. It’s handy if you want to pick up some groceries, go shopping or get something to eat and drink on the quay.
Tulpeiland – unusual and eye-catching
If you continue following the route towards the Tulpeiland [tulip island], stay on the right of the line of buoys that marks the shallows. A bit further on you pass the entrance to Tulpeiland, a special peninsula in the form of a tulip. The flower, the main island, is the size of a football field. The elongated natural islands form the stem. A 200-m breakwater links the island to the mainland. There are 80 mooring places in this flower. Every spring the island is filled with flowering tulips, it is one of the hotspots of the Flevoland tulip route.
De Spieghel lift-lock (junction 78, 48, 86)
Just past the Tulpeiland you sail through De Spieghel lift-lock and the floodgate (junction 78). This is the link to the sailing route through the inland waterways and the polder region of Flevoland. When departing the lock, turn left at junction 48. The De Blauwe Diamant canal leads you to the Polderwijk, the new residential neighbourhood of Zeewolde. You pass various bridges and sail around the corner into the harbour. Then turn right (junction 86) to go under the bridge. Follow the route straight ahead, over the Horstertocht.
Horsterwold Nature reserve
Welcome to the Horsterwold, with its 3,700 hectares the largest continuous deciduous woods in Western Europe! You sail for half an hour through a stunning piece of nature of Zeewolde. You share these woods with roe deer, wild horses, Scottish highlanders, fallow deer, foxes and birds. It is likely that you will spot one or more of these ‘big 5’ animals of Zeewolde.
Polder cruising (junction 26)
Follow the route to the fork at junction 26 and turn left into the Hoge Vaart towards Almere Hout. You’ll sail past Buitenplaats Horsterwold, the last contact with the civilized world for now. In the coming hours you‘ll sail straight across the man-made land of Flevoland. Past polders and woods and a mooring quay here and there, where you could possibly spend the night, far from civilisation.
De Groene Kathedraal
Once you arrive at Almere Hout, you’ll encounter De Groene Kathedraal [the green cathedral] on the starboard side (right). You’ll definitely want to moor here to take a look around. No sky-high stone vaults, immense stained-glass windows with divine scenes or echoing corridors, but a cathedral that is formed by a group of Italian poplars. Artist Marinus Boezem developed the idea in 1978 according to the floorplan of the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Reims. He considers the Gothic cathedral a high point of human achievements, comparable to the reclamation of the former Zuiderzee. The shell circles around the trees refer to the sea that was once here.
Houseboats (junctions 17, 39)
At the fork at junction 17 enter the Lange Wetering, towards junction 39. On the Weteringkade a great variety of houseboats will catch your eye. This row of detached residences with different formats, building styles and interiors form a cheerful unit on the water. Each one is more beautiful than the next.
Castle (junction 39)
At the fork at junction 39, enter the Lange Wetering. If you have time, first go a bit towards junction 17 (Hoge Vaart) before returning to Almere Haven (junction 34).
After the viaduct Kasteel Almere appears on the starboard side (right): the youngest ruin of the Netherlands. If you wish you can spend the night here at one of the free mooring places on the port side (left) (for a maximum of 3x 24 hours).
Havenaren and Havenkomsluis (junctions 39, 34)
At junction 39 sail up the Lange Wetering. Take junction 34 towards Almere Haven.
On this last section of the route, you’ll sail through the oldest part of Almere. The neighbourhoods here are surrounded by greenery. It feels like a separate village. And it’s not surprising that the residents call themselves Havenaren. After several bridges you’ll encounter in half an hour the last challenge of this tour: rising in the Havenkomsluis lock. Always fun and exciting!
Havenkom (junction 34)
After this cruising adventure, enjoy some leisure time on one of the terraces by the water. Tip: get an ice cream from Mariola Ijssalon (Promenade Almere Haven, just behind the inner harbour)!