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river-cruises

Dutch Waterways

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Fed by the Rhine, the Maas and the Scheldt, the Dutch Waterways are an intricate interlinking series of canals, small rivers and inland seas, creating one of the most unique river cruising experiences in Europe. Under vast open skies, these tranquil waterways lace through the most-gentle of landscapes punctuated by traditional windmills and elegant church spires. In springtime fields teeming with tulips stretch as far as the eye can see. The Netherlands is a country defined by its waterways and the Unesco-listed canal district is the vibrant heart of its capital Amsterdam. Weaving their magic through medieval cities and charming historical towns, these timeless waterways are simply a Dutch masterpiece - part of the national identity.

Things to know

  • The Dutch waterways total over 3,700 miles long and 17% of the total surface area of the Netherlands consists of water
  • The deltas of the Rhine, the Maas and Scheldt rivers are part of the Dutch Waterways.
  • Known as the eighth wonder of the world, the Delta Works were designed to protect the delta lands of the Rhine, Maas and Scheldt rivers.
  • The Netherlands had approximately 10,000 windmills in the 17th century – almost a thousand of the 17th century windmills still dot the landscape today.
  • The tulips that colour the landscape in springtime were introduced to the Netherlands in the 17th century

Key Ports of Call

Picture of - Heusden
Heusden

Heusden grew around one of the oldest water castles in Northwest Europe and was one of the first Dutch cities to be surrounded by a wall. Within its fortifications the historic inner city is a step back in time with picturesque streets and narrow alleys lined with beautifully preserved, centuries-old buildings and stonework facades. The historic setting is home to numerous galleries, speciality shops, restaurants and pavement cafes. 
Picture of - Hoorn
Hoorn

On the shores of Ijsselmeer, the Netherland’s largest lake, Hoorn has a rich maritime history. Dozens of monuments and churches are a legacy of the town’s 17th century heyday when it was one of the most important centres of the Dutch East India Company. It centres around a magical little harbour where historical houses are home to galleries, artist studios, specialist shops and pleasant cafes.
Picture of - Kinderdijk
Kinderdijk

Forming an iconic Dutch scene, the famous nineteen windmills of Kinderdijk stand in the beautiful wetlands around Dordrecht. A Unesco World Heritage Site, they were built around 1740 as part of a larger water management systems to keep the low-lying lands of the Alblasserwaard and village of Kinderdijk from flooding. Kinderdijk is a charming Dutch village with a well-preserved centre where the picturesque streets are typical of the old style in this region.