Sail from the canals and Zee's of Holland across the North Sea to the Islands of Scotland. Learn to sail this ocean-going Dutch schooner.
Amsterdam, while an eclectic mix of new and old, and a magnet for tourists, maintains the essence of old Holland. It's crooked houses, cobble-stoned streets, tree-lined canals with barges moored alongside, all work to impart a sense of the history of the Dutch.
While you are there be sure to visit the city's fine museums. With close to a million art objects, Amsterdam's Rijks museum is the largest museum of art in Amsterdam, best known for its collection of 17th century Dutch masters, with works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Jan Steen. And don't miss the Van Gogh museum, which explores the life & times of this reknowned impressionist painter, exhibiting many of his works.
Amsterdam is a wonderful city in which to simply observe the passing scene, quaffing great local beer in a street-side cafe. Bicyclists abound, couples stroll, and the canals are active; the people-watching couldn't be better to help you soak in the culture.
The North Sea Canal, or Noordzee Kanaal in Dutch) is the ship canal from Amsterdam to the North Sea at IJmuiden, constructed between 1865 & 1876 to enable vessels to reach Amsterdam. This man-made canal terminates at the Amsterdam waterfront on IJ Bay, but connects with other canal systems. This system is vital to the groundwater management of the Western Netherlands.
The Markermeer is a 270 square mile lake in the central Netherlands between North Holland, Flevoland and its larger sister lake, the IJsselmeer. A shallow lake, 9 to 15 feet deep, it is named after the small former island, now peninsula, of Marken that lies within the lake.
IJsselmeer (Lake IJssel)
The IJsselmeer is a closed off inland bay in the central Netherlands bordering the provinces of Flevoland, North Holland and Friesland. It measures 425 square miles and has an average depth of 18 feet. The river IJssel flows into the IJsselmeer. Due to considerable amounts of Rhinewater flowing through the IJssel River into the IJsselmeer, the closed-off bay functions as a huge freshwater reservoir for agriculture and drinking water. Outlet sluices in the Afsluitdijk, both causeway and dike, regulate the water level of the IJsselmeer.
The Wadden Sea is an intertidal zone at the edge of the North Sea. It lies between the coast of continental Europe and the Frisian Islands, forming a shallow body of water with tide flats & wetlands rich in biological diversity. The Wadden Sea is one of the world's seas whose coastline has been most modified by humans, via systems of dikes and causeways on the mainland and low-lying coastal islands. The Wadden Sea stretches from Den Helder, in the northwest of the Netherlands, past German river estuaries to its northern boundary in Denmark, with a total length of over 300 miles and an area of over 3,800 square miles.
Crossing the North Sea
The North Sea is a marginal body of water of the Atlantic Ocean located between Great Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
Waters flow east to west into the North Sea through the Skagerrak Strait, an outlet to the Atlantic Ocean from the Baltic Sea.
Orkney Isles, Scotland
Orkney is an archipelago off the northern coast of Scotland. The islands incorporate Neolithic, stone age, sites, tall sandstone cliffs and seal colonies. The 'Heart of Neolithic Orkney' encompasses a group of 5,000-year-old sites on the largest island, Mainland, including Skara Brae, a preserved village with a reconstructed house, and Maeshowe, a burial tomb with 12th-century Viking carvings.
Hebrides Islands, Scotland
The Outer Hebrides are a chain of more than 100 islands and small skerries located 43 miles west of mainland Scotland. There are 15 inhabited islands in this archipelago. The main islands include Barra, Benbecula, Berneray, Harris, Lewis, North Uist, South Uist, and St Kilda.
Stornoway, Orkney Islands, Scotland
Stornoway is a town on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles of Scotland. It is an important port and the major town and administrative center of the Outer Hebrides.
The picturesque fishing town of Ullapool on the shores of Lochbroom, is a gateway to the Northern Highlands, and a wonderful holiday destination.
Located in one of the UK's most unspoiled natural environments, the town offers a wealth of things to see and do. Hiking in the area includes mountains, rocky coasts and long inland footpaths, including many of the finest Highland summits. The town is a great base for exploring the surrounding countryside and touring remote & beautiful Wester Ross, the Highlands and Inverness just an hour’s drive south.