From beautiful Fredrikstad sail to Amsterdam in just over a week. We will sail through the Skagerak to the North Sea. This part of Europe is a busy sailing area with a lot of freighters and plenty of pleasure yachts from the many small ports along the Norwegian coast. We will also see other Tall Ships sailing nearby. Before we arrive in Amsterdam we will transit the locks at IJmuiden, and then sail the North Sea Canal to get to Amsterdam.
Norway’s first Renaissance city, Fredrikstad was founded in the 16th century by order of King Frederick II. Inside a bastion fort at the mouth of Norway’s longest river, the Glomma, is Old Town, the oldest settlement in the city. Fredrikstad was a Danish-Norwegian bulwark against the Swedes to the east. It was protected by a zigzagging moat and earthwork ramparts that were so effective that Fredrikstad was never taken in a siege. You can still take a walk around the moat.
The Skagerrak is a strait running between the southeast coast of Norway, the southwest coast of Sweden and the Jutland peninsula of Denmark, connecting the North Sea and the Kattegat Sea area to the Baltic Sea. Some ports along the Skagerrak are Oslo and Kristiansand in Norway and Uddevalla and Stromstad in Sweden.
In both world wars the Skagerrak was strategically very important to Germany. The importance of controlling this waterway, the sole sea access to the Baltic was the motivation for the German invasion of Denmark and Norway during WW2. Naval engagements here have contributed to the large number of shipwrecks in the area.
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.
Although archaeological records show that IJmuiden was a fairly important North Sea port during the Roman era, the city in its present form owes much to the North Sea Canal, completed in 1876 along with the mighty IJmuiden sea locks (160 feet wide and 39 feet deep). The Canal connects the North Sea with the IJ Bay in Amsterdam and ensures that Greater Amsterdam is not flooded, as much of the area lies below sea level.
North Sea Canal
The North Sea Canal is the waterway in the Netherlands that extends between Amsterdam and IJmuiden on the North Sea coast. Proposed in 1852, the canal opened in 1876. It has been enlarged several times. Navigable by 90,000-ton oceangoing vessels, the canal is 15 miles long, 49 feet deep, and 771 feet wide. It gave Amsterdam access to the sea and made it a major port.
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.