SAIL Amsterdam

Photo of author

Daneel Bouden

SAIL Amsterdam is, without a doubt, the largest reoccurring happening in The Netherlands. And that’s not all; it’s also the greatest nautical event in all of Europe. It’s been held eight times now; the last time was in 2010. It’s held every 5 years on het IJ, the largest waterway of the city that splits Amsterdam into a northern and the rest section.
There are many activities taking place in the city during the festivities but what really draws in the crowds is the impressive fleet of Tall Ships.
Among them are several restored old clippers that can rightly be called monuments of former ages. However, there are more recent vessels that also take part and naval ships and replica’s of famous old yet perished sailing ships.SAIL AMSTERDAM

Admission is free. The next SAIL will be held in 2015!

Lord protector of the event is heir to the Dutch throne; His Royal Highness, Prince of Orange, Willem Alexander.

It Started in 1975
SAIL Amsterdam was first held in 1975 in commemoration of the 700th birthday of Amsterdam as a city. De SAIL-IN Parade takes place one day before the official opening of the event. About sixty ships sail by way of Ijmuiden down the Noordzeekanaal to Amsterdam.
Thousands of smaller vessels accompany the procession on its way into the city. The crews spend most of their time and often hanging from the tackle, greeting the large crowds that gathered to see them pass by. In 2005 the event lasted a day longer than the last one, there were 2,5 million visitors then. The SAIL-IN Parade alone drew 400.000 spectators.

The SAIL festivities are surrounded by various cultural and sports-related activities. Each day, there are concerts, presentations, and performances taking place. And no, the children are not forgotten.

We thank the Sail Amsterdam foundation and Wim Haze for providing the photo’s displayed below.
  SAIL OUT The last day of SAIL is all about the departure of the ships. In 2010 that wasn’t easy; the weather was typically Dutch; clouds, wind, rain and foaming waves were what the heavens had in store for us that day. And yet thousands had made their way to the harbour to see off the fleet. The Amerigo Vespucci, the Gõtheborg and the Sedov sailed along with smaller crowds than when they came in. We’ll see you again in 5 years, is what the crews must have thought.