If you go to Amsterdam, we all know that the number one thing you have to do is take a boat ride on the canals. It’s an integral part of life in the city and too beautiful to miss out on!
We went with Flagship Amsterdam, who I can’t recommend more highly. Unlike the crowded, covered tourist boats, Flagship takes you on what feels like a private tour with an open air boat complete with snacks and drinks for purchase. We ordered some prosecco just as we headed out.
Our ride was scheduled for a bit later, but once we left the Anne Frank House (where the boats are docked), we went ahead and asked if we could hop on an earlier boat. I’m so glad we did because our boat only ended up having a total of nine passengers which made for a roomy, very personal experience. In addition to our group of three, there were two women from Russia, two women from South Korea, and a couple from Germany.
Our captain and skipper, Captain Jack and Kim, were so great! Kim gave us a lot of interesting knowledge about the city and the canal system without it being too much or overly touristy. It really just felt like taking a casual boat ride with your Dutch friend who knows a lot about the city and is able to point out cool things of interest.
The houses along the canal were build very narrow because you were taxed according to how wide your house was. Ever the practical people, the Dutch installed hooks on the tops of the houses so that they could use a pulley system to bring furniture into their homes. Something interesting Kim told us that I actually hadn’t noticed before was that the houses actually lean forward a little (which you can clearly see when you’re looking for it) because otherwise, furniture on the pulley system would be dragged up alongside the facade of the building. With it leaning forward, the furniture is suspended safely in the air.
Our hour long canal ride definitely didn’t last long enough, but by that I mean that I could stay out all day. I was imagining all of the things I’d like to do while floating along the canals: reading, napping, playing games, having lunch, and so on. You can bet if I lived in Amsterdam (which I wish I did sometimes), I’d have a boat and use it for most of my waking hours.
The moral of this story is that the next time you’re in Amsterdam, you must take a canal cruise and you should 100% do it through Flagship. I was so impressed with the whole thing and it’s the closest I think you’ll get to a private boat tour.