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  • Area of interest

  • Activity

Walking or Cycling along windmills, polders and waterfronts

  • €20 pp
  • 1 - 6
  • Child-friendly
  • Engels, Duits, Frans
  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Starts at 11:00

Walking or cycling along historical details in the countryside between Haarlem and Spaarndam. A beautiful piece of North Holland!

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We would like to show you that cycling and walking in Haarlem is very enjoyable. We live on a vintage cargo ship dating from 1923, which we converted to a cruising houseboat. Our home berth is close to Spaarndam, North-Holland. This is a unique natural spot where we would like to welcome you. From here we will either walk or cycle (your choice) in the Haarlem and Spaarndam area. Both variations end in the picturesque Spaarndam, amidst charming stepped gable houses and the oldest working colony loch in Europe.  Here we find the statue of Hansje Brinkers as a symbol of ‘our’ eternal struggle against the water.

Cycling in Haarlem

This roughly 15 kilometre cycling trip will take us to places which are witness to ‘our’ centuries-long struggle both with and against water. Our ship is located in an area which is listed by the Unesco World Heritage Organization and is called “The Defence Line of Amsterdam” (i.e. defence against water). So on our trip we shall visit the water-fortresses and defences in this area. Historically, the water here was our friend and ally because it defended us against enemies. But we will also cycle past waterworks which paradoxically defend us against that very same water. We will visit classic watermills and modern pumping stations, cycle on top of dikes and see polders which are up to 4 metres below sea level.

Walking in Noord-Holland

This roughly 6 kilometrer walk will take us back in time. ‘Our’ polder is one of the eldest in The Netherlands. In the middle of this polder there is a small settlement on top of an old coastal embankment. A classic example of ancient-old Dutch landscape which tells the story of rising sea levels and falling ground levels. This inviting location is perfect for walking. It has rightfully been declared ‘The First Geological Monument of The Netherlands’. The walk ends in the pictoresque dike village of Spaarndam, close to Haarlem. The statue of Hans Brinkers bears witness to the centuries of fighting water. We will end our walk on a bar terrace next to the oldest still functional sluice chamber in Europe, surrounded by traditional step-gable type houses. Here we can have a chat about the impressions of the walk in Noord-Holland.

Cycling tour around Haarlem-Spaarndam

The bike ride of about 15 kilometers takes us past testimonies of ‘our’ centuries-long battle with and against the water. Our berth is part of the UNESCO World Heritage ‘The Defense Line of Amsterdam’. During the bike ride we therefore also visit the waterfronts and defenses in our immediate vicinity. There the water was our friend and companion in the defense against enemies. We also cycle along waterworks that have to defend us against the water. For example, we visit classic watermills and modern pumping stations, cycle over dikes and see polders lying up to 4 meters below the NAP.

Walk around Haarlem-Spaarndam

The walk of about 7 kilometers takes us back in time. Through an unadulterated piece of traditional Dutch landscape with a story stuck to rising sea levels and sagging land. ‘Our’ polder is one of the oldest in the Netherlands. In the middle of it, on top of a high shoreline, is an ancient church in a tiny settlement. This place has been declared the first ‘Aardkundig Monument’ in the Netherlands and more than worthy of our visit. We also visit a restored polder mill where we are received by the miller.

The local

Guide Nanne

My name is Nanne Douma, 60 years of age, a physical geographer with a particular interest in geology, landscape and climate-change. I enjoy a good conversation about globalisation and the challenges we face caused by the big changes we see happening in the world around us. Naturally, I am also interested in Dutch inland navigation. I have been living in Spaarndam (near Haarlem) for the last 25 years so I know this area like the back of my hand!

I am a part-time geography teacher in secondary education and enjoy nothing more than promoting ‘environmental awareness’: look around you and question what you see. And this is precisely what I like to do with our guests: looking around and exchanging thoughts about the beautiful places in Noord-Holland.


Cost per person: €20

What is included in the price?

inclusief gebruik van een fiets bij fietstocht, entrees molens en forten, welkomstdrankje/hapje aan boord en afsluitende consumptie in Spaarndam.


Supplementary information

Exclusief haal/brengservice Haarlem vanaf €10,- per party (max. 4 personen).

Combinatie mogelijk (aanbevolen!) met ‘vaartocht met klassiek vrachtschip over het Spaarne’

lunch in overleg en naar behoefte tegen meerprijs.

Geschikt voor kinderen?

Ja, mits ze de aangegeven afstand kunnen fietsen/wandelen


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