Reclaimed Land: Exploring Holland by Barge

If you’ve already spent time on one of our hotel barges, you’ll know about the luxury, the comfort, and the service with a smile. Whether you’ve already spent a few wonderful days gliding at a leisurely place through France, Italy, Scotland or one of our other locales, you’ll have done it all in signature European Waterways fashion, with no corners cut and no effort spared in creating the perfect holiday experience.

However, we understand that it’s not just about the barge, which is only one part of the whole: it has to be matched to a beautiful route. That is why we’ve chosen Holland as one of our favourite itineraries, as we feel it represents one of the best places to experience in this unique way.
Holland is reclaimed land: once at the mercy of the ocean, and alternately land, islands, sea and swamps, it wasn’t until the Dutch began to hold the sea at bay with intricate arrangements of dikes that it became stable. The result is a flat country, patch worked with dikes and criss-crossed with canals, with the horizon visible and perfectly level all around you. It is against this surreal backdrop that your cruise will take place.

You’ll begin in Alkmaar, creeping ever south along Holland’s complex web of canals until you reach Delft. While the land is level, it’s far from unchanging, and that’s what makes this cruise so unique: while the horizons stay razor-straight, you’ll see the ground beneath them transform a hundred ways during your journey. Whether it’s a carpet of tulips, an expanse of untrodden grass, a group of windmills or a herd of cattle, the landscape bears an indescribable combination of fluidity and stability, a testament to its once-ephemeral nature.
This fascinating metamorphosis is periodically broken by one of Holland’s many characterful towns, offering a trove of memories for the making. Whether it’s historic industry, picturesque architecture, unique shops or famed Dutch cheese that takes your fancy, you’ll never be short of things to see, do and experience.

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