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Rotterdam - Delfshaven

For boats en-route to or from Delft, the Delfshaven is a handy and hospitable stopping place, with access from the Coolhaven via the Achterhavenbrug (5m when closed, or call an hour in advance for openings - number is on the bridge!). The first moorings belong to the WSV Verenigde Liggers Delfshaven and there is normally someone on hand to report to at the club ship next to the bridge (where you will also find the facilities and the club bar). If you want to be in the heart of the action, you could continue through to the old Delfshaven but you will need to negotiate the bridge (again, an hour's notice required) and the visitor berths of the WSV Oud Delfshaven are on the south side of the basin, opposite the windmill. Either way, head through to the old harbour for some of the only remaining original buildings in Rotterdam, the Pilgrim Father's church (open Friday and Saturday) and Museum De Dubbelde Palmboom. There are also plenty of gezellig terraces and of course, De Pilgrim bar-restaurant, still drawing the crowds after all this time so I stand by my recommendation of five years ago!

The cruise up the Delfhavense Schie and on up to Delft is a popular one with motor boats and aided by some longer than advertised opening hours, and a new rail bridge with increased clearance.

Public transport

If you're thinking of using the tram, bus or metro whilst you're in the Netherlands, and you'll be staying over there a while, I'd recommend investing in an ov-chipkaart. The whole country has now switched over to cash-free ticketing on all public transport and instead are using something similar to the London Oyster card. You can buy a disposable chipkaart, but journey rates are quite expensive. A better choice if you are going to be in Holland for a while is an anonymous chipkaart which can be uploaded with credit at station ticket desks. For both types of ticket you'll probably need to pay with cash, as UK credit cards are normally not accepted.

A disposable chipkaart costs €4.50 (one journey) and an anonymous chipkaart costs €7.50 to buy the empty card but you then need to upload it with credit - however journey prices are much cheaper (about 1/3 of the price).

Find out more at http://www.ov-chipkaart.nl/allesoverdeov-chipkaart/watisdeovchipkaart/ (click the UK link at the top for an English language version)

Waalwijk

Visitors to Waalwijk may easily be confused by the inaccurate and inconsistent markings on the ANWB chart and in the Almanak. The only yacht club open to visitors is the WSV Waalwijk, which is on the port (east) side as you approach the lock. Access to the canal beyond the lock is only for commercial ships, or by special arrangement for yachts undergoing repair or winter storage.


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Delft

Since my last visit to Delft in 2006 the facilities for boaters have been greatly improved and the town is starting to look like one which welcomes visitors. The De Kolk quay has been augmented with a good size pontoon on the north side to make plenty of space for visiting boats, although there are occasional charter barges which reserve long stretches of it. All berths have access to coin operated electric and water, and the moorings are tended by an enthusiastic official who resides in the adjacent harbour office. Mooring fees (€9/night) are paid at the ticket machine on the new pontoon berths and your ticket provides access to a very acceptable facilities block in the basement of the harbour office. Lovely new, clean toilets and showers, plus a launderette.

Read more: Delft