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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.


Read more: Waalwijk

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

Schoonhoven

Although JH 't Wilgerak advertise space for visitors up to 14m they were a little surprised when we arrived en masse, even though none of our party were bigger than 11m. There were very few free spaces, but we were accommodated, albeit in a bit of a tight squeeze. The HM prefers to be phoned in advance, particularly for what he regards as bigger boats, probably anything over 10m, or more than one of you, and is happy to take reservations, unlike many other harbours.

The toilet and shower facilities did not impress my crew, and were the only ones we came across where you are expected to provide your own loo roll, as well as the only ones where we found a slug in residence :-( The €0,50 fee provided a minimal period of hot water, and the temperature was affected by the ups and downs of neighbouring showerers.

By contrast, the launderette facility seemed spotless and efficient - book a slot and pay at the harbour office as it is not token operated. Electricity for the bigger boats was charged at an economical €2/night for an unmetered 10A, whilst those of us squeezed into the smaller berths had to pay €1/2kWh to the meter for a 6A supply.

The Silver Museum proved an interesting visit, and some of the crews were tempted by the range of silver shopping opportunities, but we had to conclude that the boating facilities in Schoonhoven left a little to be desired. Perhaps it didn't help that it rained the whole time that we were there!