The history of the Pride Amsterdam Canal Parade

In August 2021 the Dutch capital will celebrate Pride Amsterdam for the 25th time. Since the very beginning of Pride Amsterdam in 1996, the festival has included a Canal Parade through the city’s 17th century canal ring, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Because we always adjust the routes of our cruises depending on the amount of traffic on the canals and the size of the boat, we can continue to offer cruises even during the Canal Parade.

Back in 1996

Amsterdam Pride, as it was known then, was never intended as a demonstration for equal rights. Instead the event was meant to promote Amsterdam as a gay nightlife city and to celebrate the freedom and diversity of the city.

The idea for a Canal Parade came from the bid book for the Gay Games of 1998 which was presented in 1992. The event became part of Amsterdam Pride, two years prior to the Gay Games, on 3 August 1996, consisted of at least 45 boats of different sizes and was attended by 20,000 spectators. From then on the event grew in size and popularity, in 1997 the number of spectators had already tripled.

Through the years

The Canal Parade has become an annual highlight of the festival which has grown into a nine-day event and is one of the best and largest celebrations of its kind worldwide. Since 2001, Pride Amsterdam has chosen different themes to for the festival to draw attention to specific aspects or celebrate special occasions.

In 2001 the theme was “Tolerance”, this year was the first time boats representing the Arab and Jewish community were part of the parade. It was also the year when the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalise same-sex civil marriage and grant same-sex couples adoption rights.

While Pride Amsterdam is not a demonstration, the organisation does not shy away from drawing attention to LGBT+ acceptance throughout the world and what steps still need to be taken to improve it. In 2005, the first boat in the parade showcased a large photo of two Iranian boys who were hanged because of their sexual orientation.

In 2011 the boat parade was led for the first time by a boat with uniformed soldiers from the Dutch Ministry of Defence as well as former American Lieutenant Dan Choi and British naval officer Mandy McBain.

Canal Parade2015 was the 20th anniversary of the Amsterdam Gay Pride, as it was known by then, and the question: “what has been achieved in twenty years and what has changed?” was considered in many ways. That year the Canal Parade drew attention to the situation of homosexual refugees, the homeless and the overseas territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

In 2017, the festival changed its name to Pride Amsterdam in order to better serve all those who identify as LGBTQIA+, to strengthen the content and to be inclusive for everyone. Many participants used seized upon the year’s theme “This is my Pride” to discuss serious, hard-hitting topics during the famous boat parade, which included an Iranian boat and a Suicide Prevention Boat.

2019’s Pride Amsterdam theme was “Remember the past, create the future” in memory of the Stonewall riots that broke out in New York 50 years prior, an iconic moment that should never be forgotten. That year members of Pride Amsterdam even participated in the parade in New York during World Pride. 2019 was also the year Pride Amsterdam was added to the Inventory of Intangible Heritage in the Netherlands.

Today and the future

The global events of 2020 and 2021 have caused the 25th anniversary of Pride Amsterdam to be even more unlike any before than what the organisation had hoped for. Though there is no Canal Parade this year, it is certain the event will be back.

You can find out exactly which events will be part of Pride Amsterdam this year on the organisations website. We can’t wait for the canals to be filled again with 80 boats celebrating the freedom to truly be yourself and to love who you want.

An Amsterdam summer of a lifetime

Are you ready to experience the summer of a lifetime in Amsterdam now that you can finally get back to enjoying all the amazing culture this city has to offer? We are joining with Tiqets to help you get your spark back this summer. Are you ready to make some Amsterdam memories? These are our tips for the summer months of June, July and August.

Enjoy a Semi-open Boat Cruisesemi open boat

The Semi-open Boat cruise is possibly the very best summer canal cruise option available. On sunny days, the boat is open to give you unrestricted views of the merchant houses and city architecture in the sunshine. And when the Dutch weather turns, the boat is easily closed with a glass-top, ensuring you continue to delight in Amsterdam’s unique charm.

The Semi-open Boat Cruise lasts about one hour and takes you to the most important sights in Amsterdam. On this boat tour, you’ll sail down the UNESCO World Heritage-listed canal belt, which date from the 17th century; then wind past not-to-be-missed attractions such as the Western Church, the Anne Frank House or the Hermitage.

Cool down in the Amsterdam Icebar

There are summer days in Amsterdam when it is just too hot to be outside on the city streets or in the parks, such as the Vondelpark or Amsterdamse Bos. A great place to cool down is the Amsterdam Icebar, literally the coolest bar in town. At the Amsterdam Icebar you join the crew of 16th century Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz on his journey to Nova Zembla, an island in the Arctic.

A visit to the Amsterdam Icebar includes 3 free drinks and they’ll provide you with a warm coat and gloves so you don’t lose all of that nice summer warmth when you are surrounded by ice. From the walls, to the sculptures and the glasses you drink from, everything in the icebar is made from ice.

Snack on a pizza while cruising

If you prefer your canal cruise later in the day, then why not enjoy a delicious New York Pizza while you watch the city go by. The New York Pizza by LOVERS cruise gives you a chance to add an extra dimension to your canal cruise. It is the perfect combination of dinner with a view, as you sail through some of the city’s 100 kilometres of waterways.

You’ll have your choice of mouth-watering pizza and even the drinks are included, from an ice cold Heineken beer to wine and soft drinks. And dessert hasn’t been forgotten either, you’ll finish this cruise with a Cookie Dough Chocolate Chip ice cream.

Amsterdam Pride on the canals and everywhere elseAmsterdam Pride

The biggest party in the city happens at the end of July and the start of August. During the nine days of Amsterdam Pride, the city and everyone in it celebrates freedom in Amsterdam, the freedom to truly be yourself and to love who you want. The festival has grown into a world-renowned event where the LGBTQIA+ community truly sets the standard in the city.

There are different events every day, with street parties, art, shows, a Pride Walk to draw attention to the situation of LGBTIs in countries where homosexuality is illegal and what is often considered the main event a big parade on the Amsterdam canals, which usually goes from Westerdok over the Prinsengracht, the Amstel river, the Zwanenburgwal and the Oudeschans to Oosterdok.

Music festival on the canals

The yearly Grachtenfestival is a ten-day festival in August spread out across the city. It’s the summer festival for classical music, jazz, as well as music from other cultures. Young musicians from all over the world surprise you with their own musical story. If you want to get to know the rising stars of the future, the Grachtenfestival is where you need to be.

Throughout the festivals there are concerts in parks, popular tourist attractions, hotels, churches and, yes, concert halls and other traditional music venues. Past, present, and future come together in contemporary combinations of musicians, genres and locations. The city of Amsterdam, from east to west and from north to south, serves as the festival playground.

Your summer of a lifetime

The world is slowly starting to come out of lockdown, which will instantly make this a summer to remember. It’s time to go outside and explore the world again. Amsterdam sure is ready to receive visitors again but Tiqets has also chosen some must-see venues in other locations across the world, such as Spain, Italy and the US.

Top things to do in Amsterdam

The city of Amsterdam is known around the world for her canals, museums and the Red Light District. And while these surely are must sees on your visit to Amsterdam, there is so much more to see and do in the Dutch capital. The city offers history and adventure as well as the unexpected and the unbelievable. These are our favourite attractions in Amsterdam.

Take a canal cruiseLOVERS Canal Cruises

There is no need to deny it, we are passionate about the canals of Amsterdam and truly believe that the best way to see them, learn about them and enjoy them is with a cruise through the canals. LOVERS offers several different types of canal cruises and each cruise experience is different from the one before.

Whether you are looking for a traditional canal cruise, an open boat experience or if you want something to eat while enjoying the sights, LOVERS has the cruise for you. As you travel through Amsterdam's neighbourhoods, such as the Jordaan, the Nine Streets or the Pijp, you’ll see sights like the Amstel river which gave the city its name, the Anne Frank House and the iconic Skinny bridge.

Visit the national museum

The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands and holds over 8000 artistic and historical objects covering 800 years of Dutch history. Inside you’ll find some of the most famous works by the Dutch masters, such as Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Night Watch and Johannes Vermeer’s The Milkmaid.

But the beauty is not just inside the Rijksmuseum. The building itself is worthy of a photo or two as well. Located at the Museumplein, or Museum District, and with definite renaissance and gothic influences, the Rijksmuseum is truly the height of architectural talent, designed by the same man, Pierre Cuypers, who designed Amsterdam Central Station.

Take a look beneath your skinPlastinate at BODY WORLDS Amsterdam

In the city centre, on the Damrak, you can learn more about yourself, your body and how you can influence how happy you are at BODY WORLDS: The Happiness Project. With 200 real, plastinated, human bodies on display, BODY WORLDS will take you on a fascinating journey through the human body.

The exhibitions are interactive and thematically arranged, with areas devoted to the heart, life cycle, diet and the role happiness plays in shaping our bodies and lives. A ticket to BODY WORLDS includes a free InBody Scan, which measures whether your body really is in balance. Age, gender and body type are all taken into account when calculating your body composition.

Explore the Arctic

The Amsterdam Icebar is one of the city’s most unique attractions as everything there is made of ice. This amazing bar is kept at a constant temperature of -10 degrees Celsius, giving you the opportunity to truly experience what exploring the Arctic could be like. At the Amsterdam Icebar, you join the crew of Dutch Arctic explorer Willem Barentsz, who at the end of the 16th century tried to find a quicker route to the Indies.

Sadly, Barentsz and his crew got stranded on the island of Nova Zembla for over a year. So it is a good thing that your ticket to the Amsterdam Icebar includes 3 free drinks and they’ll give you a warm coat and gloves too. The drinks are served in glasses made of ice and so is the art that surrounds you in the icebar.

Discover the secrets of the Red Light DistrictRed Light Secrets windows

The Red Light District is probably Amsterdam’s best known and possibly most renowned neighbourhood. And yet there is so much people don’t know about it and the people who live and work there. Red Light Secrets is the world’s first Prostitution Museum and answers many of you questions you might have.

At the Museum of Prostitution, you’ll see the inside of the prostitute’s rooms, hear their stories and learn all about the secrets of the world’s oldest profession. The museum is housed in a famous brothel in Amsterdam that is still in its original state. You’ll even get a chance to sit behind one of the windows to feel what it is really like to be watched from the streets.

Learn more about the world’s most famous beer brand

Everyone recognises the famous green beer bottles (or cans) with a red star from the world’s most famous beer brand, Heineken. The Heineken Experience is a state-of-the-art interactive tour in the historic brewery of one of the world's largest beer brewers. Originally built in 1867, this cavernous building was converted into a museum and visitor centre in 1991. Since then, it has become a wildly popular tourist attraction.

The Heineken Experience is informative, hands-on and delicious. You’ll learn about Dutch beer drinking traditions, witness the Heineken brewing process first-hand and savour the nutty flavour of barley. During the self-guided tour you'll see how this once small, Dutch brewery became the world’s most premium beer brand.

See Sunflowers and Starry NightsSunflowers

Van Gogh is quite possibly the most famous amongst the Dutch masters, though many outside the country's borders mispronounce his name. At the Van Gogh Museum you can learn about Vincent van Gogh's life, read his letters, and see his paintings and drawings. A visit to the Van Gogh Museum is a unique experience.

The museum is home to the largest collection of work by Vincent van Gogh in the world, including over 200 of his paintings, 500 drawings and more than 750 letters. It provides the opportunity to keep track of the artist's developments and compare his paintings to works by other artists from the 19th century, such as Gauguin, Manet and Pissarro. The museum also presents exhibitions on various subjects from 19th-century art history.

Believe the unbelievable

Amsterdam is home to many peculiar and unbelievable sights, such as the narrowest house, which is only 2 metres wide. But if you want to truly surround yourself with unbelievable sights and stories, you will want to visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Amsterdam, where you can marvel at hundreds of rare and unusual artifacts and get hands-on with unbelievable interactives.

At Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Amsterdam you enter the world of the unbelievable and the bizarre. Here the world’s most remarkable collection of natural, scientific, artistic, and human oddities are on display. You will be immersed in artefacts, incredible art, animal oddities, pop-culture memorabilia, and interactive games that are hard to believe yet true. From genuine shrunken human heads to the world's longest fingernails, people say it’s one of the weirdest spots in the city.

Valuing the water in Amsterdam

On 22 March of each year we celebrate World Water Day, which celebrates water and raises awareness of the global water crisis. As Amsterdam is a city filled with water and canals, the quality of the water is important to everyone in the city. With over 100 km in canals and over 1900 bridges, the city of Amsterdam knows a thing or two about water management.

Once upon a time, the city's Dam Square was an actual dam between the River Amstel and the Southern Sea (or Zuiderzee), this dam gave the city its name. Yet today it is one of the few places in the city which you cannot reach by boat, the closest you can get is Damrak, Oudezijds Voorburgwal or Singel.

Canals in Amsterdam

The first canals were dug for water management and as city defences. As the city grew and its walls were moved further out, successive defensive moats became part of the inner city and the moats were repurposed as canals to help with the local transport of merchandise. This gave the city its unique look and canal belt.

In the 17th century Dutch trade grew exponentially, during a time that become known as the Golden Age for the country, and an ambitious project was started that took 50 years. This project created the city's four main canals and the canal houses that stand on their shores, the Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht and Singel.

Water qualitybikes pulled from the canals

In the past, Amsterdam and her citizens did not properly value the water that flowed through the city. For hundreds of years the canals were treated as garbage dumps and sewer systems and through to the mid-19th century the water in the canals was stagnant, which did not help to get rid of the smell.

But today the water in Amsterdam is cleaner than it has ever been. Cleaning the canal system properly started with the building of the steam-powered pump station Gemaal Zeeburg in 1879. The pump station flushed the city with clean water from the Southern Sea. And the situation was further improved when the inner city was connected to the sewer system in 1935, though it took till 1987 for the entire canal belt to be connected.

Today, 14 of the 16 existing water locks around the city close three times per week so that clean water from the IJsselmeer can be pumped in. The current created by the pumps pushes the dirty water out through the open locks at the other side of the city.

But there is more than dirt in Amsterdam's waterways, one of those things is very specifically Dutch. Each year, between 12,000 and 15,000 bikes are pulled out of the canals by barges with cranes mounted on them. Locally this cleaning process is known as bike fishing.

The cleaner water has brought life back to the canals. About 20 different species of fish and crabs live beneath the surface and they attract water birds like herons, ducks, coots, gulls and even cormorants. But its not only fish that swim in the canals.

People, too, now swim through the city on occasion. Such as during the Amsterdam City Swim, a charity event which raises money to fight ALS. Important to note: swimming in the canals is illegal and you run the risk of a €140 fine. If the Amsterdam heat is getting to you in summer, pay attention to the locals and follow their lead on where to swim.

The most romantic bridges in Amsterdam

The Dutch capital is known throughout the world for it's canals, often even dubbed the 'Venice of the north'. The city has over 100 kilometres in waterways and because the national mode of transport is the bike and not a boat, Amsterdam also has a lot of bridges.

Over 1900 of them in fact and while many have names, they all have a number, counting from the city centre to the suburbs of the city. To make a list of the top bridges in the city is nearly impossible but this are some the most romantic.

Skinny Bridge

As possibly the best known and most photographed, the Skinny Bridge, or Magere Brug, is a good place to start. Only pedestrians and cyclist can use this crossing spanning the Amstel river between the Kerkstraat and the Nieuwe Kerkstraat.

Counted as number 242, this wooden, double draw bridge has a rich history dating back to the late 17th century. It's earliest iteration had 13 arches, whereas today there are 9 arches. The middle arch is used by canal boats and other river traffic to pass underneath.

According to local legend a kiss between lovers while on or passing under this bridge will ensure that they will be in love forever. When the bridge is lit up at night with 1200 light bulbs, the legend is easy to believe.

Love bridge

From eternal love it is easy to jump to one of the smallest bridges in the city, which is often used for wedding proposals and wedding photoshoots. The Liefdesbruggetje, number 172, spans across a the drainage system in Sarphatipark. No boats pass underneath it but plenty of people cross it on foot.

Surrounded by greenery, standing on this wooden foot bridge gives you an unobstructed view over a large part of the park, while looking at the crossing from the park you can see a glacial erratic beneath it.

ReguliersgrachtReguliersgracht bridges lined up

This short canal, a little over 500 metres is connects the Herengracht to the Lijnbaansgracht, crossing across the Keizersgracht and the Prinsengracht along the way. The canal is crossed by seven bridges (#31, 39, 40, 72, 73, 74 and 81) which can best be seen from a canal boat as you can see all seven at the same time if you know when to look.

All seven are single arch bridges and at night they are lit up, which adds to their romantic and almost magical character. A cruise along this canal often sees a hidden kiss or even wedding proposal underneath a bridge.

Staalmeesterbrug

This classic Dutch draw bridge (nr. 227) crosses the romantic Groenburgwal canal. Up to 2015 many lovers hung locks on the bridge's guy-wires, sadly the locks damaged what had become known as the Dutch Pont des Arts and were removed by the city. Today the city regularly removes newly hung love locks.

Standing on the Staalmeesterbrug, looking down the tree lined canal you have an amazing view of the Zuiderkerk, a 17th century Protestant church. Many great artists have painted this view, including Claude Monet.

Christmas on board with Lovers

Here at Lovers we love the holiday season, as this video certainly shows. And a cruise through the Amsterdam canals is possibly the perfect family activity for this time of year.

With the dock at Prins Hendrikkade 25 and the canal boats decorated for the season, everyone steps on board with a smile on their face. Whether you choose a daytime cruise or decide to view the city after the sun has set, Amsterdam shows itself from its best side when you view it from the water.

When the sun is up you'll have a great view of points of interest such as the Westerkerk and the canal houses along the city's major canals: Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. As the Dutch often keep their curtains open and love to decorate their homes for the festive season, you will be able to enjoy not just the city's sights and Christmas decorations but also those of the people who live in the city.

Skinny bridge at nightIn the evening, or in these winter days late afternoon, the city sparkles with all the lights both from the bridges, such as the famous Skinny bridge, and the twinkly lights from the Christmas decorations. During an Amsterdam canal cruise you can sit back, relax and enjoy your surroundings and the company from your family or friends.

Each Lovers canal cruise is unique as the captain changes the route through the city depending on traffic on the canals and the size of the boat. The canal tours are exactly long enough for a fun family outing and short enough to avoid the Christmas tradition of a family argument.

As you sit back and enjoy the sights you can listen to the audio guide to find out more about what you are seeing or ask the captain what he knows about this beautiful city, such as how many canals does Amsterdam have. Or ask the captain to play a Christmas song, though that might cause them to sing a long, so tread carefully.

What is a comfortable modern boat?

Lovers Canal Cruises has the largest fleet of the Netherlands. It consists entirely of comfortable, modern boats, but what do we mean by that?

In 2016 the entire fleet underwent a substantial upgrade with the installation of new interiors and a fresh coat of paint. On board of our boats you have your own seat instead of sharing a bench with other passengers. This ensures that other passengers do not get into your personal space, leaving you room to relax and enjoy the views. And we haven’t been idle since then. Our fleet is constantly being improved and developed.

For the colder days of the year, our boats are heated. The captain controls the heating, so feel free to mention it if you’re a bit too cold or warm. A consequence of the colder weather combined with warm bodies and wet coats is condensation on the windows. As anyone with single glazed windows or who wears glasses knows, this cannot always be avoided. Our newest boats and new to be build boats have double glazing which helps to stop the fogging up of the windows so that in future we can offer fog free windows on all our cruises.

Fortuitously, if you just want to go outside for a bit, 80% of our boats have a deck on the back. Some big some small, but it is the perfect place to go to take beautiful photos of the city.

Take pictures from the back deckDuring the summer months, when even in the Netherlands the sun can be burning down on us, all the windows on the boats can open up or you may find yourself on the biggest open boat of the city. Leaving you with a comfortable breeze from the water while surrounded by the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the canals of Amsterdam and no need for an environmentally unfriendly air conditioning system. Even during colder months there is no need to be cut off from the fresh air on our boats. Weather permitting, we also sail with semi-open boats and sloops.

Currently 70% of our fleet is electric and we aim to have this at 100% in 2025. Already, Lovers Canal Cruises, together with its parent company and sister companies, is completely energy neutral. Lovers Canal Cruises promotes environment friendly business with 4500 m2 of solar panels at the main office and an active tree planting programme.

Light festival

Book a canal cruise that follows the route of the light tour of Amsterdam. This winter the light festival will be held in the Dutch capital with beautiful light installations. You can discover these during a nice boat trip provided by LOVERS canal cruises.

What exactly does the light tour involve?

The light tour is an art festival that takes place in the winter of 2019-2020 in Amsterdam. For this light festival 20 artists from different countries designed beautiful works around a theme. What is the theme? Disrupt! Are you curious how the artists converted this into a light installation? Then discover it during a pleasant cruise along the light tour in the canals of the capital.

Which cruise do you choose?

The canal cruises follow the light route on the water. There are various options. Are you starting your cruise near Central Station or Leidseplein? We also offer a canal cruise in a semi-open boat so that you can easily take pictures of the works of art in good weather. Enjoy the light tour in all comfort with friends or family.

Book your tickets online

Would you like to discover the beautiful light tour? Thanks to the audio commentary you will learn everything about the radiant works of art and the artists on our boat trips. Book your tickets online now for one of our cruises. By the way, if you get there on time, you'll enjoy an early bird discount! 

Championship cruise with Ajax kids club

On Sunday 14 July, together with the AJAX supporters association, we organised a great championship cruise through the Amsterdam canals for 3 winning youth teams.

The tour boat was equipped with snacks, drinks and champion bowls to wave along. The members of the Ajax Kids Club could win this prize with their champion winning team by participating in a photo contest. The day was a great success!

 

Can I safely book a cruise now?

No one can deny it, the world has changed in the last months. But what hasn’t changed is our human desire to explore and discover new sights and sounds. We just want to do so safely. And you can! Cruises, tours, attractions and museums have all taken measures to protect your health. Which measures have been taken? Let’s take a closer look at one of our new canal cruises: New York Pizza by LOVERS.

Safely cruise the Amsterdam canals

Before you board the cruise you are asked if you have any Covid-19 related health issues, like a cough, we also ask you to disinfect your hands by using the disinfection spray and we check your temperature at your wrist. On board we limit the amount of people so we can maintain proper social distancing rules and we ask you to remain seated at your allocated table throughout the cruise.

New York Pizza by Lovers

Time for pizza and stunning views

As we cruise to the IJ river, you can enjoy your first drink of the evening. What will you have? A nice cold Heineken, some wine or maybe a soft drink or some water? The choice is yours. As we make a quick stop on the IJ river to pick up your pizza, hot from the New York Pizza ovens, you can enjoy the views of the striking architecture of the Eye Film Museum or ponder swinging on the roof of the A’DAM Lookout.
As we serve your pizza’s, we’ll make our way to the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Amsterdam canals. Sit back, relax, enjoy the views, your pizza and the occasional fun fact from the captain about the canals and its inhabitants. For instance, did you know there are over 800.000 bikes in Amsterdam. Sometimes they fall into the canals. More than 10.000 bikes are fished out of the canals every year!
Finished your pizza? Don’t worry the cruise isn’t over yet. It’s time for desert, who doesn’t love Cookie Dough Chocolate Chip ice cream?

Are you ready to book your New York Pizza by LOVERS cruise?

Best Outing of the Netherlands 2020

This year, Rederij Lovers has been nominated for the Best Outing of the Netherlands 2020. The public award on behalf of 4.5 million ANWB members. We would of course like to win this great title. We need your help with that!

Do we have your vote?

Leukste uitje van Nederland.

ANWB the 'Nicest outing in the Netherlands' election

Every year, the Country of ANWB organises the election of the nicest outing in the Netherlands. Voting is possible until 3 November 2019. Can we count on you again this year? The winners will be announced at the beginning of January.

Discount on the Amsterdam light festival canal cruise

From 28 November 2019 to 19 January 2020, Amsterdam's canalbelt will be transformed into the unique setting of the Amsterdam Light Festival for the seventh edition. More than 20 works of art and installations by international artists, designers and architects will illuminate the city centre of Amsterdam. In addition to the fixed discount, you can now take advantage of the Early Bird discount on the canal cruise with Lovers Canal Cruises until the start of the festival.

Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruise: early bird advantage

The sale of the Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruise has started! Would you like to take advantage of the Early Bird* discount? Then don't wait too long and order your tickets online quickly and inexpensively.

* The Early Bird discount is available until the start of the festival.

Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruise: don't wait too long!

If you want to take advantage of the Early Birds discount for the Amsterdam Light Festival, don't wait too long to order your tickets. Popular days and times are soon sold out! But the most important reason not to wait too long is of course the fact that the discount is only valid until the start of the festival! So grab your chance and book online.

Amsterdam Light Festival Canal Cruise

The cruise of Lovers follows the itinerary of the Amsterdam Light Festival. The artworks are illuminated from 17.00 to 23.00 hours. It is not only the best way to get more information about the works of art, but the canal cruise is also one of the nicest trips according to many Dutch people and tourists. With the comfortable and well heated boats of Lovers Canal Cruises you can sit back and enjoy the impressive view. Come and experience it for yourself with the Amsterdam Light Festival canal cruise of Lovers Canal Cruises! Book your tickets online here.

Efteling boot vaart door Amsterdamse grachten

Kaatsheuvel, 20 februari 2019

Collaboration between two of the biggest attractions of the Netherlands

Over the next two years, an Efteling cruise boat will sail through the canals of Amsterdam. In this way the Efteling wants to seduce tourists visiting our capital to make a day trip to the amusement park in Kaatsheuvel.

The cooperation between the two biggest attractions in the Netherlands is obvious, explains general director of the Efteling Fons Jurgens: The Efteling is an international holiday destination, but guests can also simply drop in from Amsterdam for a day trip. Many tourists who want to discover the Netherlands make a tour of the canals with LOVERS Canal Cruises and the boats themselves are also an attraction. It is very nice to give shape to our cooperation in this special way'.

Yesterday, Fons Jurgens and Little Red Riding Hood made their first trip on the Efteling boat. At least until 2020, it will sail daily along the Skinny Bridge, the Anne Frank House and other Amsterdam tourist attractions.

Take a virtual canal cruise through Amsterdam

At the end of summer LOVERS Canal Cruises joined with Tiqets to celebrate it’s Awakening Weeks. During these weeks, we celebrated the reopening of many attractions and museums worldwide. LOVERS Canal Cruises captain Anthony took viewers on a virtual canal cruise through the city of Amsterdam on a lovely sunny day.

You can now rewatch this virtual cruise and get a sense of what awaits you when you do get to Amsterdam and take a cruise in person.

 

Marry an Amsterdammer for the Day: Amsterdam’s response to overtourism

We, LOVERS canal cruises, are participating in an exciting new event called Marry an Amsterdammer for the Day. This Wednesday, the 5th of June Amsterdammers and tourists can enter a symbolic marriage for a day. This initiative by the Untourist Moment was launched to improve relations between tourists and locals. Wed & Walk will organize the ceremony in the church Posthoornkerk at the Haarlemmerstraat in Amsterdam.

Why the event is hosted
The event Marry an Amsterdammer for the Day is Amsterdam’s response to the commotion around overtourism. Together with 200 hotels, guides, artists, social enterprises, museums and other organizations they created a movement that is willing to turn overtourism into something positive by giving tourists a meaningful encounter with a local. The outcome: let visitors explore someplace new and experience something that is helpfull– for the city, the world, Amsterdam and each other. 

Information about the event
Marry an Amsterdammer for the Day is the perfect start to turn overtourism into something positive. And you can join the festivities by marrying an Amsterdammer for the day! On Wednesday the 5th of June from 01.30 PM till 02:00 PM you can get married in the church Posthoornkerk. Wedding attire is available upon arrival. After a short speed-date, the couples are created and the marriage will take place. And after the ceremony, you will go on a honeymoon! Ok, sorry guys – not a real holiday. But, you will go to a nice activity with your freshly married Amsterdammer. You can either visit a museum, meet your new stepchildren or eat some pancakes.

Everyone involved with the event is doing this on goodwill base – meaning they volunteer. So take your chance and marry (symbolically) a handsome Amsterdammer!

If you want to learn more about the event hop on one of our canal cruises and let our skippers invite you personally.

Visit the Anne Frank House with the Hop On – Hop Off Boat Tour!

We all know the famous red Hop On – Hop Off buses that you can find in all the main cities around the world. In Amsterdam, we’ve got them too, but we also got something different, we’ve got Hop On – Hop Off boats! Because of all the canals in the city center, a boat is an excellent way to get around. While you get from point A to point B with the Hop On – Hop Off boats you’ll also have an amazing sightseeing experience. Enjoy the beautiful historic canals with the 16th-century canal houses along their banks. You will sail past many sightseeing highlights such as the Westerkerk (Western Church), the Noorderkerk (Northern Church) and the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge).

 

Anne Frank House

The Hop On – Hop Off boat has many stops around the city. One of the stops, for example, is right in front of the Anne Frank House. That makes it very easy to make your way to and from the Anne Frank House. This museum tells the story of Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. The building is the exact house that Anne Frank and her family hid in during the war. Even the hidden rooms at the rear of the house are still intact, and you can visit them. Other stops of the Hop On – Hop Off boats include the Rijksmuseum/Leidseplein, Central Station, Albert Cuyp Market and much more. That makes the Hop On – Hop Off boat a fantastic means of transport to discover the city.

 

A great deal

We offer you a great value deal on the Hop On – Hop Off Boats. We offer this product in a 24-hour ticket or a 48-hour ticket. So you can choose the ticket that fits your itinerary best. You can also buy a combination ticket. With this ticket you won’t only get access to the Hop On – Hop Off boats but also to the buses. The buses can bring you to places that are more difficult for the boats to go to, such as the Amsterdam Icebar and the Heineken Experience. So with the combination ticket, you can make sure that you can reach all the famous places with just one ticket.

Visit the Anne Frank House and go on a Canal Cruise!

A lot of canal cruises leave near Amsterdam Central Station, which is great, because it is close to the city centre and easily reachable. But sometimes you are somewhere else in the city and you feel like taking a relaxing cruise along the Amsterdam canals. A canal cruise takes about an hour, which makes them easy to combine with other activities. That’s why we offer multiple locations where you can board one of our canal boats.

One of these locations is right next to the Anne Frank House. This museum is the former house and hiding place of the world famous, Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank. It is the 3rd most visited museum in the Netherlands and a must see when you are in Amsterdam. It was here where Anne Frank and several other people were in hiding in a secret annex during the World War II, as they hoped to survive the war.

When you leave the museum you might feel like taking an Amsterdam canal cruise to let all the impressions from the museum settle in your mind while you see more of the city sights along the Amsterdam canals.

Tour the Amsterdam canals

The Anne Frank House, stands on the corner of the Westermarkt and the Prinsengracht from where our Amsterdam Canal Cruise leaves. The Prinsengracht is the fourth and longest of the main canals in Amsterdam. The canal houses you’ll see along the way were mostly build during the Dutch Golden Age, which makes them of great historic value.

Other famous buildings you’ll see during the Amsterdam Canal Cruise are the Noorderkerk (Northern Church), the Noordermarkt (Northern Market) and the Westerkerk (Western Church). But this cruise doesn’t stay on the Prinsengracht. Though each cruise is unique, you are likely to also visit the other main canals of the canal belt in the historic centre of the city, the Keizersgracht and the Herengracht.

The 17th century canal ring has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2010. During the cruise, you’ll also see famous sights like the Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets), the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) and the Amstel river which gave Amsterdam her name.

A great value deal

With the boarding location of our Amsterdam Canal Cruise so close to the Anne Frank House and a nice online discount, this is a great value deal. The boat has frequent departures on every day of the week. The modern boats have an audio system in 19 languages, so you can hear all about your surroundings in your own language.

Do you want to board somewhere else to cruise through the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Amsterdam canal belt? We also offer Amsterdam Canal Cruises from near the Central Station and from the Leidseplein (Leidse Square).

Everything you need to know about the Amsterdam canals

The Dutch capital is known for her waterways but why does Amsterdam have canals? How many canals are there in Amsterdam and what is their combined length? Here is some of the most important information you need to know about one of the city's main attractions before your visit to Amsterdam.

History

Though the area of the Netherlands now known as Amsterdam was first settled over 4600 years ago, it wasn’t until late 12th or early 13th century that the dam after which the city is named was built in the Amstel river. After the city was given town privileges in the 13th century, it also gained the right to put up defences including moats. These first defensive moats are the origins of the Amsterdam canals.

As the city grew, the defensive moats became part of the city and new moats were dug, increasing the number of canals in the city. The city’s grandest canals were created in the 17th century. As trade grew exponentially during the Dutch Golden Age, the county’s capital needed to grow too. This lead to the creation of the Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht and Singel.

Canal belt

The Amsterdam canal belt is a system of streets, quays, bridges, and buildings on fairly identical plots of equal length with enclosed courtyards around the four grand canals, which run parallel to each other from the Brouwersgracht to the Amstel river.

The canal belt was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 1 August 2010, which made it the ninth UNESCO site in the Netherlands. The canal belt made the list because it met three criteria to do so. It represents a masterpiece of human creative genius, it exhibits an important interchange of human values, and it is an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble which illustrates significant stages in human history.

Fun facts

These days there are over 160 canals in Amsterdam with a length of over 100 kilometres, or 60 miles. The city is home to over 1900 bridges, which combined with the waterways have given the city the nickname ‘Venice of the north’. The canals separate the city into 90 different islands and give room to around 3000 houseboats.

Today the water in the Amsterdam canals is cleaner than ever, especially as they were once used as garbage dumps. Every year the city removes between 12,000 and 15,000 bikes from the water and the cleaner water has resulted in several different kind of aquatic life settling in the city, including 20 different kinds of fish and crabs.

Amsterdam Light Festival

The Amsterdam Light Festival latest edition was in the winter of 2019-2020. Beautiful light installations coloured the water and transformed Amsterdam into a city of light. With a boat trip of LOVERS canal cruises you'll see the city as you've never seen it before.

See the beautiful artworks of the Amsterdam Light Festival 2019 - 2020.

The theme of the Amsterdam Light festival 2019-2020 is 'Disrupt'. Several international artists will show their interpretation of this theme in dozens of works of art in the Dutch capital. Are you curious what form these light installations take? Discover them from the front row with a cruise along the route of the Amsterdam Light Festival 2019-20120 During our professional boat trips with audio guide you will learn all about the light installations and the artists. Because the boat trip takes place in the evening, you combine it perfectly with a visit to the other sights in the city during the day.

Discover the oasis of light in the capital

It promises to be another dazzling edition, bringing an oasis of light into the dark winter months. Experience it up close with your family and friends or plan a romantic date with your partner. Book your tickets directly online and experience the Amsterdam Light Festival 2019 - 2020 from a warm and comfortable boat. Do you have any questions? Check out our special Amsterdam Light Festival FAQ.