Let me start by stating an absolute truth: I have always been hopelessly in love with the Amsterdam canals. I rarely cross a bridge without looking left or right to admire the view. They really define the city for me. And all these beautiful houses looking over these fabulous waterways. What to joy to see! I often wonder if, in the 17th century, the people who expanded Amsterdam thought, ‘Wow, this is actually really pretty! One day people will come here just to see what we have built and marvel at its wonder!’ And they did…..
To my mind, there is no better way to see Amsterdam in its full glory than from the water. Over the years I must have been on well over 100 canal cruises, boats tours, or private tours. I have loved them all. I cannot help but marvel at the sheer beauty of this city. I totally get it why tourists look amazed during the tour, especially if it is their first time in Amsterdam. I also ask people who have lived here all their lives if they too find it a beautiful city. They often say yes, they do find it beautiful, but do not seem as convinced as I am. I get it, it’s their ‘normal’ and it is my ‘AMAZING!!!’….
A friend recently recommended the tours with Those Dam Boat Guys, as they said the skippers were really funny. I thought I would try that. So, one fresh and crisp late Winter afternoon in February, I jumped on board. The boats a really cute and can have up to 11 people on them plus the skipper. I use the word skipper, but he is also our guide. On that day it was a guy called Joe, originally from Australia. There were 7 others that trip, mostly all from NYC or New York State.
As I said earlier, I love the canals and I am always on the lookout for more insights and information about them. Well, Joe really knows his stuff. During the tour, he constantly shared his deep knowledge about the canals. He gave us so much context and history. I could see the Americans were lapping it up, but so was I and I thought I knew a lot about the canals. Clearly not enough! Joe calmly floated us around the canals and was peppered with questions from all sides, which he ably dealt with. It wasn’t only all about the insights. Joe is a really funny guy. He kept us laughing all the time with his stories and quips. I had heard that about the tours and it was true. They are a really good laugh.
So, I can definitely recommend the tour for people like me who have lived here for years and, of course for all the guests visiting us expats in Amsterdam all year long. Sadly, but understandably, the government recently closed down all boat tours due to the Corona Virus. It got me thinking though about how all these small companies will survive the crisis. I mean, how long will it last ? How long can these small companies hold on while closed? The government says that they will make provisions to help, but I think we all know that tough times are ahead.
A future Canal Tour – So I rang the owners at Those Dam Boat Guys and asked them what people can do to help. They are optimistic that boat tours will resume some time later this year. If people want to help them get through these tough times, they are selling Boat Bonds. The idea is a simple one, but the effect can be massive. You get a group of friends together who are interested in going on a boat tour, but there is no date. You contact TDBG and make a booking and pay. You will then receive your Boat Bond for the tour. It will take place at an unspecified, but safe date in the future.
We live in uncertain times that have just recently become full of doom and gloom. But as China has shown, this will not last forever and can be beaten. I am in a social group called the Amsterdam Papas. We are all family guys with kids and we have regular meet-ups for drinks and socialising. I asked the Papas if they would like to pay forward a trip with TDBG and soon enough a group of 15 (and growing) got together and bought our Boat Bond for a future canal tour . Not only are we helping a small local business get through these difficult times, it also gives us something to look forward too.
Boat Bonds are valid forever, so there is not a cut off date. Also, both Private & Public tour bonds can be purchased. Boat Bonds get 20% off the usual purchase price.
It is important to send out a message of hope in these days, so that’s what we did.
A future Canal Tour – For Boat Bonds, simply give them a ring on 020 210 1669
or send and email to :