In the Golden Age of the 17th Century, the Vecht became the go-to spot for successful Amsterdam traders to build lavish country homes. Today you can view these beautiful estates on the water during our Rederij Belle cruises on the Vecht from Muiden, through Weesp and Nigtevegt to Vreeland.
The medieval Muiden Castle guards the mouth of the Vecht. This fortress has four large towers and is surrounded by ramparts as well as a moat with a drawbridge. Inside the walls lies the castle itself and lush gardens. As you sail near the castle, you pass the great sea locks of Muiden. Here you can also dock, if you wish, and enjoy a spectacular view over the canal from the terrace of the famous Café Ome Ko. When the lock is open, you can watch all the boats as they pass through.
Before and after the lock you will see classic sailing boats heading to and from the IJsselmeer and the Wadden Sea. As you leave Muiden, you will pass Fort H which was once part of the Fortress Muiden built in the late 1800’s and is today a popular restaurant and marina. This is also a fantastic boarding location option.
In Weesp you will pass the tower fortress on the Ossenmarkt and, a few kilometres further down the beautiful meandering Vecht, Fort Uitermeer. Both forts were part of the Dutch Water Line and later of the Stelling van Amsterdam. Fort Uitermeer protected the railroad from Amersfoort to Amsterdam and the road from Hilversum to Weesp.
Past the forts, you will sail towards Nigtevecht. A few kilometres down the river you will see Spiegelplas, a recreational lake famous for swimming and diving in the summer. As you continue, you will pass Zwaanwijck, a Neo-Renaissance-style mansion. The house is surrounded by a beautiful garden with many different species of trees. At the most-southern point of the grounds is a lavish tea pavilion.
Finally you will arrive in Nigtevecht, which was first settled in 1281. The village is built on a bend of the Vecht River in an ancient river dune. You will continue on towards Vreeland and pass the Willigen Cheese Farm. This is an excellent time to stop for a piece of cheese or an ice cream cone. The farm also offers meeting space and overnight accommodations.
At Vreeland, the Vecht makes a wide arc around the village and then, suddenly, the river is sailing straight and narrow. Vreeland is surrounded by several lakes and within the village you will find various walking and cycling routes. In addition, this town is home to the hotel-restaurant De Nederlanden, one of the finest in the area; here we often pick up guests or let them disembark to enjoy the town.