Last weekend I was in Holland, and the weather was so good that we decided to go sailing on the lakes in Friesland (pictures see here). I love sailing, but did not do much sailing in the Netherlands over the past 10 years. I was surprised to see how things have changed in the mean time. It seems people’s wealth is really increasing, because a lot more people than before now own a boat. Several new harbors had been built to accommodate the new boats, and it was very busy in the canals that connect the lakes. In the past you were able to easily sail there, but it was now so busy that it was almost dangerous to sail against the wind (you have to cross the canal all the time in order to get to your destination). Furthermore I noticed the trend that many people now own a boat type called ‘Sloep’. This is an open motor boat, normally made of wood and with a luxurious-looking design (among others due to a thick rope all around the top part of the boat). 10 years ago you hardly ever saw a boat like this, now you see the boat type everywhere.
The boat owners normally don’t drive their boats very fast, it’s literally cruising down the canals and lakes while enjoying the scenery. It reminds me of people driving a convertible, for whom the trip is also more important than the destination. I guess it’s an easy choice to buy a sloep. You don’t need much knowledge to drive it, and you can pass below every bridge in the country. Would I buy one if I would live in Holland? Not sure, I prefer sailing myself. But if I would live along one of the canals or lakes in the Netherlands it is certainly something I would consider. But only after first owning both a sailing boat and a convertible!