FAQ

1) What liquorice should I buy? ‘Drop’. Zoet = sweet; Zout = salted (avoid! like ammonia) But it is a taste I’m determined to acquire, inorder to understand the Dutch psyche!
2) What is the best clothing material to wear in Springtime? Wool. Everything.Every body part. Itchy and scratchy possibly.
3) How much does it cost to tie up a boat anywhere made of bricks or concrete? Between E1.16 and E1.25 per metre of boat, plus £1.25 tourist tax in various places 😦 I thought they’d be pleased we were here.
4. What time will I find everywhere shut? Lunchtime is 12 noon – 1pm. Don’t expect to obtain anything useful. Monday mornings are often a weekend extension and shops are often shut until 1pm.
5. Bridges- do they go up to let your boat through when you approach? Yes with the following exceptions- a) If it’s a rail bridge you have to wait until the trains aren’t due- talk to them on the VHF; b) If it’s the Verlaatsbrug on the way into Leeuwarden they may wait until the wind has given you a few anxious moments due to the giant Noah’s Ark construction (but maybe that’s just sour grapes on our part); c) If it’s between 12 and 1pm or maybe 4 – 6 pm or maybe 4:15 – 6:15 pm or possibly lots of other minor variations, seek advice or even the Water Almanac part II
6. Can I use Mastercard in the Netherlands? Don’t bank on it. Petrol stations on the main autoroutes, large supermarkets, probably no-where else. Use cash.
7. Can I use Maestro in the Netherlands? Everywhere! But the UK phased out Maestro and you won’t be able to get a Maestro credit card nowhere nohow.
8. What is the most dependable way to pay? Cash cash cash
9. Will my UK Vodofone data roam into the Netherlands? No
10. Is data cheap to buy in the Netherlands? Seriously no. It’s about E6 or E7 per GB (2017 prices).
11. How do I know where to tie up? There’s lot of places. Whereever you tie up, a Haven man or woman will appear shortly and tell you what you owe. The official passing-through tie-up places are called Passantenhaven but pretty much anywhere will turn out to be a place where you will be asked to pay the going fee. Quite right too.
12. Can I tie up my boat for nothing? C’mon! Often you can, until 4pm. Then you have to pay. So do the shopping, fill up with water (50c), have a shower (could be 50c), empty the toilet (in Leeuwarden you can use the normal toilets!), maybe buy some electricity (50c) then push off and tie up on a meer for free.
13. Will I get washed, yawed, rolled and pitched by the huge commercial barges? (I’m asking for a friend). No, they will pass you at a considerate speed and distance. (except on the Amsterdam-Rijn canal -D) Give them a cheery wave to say Dank u wall. However, the plastic boats are another matter…
14. What is the Dutch attitude to UK boaters, now we are trying to divorce the EU? They are unfailingly polite and helpful. If you allow them to, they will express sorrow and sympathy about the future plight of the UK. They will do this in almost perfect English btw.
15. Does ‘Freeview’ work in The NL?  No. Neither will iPlayer TV. Read books instead.
16. There are so many choices for milk in the supermarket. Which one should I buy? (asking for that friend again – I wish  he/she  get their own internet  connection)  Don’t buy Karnemelk!!! It’s ‘buttermilk’ and is another of those acqiured tastes for your cornflakes. However, in hot drinks, it curdles. Do not be embarrrassed about making this fundamental mistake more than once.
17. How many times will your wife fall over? (that friend again!). Usually multiple times, but only on dry land. On the water, she is as safe as anything (well, mine is anyway!).
18. I’ve heard some boats carry ‘sweetie tins’ (my friend again) Oh shut up!!!.Are they essential? Yes!!! In spades. You will need these to reward yourself after making stupid, but understandable errors (sheets, sails, navigation. wind direction etc. etc., cont p 94) but even more essentially, to reward helpful members of the public who catch lines, help you to ‘fend off’ and generally accept you as an member of the human race.
19. Is the 16A electrical connector the same as in English marinas? Yes, until  Brexit. After that – who knows?
20. Why won’t the water come out of the taps so I can replenish my tanks? Try putting 50 cents into the machine AND PRESSING THE BUTTON!!!

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