The origin of Damsterveer and Leutje Damsterveer.
Most people are not aware of this fact, but the town centre of Appingedam is surrounded by water. Some might remember the old days, when the winters were spend iceskating on the frozen canals that form the waterways of Appingedam. The Damsterdiep runs through the old town centre, while the Nieuwediep, as the name suggests, was dug around the original inner city. Besides, there is the possibility to reach the Eemskanaal and the Schildmeer, via the Groeve, and other surrounding villages via the Maren. Due to the development of the Overdiep plan, the waterways offer countless possibilities, partly facilitated by the increased tourism in the area.
In 2014, the idea of a canal touring boat sprung into existence in the minds of a few inhabitants of Appingedam, as it would complement charm and vibrance of the city.
It only took a short time for a board to form and to get started on this project. A boat was found in Giethoorn, perfectly fitting the image of Appingedam. Within three weeks, an amount of 54.000,- euros was made available, via an issued certificate. In the meantime, around twenty skippers had volunteered to man the canal touring boat. The VVV was approached to make agreements, in regard to the sale of tickets and arrangements. A sailing schedule was created, including a tour through the ancient town centre and passing the famous “hanging kitchens” of Appingedam amongst others. One of the skippers took it upon himself to create a timetable, scheduling all skippers according to their availabilities. As April 2014 began, the Damsterveer drew the attention of the public and the media greatly, by sailing to the Appingedam marina, its berth, through the canals of Appingedam.
This canal touring boat has proven its added value countless times, nowadays it’s impossible to imagine the boat not sailing across the waterways in and around Appingedam.
Annually, around 5000 passengers board the canal touring boat, enjoying various tours, including trips around the old town centre of Appingedam and trips across the Damsterdiep or the Maren. The Damsterveer also plays an important role during special events, for example during the annual Coopluydenmarkt, the Festival: Back to the Beginning and the Sea and Folksong Festival: Bie Daip.
Moreover, the boat is an important factor during a numerous events throughout the year, like the exhibition “Jan Brons is Terug”, where the Damsterveer sailed a little under 700 people to the event grounds at Lange Rijp, from the city centre of Appingedam, or the time the canal tour boat functioned as a shuttle service to Delfzijl during Delfsail.
And all this is made possible thanks to an enthusiastic group of volunteers, who to this day are still passionate about the project! The canal touring boat also collaborates with a number of local businesses and food service establishments, various arrangements with canal tours and services provided by these establishments can be booked at the VVV.
Besides the Damsterveer, the boat covered by a roof, we now have Leutje Damsterveer, a smaller canal touring boat without a roof.
The Damsterveer can accommodate 46 people, while the Leutje Damsterveer can only fit 12 people. The Leutje Damsterveer is an excellent boat to take the canal tour with, a benefit of this boat is that it can fit underneath the bridges. However, the passengers do have to duck or sit on the bottom of the boat when passing these bridges and the Leutje Damsterveer is therefore not suitable for less agile people.