SAIL Amsterdam is one of the biggest attractions in Amsterdam, cruising into the city every five years. In August 2025 an entire flotilla of tall ships and many other special boats and vessels sail along the River IJ before docking near the city centre.
Historic ships in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has always been a city with water close to its heart. The rivers IJ and Amstel
, as well as its historic canals,
played a major role in its unique urban development over the centuries. And the city has played a huge part in international maritime over the centuries, too. So whenever SAIL Amsterdam
comes around, hundreds of thousands gather to wave in the ships sailing into the city, as well as to experience maritime-themed performances and concerts, and lap up the chance to climb aboard both the old and new ships. The first SAIL was in 1975. Forty years later in 2015, more than 600 ships
sailed into the North Sea Canal to moor in Amsterdam’s IJhaven. With the SAIL Amsterdam Foundation always trying to better the last event, expect even more in 2020.
Fantastic entertainment for the whole family
There's so much to see and do during SAIL Amsterdam. Throughout the event, the city centre area will be split into zones or 'Oceans', each hosting themed events, so even if you aren't out on the water, there's lots to do. New in 2015 was the cultural programme at the SAIL Music Marina
, including concerts by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
and a host of pop acts. What's more, the night programmes close with a spectacular fireworks show.
City centre accessibility
SAIL Amsterdam is one of the biggest events in the city. Due to the influx of visitors and special activities, some traffic flows and public transport connections will be slightly altered during the event.