Dutch barge

14 August 2018

Many different boats come under the heading ‘Dutch Barge’. But what are their characteristics? How do you identify them? Band of Boats invites you to discover these atypical launches…

1. Why are they called ‘Dutch Barges’?

Simply because these boats have been built mainly in Holland, and sometimes in Belgium, for nearly 40 years.

Aft cabin Dutch barges:

These boats have the same main characteristics:

  • Length from 8 to 20 m
  • Steel hull
  • Aluminium superstructure
  • Generous living space

Dutch barges are highly sought after in the second-hand market because of their build quality and long working life. Watch out for them: you will probably spot more and more of them on the canals and rivers of France.

You will see two different types of aft cabin Dutch barge: the “river” version and the “maritime” version. The first has moderate engine power, and the second is used in a more versatile way, requiring a compartment that is well insulated from engine noise.
Note that single-engine river launches need a bow thruster to manoeuvre more easily.

2. Where to find them?

Certain boatyards are specialists. Here are the main ones: LINSSEN, AQUANAUT, PEDRO BOATS, SMELNE, HOLLANDIA, PROACIA.
According to your budget, there are several possibilities:

• For a new purchase above €300,000, contact the relevant boatyard directly.
• For a second-hand purchase (€200,000 to €250,000), specialist brokers will be best able to inform you.
• To purchase an older vessel from one of the well-regarded smaller boatyards, some of which are unfortunately gone now, search the many classified ads on line. The advertised prices are often negotiable, within reason. Take a look at our ads; maybe there’s a Dutch barge in there.

3. What budget should you allow for a used boat?

It is hard to give you a price because it varies according to the equipment and any potential refit. For example, a 10-m boat with complete refit will be listed at €30,000 to €40,000 according to its age.


Tjalks are for lovers of the “clogs” that used to be used for transportation. These are flat-bottomed boats equipped with external side daggerboards and fore-and-aft rigging.
The spacious living quarters are in the hold, with only a few portholes to see out of. Some have glazed superstructures and have been beautifully decorated by their owners for recreational boating.
You will cut a dashing figure sailing in this type of boat. Particularly when passing under a bridge, where lowering the mast with a winch becomes highly relevant. A manoeuvre that you can perform alone: yes!
Of course, tacking is sometimes accompanied by power.

Band of Boats advice:

  • You must sail carefully when the daggerboards are lowered (check the draught).
  • The addition of sails can provide fuel savings, especially when sailing downwind, and provides for less rolling in estuaries.

There are several associations europewide that will help you share this type of sailing.

Enjoy this unusual type of sailing through magnificent canals!