Into the deep with an Amsterdam submarine


The ultimate bucket list thing-to-do for houseboat fans


Here is a bucket-list-thing you did not even know it existed: make a dive with a real submarine into the deep just 20 minutes away from Amsterdam city centre. A truly unforgettable expierence in the chrystal clear waters of the 'Vinkeveense Plassen', world famous lakes just around the corner of Amsterdam. Get on board with captain Emile van Essen and you will know what it is like to be a fish, floating free and see something new every minute that you slide through this amazing underwater world.


Submarine Amsterdam Vinkeveen

Front view of the NordicSub surmarine in Vinkeveen near Amsterdam. (photo: Sander van de Heijden)


Juul Steyn, co-founder of Bookahouseboat, was surprised by his fiancee who gave a 1,5 hour trip as a present for his 40th birthday. It turned out to be the best present he had in years. "I just could not believe that I was actually really going under water, untill the hatch was closed and the air tanks were emptied. Within a few seconds we were off, into the great unknown. Truly an amazing experience." 


Houseboat fanatics Juul (right) and his fiancee Iris had the dive of their lives.

Juul Steyn (right) and his fiancee Iris had the journey of their lives with the NordicSub submarine in Vinkeveen, just 20 minutes away from Amsterdam. (photo: Juul steyn/Bookahouseboat)


The fish showed who was in charge: not us


The trip was extra special for Juul because he is an avind angler, used to target fish from his boat, with a rod and reel. Not in a submarine, only a camera at hand. But he did not miss his rod for a single moment, not even when they hit a school of over-sized zander. "I will never forget the moment when we struck gold: about 15 - 20 zander patrolling a sandy hill about 8 meters under the surface. The fish were not afraid of us in the least. On the contrary: they swam towards us and looked us right in the eyes, checking out if we were a threat or not. Apparently not, the fish did not move from their territory and clearly showed who was in charge."


Submarine Amsterdam

The 'Drebbel', as de submarine of NordicSub is called, in her full glory. (photo: Case Kassenberg)


From houseboat to submarine


Steyn spends most of his time on the water: he lives on a floating home in Amsterdam, and when he's not working for, he is most likely to be fishing. But, he had to confess, it's quite a step into the deep when you move from your 'safe' houseboat life to a real submarine. "Frightening is not the right word, but it's exciting for sure. Just imagine what would happen if the engines fail, or you get stuck somehow. I was reassured by the captain who ensured all was more than safe. And I must say it really feels super safe. There is permanent radio contact with the mother-boat floating right above you. And taken into account that this submarine can go as deep as 400 meters, it is reassuring that we would go no deeper than 15 meters. And most important: only minutes after we had submberged I was totally overwhelmed about the beauty of the beauty that this under water world has to offer. And when we hit two giant pikes at the end of our tour, I knew it just would not get any better. This was just amazing, never to forget!"


Duikboot Vinkeveen

After 90 minutes the amazing journey is over and the captain drives the submarine into the harbor of Vinkeveen. (photo: Juul Steyn/Bookahouseboat)


Below: impression of a dive with submarine NordicSub by Jaap Jonk.


What: Make a tour with a real submarine near Amsterdam

For who: every houseboat fan that is not claustrophobic 

Website (Dutch only, but the owners speak English)


Website captain and constructor Emile van Essen:

Call: +31(0)297 212 285