Muzing on the ferry over the River IJ

Who pays the ferryman? It’s a question many a passenger asks on the boat to North Amsterdam. But there is no fee, the crossing is free – both ways.

Seagull flies past Photo: Michiel Bles of Blessed Shots

Seagull flies past Photo: Michiel Bles of Blessed Shots

Amsterdam harbour is a busy shipping lane, but there is still time to muze on the bridge of the ferry.

Praying on the bridge Photo: Michiel Bles of Blessed Shots

Praying on the bridge Photo: Michiel Bles of Blessed Shots

 

Michiel Bles of Blessed Shots photographed the pilots, who take thousands of passengers across the River IJ every day. Usually the passengers do not see what is going on up on the bridge.

Ferry woman Photo: Michiel Bles of Blessed Shots

Ferry woman Photo: Michiel Bles of Blessed Shots

 

In the past, the ferry has inspired radio makers, photographers and writers.  When I first moved to North Amsterdam 20 years ago, journalists asked northerners for their opinions on current affairs in the early morning programme De Pont. Now IJ-brekers makes videos on the ferry crossing with professional pessimist  Maarten Van Rossum and interviewer Wijnand Speelman. During 24hr Amsterdam last October, Ilovenoord took revellers on a Vanishing Ferry on that inbetween hour when the clocks turn back.

Ferries have something mystical about them. What’s on the other side? When can I get back? They sail to and fro night and day. Sometimes they are very busy, seldom are they empty.

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North Amsterdammers love and hate the ferry. We love the ferrymen when they let you on when you are too late, we hate it when we just miss the boat. The river separates us from the city centre, the ferry binds us together. It’s part of our every day lives and therefore of our identities.

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Ferryman Photo: Michiel Bles of Blessed Shots

Ferryman Photo: Michiel Bles of Blessed Shots

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Ferry timetables

Countdown to next crossing Pontveer.nl 

 


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