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