The harbour town of Harlingen is expecting up to 200,000 people for the finale of the Tall Ship Races on Friday. Omrop Fryslân has put together a guide for how visitors can make the most of this spectacular sailing event.
Translation by Traci White
What is the Tall Ships Race?
It’s an annual sailing event that has been held since 1991 and is held in the waters near different European cities each year. The tall ships have to be at least 9.4 meters long, and the participating vessels are intended for training purposes. The journey includes two racing legs and a “cruise in company” portion where the ships simply cruise through the water together. The race is meant to encourage international camaraderie and an educational opportunity for participants, but spectators enjoy watching the beautiful ships with their sails hoisted as they come near land. Ships and crews participating in the race this year hail from Russia, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, India, Spain, Norway, Poland, Finland, France, Belgium, Portugal, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark and Sweden.
How often is Harlingen involved in the event?
The last time that Harlingen took part in the race was in 2014, when it served as the starting point for the journey though Frederikstad and Bergen in Norway and finished off in Esbjerg in Denmark. This year’s route will start out in Sunderland in the United Kingdom, then pass by Esbjerg, Stavanger in Norway and complete the nautical journey in the Frisian city of Harlingen.
When will the Tall Ships be in Harlingen?
The ships should all be arriving in Harlingen on Friday, 3 August during a sail in event, which will be a nautical parade where each vessel will arrive one by one. The sail in should start around noon and should last until around 6 p.m. The ships will remain in Harlingen until 11 a.m. on Monday morning, at which point they will sail back out during another processional event. The event’s organisers have created an interactive map for visitors to see where each individual ship is and when it is expected to arrive. As of Tuesday afternoon, most of the ships are located off the coast of south of Norway.
What else is there to do in Harlingen during the event?
From food trucks to the Lan fan Taal Language Caravan, there are plenty of other activities going on in Harlingen during the weekend of the race. A Ferris wheel has also been set up near the harbour for an even more spectacular view of the ships. There will be a parade for all the crew members through the city and an awards ceremony at The Harbour Stage in the Wilems harbour on Saturday, and the Talentstage will features musicians from Harlingen on Monday. There will also be a vintage market – Happy Lifestyle Markt – on Saturday, and a fireworks show on Friday evening.
Photo source: Wikipedia