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Other News May 14, 2023

Finally own berth and new research boat for clean-up canoe fleet!

The plastic spotter canoe fleet finally has its own official mooring and this was inaugurated for the first time on Sunday, May 7! With six dark green clean-up canoes and a research boat, the organization De Grachtwacht collects together with volunteers every Sunday garbage from the canal and does research on the waste.

Canoes had to disappear

In the summer of 2021, organizers Liselotte Rambonnet and Auke-Florian Hiemstra were startled by a phone call from enforcement. Due to a change in regulations, canoes suddenly had to have a mooring permit. "Within two weeks they have to be out of the canal," was the announcement. A tweet from the organizers about the enforcement action then went viral: more than 2 million people read the message and within an hour they had journalists on the line. From newspapers like the Telegraph to the talk show table of Op1, the canoe dispute was the talk of the day.

Proposal accepted

A proposal by the Party for the Animals, on July 15, 2021, made that the temporary mooring would be tolerated while a permanent solution was sought. A large majority voted in favor of the motion. Only the VVD opposed it. Until a permanent solution was found, the canoes were allowed to remain. The research boat, which the municipality had first hoisted out of the canal, was also given a temporary place in front of the Lakenhal, courtesy of the Rembrandt shipping company.

Berth next to the Marebrug

In late 2022, it became final, the canoe fleet and boat were given a berth right next to the Marebrug and the bridge house, the headquarters of De Grachtwacht. Neighbors around the old and new berths were notified by letter and invited to an open house day at the bridge house. Since Sunday, May 7, the fleet has now officially moved and this was officially celebrated, with drinks on the boat of restaurant Holle Bolle Gijs, next to the new berth.

New research boat

Not only did the canoes move to the new berth, but a new research boat also joined the fleet on Sunday. When work on the earlier boat revealed that it could not be refurbished properly, volunteers kept their eyes open for a possible replacement. It soon became apparent that a friendly couple from Leiden was willing to donate an old aluminum boat, one that is about 50 years old and could last a very long time! This refurbisher was given a lot of sanding and painting by our team of clean-up volunteers over the past few months and transformed into a beautiful research vessel. Accompanying the canoes with a boat allows for much more trash to be collected per clean-up. Each time a canoe is full, the garbage bags can be transferred onto the boat.


The official berth for the canoe fleet and the new research boat are great steps for The Canal Watch. Only the organization is still looking for funding to continue the weekly clean-ups and plastic research. Currently, the project depends entirely on donations. Donations can be made at