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DRIMMELEN | Not on holiday abroad, but on the water with your boat. The Netherlands has rediscovered water sports in Corona time. And the entrepreneurs in the ports have known that too.

Foto: Jachthaven Drimmelen aan de rand van de Biesbosch. © Pix4Profs / Joris Buijs


Bron: BN DeStem | © BN De Stem - Rijan van Leest 06-09-20

In March and April, the Drimmelen harbor area seemed almost deserted. De Zilvermeeuw did not sail, catering establishments, shops and camper pitches were closed and no passers-by visited the harbor.

"When the lockdown came in March, we had to close almost everything. The sanitary facilities, the camper park, the gas station, it all closed," says Renate Ilmer, Director of Jachthaven Biesbosch.

At the time, Ilmer could not have imagined that she would look back enthusiastically on the Drimmelen corona summer in September. "At the end of April we noticed that a few more passers-by came to our port. They had their own sanitary facilities with them, so they were allowed to stay here."


Around Ascension Day, Ilmer saw the crowds suddenly increase enormously. "It seemed to explode. It remained extremely busy until the last week of August and that demanded a lot from the team. I wanted to give everyone a place in our harbor and that was often quite a puzzle."

The harbors were packed and so Jachthaven Biesbosch unexpectedly achieved the goal of full occupation in the high season. "We have never experienced that in the 51 years that the marina has existed. We now have a waiting list for permanent berths."

The summer pressure does not make up for the lack of income in March and April, but Ilmer is not so concerned. "Our aim was to become a residential port. We succeeded. This year, the passers-by have discovered that they do not need to be bored here, which is good for all entrepreneurs in the port. We will reap the benefits in the coming years. "

Supermarket Indispensable

According to Ilmer, the development of Drimmelen into a residential port has taken off since there is a supermarket in the port area. "People used to transport people to Willemstad for their groceries. We only saw them on the way back. Now that we have the Spar here since last year, the passers-by stay longer in our port. Certainly now that they have less access to the catering industry and this year. the supermarket is therefore indispensable for cooking more often. "

More visitors and they stayed longer

In August, 760 passers-by stayed with their boat in Jachthaven Biesbosch. An increase of more than thirty percent compared to the same month in 2019.

August had a total of 2,784 nights, an average of 3.7 nights per passer-by. Last year passers-by stayed an average of 3.1 nights in Drimmelen.

Jachthaven Biesbosch has 1400 berths.

"It has indeed been busier than last year," says Koen van Grootel, owner of the Spar supermarket. "The average amount that customers spent in the store was also slightly higher than last year. We are satisfied with this growth, but more turnover is needed in the longer term."


Due to the corona crisis, the supermarket could not open until May. "As a result, we missed spring in Drimmelen again. Next year we hope to be able to open around Easter, so that we can run the first full season here."

More boat rentals

Boat rental companies have also had some lucrative months. "During the high season it was not much busier than usual, but the spring brought us a lot more turnover. May in particular was a great month with about 30 percent more rental," says boat rental Tony van den Diepstraten.

Yet he does not consider himself rich. "We are very dependent on the weather here. If it rains from now until October, we have not had a special year."

Corona and the accompanying measures made him decide to keep his café on the Oude Haven still closed. "I take it very seriously. We also live in this building ourselves and I do not want to take any risks. Fortunately we were able to make this choice financially."

This summer Van den Diepstraten gained a lot of insight into the future of his company. Boat rental proves to be viable even during a pandemic.


Bron: BN DeStem | © BN De Stem - Rijan van Leest 06-09-20

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