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SAIL Amsterdam is one of the biggest attractions in Amsterdam and the greatest nautical spectacle in the world where scores of tall ships and hundreds of other historical ships gather along the river IJ for an amazing parade. The event is organized once every five years, usually between August 19 to August 23, during which the ships take part in various events such sailor choirs or re-enactments of naval battles. On the wharfs, the SAIL program organizes music and sporting events and children’s activities, and spectacular fireworks shows at night. Aside from the participating ships, thousands of smaller yacht and boats filled with spectators join them creating a unique sight.

The event was first held in August 1975 under the name 'Sail Amsterdam 700' to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Amsterdam. At that time, interest in tall ships, which had sunk to a low since the 1930s when the last commercial tall ships had been built, was starting to rise. The success of Sail Amsterdam 700 led to the establishment of the Stichting Sail Amsterdam (SSA, Foundation Sail Amsterdam). Since then the SSA has been organizing the event every 5 years.

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As many as 8,000 boats gathered during SAIL Amsterdam 2000. Photo credit

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