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"Avoid canal tours with Rederij Plas!" Canal Boat Tours Tip by dbown2

Canal Boat Tours, Amsterdam: 192 reviews and 310 photos

I am not here to unduly discredit this company, but as a traveler I feel it is my civic duty to recount the astonishing events which recently transpired in its services. As a wildlife biologist from Canada I was recently in Amsterdam at the tail end of a European tour. Along with me were my two travelling partners and their 14-year-old son. It was the evening of Wednesday, May 19, 2010, and we were discussing the possibility of a canal boat tour. We all agreed it would be fun but that unless the vessel was open-air we might prefer to walk given the exceptionally good weather. We thus approached employees of Rederij Plas at about 7:45pm and inquired as to whether we would be able to sit outside during their canal boat tour. They said we could sit on the roof of the boat but that we would have to duck when crossing under bridges. It sounded like fun so we embarked; however once underway we learned from the captain that sitting up top was prohibited. We were naturally a little disappointed but we made the most of the voyage, which incidentally was advertised as 1-hour but ended at around 45 minutes. Upon our return at 8:40pm I asked an employee why he had said we could sit outside when he clearly must have known this was not true. He just shrugged his shoulders and gave me a strange look of contempt. I then asked if he thought it was a good policy to misguide his clients. He looked at me mockingly, said I was crazy for thinking I could sit outside on the boat, and that I could make a complaint if I wanted but it wouldn’t amount to anything. Unsure if I liked how I was being treated, I approached the office window hoping for reassurement that it was all just a simple misunderstanding. Something was spoken in Dutch by the tall, dark-haired employee I had been talking to, and a large surly man who I took to be the manager came to the window. Before I could say a single word he began to tell me what any normal person should think or know in a very condescending and disrespectful manner. I told him I knew nothing of canal boating, that I was merely a passing tourist who had presumed that he and his employees were experts and would provide me with the correct information. He told me I was crazy, that I must be high, and that I could write to the address on the pamphlet if I wanted but it wouldn’t change anything. He began seething in disgust and saying how little time he had for the likes of me. I was shocked and amazed and a little outraged by this turn of events but I remained calm and attempted once more to reason with him. He began shaking his fist at my face so I stopped and very clearly asked him if he was threatening me. He told me to get the hell off his dock and, insulted, I tossed the pamphlet back at him as he slammed the window down. He then went into a rage and came storming out the office door toward me. I was dumbfounded! When I turned to evaluate the situation I was checked by the tall, dark-haired fellow I had spoken with before, now accompanied by his lighter-haired partner, both tall, young, in sailor-style uniform, and clearly employees of the company. They stood looming over me grinning as though ready to pounce. When the manager reached me he was in an agitated rage, his fists gesticulating at my head. With little other choice I stood my ground and calmly asked him if he was sincerely about to hit me. Still yelling, he then grabbed my arm and started forcing me back toward the sidewalk. I told him to take his hands off me but he did not comply. I managed to wreathe free at this point and take a jumping step back, which he followed with a kick to my upper leg and a hooking punch that missed my head by about 2 inches. At this point there seemed to exist some invisible threshold between the sidewalk and the dock that the employees would not readily pass, as though somehow it was okay to beat up their clients within the confines of their proper business but not outside. Several clients waiting for the next tour stood by watching, and the dark-haired young man I initially spoke with began telling them how crazy I was for thinking I could sit on the boat, as though it somehow justified all this brouhaha. Ironically, they seemed to find it all quite amusing. I was told by the remaining young blond employee to “go back to whatever country I came from”. Bewildered and practically unsure if I was still on the same planet, I asked this man if in fact he and his counterparts were Dutch, a people I was led to believe were quite polite and reasonable and who loved Canadians. At this prompt he sneered in disgust and made a jumping snap kick about 3 inches from my head. He taunted me with a slur implying I was homosexual and he told me to “go smoke another joint”. There was nothing I could do but shake my head in amazement and wonder what the world had come to.

It would be an understatement to say that my European holiday was tainted by the true events I have described. It is an absolute mystery to me how an established business operating in an international tourist destination such as Amsterdam can condone such reckless and lawless behaviour. I have since filed an official complaint with the tourism agency of Amsterdam, but it is not a governing body and can only investigate and attempt to reconcile. I have submitted my complaint to the company directly via e-mail, but since it appears to be locally operated from the docks at Damrak I am inclined to believe that such efforts are futile.

Understandably, based on personal experience I would not recommend Rederij Plas to anyone under any circumstances whatsoever.

Address: Damrak steigers 1-2-3
Directions: south of Central Station
Phone: +31 20 624 7635

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 31, 2010
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