MBRC 2024 visit to ARZV, Alkmaar

20th February, 2024

Many of you will know that the city of Bath is twinned with Alkmaar in Holland. The history of this is wonderful and survived for over 75 years. You can find out all about it here.

The rowing clubs or Minerva Bath and ARZV are part of this twinning and have, for over 25 years, arranged exchange visits and races, to Alkmaar in April for their AA race and to England in October.

The weekend is open to all squads, to partners, juniors, parents, no matter your rowing experience, in fact rowing is not something you need to do, you can just come along for the fantastic beer and cycling!! But the rowing and racing is fun, the club and the boats are fantastic and the welcome from the Dutch is unparalleled, they are amazing hosts.

There are a couple of options if you’d like to come

  • You can stay with a lovely host family (other rowers from ARZV) who are very welcoming and will provide lunches/breakfasts during your stay. We just let ARZV know who can come and they pair up hosts with guests.
  • There are numerous hotels/apartments/airbnbs in Alkmaar that you can stay in if you or your crew prefer to be more independent.

To give you an idea of how the weekend is:


  • Travel to Amsterdam (arrange yourselves) and pick up a train from Amsterdam to Alkmaar – very easy. You can get to Amsterdam or Alkmaar early if you want to and can and explore for the rest of the day.
  • At Alkmaar our hosts organise bicycle hire and we collect them on arrival (your weekend transport). Bags will be collected by an ARZV member.
  • Head to the ARZV rowing club together for drinks and supper in the clubhouse and meet the hosts. Club beers, by the way, are super cheap!
  • Head back to your hosts house to settle in, or head out into town and enjoy the Alkmaar nightlife.


  • Optional rowing training in the morning for any crews who want race practice for the Sunday. For non rowers, enjoy and explore the town, the cafes, museums and canals and windmills.
  • An event, organised by our hosts with lunch (If you are staying with an ARZV member) and transport organised. In the past this has included leisure motor boats down the canal (ringing for an ice cream from your boat along the way) and a picnic out or learning to cook.
  • Dutch food at a cookery school or a visit to the cheese museum.
  • An evening meal at a local restaurant.


  • The big race day! The AA race – 4km, still-water canal head race.
  • Afternoon at the club with bar, BBQ , live music.
  • Farewell evening and presentations at the club. This includes the much coveted ‘shield’ trophy to see which club has won (based on some very questionable calculations). There is also a chance to win the wooden spoon, a highly contested prize for the biggest faux pas made during the weekend visit.

Sunday or Monday

  • Travel back to the UK at your own pace, returning your bicycles to the station, and making your way back to the airport via train.

What you need to do

As you can imagine organising anything like this requires a fair bit of work so here’s the boring bit, what you need to do:

  1. If wanting to stay with hosts please confirm by March 10th
  2. Book your own flights
  3. If staying in hotel or AirBnB book that yourself
  4. If wanting to race you can either form a scratch crew based on others going or a set crew if you know your whole crew is going.

We will need to arrange boats with ARZV so knowing this as early as possible is good. There have been some great fun scratch Minerva crews in the past – any boat almost is possible, the 8s most fun probably.

Want to know more? Get in touch with Laura Cowan.

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