What you need to know about the new ferry route between Norway and the Netherlands

Later this week Holland Norway Lines will launch a new route between Kristiansand and Groningen. Here's what you need to know about the new travel link.

The new route will run between Kristiansand and Groningen. Pictured is a ferry near Drøbak.
Here's what you need to know about the ferry route between Norway and the Netherlands. Pictured is a ferry in Drøbak. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Holland Norway Lines will run a new route between Kristiansand, southern Norway, and Eemshaven, Groningen, the Netherlands, three days a week from Friday, April 8th 2022, the beginning of the Easter holidays in Norway. 

“We are bringing Europe closer to Kristiansand and southern Norway,” Bart Cunnen, managing director of Holland Norway Lines, said in a press release

The route will provide a new option for those who want to travel between western and northern Europe without flying. 

The ferry will take 18 hours, departing from Kristiansand at 3pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

For trips into Norway, services leave the Netherlands at 3pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. One way trips for two travellers departing from Kristiansand currently start from €150 for a standard ticket or €210 for the same number of passengers but with a car and a flexible ticket. You can take a look at the tickets here

The route will shorten travel times for those who want to drive between the UK and Norway. Since 2008 there has not been a direct ferry link between the two countries. 

Eemshaven is also just a two-hour drive from Amsterdam, six hours from Berlin and seven from Paris. 

Holland Lines Norway has chartered the cruise ferry Romantika from the Tallink Grupp for the route. 

The Romantika has 700 cabins and a capacity for 1,500 passengers and 350 cars. The boat was previously used on the Riga-Stockholm route. 

“Romantika will be among the leading cruise ferries operating in Norwegian waters. We look forward to showing the ship in Kristiansand,” managing director Cunnen said. 

Synnøve Elisabeth Aabrekk, general manager of USUS, a business cluster for cultural and tourism companies in southern Norway, said that the new route could boost tourism in the area. 

“There is a lot of focus on the European market. And with this route, we believe more people from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and France will be able to discover southern Norway,” Aabrekk told public broadcaster NRK.

Kristiansand is a popular destination for tourists due to its beaches, summer weather, zoo and theme park. 

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SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

More than 3,700 flights where cancelled and 380,000 passengers where affected by the 15-day strike which hit Scandinavia's SAS airline last month, the company has revealed.

SAS strike affected 380,000 passengers in July

“We sincerely apologize to our customers who were affected by the July strike,” Anko van der Werff, the company’s chief executive, said in a press release. “We are happy operations returned to normality again allowing us to start regaining our customers’ trust.”

According to the release, 1.3 million passengers travelled with the airline in July, which was still a 23 percent increase on the same month last year, when Covid-19 restrictions were still reducing tourism levels.

“In comparison with last month, the total number of passengers decreased with 32 percent and capacity was decreased by 23 percent, which was a result from the 15-day pilot strike,” the release read. 

Pilot unions in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, went on strike for 15 days last month over pay, conditions, and the company’s refusal to rehire pilots laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic on the same terms as before. 

The strike, which cost the airline between €9m and €12m a day, was ended on July 19th, after which it took several days to get flights back to normal

Van der Werff said company said it would now continue putting in place its restructuring plan, SAS FORWARD, and push ahead with restructuring in the US, where the company has filed for Chapter 11. 

He said these would both “accelerate the transformation process that will lead to a financially stable airline, that will be able to deliver the service our customers are expecting”.