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Experience an out-of-this-world hideaway just moments from (and high above) the heart of historic Harlingen!

Is it a spaceship? Is it a spider? Is it a sea creature emerging from the Wadden Sea? No, it's the Harbour Crane!

The moment you set eyes on the Harbour Crane, you'll quickly see how it earned its many nicknames. ‘The Spider', ‘Blue Head' and ‘Long William' just about sum up this 1967 Figee level luffing shipyard crane! Standing 17 metres above the pier, a sea-blue compartment sits atop four grey legs, overseeing the comings and goings of the Harlingen harbour on the north Netherlands coast. And to top it off, its colossal white jib stretches an almighty 45 metres into the air!

Until 1996, this steel giant unloaded timber freight brought to the Dutch shores by Russian and Scandinavian ships. However, following an incredible transformation, it now offers some of Friesland's most unusual holiday accommodation - an imaginative bolthole for two in the former crane itself!

But how do you get inside? A question well asked, and quickly answered once you spot the first of the Harbour Crane's two specially designed lifts! The first takes you up to a platform between the crane's spider-like legs, while the second whooshes you up into the belly of the machine room.

Once inside, you'll discover a fantastic living and sleeping area. With a futuristic feel, red walls, blue accents and tube lights create an industrial yet homely space to enjoy. Relax back together on the super stylish Charles Eames chairs and take in that sensational view of the Wadden Sea. Given the clever configuration of the room, you'll even be able to enjoy those vistas from your wonderfully comfy double bed, topped in timeless black linen.

You'll also find a large shower (big enough for two!) in this contemporary capsule, while your finger will be firmly on the pulse with touch-screen lighting and audio-visual electronics.

There's one more surprise though, and you simply mustn't leave the Harbour Crane until you've given it a whirl - quite literally! From the machine room, a small staircase takes you to the cabin, the crane's former ‘operations hub'. And here, you'll find a very important part of the Harbour Crane which still survives from its former career: the control stick!

Sit back in the chair, take hold of the stick and gently turn either left or right - and as if by magic, the whole crane will turn too! With a 360-degree rotation, there's no better way to enjoy those fantastic views of harbour, town and sea. After all, why not take 65,000 kilos of steel along with you for the ride?!

There's also a peaceful patio to discover on the roof, perfect for alfresco breakfasts 17 metres up.  And if it's a special occasion, treat yourself to a Champagne breakfast, with red roses available to order too.

Don't linger too long though - there's much more to enjoy back down on terra firma, starting with an exploration of Harlingen. Take a wander along the harbour, discover the work of Friesland artists at Galerie de Vis or take a stroll through the town as you marvel at historic Dutch architecture. There are bars, restaurants and cafés to enjoy, or you could even find your sea legs with a trip on a real lifeboat!

Whether you're searching for a holiday with a twist or a truly different romantic escape, with sky-high accommodation, sea views and a 360-degree rotating cabin, what's not to love about the Harbour Crane?

Things to note

Strictly no smoking permitted, pets are not permitted, check-in from 4pm and check out midday. Breakfast is included in the price. The property offers gift certificates for stays - enquire for details. Photo copyright: Dromen aan Zee.

Tried and tested

"The crane-experience was all that we expected....and more! What a wonderful concept!"
Lars and Birte

"Perfect start of a day after a perfect evening! What a way to spend a night in the beautiful hide-out up in the sky!"
Jeremy and Terje

"The Harbour Crane is amazing! We loved it and couldn't believe how beautifully, imaginatively designed it was."
Hani and Louise

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The basics

Region: Harlingen, Friesland
Cost (from): £285 per night
Sleeps: 2
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Minimum stay: 1 night
Property ref: 592

Facilities

Sleeps 2, double bed, mini-bar, sanitary facilities, sink, breakfast facilities, armchairs, audio-visual electronics including wall-mounted screen (may be used for DVDs), large roof patio, two lifts, heating, insulated glass windows, cooling & ventilation, Wi-Fi access, parking.

Local activities

Lighthouse, galleries, boat rental, churches, museums, walking, cycling.

At a glance

  • 1967 shipyard crane on Harlingen harbour - a 360-degree rotating hideaway!
  • Sleeps 2
  • Breakfast included
  • Rotate the crane yourself from original cabin!
  • Roof-top patio with outdoor seating
  • Champagne and roses available to order
  • Lifeboat trip available
  • Groningen: 1 hour; Amsterdam: 1hr 15min
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