Rules and Regulations

Below you will find the Rules and Regulations of the Head of the River 2023.
The Rules and Regulations can also be downloaded in PDF.


The regatta will take place on Saturday, the 11th and Sunday, the 12th of March 2023.

  1. Racetype:
    Approximately 8 kilometres.
  2. Regatta Manager:
    Menno Vroegindeweij: [email protected]
    Head of the Jury: 
    Herma van der Stoel
  3. Entries: 
    Find out how to register on our Entries page. Registration closes on Friday, 3rd of March at 23.59 hr. via the KNRB registration site.
  4. Entry fees: 
    1. Four €75
    2. Eight€100
    3. Corporate Eight €300.
    Entry fees include KNRB competition license surcharge. Please pay before Tuesday, 7 March at 20:00 hrs. to IBAN NL 71 INGB 0006 6289 83, in the name of Amsterdamsche Roeibond in Amsterdam. Sometimes a BIC/Swift code is requested: INGBNL2A.
    Please include the name of the registering rowing club.
  5. Draw:
    The draw will take place Monday, 6th of March at 20:00 hrs. in Amsterdam.
  6. Weigh-in:
    Weigh-in will take place at Skøll Rowing Club (Jan Vroegopsingel 6 1096CN Amsterdam). Rowers will be weighed between 2 and 3 hours before the start of their own race.
    Coxswains (as applicable) will weigh in wearing their rowing outfit. (conforming to RvR guidelines)
    Coxswains should bring any required ballast themselves.
  7. Coxswain Meeting:
    A coxswain meeting will not take place this year. Instructions for crews and their coxswains are available online on the Coxswains site
    All coxswains must be familiar with the instructions.
    With the exception of coxswains in the junior 16 events, a cox of any crew has to be at least 15 years in the year of the race.
  8. Placement:
    The Masters divisions row (per block) interchangeably. Last year's finish time determines the starting order. For Masters teams, a team must "match" with a team from last year (50% same rowers or more). Only the fastest 50% of the matched teams will be placed. Starting positions of all other Master’s teams will be drawn by lottery after the seeded crews. For the remaining events (as before) the club results from last year applies. If more teams per rowing club are entered in the same event, the club's team numbering will be used for placement.
  9. Pennants:
    Pennants will be awarded to the fastest Dutch club eight in the elite men and women events.
  10. Boat trailers:
    Boat trailers need to be registered in advance by the organizing committee. Check for more information our boat trailer page or contact [email protected].




The race will be held in eights and steered fours for men and women who are members of a KNRB-affiliated rowing club or with another member of FISA. The competitive race will be held under the rules and regulations of the KNRB with the exceptions and special provisions below. Events for first year and advanced teams are not open to foreign teams.

The fastest Dutch club team of the Elite eights in the men's and women's competition win the Championship of the Amstel. To symbolize this championship, this club may fly a long blue pennant from the club’s flagpole throughout the year.

Participation in the competition shall be at one's own risk. The liability of the organizing clubs ARB and Willem III (including their organizers, i.e. the Head Committee and the Head volunteers working with the committee) for any damage resulting from or related to participation in the competition, is, except in the case of intentional act or omission, recklessness or gross negligence, always limited to the amount which the applicable insurance policy gives entitlement to, increased by the amount of the deductible under the relevant policy.

Except in the case of intent or gross recklessness on the part of the Organization, the participant shall indemnify and hold harmless the Organization in respect of all claims which any third party may at any time bring against the Organization and which are connected with acts or omissions of the participant during his or her participation in the event.


The races are organized as time trials. The time in which each crew completes the course shall be recorded. The team with the fastest time is the winner. Under no circumstances will a team be allowed to row the race a second time.


Any changes in the team composition can be reported to the race committee in accordance with article RRS 37.

  • At any time after the draw and on race days, changes shall be made via the KNRB registration system.
  • On race days, changes can also be reported in writing at the desk.


Except for veteran teams, the starting order is determined by last year's results in a division. The winning team from last year starts first. The team from the club that had finished 2nd starts 2nd, etc. Combination teams and new entries are assigned by drawing lots after the last placed association team. If more teams are entered per club in the same event, the club’s team numbering will be used for placement. So, team with number 1 gets the best placed team from the previous year.

For veteran teams, the starting order is determined in 2 steps. First, it is determined whether a team matches a team from last year. A team is matched if at least half of the rowers match a team from last year. Next, from all matched teams, only the fastest 50% are placed (again based on last year's result). The other 50% and all unmatched teams are unplaced. Their starting position falls behind the seeded teams and is determined by drawing lots.


Shirt numbers must be clearly visible on the backs of the coxswain/helmsman and the bowman during the race and when rowing up and down the river. One back number on the bowman's race shirt, one on the bowman's call shirt and one on the steerer sitting at the back (if the steer is at the front, then on the back deck).

The three shirt numbers can only be picked up by a club representative after timely payment (before 7th March into the ARB account) of the entry fee by the club (or foreign team) during the following times

  • Friday afternoon between 14.00 and 20.00 hrs.
  • Saturday between 09.00 and 15.00 hrs.
  • Sunday between 08.30 and 12.00 hrs.

They can be picked up at Willem III.

All shirt numbers will be provided per registering club.

The shirt numbers do not have to be returned and can be taken home as souvenir.


There is no coxswain meeting this year. The instructions for crews and their coxswains can be found online on the coxswain page.


In accordance with Article 7, paragraph 3 of the RvR, helmsmen for Masters, Club, Mixed, Company and Juniors 16 teams will not be weighed.

The weighing of coxswains of other teams (Elite, Advanced, Freshmen and Junior 18 divisions) will take place at the boathouse of Skøll Rowing Club both on Saturday and Sunday between 3 and 2 hours before the first start of their OWN race.

The weighing of the LIGHT teams is on Sunday between 3 and 2 hours before the first start of their OWN race number (i.e. not of their own block) and also takes place at Skøll boathouse, Jan Vroegopsingel 6.


During certain periods in the weekend there will be a total ban on sailing on the river Amstel between Amsterdam and Ouderkerk except for crews participating in the races. The times of the ban are:

  • Saturday from 12:30 until 17:45 hrs.
  • Sunday from 9:30 until 15:45 hrs.

Between one hour before the first start of a block and 10 minutes before the first start of a block, the race course south of the Rozenoordbrug (Rozenoord Bridge) may be used by crews entering that block in a southerly direction, provided that their allocated transit time of the Rozenoordbrug lies within that time period.


Instructions of the race manager or any other race officials must be followed immediately.  Any failure to follow these directions that results in the disruption in the proper running of the course and race, may result in a penalty for any organization or team involved.


Rowing up and rowing back take place in the row/return lane. This is located on the Willem III side (east side) of the Amstel River and is indicated by orange and yellow buoys.

In the warm-up or return rowing lane, passing/overtaking is allowed when yellow buoys are present. Passing/overtaking is prohibited when orange buoys are present. Overtaking in prohibited areas will result in a penalty. Obstructing teams, ignoring instructions from race officials and managers may also result in a penalty. Multiple infractions will result in multiple penalties.

Rowing on to the start is allowed when a race is passing by.

All crews must keep as much port side as possible and be considerate of the crews that have already started.

Teams may only take permitted bridge opening. Taking a prohibited bridge opening will result in disqualification.

While rowing up and back toward the start and after the finish of the race, here are the openings that are permitted and not permitted for use:

  • Toronto Brug [Toronto Bridge]: passage under the Toronto Bridge is not permitted.
  • Nieuwe Amstelbrug: (Nieuwe Amstel Bridge): only the second bridge opening from port side is permitted for use.
  • Berlagebrug [Berlage Bridge]: the two port side bridge openings are permitted for use
  • Utrechtsebrug [Utrecht Bridge]: only the port side bridge opening is permitted for use
  • Rozenoordbrug [Rozenoord Bridge]: only the port side bridge opening is permitted for use
  • Brug in Ouderkerk [Bridge in Ouderkerk]: Passage under the  bridge in Ouderkerk is not permitted.


Crews that must cross the race course coming from the boathouses of De Amstel and Nereus must do so under supervision of the Race Manager present at the time. Crossing the racecourse without the Race Manager’s permission is not allowed. If ongoing races are disturbed by the failure to follow the Race Manager’s instructions, the team concerned may receive penalty.


Your own start time is the start time of your own event, increased by 1 minute for every 4 teams that start before you in your own event. The finish times based on these times will be explicitly stated on a separate draw.

The first check point, T1, is located at the Duivendrechtsevaart. Teams starting north may pass this point between 45 and 35 minutes before their own starting time.

The second checkpoint, T2, is located just before the Rozenoordbrug (Rozenoord Bridge). Crews must pass this point between 30 and 25 minutes before their starting time. Arriving late at this bridge checkpoint to row on, can result in disqualification.

After passing this point, crews may only row in a southerly direction until they reach the turning area in Ouderkerk.


The length of the course is approximately 8 kilometres for all crews.

The start is in Ouderkerk, close to the Oostmeerweg. The finish is in Amsterdam, just before the Nieuwe Amstel Brug (Bridge).

Check the coxwains page for the current course map and further details.


The Starting Line is marked by two poles with a white flag. At approximately 100 meters before the

Starting Line, the Pre-starting line is marked by two poles with a red flag.

The start is a ‘flying start’ with an interval of 15 seconds between the crews. Between divisions, there will be a start difference of at least 60 seconds.

The Finish Line is marked by two poles with a red flag.


During the race, the buoys that split the race lane from the travel lane, must be kept on starboard side.

As can be seen on the course maps, extra buoys have been placed at the Amstel Canal, before the Big Bend, and before the finish for safety reasons. These additional buoys must be kept on port side.

A crew that passes a buoy at the wrong side or a crew that leaves the travel lane, may receive a penalized.

16. BRIDGES during the race

Crews are only allowed to go under the bridges through permitted openings. Passing a bridge through a prohibited opening leads to disqualification.

During the race, only the following bridge openings are permitted for use:

  • Rozenoordbrug (Rozenoord Bridge): only the port side opening is permitted for use. The starboard opening is prohibited for use by rowing teams.
  • Utrechtsebrug (Utrechtse Bridge): only the port and middle openings are permitted for use.  Use of the other openings is forbidden.
  • Berlagburg (Berlag Bridge): only the middle opening and the two openings at port side are permitted for use. Use of the other openings are forbidden.

If fewer bridge holes are available during the Head due to bridge work, we will publish modified stipulations.

Immediately after the finish, crews must continue under the Nieuwe Amstel Brug (Bridge) to the turn buoy.

  • Nieuwe Amstel Bridge: only the middle three bridge holes are permitted for use.


In accordance with Article 53 of the RvR*:

  • The faster crew is free to choose its course.
  • The slower crew must not hinder or obstruct the faster crew and must allow for the faster crew to continue their race in the preferred route.
  • However, the faster crew is not allowed to use its rights to put the slower crew in such a position that rowing is made impossible or that the crew is placed in a hazardous situation.
  • The slower crew has to move aside before the point of the bow ball of the faster crew is at the same level of the sternpost of the slower crew.
  • Both the faster and slower crews must exhibit safety and sportsmanship in their behaviour towards each other.

Please check the coxwains page for official overtaking instructions.


A crew that drops out during a race, has to leave the racecourse as soon as possible causing as little interference as possible with the other teams in the race as well as those rowing to the start or from the finish. The use of the rowing lane in the opposite direction is only allowed after explicit permission from a race official.


After the finish in Amsterdam, all crews must continue rowing lightly under the Nieuwe Amstelbrug (Nieuwe Amstel Bridge) and round to starboard between the turn buoy and the Toronto Brug (Bridge).


In accordance with the RvR*, Article 75 up to and including 81, the time penalty is set to 15 seconds.

Protests will be made known by raising the hand as a sign of protest. Protests will be received and registered by the race official in charge of protests. The official in charge of protests can be found at the motorboat immediately after the finish line. Each protest must be submitted in writing using the protest forms available for that purpose and given to the Jury Secretary within one hour of the race finish. Forms can be turned into the Jury Secretary at the boathouses of either RIC or William III. Protests will be handled by the umpire/s which are member of the Jury Board. The Jury Board sits in the boardroom at the Willem III boathouse.

It is necessary that the club or team representative is and remains nearby during the handling of the protest. For a smooth processing of the protest, the club or team representative must ensure that the club or team representatives against whom the protest is made, is also present and available. We use the phone number that begins with 06 and can be found through your profile you made during making your entry.


Results will be published on the Time-Team website.


  • Saturday time slot 1: 16:30 at boathouse of Willem III
  • Saturday time slot 2: 19:00 at boathouse of Willem III
  • Sunday time slot 3: 14:00 at boathouse of Willem III
  • Sunday time slot 4: 17:00 at boathouse of Willem III

The awards ceremony will take place after the Board of the Jury has determined , at minimum, the first three places of every division for which there is an award. The wait will be, at minimum, one hour after the finish of the last team in the block.


The Head of the River Amstel intends to issue Coastal numbers for men's and women's Coastal fours. For the rules regarding Coastal Rowing please refer Article 58 of the Rules of Rowing Competitions.


Deviations from the rules above shall be made if special circumstances and/or good seamanship and sportsmanship so require.

RvR* = Racing Rules of the Dutch Rowing Federation