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Hundreds of tall ships and other boats arrive in Amsterdam for Sail festival

  • Columbian tall ship ARC Gloria is escorted by small boats as it arrives to participate in SAIL Amsterdam 2015, a five-yearly festival celebrating the Dutch capital’s maritime history that is expected to draw some 2 million visitors, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. The 9th edition of  the nautical event runs until Sunday, Aug. 23 on and around the IJ river. (AP Photo/Cris Toala Olivares)

    Columbian tall ship ARC Gloria is escorted by small boats as it arrives to participate in SAIL Amsterdam 2015, a five-yearly festival celebrating the Dutch capital’s maritime history that is expected to draw some 2 million visitors, in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015. The 9th edition of the nautical event runs until Sunday, Aug. 23 on and around the IJ river. (AP Photo/Cris Toala Olivares)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian tall ship the Kruzenshtern, center right, arrives in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, to participate in SAIL Amsterdam 2015, a five-yearly festival celebrating the Dutch capital’s maritime history that is expected to draw some 2 million visitors. The 9th edition of  the nautical event lasts until Sunday, Aug. 23 on and around the IJ river. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)

    Russian tall ship the Kruzenshtern, center right, arrives in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, to participate in SAIL Amsterdam 2015, a five-yearly festival celebrating the Dutch capital’s maritime history that is expected to draw some 2 million visitors. The 9th edition of the nautical event lasts until Sunday, Aug. 23 on and around the IJ river. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)  (The Associated Press)

  • The Russian ship Kruzenshtern arrives in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, to participate in SAIL Amsterdam 2015, a five-yearly festival celebrating the Dutch capital’s maritime history that is expected to draw some 2 million visitors. The 9th edition of  the nautical event lasts until Sunday, Aug. 23 on and around the IJ river. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)

    The Russian ship Kruzenshtern arrives in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, to participate in SAIL Amsterdam 2015, a five-yearly festival celebrating the Dutch capital’s maritime history that is expected to draw some 2 million visitors. The 9th edition of the nautical event lasts until Sunday, Aug. 23 on and around the IJ river. (AP Photo/Phil Nijhuis)  (The Associated Press)

A flotilla of hundreds of tall ships and other boats of all shapes and sizes has sailed from the North Sea into Amsterdam for a five-day festival celebrating the Dutch capital's maritime history.

Sail 2015 started Wednesday with the clipper Stad Amsterdam surrounded by throngs of small pleasure boats leading a convoy of vessels along the North Sea Canal into the heart of the harbor area close to Amsterdam's central railroad station.

Thousands of people packed the waterfront in Amsterdam where the ships moored and lined the canal leading to the city to watch their arrival, some with their crew members standing in the rigging.

The festival lasts until Sunday and organizers say it is expected to draw some 2 million visitors.