VOC Amsterdam back at National Maritime Museum

The VOC Amsterdam has returned to the Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum) in the Dutch capital after a scope of work undertaken at Damen’s yards. The iconic replica of an 18th century Dutch East India vessel visited Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam (DSAm) and Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf for an extensive maintenance project.

The ship arrived at DSAm in September 2020 where her rigging and masts were removed. The project had some challenging aspects to it, including the removal and replacement of all the vessel’s caulking. The vessel also underwent cleaning of underwater areas and was repainted at the yard.

In October, VOC Amsterdam was moved to the Oranjewerf yard for a floating maintenance scope, where repairs were made to the upper part of hull before the final installation of masts and riggings in March.

“This project has seen a lot of cooperation. Throughout there has been a strong sense of community, with DSAm, Oranjewerf and the Scheepvaartmuseum, all locally-based organisations, working together on a vessel that is an iconic part of the Amsterdam cityscape. We’re very proud to be a part of this and we hope, when the vessel requires further maintenance ten years from now, that we will once again be in a position to support her,” says DSAm managing director Tjeerd Schulting.

The collaboration between the yard and the museum extends beyond the project work; DSAm has contributed to the development of the Scheepvaartmuseum’s latest exhibition – Amsterdam Havenstad (Amsterdam Port & City). The exhibition is designed to show the age old relationship between the harbour and the city of Amsterdam, from the moment the dam was built on the River Amstel to the future.

The replica VOC Amsterdam was built in Amsterdam between 1985 and 1990 by an army of volunteers using a combination of modern tools and tools contemporary with the original vessel.

The original VOC Amsterdam was built in 1748. She set sail from the island of Texel on her maiden voyage on January 8th, 1749, headed for Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia).

Unfortunately she encountered inclement weather soon after. Waylaid in the English Channel, an epidemic spread through the crew, some of whom began to mutiny. The chain of unfortunate events continued when, on January 26th, her rudder broke away and the VOC Amsterdam became grounded just off Hastings. She is there still, occasionally visible at low tides.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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