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Monday, April 19, 2021 

The replica of an 18th century Dutch East India vessel 'VOC Amsterdam' has returned to the Scheepvaartmuseum (National Maritime Museum) in the Dutch capital after a scope of work undertaken at Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam (DSAm) and Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf.

The ship arrived at DSAm in September 2020. Here, 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 – a job calling on an extensive workforce. The vessel 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. In March, the vessel was moved again to Damen Shiprepair Amsterdam for the final installation of masts and riggings.

DSAm MD Tjeerd Schulting said: “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.”

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.

Damen Shiprepair Oranjewerf has a long relationship with the Scheepvaartmuseum; the icebreaker SS Christiaan Brunnings (built 1904) has already undergone maintenance at the yard for for many years. This was the first meeting with the VOC Amsterdam for the yard since the ship was launched and ballasted there in 1990 before she going to the Scheepvaart museum. 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, headed for Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia). Unfortunately she encountered inclement weather soon after disembarking. Waylaid in the English Channel, an epidemic spread through the crew, some of whom began to mutiny. The chain of unfortunate events continued when 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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