Saturday, 23 December 2017

The VOC ship Amsterdam

On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I paid a visit to the National Maritime Museum (Het Scheepvaartmuseum).
Inside the museum's impressive entry hall
Housed in a seventeenth-century naval storehouse, it is an impressive place and benefits greatly from the large space provided by its former use. The artefacts are well presented and the building itself has been sympathetically modified to provide good access and excellent displays that cover all aspects of maritime history. But of particular interest to me was an exhibit that rests outside; an all but exact replica of a mid-eighteenth century Dutch East Indiaman.

Carpenter's workshop aboard Amsterdam
The ship's galley
Officers' accommodation
Looking aft from the forecastle
The original Amsterdam was completed in 1748 and began its maiden voyage from the Texel in 1749. After a series of mishaps that included both an outbreak of the plague and a mutiny, her rudder finally broke in a storm off Beachy Head and she was wrecked a few miles from my home in East Sussex. Her remains are often visible during low tides and she still carries a near full cargo of guns and bricks, although the site is covered under the Protection of Wrecks Act.
Part of the hold

Work on building the replica ship began in the 1980s with over four hundred volunteers being involved and many contemporary methods of construction used. The finished result is very impressive with only small modifications from the original plans being noticeable.

Surgeon's cabin
These are mainly confined to the height of the deckhead aft of the half-deck as well as in the master's accommodation on the quarterdeck above. 
However, the atmosphere of one of these long-distance traders is very much in evidence and a visit the ship, and the museum itself, is highly recommended.
From the poop

Looking forward from beneath the quarterdeck
Binnacle




Further details of the museum and Amsterdam can be found here: www.hetscheepvaartmuseum.nl