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Refreshed, East Indies trader replica is back at Maritime Museum

The VOC Amsterdam, a replica of an 18th century East Indies trader, has returned to the jetty of the National Maritime Museum after thorough maintenance at Damen Shiprepair and Conversion in Amsterdam-Noord. The ship (the letters VOC stand for United East Indies Company in Dutch) arrived at Damen Shiprepair in September 2020. The rigging and masts were removed along with the vessel’s caulking. The underwater areas were cleaned and repainted and repairs were made to the upper part of the hull. In March, Damen Shiprepair installed the masts and riggings.

Tjeerd Schulting, Damen Shiprepair Managing Director says, “The makeover of the VOC Amsterdam saw a lot of cooperation. Throughout, there has been a strong sense of community of locally-based organizations, working together on a vessel that is an iconic part of the Amsterdam cityscape”. He claims that the vessel is now good to go for another ten years. The VOC Amsterdam has been returned to her berth outside the National Maritime Museum in the heart of the Dutch capital.

The makeover of the VOC Amsterdam was the first for Damen Shiprepair since the ship was launched in 1990. The replica 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. Her maiden voyage in 1749 to Batavia, today’s Jakarta, Indonesia, didn’t go well. The ship ran into bad weather in the English Channel in early January.

An epidemic spread through the crew, some of whom began a mutiny. The chain of unfortunate events continued when, on 26 January, the VOC Amsterdam lost her rudder causing the ship to run aground off  Hastings. She is there still, occasionally visible at low tides.