Replica of 18th century East India Company Ship back in Amsterdam
After a seven-month absence, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) ship is back in its place at the jetty of the Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam. The replica of the East India Company vessel, dubbed de Amsterdam, was undergoing major maintenance, and that was necessary because the ship was as leaky as a sieve.
Refurbishing the museum's public favorite was a gigantic task. Fifty men worked for seven months on closing the cracks in the underwater hull, replacing bad wood parts, replacing the three masts, and painting de Amsterdam.
Old techniques, such as caulking, were used for the makeover. The caulking crew filled the old seams of the ship with 500 kilos of hemp rope and finished it with a tar product. This made the ship waterproof again. The masts were so rotten that they had to be replaced in their entirety.
Stranded at Hastings
De Amsterdam is a replica of a ship of the same name belonging to the Dutch East India Company that, in 1749, during its first voyage to Batavia, present-day Jakarta in Indonesia, encountered a storm near Texel and became adrift. The ship ran aground at Hastings, on the British south coast. The wreck can still be seen there.
The VOC ships were used to transport spices, porcelain, tea, silk and textiles from Asia to the Netherlands. In 1985, the construction of a full-size copy of de Amsterdam started, and since 1991, the ship has been moored at the Scheepvaartmuseum and is open to the public.
The dark side of history
Now that the ship has returned, the museum wants to tell a broader story about Amsterdam and its history as soon as it is allowed to reopen. In addition, more attention is paid to the dark side of the history of the VOC. The VOC Data Experience has been developed for this.
The museum visitor will now receive a tablet on which augmented reality data of more than 500,000 VOC crew members will be displayed. Such as the names of crew members, how much they earned, and what was on board during the voyages.
Visitors can then set to work themselves or listen to six experts who answer questions such as: are women taking on board a VOC ship? What was the chance of returning to Europe? And were there slaves on board de Amsterdam too?