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The Amsterdam (VOC ship) – The golden age overseas

VOC Ship Amsterdam

In the past, the Dutch colonized the Indonesian Archipelago, establishing a profitable empire based on spice trading in the East. VOC or the Dutch East India Company, founded in 1602, established several trade routes using vast wooden ships called East Indiamen. The company had a monopoly on all profits from trade east of the Cape of Good Hope. By 1611, it was the leading importer of spices into Europe, with ships ranging as far as China, Japan and Indonesia. The Amsterdam was one of the ships used by the mentioned company for transporting trade goods. The most prized of them were pepper, cloves, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon.

Transporting spices and culture

The National Maritime Museum - Replica of VOC ShipThe Amsterdam ship was a cargo ship used in the 18th century for the voyage from Texel to Batavia. Unfortunately its life was very short, as it was wrecked in a storm on the English Channel in 1749. After many years of research, the wreck was discovered in 1969 and protected by the Protection of Wrecks Act since 1974. Even dough the original structure is under the sea, visitors can enjoy a trip on the replica of Amsterdam, built by 400 volunteers between 1985 and 1990 using original tools from the 18th century, moored outside the Het Scheepvaartmuseum. The museum features displays of maritime objects, paintings, globes, model yachts, virtual sea voyages and so on. It is not a secret that the Dutch Government wants to excavate the wreck and perform a complete restoration. It would be very interesting to see all the cargo, instruments and other items still on board of the ship under the sea.

When visitors board the replica of Amsterdam, they can see the whole crew consisting of actors that help them experience a true trade golden age day. They can also admire all the objects and tools used for navigation such as the brass compass, maps, navigation systems or wooden astrolabes and also learn all the different part of the ship: bowsprit, forecastle, foremast, main mast, deck, hold, etc.

Visitor information

To visit the Amsterdam, go to the Het Scheepvaartmuseum that is open seven days a week from 9 am to 5 pm except on King’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Adult admission for the replica ship is part of the general ticket for the museum at the price of 15 Euros for adults and 7, 50 Euros for children (aged 5 – 17), students, holders of Stadspas and CJP (Culture Youth Pass). Children under 5 can entry for free. The facility includes a few spaces free of charge such as the central square, the open courtyard, the museum shop Het Pakhuys, the restaurant Stalpaert and the library. It is situated on a 15 minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station. Bus 22 and 48 will take you there too.