Historical Shipyard ‘De Delft’
On this impressive shipyard, that is situated between the Schiehaven and Loydkwartier, a new touristic landmark is slowly but steadily arising: a replica of the old ship ‘De Delft’.
Over 250 years ago the original was ordered by the Rotterdam Admiralty. The liner, comprised of fifty separate pieces, was put to water for the very first time in 1873. In the fourteen years of its existence, the ship was used to escort and protect large convoys of private merchant ships as well as merchant ships belonging to the Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie (VOC) and the West-Indische Compagnie (WIC).
The remnants of the ship were discovered in 1977. One of the cannons and the anchor, amongst other things, were brought to shore by fishermen. A lot of other objects that were found, are now part of the exhibition at the museum and have taught us a great deal about the way ships were constructed in the 18th century.
In 2001 a collaboration was established between the shipyard, the Albeda College and the Rotterdam municipality. Since then, volunteers students from the Albeda college have come together to work on building the replica liner ‘De Delft’. With 63 meters in length and 57 meters high, ‘De Delft’ is to be one of the biggest replicas in the world.
It also offers students and disadvantaged youth the chance to learn about woodworking, carpentry and paintwork, while working towards obtaining a degree. This way the ship serves a social purpose as well, on top of simply being a tourist attraction. It’s also of immense historical value, as the techniques used to construct the ship are the same as for the original liner.
Both the shipyard and the ship are open to audience. There is also a visitor’s center and a museum.
Text by Jerona van der Gevel