The origin of Clipper Stad Amsterdam
Once upon a time, fast and agile clippers ruled the waves, quite a few of them Dutch. In the nineteenth century, these then state-of-the-art sailing vessels picked up cargos of Chinese tea and spices. Although its East Indies Trading Company had folded a century before, Holland was still a mighty seafaring nation. Though crews had to work hard under harsh conditions, today we still appreciate the romance and take pride in the history.
Similar thoughts occurred to Frits Goldschmeding, founder of the Randstad employment agency, during Sail Amsterdam in 1995. The audience marvels at the magnificent tall ships, but the Netherlands aren’t really represented. He considers this unworthy of an old seafaring nation which gained prominence through its trading mentality. Goldschmeding and the council of Amsterdam work together at a great plan: a beautiful historic clipper, the Stad Amsterdam.
Merchant trading vessel De Amsterdam from 1854 serves as its inspiration. Stad Amsterdam is, however, more than a copy: it has been lovingly hand-crafted, working from plans of authentic nineteenth clipper ships, but also offers the most advanced technology on board.
Making plans is all fine, but after that the real work starts. After Goldschmeding and the Amsterdam council completed the financing, the actual work commenced. Shipbuilder and former professional sailing champion Gerard Dijkstra designs a ship that is built for top performance underwater and captivates sailing enthusiasts’ hearts and minds above the water line.
In December of 1997, work on the steel hull commenced at the Oranjewerf dockyard in Amsterdam. This was completed in December 1998 and the frame moved to the Amsterdam Scheepvaartmuseum, a nautical history museum, where the rest of the ship was built. Her radiant woodwork, lavish copper trimmings, impressive circular staircase and gracious details all demonstrate modern craftsmanship as well as respect for the magical atmosphere of a Victorian vessel.
Goldschmeding enjoyed the building process and, as is his style, made sure the project offered opportunities to young people leaving school and the unemployed. The chance to work with master craftsmen provided them with a set of skills that would help them find new positions.
In 2000 the Clipper Stad Amsterdam is completed. Rita Kok, wife of the then prime minister Wim Kok, christens the ship and the Clipper is presented to the audience for the first tim during the Sail Amsterdam 2000 event. Press and public are enthusiastic: at last, Holland had its own historic flagship.
From that point on, things started to happen fast:
>In 2001 Stad Amsterdam won the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race for the first time.
>In 2005 she sailed the river IJ as flagship of the Sail Amsterdam event, with Crown Prince Willem Alexander at the helm.
> In 2009 the Stad Amsterdam was commissioned by the VPRO national TV network to depart from Plymouth for an eight month voyage commemorating the two hundredth birthday of Charles Darwin, world famous biologist, natural scientist and geologist. From 1831 to 1836 he sailed around the world on board of the Beagle, a journey replicated by the Stad Amsterdam. His theory regarding the evolution of species driven by natural selection was extensively developed during this legendary journey.
> As a training vessel and passenger ship Stad Amsterdam takes guests across the world’s seas each year. Additionally, she frequently participates in Tall Ships Races and sailing events and is rented for business events.