THE CLIPPER STAD AMSTERDAM STORY

December 1998. One hundred years after the last passenger sailing ship was built, the keel of the Clipper Stad Amsterdam entered the water. Proudly anchored up in front of the Dutch Maritime Museum’s historical building, the outfitting of a truly unique ship got underway.

 
Romp Schip_1890

When clippers ruled the waves

It’s not that long ago when fast and agile clippers ruled the waves, quite a few of them Dutch. In the nineteenth century, these state-of-the-art sailing vessels picked up cargoes of Chinese tea and spices. Although the East Indies Trading Company had folded a century earlier, the Netherlands was still a mighty seafaring nation. And even though crews had to work hard under harsh conditions, we still appreciate the romantic aspects today and take pride in the history.

 

Sail Amsterdam 1995

Similar thoughts occurred to Frits Goldschmeding, founder of the Randstad employment agency, during SAIL Amsterdam in 1995. He noticed how the crowds at the world’s largest free public event were marvelling at the magnificent tall ships on display. How come the Netherlands was not really represented, Goldschmeding thought. How could this have happened to a historically seafaring nation which gained prominence through its trading mentality?

Soon afterwards, Goldschmeding and Amsterdam City Council started brainstorming on an ambitious plan: to recreate a beautiful historic ship, the Clipper Stad Amsterdam. The merchant trading vessel Amsterdam, built in 1854 served as inspiration but the Clipper Stad Amsterdam was to be much more than a ‘copy’. She would be lovingly hand-crafted, working from plans of authentic nineteenth-century clipper ships while also incorporating the most advanced technologies on board.

 

1997 - The real work starts

After Goldschmeding and Amsterdam City Council had finalised the financial arrangements, the real work began. Former professional sailing champion and world renowned naval architect Gerard Dijkstra designed a ship that would be built for a top performance underwater while captivating the hearts and minds sailing enthusiasts’ above the water line.

In December 1997, work on the steel hull commenced at the Oranjewerf dockyard in Amsterdam. Upon completion in December 1998, the frame was moved to Amsterdam’s Dutch Maritime Museum, where the rest of the ship was built. Her radiant woodwork, lavish copper trimmings, impressive circular staircase and graceful details all demonstrated the height of modern Dutch craftsmanship, as well as respect for the authentic atmosphere of a Victorian vessel.

Goldschmeding enjoyed the building process and, as is his style, made sure the project offered opportunities to school leavers and the unemployed. The chance to work with master craftsmen provided them with a set of skills that would later help them find new positions.

 

2000 - Ready for action

The Clipper Stad Amsterdam was launched in 2000. Rita Kok, wife of the serving prime minister Wim Kok, christened the ship and the clipper was revealed to the public for the first time during the SAIL Amsterdam 2000 event. The press and public were very enthusiastic: at last, the Netherlands had its own historic flagship.

From that point on, things started to happen fast:
2001 - The Clipper Stad Amsterdam won the Cutty Sark Tall Ships Race for the first time.
2005 - The clipper sailed the river IJ as flagship for the SAIL Amsterdam event, with Crown Prince Willem Alexander at the helm.
2009 - The Clipper Stad Amsterdam was commissioned by the VPRO national TV network to depart from Plymouth on an eight-month voyage commemorating the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, world-famous biologist, natural scientist and geologist. From 1831 to 1836, he sailed around the world on board the Beagle, a journey replicated by the Clipper Stad Amsterdam. His theory regarding the evolution of species driven by natural selection was primarily developed during Darwin’s original journey.

 

Sailing on board 'stad amsterdam'

As a training vessel and passenger ship, the Clipper Stad Amsterdam transports guests across the world’s seas each year in a style all of her own. She also frequently participates in Tall Ships Races and sailing events, and is chartered out for business events.

A sailing trip on the Clipper Stad Amsterdam is an unforgettable experience for every tall ship enthusiast. When can we welcome you on board?