History of 'Oosterschelde'

This page from the site of 'Oosterschelde'.
Info: www.oosterschelde.nl.

'Oosterschelde' in 1922 Cardiff
'Oosterschelde' enters Cardiff,
Mar 20, 1922
Photgraph: coll. J. Kramer

The three-masted topsail schooner 'Oosterschelde' is the last remaining representative of the large fleet of schooners that sailed under the Dutch flag at the beginning of this century. As the largest restored Dutch sailing ship the 'Oosterschelde' is a monument for Dutch shipbuilding and maritime navigation under sail.

'Oosterschelde' was built in the Netherlands in 1918 at the order of the Rotterdam shipping company H.A.A.S. As a freighter the ship could carry some hundred tons of cargo. Clay, bricks and wood were among the cargo, as well as salted herring, bran, potatoes, straw and bananas. In 1921 the ship was sold and became property of captain Kramer. Under his command the 'Oosterschelde' sailed along the European coast and was regularly found off the coasts of Africa and in the Mediterranean.

'Oosterschelde' as Sylvan
As the Swedish 'Sylvan' in the Limfjord, 1987
Photograph: Bent Mikkelsen

In 1939 the ship was sold to a Danish shipping company in Aeroskobing and renamed 'Fuglen'. She was one of the most advanced ships of the Danish fleet.
In 1954 'Fuglen' was sold to Sam Petterson, a Swede from Skarhamn.
Later he sold the ship to another man from Skarhamn, Denis Inberg.
In Sweden the ship was converted into a modern motorcoaster; she sailed primarily in the Baltic, under the name 'Sylvan'.

In 1988 the ship was bought to be restored to her former glory. After thorough historical research and intensive contact with the last Dutch captain of the ship, Jan Kramer, a restoration plan was drafted. Despite the fact that the hull was still in good shape, the restoration was a costly affair. The Rotterdam Sailing Ship Foundation was instituted to support the restoration through publicity and fund raising. In the spring of 1990 the restoration began. It was carried out in co-operation with three maritime museums and several specialised design offices. This approach guaranteed authenticity as well as safety and a sound construction. On August 21 1992, the ship was officially launched by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet.

'Oosterschelde' near Spitsbergen
'Oosterschelde' at the Svalbard Archipelago
Photograph: Didier Givois

'Oosterschelde' is now exploited in order to earn her living as an historical sailing ship. Cruises are made to worldwide destinations. Interested parties can participate as passengers. 'Oosterschelde' is also used as a floating embassy representing the city of Rotterdam. In foreign harbours the ship serves as host to interested companies or organisations. With its attractive and authentic geography, 'Oosterschelde' is well suited for presentations, conferences, meetings and receptions.

In 1994 'Oosterschelde' made a voyage to the Svalbard Archipelago (Arctic). From October 1996 till April 1998 the ship made a trip around the world, visiting a.o. Indonesia, Hongkong, Japan, New Zealand, Cape Horn and the Antarctic.