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MaSS

stepping stones of maritime history

History

Amsterdam was a VOC (Dutch United East India Company) ship that was lost on her maiden voyage from Amsterdam to Batavia. On the 8th of January, 1749, Amsterdam was caught in a storm and was forced into Pevensey Bay, near Hastings. Over the course of the next three weeks, fifty people died of an unknown disease, and Captain Willem Klump was forced to beach the ship in an attempt to rescue the remaining souls on board, as well as the cargo Amsterdam carried.

The ship was beached on the 26th of January, 1749, and the remaining crew and passengers plus twenty eight chests of silver were recovered form the ship. The rest of the cargo, as well as the ship, were soon buried in the sand. Amsterdam carried a mixed cargo that included twenty eight chests of silver bars and ducatons, worth 300,000 guilders, cloth and crates of wine, as well as provisions for the more than three hundred people on board.

Discovery

The presence of a large wreck buried in the sand in Hastings was always known, but the identity of the ship was not established until 1969, when the wreck was confirmed as that of Amsterdam. About two thirds of Amsterdam seem to survive in the sands of the beach, and the ship is a very well preserved example of a Dutch East Indiaman, with the timber hull still surviving to the lower gun decks.

Excavations of the wreck were carried out under the supervision of the Dutch Amsterdam Foundation between 1983 - 1985. Operations have been carried out since in effort to preserve the remains of the wreck, but this has proved difficult.

The remains of the hull of Amsterdam.

Cargo

Many artefacts have been found: wine bottles, textiles, ceramics, organic material and even a book.

Description

The ship was builton a wharf in Amsterdam in 1748, for use by the VOC chamber of Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a very well preserved example of a Dutch East Indiaman, with the timber hull still surviving to the lower gun decks.

  • Length: 160 ft
  • Keel length: 42.5 m
  • Length from stem to stem: 48,0 m
  • Beam: 11.5 m
  • Draught:5,5 m
  • Height from keel to mast top: 56.0 m
  • Tonnage: 575 last (1150 ton)
  • Guns (original): 54
  • Complement: Around 330, including passengers
  • Captain: Willem Klump

A replica of the Amsterdam.

References

References written

  • Marsden, P., 1974: De laatste reis van de 'Amsterdam', Bussum, De Boer Maritiem.
  • Rooij, H.H. van/J. Gawronski, 1989: VOC-schip Amsterdam. Gebleeven - op de kust van Sussex tusschen Hastings en Beachyhead gestrand, Haarlem, H.J.W. Becht.

East Indiaman

Roman structures