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10. Lijnbaan van de Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie

Oostenburgergracht 75-77

Lijnbaan VOC

The Lijnbaan building, later also known as the Sugar House, was built in 1660. It originally served as the office and front building of the lijnbaan (rope shop) of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It was also the storage place for rope and hemp, the raw material for rope. Together with textiles, rope was one of the most important hemp products.

Due to intensive shipping and fishing, there was an insatiable demand for robust rope that could withstand the salty seawater. Strong ropes were made by twisting spun yarns together.

The necessary fibre was mainly imported from Russia or France. Sometimes Dutch hemp was used, but it was of lower quality. This hemp grew mainly in South Holland, on ‘kennep gardens’ – small plots surrounded by pollard willows, next to farms.

Most rope was produced by rope mills. They were often located in port cities, or cities well-connected to the sea by rivers. Making a long rope needed a long space. Whole canals were laid out with ropeways of sometimes 300 meters long, like the Lijnbaansgracht here in Amsterdam.


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