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8. Scheepvaartmuseum

Kattenburgerplein 1


The ship De Amsterdam is located next to the Maritime Museum. It is an example of the most important and largest type of freight ship used by the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC). After wood, hemp was the most commonly used material for shipbuilding. No other natural fibre is so resistant to the forces of the open sea and the effects of salt water.

Hemp was used for sails, rigging and other ship ropes. Hemp treated with tar was used to seal the seams between the planks of the hull, making the ship watertight. This process is called caulking. The sailors’ clothing was often made of hemp. The captain kept his logbook on hemp paper. Hemp oil lamps allowed the crew to read the Bible (printed on hemp paper). Hemp was central to an eventful period in Dutch history. During the recent restoration of De Amsterdam, this replica was made waterproof again with four kilometers of hemp flax.


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