12. On the jetty: The Royal Barge

RRegal allure, elegance, mythology and skilled carving all come together in this… Royal Barge. The Dutch Royal Barge was constructed between 1816 and 1818 for King Willem The First at the Naval Yard in Rotterdam. It is the royal ‘Chaloupe’, as the vessel is officially named. A royal sloop is part of a centuries-old tradition in which European monarchs take part in festive activities on the water from a rowing boat or sailing yacht. This was particularly the case for a maritime nation such as the Netherlands. The Royal Barge has been used about thirty times, for state visits and other official occasions. It is more about stateliness than speed, of course. The sailors have to pause for a minimum of three seconds after every stroke and are not allowed to look at the king or queen and their guests. The last time that the sloop went out on the water was during the silver wedding festivities of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard in 1962. They sailed down the River Amstel in Amsterdam, rowed by twenty naval cadets.

To hear more about the gilded decorations of the Royal Barge and the bow ornamentation, take a walk round to the front of the vessel and press A.


Press play to start the audio from the beginning

The National Maritime Museum

Het Scheepvaartmuseum (The National Maritime Museum) shows the strong connection between the maritime world and society as a whole, and more specifically the impact of this on the lives of many individuals. The collection of The National Maritime Museum is one of the largest and most notable maritime collections in the world with approximately 400,000 objects, including paintings, models of ships, navigation instruments, and maps of the world. Discover 500 years of Dutch Maritime history as well as its strong links to today’s society and the society of the future.