The VOC returning ship Batavia
The original Batavia was built on the Peperwerf in Amsterdam in 1628 at the behest of the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It was a returning ship, specially designed to make the long journey to and from the East Indies. On 4 June 1629, however, the ship, carrying a crew of 332 and heading for Java, was wrecked on its maiden voyage off the coast of Western Australia. The story of this shipwreck became a blood-curdling thriller featuring murder and manslaughter, treason, mutiny and the law that eventually prevailed.
The reconstruction of the Batavia was an initiative of master shipbuilder Willem Vos. It started in 1985 and under Vos's impassioned guidance, a changing group of long-term unemployed, volunteers and employees worked on the ship. The basic aim was to create an authentic reconstruction, using original materials and a traditional construction method. The ship is built entirely out of Danish oak and decorated with several hundred hand-carved figures and ornaments. The rigging and guns have also been reconstructed.
On 7 April 1995, the ‘Batavia' was christened and launched by Queen Beatrix. Since then, the Batavia has attracted visitors to Batavia Yard in Lelystad on a daily basis.