A Ship Wreck Full Of…

European Stories.

Oak from Germany, the Czech Republic and South Scandinavia for the construction of the ship, hemp from the Baltic region to make ropes and iron from Sweden for the manufacture of guns. Three examples of the many European products that are processed or came in as cargo were present in The Amsterdam, a ship of the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which stranded at Hastings. The historical (trade) relations between Amsterdam and several European countries that represent these products are now to be discovered the digital installation of The Amsterdam.

1-installatie-amsterdam
Digital installation The Amsterdam | Photo Monuments and Archaeology

This East India ship The Amsterdam was built in 1748 on the VOC-yard Oostenburg. In January 1749 it sailed after loading and embarkation on Texel for the long trip to Asia. This proved short-lived. A rough southwesterly storm hit the ship adrift and it stranded at Hastings in southern England. Since it is still under water in the surf of the beach. at very low tide only the wreck is dry. The Amsterdam is the best preserved original East India ship from the 18th century. The hull is intact (45 meters long, 12 meters wide) and is 7 meters deep sunk in the beach.

The wreck Amsterdam at Hastings
The wreck Amsterdam at Hastings

The past few decades have developed different research plans. Exploratory research by underwater archaeologists in the 80s of the last century showed that there are tens of thousands of objects hidden in the ship. Because of that dive operation even a special edition of Bob and Bobette, ‘Fear on The Amsterdam’, appeared. The most recent initiative is to work out a plan with Dutch and British partners that the wreck completely filled exhibited in an aquarium and examined by divers. Therefore a digital installation is created of The Amsterdam.

The products are 3D printed markers from left to right: wood, hemp and rope, food, wine and beer, drugs, guns and muskets, glass and metals
The products are 3D printed markers from left to right: wood, hemp and rope, food, wine and beer, drugs, guns and muskets, glass and metals

The system was developed on the occasion of the Dutch EU Presidency and in line with corresponding theme Open and Innovative City. In the gatehouse of the Marine Base everyone can see an interactive table with two large screens, and discover the stories that lie behind The Amsterdam. One screen shows the map of Europe and the origin of the various products that were transported to Amsterdam and were bought by the Dutch East India Company for the construction and equipment of ships. Through 3D printed markers of archaeological finds, animations are activated from the wreck of eight different product groups and their relations with the various countries and cities in Europe. The second screen shows the map of Amsterdam with the addresses of suppliers of each of the eight product groups and supplies in the 40s of the 18th century.