Two centuries ago, King Willem I commissioned the building of the Royal Barge. Lavishly decorated rowing barges were a required accessory for European royalty in the early nineteenth century. As the Netherlands is a maritime nation, a royal rowing barge suited its maritime image.
The Royal Barge
The Royal Barge was designed by C.J. Glavimans. The ship was built between 1816 and 1818 at the Navy shipyard in Rotterdam. When this shipyard was closed down in 1851 the barge moved to Amsterdam. It would take 23 years before the king would officially make use of the barge for the first time. Since then, the Royal Barge has been used on about 30 different occasions for state visits and other official events. It was last used in 1962 for the silver wedding anniversary of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard.
Details tell the story
Measuring seventeen metres in length, the Royal Barge is not only long, but it is also elegantly and richly decorated. This gives the vessel its royal character. Large golden ornaments of Neptune grace the bow behind which the rowers can form a tight formation to get the ship sailing. But beauty and appearance are not the only reasons for the extensive decorations, as each detail on the ship tells its very own story.
Take a close look at this icon
That story can be found and admired at the museum in the boathouse next to the landing. Order your tickets today and see this iconic barge closely.