Prins Willem

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Prins Willem
The stern of replica Prins Willem in 2005
The 1985 replica of the Prins Willem in 2005
Flag of the Dutch East India Company.svgDutch Republic
Name: Prins Willem
Owner: Dutch East India Company
Launched: 1649
Fate: Sank, 1662
General characteristics
Tons burthen: 700 tons
Length: 42 m (137 ft 10 in)
Sail plan: Full rigged ship
Armament: 32 guns

The Prins Willem (Dutch pronunciation: [prɪns ˈʋɪləm]), also spelled Prins Willim, was a 17th-century East Indiaman of the Dutch East India Company. She was their largest ship at the time. The ship made her first voyage to the Dutch East Indies in 1651. After several voyages, she sank near Madagascar in 1662. A replica of the Prins Willem was built in 1985, but she was destroyed by fire in 2009.[1]


The ship Prins Willim was built in 1650 in Middelburg in the Dutch Republic.[1] Curiously, the name on the ship was Prins Willim. Two possible reasons have been advanced: the ship's name is Middle Dutch or the lack of space for the name caused the "e" to be changed to a shorter "i".[citation needed]

The ship was the flagship of Witte de With in the Battle of the Kentish Knock during the First Anglo-Dutch War.[citation needed]

The ship sank near Madagaskar in 1662.[1]


In the same period as the building of the original ship also a replica in 1:50 scale was built. This model still survives and is on permanent exhibition in the Dutch national museum Rijksmuseum Amsterdam. In 1978 this model was fully restorated and a replica of the same scale was constructed.[2]

A full size replica with the same name was built in 1984–85 at the Dutch shipyard Amels in Makkum for the Nagasaki Holland Village (長崎オランダ村, Nagasaki Oranda Mura) theme park in Seihi, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan. The building cost was 1.4 billion yen.[3]

In 2003, Huis Ten Bosch K. K., the operating company of Nagasaki Holland Village declared bankruptcy and the replica was sold to a Dutch company for 130 million yen.[4][5]

In 2004, the replica became part of the theme park Cape Holland in Den Helder, the Netherlands.[citation needed]

In 2009, the bowsprit of the Prins Willim replica was being restored.

The replica ship after the fire in 2009

On the morning of 30 July 2009, the replica was lost to fire, probably due to an electric malfunction. The owner of the ship, the Libéma company, decided on a restoration.[6] In 2014 the ship was dismantled, as the restoration turned out to be too expensive.


  1. ^ a b c (in Dutch) Prins Willem, 1650, De VOCsite. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
  2. ^ Herman Ketting (1979), Prins Willem: een zeventiende-eeuwse Oostindiëvaarder, De Boer maritiem Unieboek, ISBN 90-228-1986-8
  3. ^ 長崎オランダ村の復元帆船全焼 母国帰還後、地元観光に貢献. 47NEWS (in Japanese). Kyodo News. 2009-07-31. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  4. ^ シンボル帆船が母国へ HTBの資産売却で. 47NEWS (in Japanese). Kyodo News. 2003-10-20. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  5. ^ 浮きドックで母国へ出帆 長崎オランダ村の復元帆船. 47NEWS (in Japanese). Kyodo News. 2003-11-04. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  6. ^ "Brand verwoest replica VOC-schip". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). 2009-07-30. Retrieved 2009-07-30.

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