De Halve Maen is a fine replica of the VOC yacht with which the English captain Henry Hudson in 1609 explored the East Coast of North America in search of a passage for the riches of the Indies. This voyage of discovery led to the foundation of the New Netherlands colony, with New Amsterdam (present-day New York) as the most important settlement.
The museum ship was built in 1989 in the United States on the initiative of Dr Andrew A. Hendricks. Hendricks, himself a descendant of one of the early Dutch colonists, wants to keep alive the memory of the contribution of the Dutch colonists to American history. De Halve Maen, operated by the New Netherland Museum / Half Moon, has sailed as a museum ship on the Hudson River for more than twenty-five years.
It has recently become known that the VOC city of Hoorn will become the new home port for the Halve Maen for at least the next five years. The New Netherland Museum gives the ship on loan for this period to the Westfries Museum that will operate the ship. De Halve Maen will receive a beautiful permanent berth on the Oostereiland at the Center for Sailing Heritage, but will make an exception for SAIL Amsterdam 2015. During this event, it will be moored at the Oranjehaven (IJhaven) and will be open to the public during the day.
The original ship was probably built around 1606 and operated for Hudson’s trade in timber in the Baltic Sea countries and in salt in Portugal. After the voyage of discovery of Hudson, it was still working for the VOC in Asia for a few years, until it was set on fire in 1618 in a sea battle off the coast of Java.
Incidentally, the current ship is the second replica of the Halve Maen. In 1909, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s journey, the Dutch government gave the city of New York a completely sail-worthy replica of the yacht. In 1934 this ship was lost in a fire.
De Halve Maen is a yacht. She is small and manoeuvrable and was often used by the VOC as a reconnaissance vessel, because she could sail in almost all waters. The replica is almost 30 meters long and has a draft of 2.7 meters.
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