New boat’s keel put in place
Future visitors of the Overwaard Museum Mill, which is due to open on April 1, will be carried to the venue by a new boat. Last Friday, at the Sliedrecht-based shipyard of J. Schlieker & Zonen B.V., the keel of the vessel was put in place.
The starring role of the official moment was reserved for a selection of volunteers from the Kinderdijk World Heritage Foundation (SWEK). SWEK project leader Arie Steenhouwer explains why: “Tradition dictates that a copper coin should be placed on the spot where the keel and the mast of the ship meet. The custom is meant to protect the vessel. Admittedly, our ship doesn’t feature a mast, but we still thought this was a nice way to see the construction off to a good start.” Aad Voorberg, a member of the team charged with maintenance of the Kinderdijk tour boat fleet, placed the five-cent coin bearing the image of our patroness princess Beatrix.
At this moment, the new boat is still waiting at its Sliedrecht shipyard in the form of a giant model kit. Over the next few months, its hundreds of individually numbered component parts will be welded together at breakneck speed. The job should be finished by the second half of March, since the boat is expected to sail the waters of the Overwaard’s Lower basin just two weeks later. The new vessel, bearing the working title Friso 2, will be able to carry some fifty passengers. Friso 2 will feature more accommodations for wheelchair users than its existing tour boat counterparts.
The Overwaard Museum Mill will open its doors on April 1. The surrounding millyard and the ground floor of this third museum windmill will be just as easily accessible for wheelchairs as the new boat that carries them there. Visiting the Overwaard Museum Mill is intended solely for groups with prior reservations. By opening a third museum windmill, SWEK intends to improve the even distribution of guests visiting Kinderdijk UNESCO World Heritage. Transporting groups of visitors to the new venue called for the current expansion of our tour boat fleet. The operation involves a 275,000-euro overall investment.