Horizon, a living legend on the Dutch waters
The Horizon is a living legend on Dutch waters. For many skippers, it breathes nostalgia for its glorious history. Horizon was once the stage of a crime scene in a well-known German 'krimi'. Rooie Gerrit' still adorns the label of the famous skipper's bitter on her aft deck, on her steering wheel. Many have also laid out the puzzle of 500 pieces with her graceful image. Sea tjalk Horizon: from former peat freighter, to commuter ship, to training ship and charterer, then residential and pleasure ship..... and now she is a very special place to stay for lovers from all over the world. For those who find it interesting, we explain the history of our beloved Grand Old Lady below.
1895 - 1947
In 1895, skipper Scholten had an iron sea tjalk built for his own account in Veendam, shipyard unknown. The tjalk was 22 meters long and 5 meters wide, with 150 m² of sail in the wind. He named her *Linquenda. Built as a sea tjalk, it was intended for the larger inland waters, the coastal area, including the Wadden Sea, and the North Sea and Baltic Sea. The two-master could carry 114 tons of cargo. Compared to 'normal' tjalks, sea tjalks have a relatively high head and butt. As a result, they have more sheer. Sea tjalks are also more robustly built. These are characteristics that are beneficial for the seaworthiness. Seaworthy or not, Linquenda probably did not roam the sea for long. In 1908 the son, newly married, took over the ship and for 39 long years this couple sailed with loads of peat from Nieuw-Amsterdam to Enkhuizen and back, ten trips a year. Until 1947, when skipper Scholten dropped anchor in Hoorn for good, the peat trade was no longer worthwhile. The tjalk was eventually bought by the couple. J.C. Kraamer & Elsa M. Kraamer-Ferguson. Both interior designers in Amsterdam.
*Linquenda stands for the Latin proverb of the Roman poet/philosopher Horatius (65 - 8 B.C.) and reads in full: 'Linquenda tellus, et domus, et placens uxor' and means: Once we have to leave this land, this house and the dear wife.
1947 - 1965
In the summer of 1949, the ship was converted by the Kraamer couple at the Gorter shipyard in Hoogezand into a living and working yacht according to their own design. Under the raised aft deck, a spacious owner's residence was realized, which was also used as a workspace, with a separate sleeping cabin. Also a 'roef' was realized with a view over the water. Due to the raised aft deck and the placement of a deckhouse, a cockpit was created in between in which benches were placed. From the deckhouse they walked downstairs where a small dining room with galley was made and behind it sleeping cabins where about 18 people could be comfortably accommodated. The couple had from the beginning a twofold goal with this venture. In the first place they could use the ship as a moveable office and home, by the ship as close as possible to the place where they were working on an assignment. In the second place it was the intention for the couple that other people could share in the joy of the ship. Nine months a year, the Kraamer couple lived and worked on board the now called Horizon. The sleeping cabins were removable and the deckhouse could easily be converted into a 'stage' where Mr. Kraamer could give lectures on interior design to an audience of about 50 people. Three months a year 'Horizon' roamed the Dutch waters with about 20 people on board, who had booked a carefree holiday.
In 1953 the Horizon served as a hospital ship for the Salvation Army during the 'Watersnoodramp' (flood disaster) in Zeeland. This is described in an article in magazine Waterkampioen. During the Whitsun weekend of 1963, the 'Horizon', painted and refurbished just for the summer rental, sank in the harbour of Hoorn. In July 1965, after 18 years ownership, the Kraamer couple offered 'Horizon' for sale by an advertisement in magazine Waterkampioen.
1971 - 1996
In 1971 'Horizon' changed ownership and became the property of De Nederlandse Zeilschool (NZS), Balgerij 1, 2159 LZ in Kaag. Here she was one of the first Dutch sailing ships to serve as a sailing school. The owners mentioned here are Mr Wim Patist and Mr Neve. In 1973 the 'Horizon' was used again in charter sailing. As far as is known and documented, 'Horizon' and 'De Zwarte Valk' were at that time the very first two charter vessels in the Netherlands which were fully equipped for this purpose. Since then, many nationalities have sailed on the ship. For example, travel reports were found of Japanese and Americans. The ship was especially popular with the Germans. All guest- and logbooks have been preserved. Nice to know is that the 'Horizon' was used as a location for filming a well-known German Krimi. She was also photographed together with the 'The Zwarte Valk' in the harbour of Marken, where a puzzle was made of. We have this puzzle in our possession. (Schmidt Puzzle, 500 teile, 34 x 53 cm)
1996 - 2001
In 1996 the 'Horizon' came into the possession of Gerrit Boonen. A skipper bred and mowed by 30 years of experience in the Navy. With Enkhuizen as his home port and sailing under the flag of 'De Zeilvaart' (The Sailing Voyage), he was able to make the most of his time. The 'Horizon' regularly sailed to the Wadden islands and roamed the IJsselmeer. In addition to the various flat bottom races, including the Beurtveer and Strontrace, 'Horizon' also took part in Sail Amsterdam in 2000. The next year (2001) Skipper Boonen decided to sell the 'Horizon'. In addition to the 'Horizon', he had another tjalk in his possession, the 'Moeke Zorn', and wanted to spend his old age taking care of just one ship instead of two. The 'Moeke Zorn' is slightly larger and more spacious than the 'Horizon' in terms of dimensions and was therefore financially more attractive to keep and use as a charter for a few more years.
2001 - 2006
In 2001 Skipper Boonen sold his 'Horizon' to Johan Griffioen and Rosa Los. They then slightly modified the interior to really use the ship as a houseboat. Most sleeping cabins are stripped of bunk beds and washbasins. The stern has become a large bedroom with lots of closet and storage space. And there is a small workshop made in the engine room. The deckhouse and the general area have remained the same. As well as the galley and 1 sleeping cabin. There is a bathroom with connection for the washer and dryer and storage space in the front. Unfortunately, after all this hard work, Johan and Rosa were not able to enjoy the result for long. The relationship ended and to their great regret they had to sell their ship. 'Horizon' has been for sale through a real estate trader in the port of de Veenderij in Vinkeveen.
2006 - 2018
It's 2006. After 1.5 years of quiet and uninhabited in the Veenderij in Vinkeveen, 'Horizon' has been somewhat affected by mother nature. Brigit van Wegen and Arjen van Rheenen took a look and were immediately sold. Under the skin of peeled off paint and rust, they saw a sturdy tjalk. At Urk the ship underwent an inspection and a major maintenance. The couple was regularly on the waters of the Markermeer/IJsselmeer and the Wad and they participated in various events organized by the various flat-bottom and sailing clubs.
In 2010 they opened a restaurant in the marina of Lelystad, which puts sailing and maintenance on the back burner. The relationship ended in 2012. Arjen continued to live on the ship opposite his restaurant in the harbour, and his new love Sammy Brands accompanies him a little later. After 3 years Brigit moved back to her ship in Lelystad. Together with her son she takes care of the overdue maintenance. A little later she sailed her tjalk to the port of Spakenburg where she was offering tourists to stay on board her ship. Tjalk Horizon is now for the first time a B&B! In the meantime Brigit and her son moved to live ashore and with het new busy job, taking care of Horizon and running the B&B became just too much to handle. So at last she decided to offer her beloved ship for sale.
2018 - Present
At the end of November 2018, a new chapter in the now 123-year-old 'Horizon' began when we, gallery owners Eric & Séverine Morren, saw her. After first looking at a totally neglected tjalk in Harlingen, we drove without any hope to Spakenburg to see the tjalk of Brigit. But here it was: 'Horizon' appeared to be the ship of our dreams! With great luck we found a berth in the picturesque harbour of Wijk bij Duurstede thanks to the departure of a tjalk of exactly the same size. Harbour Master Cees likes to see historic ships as 'Horizon' in his harbour and promised to reserve the place for us. A few days after we signed the purchase contract, on a cold December day, together with former owners Birgit and Arjen we sailed 'Horizon' to her new safe haven. We immediately started tackling overdue maintenance from top to bottom . Overdue carpentry is done, the engine checked, equipment and cabling checked and/or renewed.
In April 2019 she was hoisted ashore at Museumwerf Vreeswijk: the broken mast was replaced, she was given new layers of paint, a bow thruster, new batteries, a new aggregator, and finally she was inspected and....approved! Proud as can be, we sailed our 'Horizon' back to her berth in Wijk bij Duurstede in June 2019. Here we gave her the finishing touches: new furniture, new mattresses, bedding, towels, plates & cutlery, etcetera,
With the permission of harbour master Cees we may share Horizon with people like you: people who are looking for a special experience and like to enjoy the history of the ship and the picturesque surroundings. An exciting new phase has begun for both the old ship and for us. Since 11 October 2019, we have been able to welcome the very first guests via airbnb.