Dutch-built Yachts: A Rich Tradition of Excellence

The world of yacht building has a rich history, and one country that stands out for its exceptional craftsmanship and innovation is the Netherlands. Dutch yacht builders have crafted a reputation as being among the world's very best. With a prestigious history of boat building that dates back centuries, the Netherlands has emerged as a hub for high-value, high-quality yacht construction. 

A history of Dutch boat building

The dominance of Dutch yacht builders in the superyacht industry can be traced back to the 1500s. The word "yacht" is from the Dutch word "jacht," which means hunting or hunt. The Dutch navy initially used yachts as light, fast sailing vessels to pursue pirates and other transgressors in the shallow waters of the Low Countries. However, wealthy Dutch merchants soon became interested in these vessels and began building private yachts for pleasure trips.

By the start of the 17th century, the Dutch had developed two categories of yachts: speel-jachten (or: pleasure yachts) for sport and oorlog-jachten (or: war yachts) for naval duties. Wealthy individuals began using their yachts for pleasure trips, and large "jacht" fleets were found along the Dutch coast. These early yachts varied in size and had a fore/aft gaff rig with a flat bottom and lee boards to allow operations in shallow waters.

This historical connection to the sea and maritime activities laid a solid foundation for the Dutch to excel in yacht construction. 

The Dutch fleet under sail

Dutch Yacht Builders: Masters of craftsmanship

Dutch yacht builders have earned a reputation for excellence in craftsmanship and innovation. Some of the most notable names in the industry have emerged from the Netherlands, including Feadship, Amels, Royal Huisman, Hakvoort, Heesen, Vitters, Oceanco, Moonen Yachts, Mulder Shipyard and Van der Valk Shipyard. These shipyards are heralded for their world-class build quality, high-tech facilities, and reliability in finishing projects on time and on budget. In fact, many of the yachts launched from Dutch shipyards are iconic and have won international awards.

Feadship: The epitome of custom yachts

One of the most prestigious Dutch yacht builders is Feadship, often referred to as the 'Rolls Royce' of yacht builders. Feadship is a partnership between two renowned Dutch shipyards, De Vries and Royal Van Lent. With a fleet of over 450 yachts, including iconic vessels like AQUARIUS and ECSTASEA, Feadship continues to push the boundaries of luxury yacht construction.

Amels: Setting the standard for quality

Founded in 1918, Amels is another prominent Dutch yacht builder that has made its mark in the superyacht industry. Known for exceptional build quality, Amels builds fully custom yachts up to 125 meters, or 410 feet, in length. They also offer their highly sought-after "Limited Edition Series." Amels has produced iconic yachts like HERE COMES THE SUN and a popular range of support yachts for superyachts through their parent company, DAMEN.

Royal Huisman: Masters of sailing yachts

Royal Huisman, a family-run shipyard founded in 1884, has a legacy of producing some of the finest sailing yachts in the world. Their fleet of maxi-yachts and performance cruisers has garnered numerous regatta honors and design awards. While their expertise is recognized worldwide for sailing yachts like ATHENA, Royal Huisman also constructs motor yachts, including the award-winning ARCADIA and HUSH.

Hakvoort: Exceptional craftmanship

With roots dating back to 1919, Hakvoort is a renowned Dutch shipyard that builds both sailing and motor yachts. From fully custom designs to their 55-meter semi-custom series, Hakvoort offers a range of options. Their yachts, constructed in steel and aluminum, have garnered acclaim for their exceptional craftsmanship. Notable yachts from Hakvoort include LADY MARINA (now: MY LADY) and APOSTROPHE.

Heesen: The pursuit of innovation

Heesen, founded in 1979, has quickly risen to prominence as one of the most innovative Dutch yacht builders. Initially known for their fast performance yachts, Heesen has expanded their capabilities to construct yachts up to 80 meters. They have gained notoriety for their revolutionary design and engineering, such as the Fast Displacement Hull Form seen on GALACTICA STAR (now: ILLUSION), a multi-award-winning yacht.

Vitters: Sailing excellence

Vitters, founded in 1990, is a respected name in the sailing yacht industry. They have built a reputation for constructing yachts that excel in superyacht regattas and international design competitions. With a focus on quality and design, Vitters has received accolades for yachts like SARISSA (now: SHARLOU), GANESHA, AQUIJO, and the motor yacht NINEMIA OF LONDON (now: MIA ZOI).

Oceanco: Setting new standards

Oceanco specializes in the construction of large, fully custom superyachts over 80 meters in length. Founded in 1990, Oceanco has gained recognition for its ability to bring the owner's vision to life, resulting in some of the industry's most well-known yachts, including ALFA NERO, ANASTASIA (now: WHEELS), and JUBILEE (now: KAOS).

Moonen Yachts: Combining heritage and innovation 

With a legacy spanning over 40 years, Moonen Yachts have been dedicated to creating exclusive and extraordinary superyachts within the 34 to 45-meter size range, including iconic classics like the Moonen 84 (AURORA) and Moonen 85 Long Range Cruiser (MIDNIGHT SAGA XII), as well as the contemporary Moonen Martinique series (COCOON). Their rich heritage and original vision has been maintained throughout the years by their close-knit team of in-house professionals and unwavering passion for what they do.

Mulder Shipyard: Exceptional and distinctive designs

Mulder Shipyard, a family-owned business, has gained recognition for its distinctive designs and the successful fusion of traditional craftsmanship with modern technology. The shipyard is renowned for its commitment to delivering motor yachts of exceptional quality, providing outstanding comfort and ensuring remarkable seaworthiness. Notable examples are the Flybridge A2 (now: MAHALO) and ThirtySix SOLEMATES.

Van der Valk Shipyard: Timeless excellence

Van der Valk Shipyard builds semi-custom and custom motor yachts ranging from 15 to 40 meters. Established in 1968, the shipyard gained recognition for their Vitesse series and later introduced the Continental series. The yard is known for high-end yachts at competitive prices, allowing extensive customization. Currently they have produced over 100 yachts, like the Raised Pilothouse yachts THE NEXT EPISODE (now: O NOSO UNO) and BLUE JEANS, and Flybridge DUTCH FALCON. 

The Dutch yacht building legacy continues

Dutch yacht builders have crafted a reputation for excellence that is unmatched in the superyacht industry. With a rich maritime history and a tradition of quality craftsmanship, the Netherlands has become a hub for high-value, high-quality yacht construction. From Feadship's fully custom yachts to the sailing excellence of Royal Huisman and Vitters, Dutch shipyards continue to push the boundaries of innovation and create iconic vessels that capture the imagination of yacht enthusiasts worldwide. The legacy of Dutch yacht building lives on, ensuring that the Netherlands remains at the forefront of luxury yacht construction for years to come.