The Hugo Grotius Project: Making Dutch Sailing Heritage Sustainable

Stevenklippers used to be quite a sight. These ships are the largest Dutch sailing inland vessels ever build. Fast sailors that used to carry freight up and down the Rhine, before the motorization of shipping fleets made them obsolete at the end of the 19th century. The Centre for Global Heritage partnered with the Hugo Grotius stevenklipper Foundation to bring back one of these pieces of Dutch sailing heritage. Together, they will cooperate to restore the Hugo Grotius – a stevenklipper from 1883 -  in a sustainable manner, and transform its cargo hold into a classroom for vocational education. 



Besides restoring an important piece of heritage this project will explore how cultural heritage and its conservation has a crucial role to play in sustainable development; both in terms of the restoration itself as well as through education. Sailing along the Rhine and Dutch river delta, youth between the age of 14 and 23 will receive vocational education on board, raising awareness for craftsmanship as a core value of a sustainable future.  

To help develop this project, dr. Maikel Kuijpers—assistant professor at Leiden University’s faculty of Archaeology and research coordinator at the Centre for Global Heritage and Development—has become one of its ambassadors. His aim is to help coordinate and develop the educational aspects of the Hugo Grotius Project, focusing on the societal and academic importance of both the project and the notion of craftsmanship for a sustainable future.

The Hugo Grotius sail plan by Bart Vermeer (1883).
More information
Hugo Grotius Stevenklipper Foundation