The Art of Yacht Building – Amels
The Netherlands is a watery country. With two thirds of the land space below sea-level and a large portion of it reclaimed from the sea and connected by waterways, it is no wonder the Dutch are known throughout the world as master ship builders. Their very lives depend on their ability to manage water and water-bound constructions. Some of the top yacht construction companies are located in the Netherlands, and Amels is one of them.
Acquired in 1991 by the Damen group, Amels is the superyacht division of the group of companies which was established by the brothers Damen in 1927. Before the acquisition Amels had already been building quality yachts for over 60 years. Damen also has other ship building yards, including Royal Schelde, the company’s warship division. With 32 shipyards and close to 10,000 employees the company generates around €2 billion per annum and delivers over 160 ships every year. Because Amels is part of the Damen group, the company has access to vast resources and extensive facilities that comes with having this many ship building companies in a single group.
Like the technological hub of the United States located in California is called ‘Silicon Valley’, there is an area in the Netherlands that is so inundated with marine expertise that it is known as ‘Yachting Valley’. This is where Amels is located in the city Vlissingen – a port city that originated in the 7th century as a small fishing village. Every year 50,000 ships pass by Vlissingen where large ships can pass closer to shore than anywhere else in the world. It is also a tourist friendly place with many lively bars, restaurants, hotels and a sandy beach.
Top quality yachts are made in high quality shipyards
The main Amels shipyard is located in the hub of the ‘Yachting Valley’ and is a state-of-the-art facility with climate controlled halls and direct access to the waters of the North Sea, no matter what size the yacht is. There are two covered dry docks, the smaller dock measuring 145 meters and the larger dock 204 meters. The Vlissingen East yard is situated approximately 8 km away from the main Amels yard. This location is mainly used for the construction of civilian and military ships. Amels makes use of this facility for the construction of luxury yachts and avail of the high-precision steel construction methods usually reserved for military-grade work. The Vlissingen East yard has three dry docks that include a covered 215 meter dock.
How does good become great?
Whether it is in art, engineering or ship building, the Dutch aim to excel. For Amels it is not good enough to merely be good, the company insists on being great. A famous yachting journalist once visited the Amels shipyard. His feedback was that he had never seen a shipyard more organised or cleaner. This level of cleanliness and efficiency in a ship building environment is essential to producing the highest quality luxury yachts, in line with Amels sterling reputation.