Thursday, November 14, 2013

Damen Shipyards Gorinchem, NL

I lied.  Before I start the New York City part of our recent trip to America, let's squeeze in a quickie trip to the headquarters of the Damen Shipyards, based here in our Dutch city, Gorinchem. 

It just so happens they had an open-house day this past Saturday and we went.

It was a sunshiny, windy, gorgeous day.

And as often happens, it's not just the destination that allures!
It's the journey.

 We set off on foot because we knew it would be an easy walk from our apartment.
See that big warehouse-type building?  That's where Astrid thought Damen Shipyards was,
until she suddenly realized it was the Mercon steel factory.  HA!, too, was alluring.  A good photo op in the right direction.

See what I mean?

It meant walking another half hour...totalling about an hour altogether.
Just what the doctor ordered, with the Merwede Bridge thrown in for good measure.

"Damen simply builds better boats."

In 1927 Damen was established by two brothers. Now, Damen Shipyards has a leading position in shipbuilding with more than 6,000 employees and a presence in 35 countries. Damen is a multinational company that has never lost its family values or its deep respect for its maritime heritage.

Can you imagine a business like this with headquarters in your city!
(Kinda like Coca Cola for those of us from Atlanta.)

As we walked into the complex, cars were lined up to find parking spots.
We were so glad we walked.
Balloons were everywhere, making it a welcome to old and young alike...

...with plenty of excitement to keep everyone entertained.

And enough boats in construction to sink a ship!

To actually climb on-board to see the construction work in progress was a huge thrill.
No need to mention that Astrid and I love boats of all kinds and sizes.

How about a catamaran that size!

Or a boat this big for Abu Dhabi.

Want to talk about propellers?  You're definitely at the right place!
There were plenty of workers around to answer any of your questions.

And talk about ship-shape.  Everything was in its place.

Even the carpentry shop was slick as a whistle..a dream spot for Astrid.

See what I mean?

What a perfect day for an open house...especially outside.
It was a boat lover's day, for sure.

 We could have seen a lot more but...we didn't.
Which is NOT to say when you've seen one boat you've seen them all.
We were just ready to head back into town to eat lunch, having worked up an appetite.
Our leaning church tower was our guiding compass, getting us back to our starting point.

As if you've forgotten, we love where we live!


  1. LOL!

    Your little city looks like a museum. There's art everywhere and pretty and fascinating seem to be the theme around there.

    1. Our city is just fabulous, Maria. Something is going on here almost all the time. We don't really need to leave home to be entertained elsewhere. HA!

  2. You two certainly have lots of adventures! Just got back from a trip myself but didn't have any time with the camera.

    1. It seems like something is always at our fingertips, Mary. Most of the time we try to take advantage of it! Thanks.

  3. Delightful and colorful shots! Isn't it always so much better when you can walk instead of fighting traffic and then looking for a parking place ... and then still having to walk?!

    1. Exactly, Susan. We are lucky to have so much within walking distance from where we live!

  4. The walk was a little longer as planned but the weather was good HA... This was my first time here and next year we will go again and see the making of the ships on paper and the model seized ships in the try out. I found out they have a laboratory to do so. A reason to go back.
    Your pictures are a wonderful view of what they make, the heavy duty boats. We are lucky to have this all at our fingertips.
    Wonderful post, a memory added.

    1. As so often happens, we find out afterwards what we missed...but that's okay, because, as you say, they'll always be next year. I was pleasantly surprised by what we saw!

  5. Alas, all I kept thinking about as I looked at your pictures is my own explorations of boat yards in Maine. How sad that, like all U.S. Industry, ship building has mostly disappeared, and the places I visited were mostly becoming ruins. What a place you visited! I took a trip on a restored, old fishing boat a few years ago. The couple who owned the boat, had scrimped to buy it and were passionate sailors. The wife had designed a wonderful spiral stair as a way of getting between decks, and they had done much of the work themselves, but when the time came to have the actual shipbuilding and fine carpentry done, they said the best shipbuilding in the world was done in the Netherlands, and they made the Atlantic crossing to have the work done. They were an interesting couple, fell in love in high school and had a passion for the sea. Together they decided to buy a nearly junked fishing boat, restore it, and start a kind of floating B&B.

    Of course I'm eager to hear for your visit to my city.

    1. Astrid has told me that shipbuilding here in the Netherlands is THRIVING, Ted. A friend from England says the same thing has happened to them as in America. Maybe no one can compete against the Dutch excellence!?! What a great story you have told about your boat friends....

      And yes, one day we will definitely come see you, if ever we're in your neck of the woods. That would be a dream. Thank you.

  6. Love seeing parts of your hood in these posts! And as you know...I'm so loving that abstract fan photo you captured and worked!

    1. You know how much I enjoy sharing the things we see, Robin, so thank you for following along. I always get a kick out of what photos of mine really click with someone. Thanks for letting me know.

  7. I love where you live as well! I find the bottom parts of the boat (the part we never see as it is under water) to be so very beautiful and graceful!

    1. Isn't that amazing, Margaret, to see the bits-n-pices of things we never have the chance to see. I so agree. It was quite the education!