Party time: Feadship Amsterdam yard opened by Queen Máxima

Five years, a team of four main contractors, seventeen consulting firms, 59 key suppliers, two construction management firms and many thousands of hours of planning all came together on the evening of 16 May as Feadship’s new Amsterdam yard was officially opened. The guest of honour was none other than Her Majesty Queen Máxima, making this even more of a night to remember for the 2500 Feadship workers present.

This fourth Feadship facility in the Netherlands is now going to build and refit Feadships of up to 160 metres in length. Measuring a mighty 425,000 cubic metres – it’s quite the experience to step into the main building for the first time – this is the most eco-friendly superyacht yard in the world and the pinnacle of contemporary design. On this warm night in May, however, the giant construction hall had been converted into the coolest party venue in a city famed for having a good time, resplendent in a purple blaze of decoration.

The 88-metre Project 816 was already in position as her build is well underway, giving an extra dimension to the ambience. Such is the size of the building, however, that there was still easily enough room to accommodate the thousands of Feadship staff who had gathered to celebrate this milestone moment in superyacht history.

Royal occasion

There is always a festive atmosphere at the launch of a Feadship so the opening of a whole new yard was bound to be extra special. But the fact that Queen Máxima had graciously agreed to come and perform the opening ceremony in person made this a truly royal occasion in every respect. Her Majesty was met upon arrival by Dick van Lent, the fourth generation of his family to have led the yard until his retirement in 2016. Together they viewed nineteen classic yachts presented along the quay, all members of the Feadship Heritage Fleet.

The Queen also met young graduates from the Feadship Academy and several generations of family members working at the Royal Van Lent yard in Kaag, which will now operate in tandem with the location in Amsterdam. Royal Van Lent director Peter van Mil – who managed the build project – showed Queen Máxima how solar panels, district heating and LED lighting have enhanced the energy efficiency of the new facilities. Last but not least, Bram Jongepier, senior specialist at De Voogt Naval Architects, explained the innovative and sustainable approach that Feadship takes to building superyachts.

The future of tradition

After the royal party had entered the state-of-the-art construction hall, three key speakers addressed the expectant crowds.“This new facility will allow Feadship to stay at the cutting edge of innovation and continue to build superyachts that will change history,” said Toni Belloni, group managing director of LVMH (owner of Royal Van Lent). “LMVH’s moto is ‘the future of tradition’ and we always pride itself on employing the finest artisans in every area. I am certain that the best yachtbuilders in the world work for Feadship.”

Boatbuilding DNA

Koen Overtoom, general director of Port of Amsterdam, explained how thrilled his organisation was to welcome such an incredible yachtbuilding operation into the heart of the Dutch capital. “The knowledge, craftsmanship and employment opportunities will further strengthen the port of Amsterdam and its surrounding regions. In the 1600s there were 26 boatbuilders located here, with three new vessels being launched every week and many thousands of people employed. This shipbuilding is in our DNA and four centuries later you can see the passion in the amazing superyachts created by Feadship.”

Making things better

Jan-Bart Verkuyl, CEO of Royal Van Lent, concluded the speeches by thanking the Port of Amsterdam for its cooperation over the past years and the dedication of all those who had been involved in building the yard. “As we celebrate our 170th anniversary, our predecessors could never have imagined such an exceptional facility. Almost everything has changed over the years, but the one thing that has remained consistent is the skills of the workforce. Their constant desire to make things better has allowed Feadship to become the world’s leading superyacht brand.”

Open for business

All that remained for the formal part of the ceremony was for Queen Máxima to press the symbolic button and declare the new yard open. This was the signal for the party to really get underway, with amazing acrobats, great music, delicious food and the sense of friendship and comradery for which Feadship is famed.

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