Dutch Barge Aak

Dutch Barge Aak

There are different types of ships that are referred to by the name Aak. Different groups in society, such as fishermen, freighters, shipbuilders, not to mention the general public, have their own way of classifying and naming ships. The following classification can be made for barges.

  • Visaken; fishing vessels from the Zuiderzee and the Frisian inland waterways, for example Lemsteraken and Wieringeraken;
  • Rhine barges; large cargo ships of the Dutch rivers;
  • Freighters not built on the stern;

 Have a look at our offer of former professional ships

The term 'Rijnaak' was and still is used by outsiders to indicate a large inland waterways freighter. However, whether it was a Dorsten aak, a Stevenaak or a Kempenaar was not of interest to the general public. Skippers and shipbuilders generally use the term Rhineaak much more selectively, for example for (Dorstense) Aken not built on the stern.

Not built on the stern means that the planks or plates of the ship's skin in the bow, and possibly also in the stern, are held together without using a stern beam.

The bottom is lifted at the ends of the ship. The edges end against the heve, the ascending part of the surface. If a stern is fitted, it has no essential function for the building; if you removed it, the ship wouldn't fall apart. At the aft, the ascending plane is usually provided with a skeg, from which the rudder is mounted rotatably. There used to be a third way of constructing an end to a ship's hull, by bringing the heve and all the boards together in the ends of the ship and attaching them there.

Aken can be divided into groups in various ways. The terms Heefaak, Stevenaak, Plechtaak and Boeieraak refer to the construction method. They are type designations that can be found in shipyard archives. The skippers used their own names: IJsselaak, Hagenaar, Zandaak and Rietaak.