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Dutch Barge Beurtmotor

Regular shipping between different places with cargo and passengers is called "Beurtvaart." There was no specific type of ship for this. With the rise of the steam engine around 1850, progressive ship captains began to sail with steam ships. These ships varied depending on the shipping area.

However, a type of ship with similar characteristics developed: often shallow ships with little draft, a sharp bow, a light or slanting stern, wide decks and slightly rounded iron hatches. With the advent of the internal combustion engine around the turn of the century, the first motorized Beurtvaart ships, or Beurtmotors, came into use. The engine made it possible for small ships to no longer be dependent on wind. Advantages: much smaller and lighter than the steam engine, cheap, simple to use, and quickly ready for use. This outweighed the disadvantages: investments, noise, and cost of diesel oil. The extra expenses were quickly earned back because ships could now sail without wind.

The motorized Beurtvaart ships were built more slender than the steam-powered ships, with a narrow stern that fell more sharply inward. This gave the oval stern a beautiful line and also made the ship stronger. The common size was between 20 and 60 tons. The crew's quarters were under the raised forward deck. There was often a beautiful wooden entrance, a neat interior, and a porthole on both sides of the ship's hull. There was also a small cabin in the stern, but that was clearly less popular due to the noise and smell of the engine.

Steering was done in the open air behind a horizontal steering wheel. Later, a steering hut was often built around it. In the 1930s, the Beurtmotors could not compete with trucks. Most of the Beurtvaart services disappeared.

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Contact

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