Dutch Barge Bolpraam

A Dutch Barge Bolpraam

  • vessel similar to the Praam but more robust
  • plate with weather biter
  • narrow sidewalks of 10 to 15 cm
  • very low deckhouse (almost as high as the hatch cover)
  • no rubbing strike or bulwark
  • sometimes fitted with fore or aft deck

The Bolpraam was mainly used for the transport of potatoes to the factory. Many shipyards and also private individuals had one or more praams for this - up to a fleet of about fifty to sixty units - which were rented out to enthusiasts during the Campaign. The Bolpraam has no gangway, which made it difficult to boom when loaded. In order to be able to do this, the 'posts' (thick building boards) that the wheelbarrows drove over during loading, were placed lengthwise over the load, which people then walked over during the tree removal. There was also a lot of drawing.

The Bolpraam was not equipped with a mast to which the towing line could be attached. The advance was therefore provided with two brackets, between which a ledge post was placed. A 'ledge post' was used for fencing pastures. If there was a ditch or a neighborhood near this fence, the farmer could suffice with fairly short ledge posts; if there was no water, the poles had to be longer, otherwise the cattle would come over them. Nice straight poles were excellent for attaching the pull line. If the round pram did not have a foredeck, then the brackets on both the starboard and port sides were against the forward bulkhead at about 50 to 100 centimeters from the side. If the Bolpraam was equipped with a foredeck, they were located on the hold side of the forward bulkhead.

The Bolpraam is an open vessel, so that it can easily fill up with rain and must be emptied regularly. A shovel bucket was used for this, which was made by attaching a bucket to a long stick. Of course, this timely emptying was often forgotten, with the result that the belly lining quickly rotted away. Many farmers solved this by pouring concrete into the ships. This was not very conducive to the life of the barge. Concrete and iron have different coefficients of expansion, so that the concrete eventually became loose in the shell. Water thus had free play between the concrete and the steel, and the corrosion started. This was of course also not conducive to the load capacity: where there is concrete you cannot store a load.

The Bolpraam is equipped with a small deckhouse. During the campaign, the tenant usually lived in this. Inside was a stove and a bale bag filled with chaff as a place to sleep. It didn't give much comfort, but during the campaign there was no time for comfort either. In the evening you went to bed with long arms from digging potatoes and in the morning the farmer was already waiting for you before dawn. Furthermore, the Bolpraam was a jack of all trades in the peat colonies. It was used, among other things, to transport: peat, manure to and potatoes from the field, straw to the cardboard factories. It was also often used for removals (and for school parties. The latter was then quite an event for schoolchildren.

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