In this newsletter you find information about the following subjects:

The preface of this newsletter has been written for the first time by the new chairman of the National Dutch Towage Museum, mr. Kees van Essen, who is the successor of mr. Karel Kaffa. In this document he introduces himself in more detail.

At the same time, we welcome our new financial manager, mr. Martin Boekestijn. He also shows an insight in his credentials.

Apart from these two gentlemen, the Museum is happy to announce that another two persons volunteered for our institute, Paul Firet and Aart van Eijsden.

In this edition of the newsletter we memorize mr. Teunis van der Maarel, who regrettably abruptly deceased this month. He was considered as the operational manager of the Museum, who did an excellent oversight and coordination job. He also acted as an undaunted and thrustworthy compass for the Museum and its volunteers, and on which one could always rely and who nearly always was present in the Museum.

We are pleased to announce that after the completion of the Zeezaal (Deep Sea towage Hall) we now also have at our disposal a totally reconstructed Rijn- en Binnenvaartzaal (River and Inland towage Hall) and Havenzaal (Harbour Towage Hall).

The museum received new equipment of good quality for digitalizing old pictures and videos for our two cinema systems.

In this period the Museum again added a number of new ship models to its collection.

Furthermore the experts of the Museum on request of relatives now alive, a number of times were able to recover the vicissitudes of crew members of tug boats in the past. Read the fascinating story about the escape of mr. Middendorp, that we recovered on request of his daughter by intensively consulting and exploring our archives and other sources.

On June 2nd the new exhibition "Van bouwsteen tot sleepbootmodel" (from building block to tug model) went live. It is unimaginable how much keenness it takes to build true and detailed tug models using LEGO and other building block systems. The in connection with this exhibition organized building contest was very successful. Especially children and young adults were very interested.

And last but not least, for those who are interested we mention that the annual report 2017 can be downloaded via the link in the newsletter. You find a very detailed reproduction of the activities regarding the Museum in this period.

Kees van Essen, chairman

Please click the blue button below to download the full contents of this newsletter:

The newsletter is stated in the Dutch language only. Nevertheless, on behalf of the board and volunteers of the National Dutch Towage Museum we wish you much pleasure in viewing the document!

In case you prefer automatic receipt of the newsletter in the future on your mail account by subscription, please send us your mail with the request.


Monday, 01 October 2018 15:32

New book "Tug Use in Port" 3rd edition

tug use in port henk hensen2.JPGTug Use In Port
Third Edition
Captain Henk Hensen
Price: £40.00 Hardback ITS Club Discount Available of 10%
The ABR Company Ltd, www.tugandosv.com.

This book is specifically written with the needs of maritime professionals involved in the day-to-day practice and training of ship handling with tugs in mind, particularly pilots, tug masters and training instructors. It should also be of value to towing companies, shipmasters and mates of seagoing vessels and all other persons or organisations involved, one way or another, with tugs and ship handling.Some significant changes have been made in this third edition, including:

- The inclusion of several new tug designs, as well as terminal tugs, environmentally friendly tugs, Japanese style tugs, and tugs that operate in icy conditions.
- Tug assistance in ports, and ice-covered fairways, is further addressed, as is tug assistance in locks. Bow-to-bow operations are discussed in more detail.
- Stability has been further explained, along with recommendations for tug masters with respect to stability.
- Environmental limits for tug operations are discussed, based on the results of the SafeTug JIP (Joint Industry Project), and attention is paid to operating in fog conditions.
- The impact of crew reduction, another important item, is addressed.
- Information on towing winches, towing hooks, towlines, towline friction and SWLs of ship's deck equipment has all been updated, and the need to use proper heaving lines addressed.
- New aspects of training are included - such as training for LNG tugs, LNG locations, ice and wave conditions - as well as new developments in training tools, eg specific tug simulators, scaled down and miniature tugs.
- New technical developments, such as virtual and augmented reality, are discussed - along with use of simulators for human factor studies.
- The escort chapter has been thoroughly reviewed, including the reasons for escorting and an update on various escort regulations.
- The topic of autonomous ships is discussed, including the possible effects on tugs and tug operations.
- The important issues of risk assessment and safety management systems are newly included in this edition, along with commentary on the effects of the US Subchapter M.

This book was first presented to the public in a meeting at the National Dutch Towage Museum (see photo). Apart from a nautical writer, Henk is a volunteer and advisor at this institute.

Saturday, 24 September 2022 01:18

Furieade festival Maassluis October 1 2022

This year 2022 the Furieade Festival will take place in the town of Maassluis on saturday October 1. The first shows start on Friday, September 30th.

The so called Furieade festival is a yearly returning happening in the first week of October in Maassluis. On this occasion the harbour of Maassluis will be crowded with historical and modern ships of all types. The emphasis however will be the towing scene in the past.

During the Furieade a lot of activities will take place around the harbours and canals of Maassluis. A short historical picture that clarifies the origin of the Furieade:

In the history of Maassluis the towing business plays a prominent role. In the early years Maassluis was the home port of the many tug boats of the famous Smit towage company. Nowadays Maassluis harbours a (growing) number of Dutch historical tug boats, the Furie being the most known of them as this ship figurated in the movie "Dutch Glory". This steam tug boat officially became in full operation again in the first weekend of October 1980, after being thoroughly restored by many volunteers during a period of years. Consequently the connected celebrations were called the Furieade.

Furieade-Maassluis-2014 18931

On Saturday the visitors can attend the fair and the special market on the quays of the harbour and the canals, where nearly everything is for sale, new and used. Around it there are a number of activities, such as a live ship small scale models show.

Further and detailed programs and news about the Furieade you can find on www.furieade.nl and www.ervaarmaassluis.nl

This Saturday the National Dutch Towing Museum is open from 10 to 17 h. Admittance is free this day. On the market nearby the museum has a stand where nautical books and other material are for sale.Furieade Bruinvisch

Steenbank LEGO Arjan OudekotteThe latest exhibition "From building block to tug model" is about building tug models using standard building blocks, such as LEGO. This activity is becoming more and more common. Notwithstanding the wide variety of standard building models, there are relatively few standard construction boxes of ships available. However, shiplovers are very creative and recently discovered that standard building blocks like LEGO also can do the trick. Consequently they now design and buid tug boats and other craft using this building material. The result is often astonishing. This exhibition shows a number of LEGO built tugs. Many of these models are built by "older" LEGO lovers, the so called AFOL’s, that stands for Adult Fans Of Lego. These "experts" really are very thorough and excessive in designing and constructing of their models. All of the design has to be built on the same scale. Often even original shipyard construction plans or computer software are used to achieve an as realistic result as possible. Specially for this exhibition two widely known LEGO model constructing professionals were prepared to support us in assembling and modelling this exhibition, Edwin Korstanje and Arjan Oude Kotte. Both gentlemen are building beautiful LEGO models for years now, often for tug companies and other firms.

De exhibition expires on October 28th. 

Further information you find on the following sites:



The exhibition guide can be downloaded using next button (in Dutch):

Tuesday, 08 May 2018 11:32

Ship Building Plans

Zwarte zee 4 1 bouwtekeningIn the course of the years the Nationaal Sleepvaart Museum has built up a large possession of ship building plans regarding Dutch tug boats and salvage vessels. Copies can be obtained by contacting us via e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Just specify your request and we will contact you about the availability and the cost.

Saturday, 03 March 2018 12:24

Eye witness (56)

Pim Korver, maritiem cineast en fotograaf te zien in Maassluis.

Pim Korver wordt in Nederland en zelfs daarbuiten gezien als de maritieme film- en fotospecialist bij uitstek. Gedurende meer dan 45 jaar heeft hij tal van producties gemaakt, die duidelijk maken hoezeer de sleepvaart- en bergingssector bij Nederland horen. Daarnaast maakte hij een groot aantal journalistieke reportages en foto’s over andere onderwerpen, onder andere voor het journaal van de Nederlandse televisie, de actualiteitenrubrieken en de kranten. Het spreekt eigenlijk vanzelf dat het Nationaal Sleepvaart Museum te Maassluis hem heeft benaderd om een tentoonstelling te mogen maken over zijn werk, verband houdend met de onderwerpen die zowel Korver als het museum na aan het hart liggen.

Cineast Korver bleek gelukkig bereid om het museum inzage te geven in zijn indrukwekkende archief. Duizenden negatieven en dia’s werden bekeken om een goede keuze te kunnen maken. Een deel van dit materiaal werd gedigitaliseerd en daarna afgedrukt. Het resultaat is een fototentoonstelling met in beeld tal van gebeurtenissen uit de wereld van de sleepvaart en berging, die menigeen nog goed in het geheugen liggen.

1200px Pim KorverDe eerste echte maritieme reportage die Korver voor het toenmalige NTS-journaal maakte was de stranding op de Maasvlakte van de kustvaarder Gladonia in januari 1962. Hij stapte daar zelfs aan boord toen de bemanning er al af was gehaald en de bergers de mogelijkheden voor het vlotbrengen bekeken. De reddingboot vergat nog bijna hem mee terug te nemen. Daarna volgden een reeks van reportages, waaruit bleek dat Korver kijk op de gang van zaken in de maritieme wereld had en een speciale band met de bemanningen van sleepboten en bergingsvaartuigen wist op te bouwen. ´Zonder de medewerking van deze lieden had ik nooit mijn werk kunnen doen´, zo stelt Korver.

Inmiddels was hij in 1964 voor zichzelf begonnen en maakte hij reizen mee over de oceaan met booreilanden als de Mr. Louie en een sleep van Zuid-Amerika naar Rotterdam met de in twee stukken gedeelde tanker Pendrecht.  Branden op schepen, als de Akti en de South America  op de Maasvlakte, of strandingen van de Ping An bij Terheide werden en passant gefotografeerd en gefilmd. Een aparte klus was het ongelukkige voorval in 1967 met de sleepboot Vikingbank, die trachtte de vrachtvaarder Alkyone voor stranding te behoeden, maar zelf op de Zuiderpier van Hoek van Holland belandde. Na het lichten bleek dat de pas een paar jaar oude sleper door het beuken op de stenen van de pier rijp was voor de sloop.

In de jaren zeventig en tachtig werden door Korver juweeltjes van films en foto’s afgeleverd die meermalen internationale prijzen in de wacht sleepten. Zo maakte hij in 1970 een uitgebreide film over de wrakopruiming van de vrachtvaarder London Valour  bij Genua, waarvan het achterschip met behulp van o.a. polystyreen-balletjes drijvend kon worden gemaakt. Tankerongelukken met grote milieugevolgen waren die met de Olympic Bravery en de Amoco Cadiz voor de Bretonse kust in resp. 1976 en 1978. De opruiming van de in 1979 bij het Ierse Bantry Bay ontplofte supertanker Betelgeuse, waarbij 50 mensen om het leven kwamen door de enorme brand en de hitte die daarvan het gevolg was, had heel wat voeten in de modder. In 1987 deed zich voor de Belgische kust net buiten Zeebrugge de ramp voor met de kapseizende veerboot Herald of Free Enterprise. Pim Korver mocht tijdens de berging als enige cineast filmen en fotograferen. Hij deed dat met de uiterste piëteit voor de 192 slachtoffers. Zijn bekroonde film `March 6, 1987` is een monument voor de omgekomenen, bergers en redders.

Tegenwoordig woont de cineast in het noorden van het land. Ondanks het feit dat hij de leeftijdsgrens van 65 al een aantal jaren is gepasseerd, weerhoudt hem dat er niet van ´gewoon´ door te gaan. Zo maakte hij recentelijk een fraaie film van de activiteiten van de nog betrekkelijk jonge Nederlands/Franse sleepvaartrederij Fairmount, gevestigd te Rotterdam. Ook een uitgebreide film van de succesvolle, maar technisch gezien problematische berging door een Nederlands team deskundigen van het zware achterschip van de containercarrier MSC Napoli is zeker spectaculair. Het schip werd in 2007 na een storm op de Zuid-Engelse kust gezet, nadat scheuren in de romp waren geconstateerd. Die film is samen met andere films en foto´s uit het oeuvre van Korver vanaf 8 januari a.s. te zien in het Nationaal Sleepvaart Museum te Maassluis. De tentoonstelling  `Ooggetuige`, die duurt tot 1 mei a.s. is een must voor de echte maritieme liefhebber.  Het museum aan de Hoogstraat 1-3 is elke dag open van 14.00 tot 17.00 uur, behalve op maandag.

A new, temporary exhibition was opened at the National Towage Museum in Maassluis, The Netherlands, on Saturday 2 December.
The exhibition is called ‘From Man-pulled to Unmanned’ and celebrates the evolution of towage. The history of towage begins with the so-called ‘jagen’ (or "hauling" in English), the towing of boats by men or horses. In the 17th century the Netherlands had an extensive waterway network with towing paths for regular tow-boat services. For- and aft rigged sailing boats were used to tow large square rigged cargo ships from the roads into the various Dutch ports. Steam engines and, later, diesel engines changed all of this. Soon after the introduction of steam engines in ships the first towage services were established, an industry for which the Dutch would become famous throughout the world. 
Damen Onbemand AMU 2513 Artist Impression Edit JelleIn the 20th century the technology of towing evolved rapidly with innovations for propulsion, engine power and towing equipment. The Netherlands have always been, and still are, at the forefront of new developments where towage is concerned. This is demonstrated by the fact that we are heavily involved in the newest experiments with unmanned ships. 
The exhibition illustrates the evolution of towage using many photographs, ship models, original documents and special objects. A section of the exhibition is specifically devoted to the life of crews on board tugs and how this changed substantially over time. 
The opening of the exhibition was performed by Mr Gaby Steentjes, Senior Project Manager Maritime Research Institute of the Netherlands (MARIN).
The exhibition “From Man-pulled to Unmanned” is to be visited at the National Towage Museum in Maassluis, The Netherlands from 2 December 2017 until 27 May 2018.  
For information and opening hours visit www.nationaalsleepvaartmuseum.nl. 
Note to editors: for further information about the exhibition, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +31 (0)10 – 5912474 or Maarten Helwig, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , +31 (0)6-33008733.

If you are interested in the full exhibition guide (stated in the Dutch language), please open the link below:  

The latest newsletter of the National Towage Museum dated September 2017 is published!

If you would like to receive the news bulletins directly on your personal mail account, please let us know on the mail page in this website in the Contact chapter.

Note: the newsletter is published in the Dutch language only. If you are especially interested in a particular item, please contact us and we will inform you more thoroughly.

In short the main contents of this newsletter are:

We had to wait a long time for this newsletter to be published, but in the end we succeeded to bring it out.

The museum and its team were dominantly present at the Harbour Days in Rotterdam. Our stand had a lot of visitors. This had a positive effect on our financial position. The chairman thanks all of the volunteers, who offered their weekend to make our presence possible. I thank you all who made this possible.

Within a few weeks another festival is waiting, the yearly "Furieade" in our town Maassluis on October 6 and 7, when the Museum offers free admittance to its visitors. We will be present on this festival with a number of stands, where the shiplover can select and buy interesting objects. You are welcome!

In this newsletter you can find many interesting items, such as a story about the naming, defining and calculating in the old days of the engine power and bollard pull of tug boats.

The National Dutch Towage Museum forms part of the Foundation Tug Harbour Maassluis (Stichting Sleepboothaven Maassluis (SSM). This year the SSM will be present with a promotion stand at the 2-yearly Europort exhibition in the Ahoy premises in Rotterdam from November 7th till 10th. Our "territory" there is small but attractive, and is situated on a very prominent location in the central lobby. Our stand number is P102. We would be very pleased if you come and visit us there, in case you intend to attend this exhibition.

Further, ther Newsletter contains the following chapters: 
• The homecoming in Maassluis of the coastal tugboat "Steenbank” (built in 1960); • A new tugboat model in the museum, the "Nestor" of Wijsmuller (built in 1959); • The progress of our Visitors Information System (BIS): Till June 2017 it contains 530 ships with 1952 names; • A new promotion video of the Museum; • The definition of the notion "Bollard Pull".

I expect you to read this newsletter with pleasure, and in reading you will become curious to see all of the above live. So, we hope you will not forget our museum, when you plan to visit The Netherlands.

Karel Kaffa, chairman

Please press the blue button to download the newsletter:

Nieuwsbrief september 2017

The new exhibition "From human hauling to unmanned navigation" in the National Dutch Towage Museum is about the evolution of towing, and can be visited in the period December 2nd, 2017 till May 27th, 2018.

The history of towing starts with the so called hauling of vessels by humans or animals. In the 17th century existed a widespread network of hauling services and hauling paths in the Netherlands. On their way to big harbours fore-and-aft rigged fishing boats towed the big V.O.C. ships (United East-Indian Company) over the shallows to the safe harbours. This situation changed radically as a result of the appearance of the steam engine in the beginning of the 19th century. Soon after that the first towing services came into life, an industry that would make Holland worldwide famous in the first half of the 20th century. 

In the 20th century the technological developments in the fields of propulsion, engine capacity and towage equipment succeeded each other very quickly. In many cases The Netherlands were taking the lead, and still do, as it is apparent that we fully compete in the newest developments regarding unmanned navigation.

RAMORA bb voor 2600 tug stern quarter 1440x960 Foto N.S.M. na fotoshopThe ealiest origin of towing goes back to the period around the year 600. In that time, in China the six dragon boats of emperor Yang were being towed by hundreds of young men and girls, all clad in silk. This story is being told in a fairy-like way, that one would think that it was a pleasure to tow these ships.

Now we know better. Working in the towing business always was hard labour and for a long time it was also a hard life.

However, the times in which the human force was necessary to tow vessels, lies far behind us now.

In this exhibition we show the development in the technique of towing. But the visitor also gets an impression of the work and life on board and the influence of the the technology on these conditions.
We end with a glimpse in the future on new developments, such as the possibility of unmanned towing.

The opening speech of this exhibition came from mr. G. Steentjes, Senior Project Manager of the Maritime Research Institution Nederland (MARIN). Hij is closely involved in the research of unmanned and autonomic navigation, and in his speech pointed out the complexity of this problematic nature.

For information about the National Dutch Towage Museum, please open the links below:



The exhibition guide is only available in the Dutch language. It can be downloaded by using the link below:

From June 2nd, 2018 an exhibition will take place in the Nationaal Dutch Towage Museum in Maassluis, showing tugboat models that are built with LEGO® or similar building blocks.
Where boat model builders traditionally worked with wood and glue, we now see a growing interest in building models with plastic building blocks like
LEGO®. Copying all sorts of objects with plastic building blocks is becoming more and more popular, and these days already so common, that you can see the forming of social model building clubs (so called AFOL’s (Adult Fans of LEGO). And for a growing number of shipping companies it is common use to have models of their own ships being designed in LEGO® by professionals, and show these models in their offices. 

TRITON Iskes lego Korstanje

Enough reason for our Towage Museum to organize an exhibition, that will last from June 2nd till September 23rd 2018, that will be entirely devoted to tugboat models built with LEGO® or similar building blocks.

We are also happy to inform you, that anyone has the opportunity to participate in this exhibition by building your own tugboat! How? The National Dutch Towage Museum namely will organize a LEGO® contest! Young and adult LEGO builders can send a photograph to our museum of their self-built ship. Who will design the most beautiful selfmade model of a tugboat, supply vessel or salvage ship?

The contest consists of 3 competitor categories: up to 11 years old, from 12 till 17 years and 18 years and older. Models of existing ships as well as fantasy models are allowed. But, originality will be rewarded. The winning models will be shown at the exhibition. There are also prices connected to the most beautiful models. The received photographs will be judged by a jury, that will determine the winning models. 
Registration is possible up to May 17th, 2018 by downloading (see at the bottom of the page), filling in and sending in the Registration form along with your photograph to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Further in this article you will find the Competition rules.

If you are interested, we mention that the measures of the models should not exceed the maximum length of 55 cm and 20 cm wide. The pictures must be at least approx. 2500 x 1600 pixels and 1 MB, and must be saved in a current photo file type, such as JPEG.
This exhibition and contest will be organised independent of Lego Nederland B.V. 
For further information about the exhibition and the contest, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 010 – 5912474 or mr. Maarten Helwig, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 06-33008733.


Rules of the LEGO® tugboat model building contest

In connection with an exhibition of LEGO® built ship models during the period June 2nd till September 23rd 2018, the National Dutch Towage Museum in Maassluis organises a contest of shipmodels, that are constructed using  LEGO® building blocks or other similar building blocks.
The Prize-giving event will take place during the opening ceremony of the exhibition on Saturday, June 2nd 2018.
The winners of the competition will be invited to be present at this opening ceremony.
All of the competitors and their families will be invited to visit the exhibition for free on Sunday, June 3rd 2018.
The most beautiful models or their photographs will be shown at the exhibition. Every sent-in picture of a self-built model will figure in the virtual exhibition on the website of the National Dutch Towage Museum. 


To participate in this contest, the builder must send in a clear representative photograph of the model, along with a fully filled in registration form. Photo and form must be sent to:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
The pictures should measure a minimal resolution of approx. 2500 x 1600 pixels and a file size of about 1MB, and saved in a current photo file type. The registration form can be downloaded from the website of the National Dutch Towage Museum. The closing date to send in the photos and forms is May 17th, 2018. 

Requirements of the model.

Only physical built models can compete, a mere digital design for instance does not suffice.
Per person only 1 model is allowed to be registered for the contest. As ship types are admitted models of tugboats, salvage ships and supply ships. The maximum size of the model is 55 cm. long and 20 cm. wide. As building material LEGO®- or similar building blocks must be used. It is not obligatory that the model is a copy of an existing vessel.

Determine the winners.

As leading judgement criteria will be applied the originality and the details of the models.
The jury team consists of representatives of the National Dutch Towage Museum and  mr. Edwin Korstanje and Arjan Oude Kotte, who are well known builders of nautical LEGO models.
In the judgements 3 age categories will be taken in consideration: Up to 11 years old, from 12 till 17 years and 18 years and older (as is at the time of sending in the registration form and picture).
The jury procedure is as follows: From the received collection of photographs a preselection of 6 models per age category will be made by the jury. All chosen models will in any case be shown in the exhibition. Out of this group of 18 preselected models  three winners per age category will be chosen. The builders of these 9 winning models will be invited to attend the prize-giving ceremony, that will take place during the opening session of the exhibition on Saturday, June 2nd 2018.
Apart from the 18 preselected models, one or more models of the not selected photographs can be assigned a stand in the exhibition. In these cases the builder will be contacted by the Museum. 

Miscellaneous rules and conditions

Participants of the contest must give their consent to hand over their models in free loan to the Musem and allow the Museum to show them in the Museum during the period of the exhibition, and to deliver their models themselves at the address of the museum in Maassluis, in case their model will be chosen to be presented in the exhibition.
The participants of the contest allow the Museum also to use their sent-in photographs of the models for PR purposes by the Museum.
During the exhibition (June 2nd till September 23rd 2018) the models are insured by the museum.
The National Dutch Towage Museum  reserves to itself the right to end, extend or change the contest and its rules at any moment and to her own judgement.
The contest is an independent initiative of the National Dutch Towage Museum and has no relationship whatsoever with LEGO®.

Using the link below you can download the Registration form for the LEGO building contest:

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