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Historical description

Kennemerland was a Dutch East Indiaman that sailed for the VOC (Dutch East India Company) as a merchant vessel. She left Texel bound for her second voyage to Batavia, present day Indonesia, on what was known as the "route achterom". This northern route around Scotland was used to avoid harsh winds in the English Channel, or, during times of war, English warships.

On the 20th of December, 1664, Kennemerland struck the Stoura Stack in the Outer Skerries on the east side of the Shetland Islands in Scotland. She had drifted off course due to bad weather on the North Sea. It was a great loss for the VOC, as only three members of the original crew of 150 survived, and none of the cargo, valued at 120,000 Dutch Florins, was recovered by the Dutch.

Out Skerries of the Shetland Isles where the Kennermerland wrecked.

Archaeological description

After Kennemerland wrecked in 1664, the locals carried out a considerable amount of salvage. Most of the valuable items were claimed in the name of the Earl of Moron, a local laird, however Charles II subsequently granted salvage rights to the Earl of Kincardine, who then claimed the goods. Records of these legal proceedings still exist, and give information about the cargo that was carried by Kennemerland.

The wreck site was discovered in 1971 by members of the Aston University Sub Aqua Club. The wreck of Kennemerland is partly overlain by another wreck of Advena, which wrecked in 1912. The wreck is scattered over a large area, but out of at least eleven VOC ships wrecked in Shetland, five of which have been found, the wreck of Kennemerland is one of the best recorded and studied sites of its kind.

The excavation of the wreck was done over the course of six seasons until 1987, and was conducted by Richard Price. Keith Muckelroy was also affiliated with the project as an archaeologist. There have been regular inspections of the site since 1988, the most recent having been in 2005.

The cargo of Kennemerland consisted of many different items such as gold, mercury, clay pipes, tobacco boxes, and golf clubs. The ballast on the ship consisted of lead ingots, and building bricks, which were very common for outbound VOC ships to carry. Because the excavation of the ship was conducted through several, relatively light dives, and as such was never exhaustively excavated, it is highly possible that there remain archaeological artifacts in protected pockets of sand between the rocks of the island. All the recovered artifacts from Kennemerland are kept and displayed in the Shetland Museum, (, where conservation work was conducted on the materials. The Dutch government is recognized as the legal owner of the wreck, but the site is still protected under Britain's Protection of Wrecks Act of 1978.


Name: Kennemerland

Type: Dutch East Indiaman

The ship was bought in 1661

Chamber: Amsterdam

Tonnage: 950

Complement: 150


A Dutch East Indiaman.


All materials from the site have been deposited in the the Shetland Museum, where conservation work is done on the materials.

The site is protected under the Protection of Wrecks Act of 1978.

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