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Short history of the Amels Yard

Although I am a direct descendant of the Amels family which founded the well known Amels Shipyard, the Amels family nowadays has no involvement with the yard. This is the story behind it.

My grandfather Cornelis (Kees) bought a small yard in the village of Makkum in 1918. They were building small seagoing fishing vessels, tugs etc. Later my uncle Wiebe and my father Douwe joined the yard. In 1949 the yard was moved to outside the village where they could expand and build bigger boats: coasters and later on special vessels like suppliers, pilot vessels and bigger freighters.

I joined the yard in 1976 after having worked at the Naval yard of De Schelde in Vlissingen for about 1.5 years after finishing my studies in 1974.

In 1979 the first yacht hull (48 m) was built for De Vries Scheepsbouw in Aalsmeer.

A few years later this was followed by the first complete Amels yacht "Katalina". More yachts would follow.

At that time the yacht building was combined with commercial building.

It were hard times and after a few financial unsuccessful projects and management changes the yard went bankrupt in 1987.

Because it was potentially healthy the yard had a quick restart and concentrated on solely yacht building.

In these years the yard had a number of different owners before joining the Damen Shipyards Group in 1991 and I was the only one of the family who was still working in the yard.

Quite a number of very successful yachts were built in that time. In 2005 DAMEN decided that they wanted to concentrate their yacht building activities in Vlissingen only. At that time De Vries Shipyard (Feadship) took over the yard in Makkum so that they would be able to build bigger yachts. Since then they are building the bigger yachts here.

When De Vries took over the yard only a limited amount of people of the original Amels staff could work there initially and I was not among them so since then I have been employed elsewhere.

The Amels yard in Vlissingen is in the mean time building yachts according a "limited edition" formula and is very successful with this.