Steamtug Furie – The lady turns 100!

by Hans | September 20th, 2016

The Dutch National Towage Museum of Maassluis in Holland will celebrate this with a new exhibition dedicated to the working and museum life of this last remaining seagoing steam tug of the Netherlands. The new exchange exhibition will be opened on September 24th.

The exchange exhibition gives a wide overview of the building, working life of the tug, the TV series and her life as sailing heritage museum. Her owner, Foundation Dutch Glory, has not only preserved the tug but has always been keen to obtain photos and information about the tug and her history. All this is now on display at the National Towage Museum of the Netherlands with unique photographs, films, documents and special objects. The celebrated tug herself is moored in front of the museum.

The opening of the exchange exhibition on September 24th is the start of a number of events to celebrate the 100st anniversary of the ‘Furie’. The highlight of festivities will be the Furieade on October 1st and 2nd in Maassluis.

The beginning.
In 1916, in Holland by still newbuilding shipyard Bodewes, two steam tugs were launched. One of these, Gebroeders Bodewes VI (Brothers Bodewes VI), would after a long career in Sweden return to the Netherlands for a unique second life. A Dutch television Network, AVRO, required an authentic Dutch steam tug for the film version of the famous book ‘Captain Jan’ by Jan de Hartog. An intensive international search resulted in only one, but perfect, candidate – in Sweden. That was the tug ‘Holmvik’ and she would be the star in the 1978 tv series ‘Dutch Glory’.

The ‘Gebroeders Bodewes VI’ was part of a series of almost sister ships that were built for their own account and risk during the First World War. Building started in 1915 and in 1916 the ship was available for sale. The ship was of a simple but proven design and build to high standards. The original lay-out featured only one mast, no deckhouse and only a small wheelhouse. The main accommodation was aft below decks. It lasted until 1918 before an export license could be obtained and in March of that year with ‘SVERIGE’ painted on the sides to evidence neutrality as a safeguard against attack the tug, now called ‘Holmen III’ undertook the voyage from the Netherlands to Sweden. A major conversion took already place in 1920 when a deckhouse on the sides and a much larger wheelhouse were added in view of the harsher weather conditions on the Baltic Sea.

Her new owner was a Swedish paper mill that obtained tree logs higher up in the Baltic Sea. The logs would be chained together into floats upto 9000 m3 and the tasks of the Furie was to tow these to the factory in Norrkoping. For certain a slow passage with just 450 ihp. With the exception of the Second World War, when the tug was requisitioned by the Swedish Navy, the ‘Holmen III’ towed log floats until 1976. As from 1969 in ownership of her last captain as ‘Holmvik’.
Television series.
Originally, the television network contemplated just to hire the tug for a few months but captain Akerlund was only willing to sell the tug. And so the network bought the vintage tug and she sailed under the command of the later harbour master of Amsterdam and a volunteer crew to IJmuiden. After a small conversion, during which modern features like radar were removed and to make it possible to feature as two different tugs at the same time, the ‘Furie’ was towed to Bantry Bay in Ireland by Smit International for filming and afterwards towed back to Holland by Wijsmuller.
Dutch Glory
With the series still being showed on television, a group of towage enthusiasts in Maassluis, former home port of Smit, were wondering about the future of the unique tug. Quick action resulted in sufficient funds to salvage the tug from the breakers and the municipality of Maassluis provided a prominent berth in front of former 16th century town hall, now residence of the towage museum. In 1980 the refit was completed to the extent that the ‘Furie’ could sail again under own steam. This milestone was celebrated with a big maritime event in Maassluis during which key actor Hugo Metsers stood one more time as captain Jan Wandelaar on the bridge of ‘his’ tug. The event was such a success that since then, every year this Maritime event with vintage tugs and other historic craft is held.
100 years.
Nothing or nobody reaches that age care free. After obtaining ownership of the tug in 1978 foundation ‘Hollands Glorie’ has painstakingly and successfully restored and conserved the ‘Furie’ that she now has an official status as operational museum. The volunteers ensure that the old lady remains fully certified to be able to sail under own steam for many years to come. Major maintenance projects were the boiler tube refit of the still original boiler and complete overhaul of the main steam engine. Frequently the tug takes part in maritime events in Holland which is a reward for the volunteers and a joy for visitors and paying guests. Tranquillity on deck and heat, hissing of steam and a reciprocating steam engine in the engine room below.

National Towage Museum
The goal of the Dutch National Towage Museum is to preserve and to display to a wide public the history of the Dutch towage industry, the people who worked in the industry on board and ashore with past or present day companies, at sea or on inland waters, by means of two exchange exhibitions per year and a permanent exhibition. The museum has a large collection of models, photographs, artefacts, library and documents.
For more information:
info@nationaalsleepvaartmuseum.nl
010 – 5912474 or
Maarten Helwig, 06-33008733
pr@nationaalsleepvaartmuseum.nl
Stichting Nationaal Sleepvaart Museum
Hoogstraat 1-3,3142 EA Maassluis
010-5912474
www.nationaalsleepvaartmuseum.nl

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