Dutch East India Company (VOC) shipyard
Its location made Oostenburg easily accessible via the Zuiderzee. There was ample work in the shipyard. Everything went well until the disaster year of 1672. Wars resulted in a huge drop in shipping and trade. Oostenburg became a poor community and many people left. Things improved after 1714 and trade increased. Oostenburg recovered too.
Tsar Peter the Great followed an internship on Oostenburg.
In 1697, Peter the Great learned about building VOC ships during a four-month internship on Oostenburg. He wanted to do this in order to manage the building of a new Russian fleet. The East India ship, Peter en Paul, was built especially for the Tsar.
An economic and military downturn resulted in the VOC’s bankruptcy in 1795. The ships ended up being taken over by the Dutch Navy. In that way the ships that remained in good condition were still being used. The 509th (and final) VOC ship was sold unfinished.
Collapse of VOC Arsenal
The East India Arsenal - now called the Stadswerf (city shipyard) plot - was 177 metres long, four storeys high and was surrounded by canals. The middle section had a flat roof, from which people could look across the IJ river. Following the VOC bankruptcy, the Arsenal was sold. From that point on, it was used for storage of grain and seeds. The building wasn’t constructed for this and was unable to bear the weight.
Construction of Gendthallen
The first machine factory for steam machines was constructed in 1870. The steam machine factory received an order from South Africa for 40 locomotives, each with 100 carriages; a huge job. To achieve all this, three new factory buildings were constructed: the Van Gendthallen, following a design by A.L. van Gendt. A fourth building was added later. The fifth building was sold in its entirety to a foreign party.
‘Werkspoor’ is named
The development, by Werkspoor, of the ship diesel engine with reversible running direction resulted in an upturn in contracts. A new factory was built in Zuilen near Utrecht. The various locations communicated by fax. These fax messages referred to the ‘Werkspoor’, a name by which it is still popularly known.
Construction of the biggest ever ship on Oostenburg, the J.P. Coen (153 m)
The construction of the J.P. Coen, the biggest ship ever constructed on Oostenburg, involved a huge amount of work. When Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland accepted the request to build this ship, it was already clear to the Directors that the ship wouldn’t easily be able to pass through the Oosterdok locks. To enable this, the railway bridge’s central pile would need to be removed. At that point, the ship would not have been able to leave Amsterdam. They succeeded in negotiating a solution so that they could get the J.P. Coen ready to depart. However, it then appeared that a section of the Mariniers’ bridge would also need to be removed temporarily. Many more negotiations followed before agreement was reached on this. In the end, two years after the initial request, the J.P. Coen was able to sail onto the IJ.
Close of shipyard on Oostenburg
The NSM became NDSM in Amsterdam North after building a new shipyard in Amsterdam North in 1922. This meant that the shipyard on Oostenburg was no longer necessary and was ‘relocated’ to Amsterdam North.
Merger of Werkspoor and Koninklijke Machinefabriek Stork
Werkspoor and the Koninklijke Machinefabriek Stork from Hengelo decided to merge. The newly-formed company mainly produced diesel engines for trains and ships. This meant that after 1973 only diesel engines were manufactured on Oostenburg.
The machine factory closed and the factory buildings were leased to creative companies.
There followed a drastic downturn in contracts; the restoration works after the war had finished and there was no further demand from the colonies. Many Dutch shipping companies were also dissolved. The remaining staff and activities were transferred. The factory buildings became empty and were rented to creative companies, such as film production companies and artists.
Van Gendthallen receives heritage status
In 1997, the former owner of the Van Gendthallen submitted an application for a demolition permit. Local residents then applied for heritage status, after which this party withdrew as potential buyer. A year later, heritage status was confirmed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Initial redevelopment ideas
Stadgenoot presented the initial ideas for the redevelopment of Oostenburg. Construction of new builds started on the island some six years later. A new chapter for Oostenburg new style will start in 2024.